TRUSTEES IN ATTENDANCE: Hon. Burton C. Conner, Chairman, Jim Wilder and Johnathan Ferguson, Esq., James Walker, Esq. and Paula Lewis, County Commissioner
OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE: Nora Everlove, Librarian, Lynn T. Atkinson, Secretary,
Mr. Walker made a motion to approve the May 1, 2009 Minutes as presented. Mr. Wilder seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
II. APRIL 2009 FINANCIAL STATEMENT(S):
The April Financial Statement was discussed. Ms. Everlove reported that there was a little more revenue than our average, but even though the May numbers are not out our revenue is solidified in that it is back down to the $20,000.00 that it has been averaging for the last 6 to 8 months. Colliding with this in a 15% increases in West’s charges. That increase came through in May. Essentially our revenues are down 25% from last year and our major publisher is charging us 15% more. We are giving West over $160,000.00 per year now. We are spending about $40,000.00 on the other publishers collectively per year.
Mr. Wilder asked if Ms. Everlove felt that the increase shown in the April, 2009 Financial Statement is temporary. Ms. Everlove said that she sees no reason for the increase to hold and even if the revenues go back to what they were, our expenses our outstripping what our revenues were last year. Mr. Wilder moved approval of the April 2009 Financial Statement(s). Mr. Ferguson seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
Ms. Everlove referred the Trustees to her memo she sent out concerning West. Judge Conner stated that if he understood it correctly Ms. Everlove is contending that we shrink the expenses by at least $100,000.00 per year. We are currently spending $168,000.00 annually with West and approximately $40,000.00 with the other vendors collectively, so approximately around $200,000.00 all together. Ms. Everlove replied that it is very close to that.
Mr. Wilder asked if this amount is good enough so that we do not have to revisit another cut a year down the line, or should we cut a little deeper? Judge Conner commented that we’re seemingly in a crisis mode. He is a little concerned that we didn’t see this coming sooner. He is assuming that it is partially due to the downturn in the economy over the last nine months. Judge Conner stated that he is comfortable with a plan that will hold us for a year, because he feels that depending on the economy we will certainly have to revisit this issue.
Judge Conner asked about the contract with West and how often can we make adjustments to the contract. Ms. Everlove replied that it depends on the product and gave some examples. At this point our contract with West has expired and we can now give a thirty day notice to exit from the contract. Ms. Everlove is recommending that we withdraw from the contract immediately. Further discussion was had concerning the contract with West. West has made two proposals to us. Ms. Everlove stated that she does not expect a third proposal until we pull the plug on the contract.
Ms. Everlove walked the Trustees through her memo and breakdown of the subscriptions. She explained that she did not prepare the breakdown of the subscriptions. The breakdown and highlighting came from West. Of the $168,000.00 for West annually about $75,000.00 is WestLaw. The rest of the cost is for print at a 50% discount (between $81,000.00 and $82,000.00 annually). Discussion was had concerning FastCase online access versus WestLaw and LexisNexis. Ms. Everlove believes that the quote from of $2,000.00 will bring West to the table quickly.
Mr. Walker stated that Ms. Everlove has a detailed breakdown of which subscriptions should be suspended and which ones should be retained. Judge Conner asked if what she is going to recommend is going to get us to where we need to be. Ms. Everlove stated that her suggestions would bring us to the figures we need to be at and she explained her recommendations to the Trustees. Judge Conner stated that he does not understand the figures and the other Trustees concurred. It was agreed that Ms. Everlove will prepare a new report to present to the Trustees.
Ms. Everlove’s proposal at this time is to cancel WestLaw as soon as possible and purchase FastCase. We will simply hold the books from that are under consideration pending final approval by the Trustees on what we are going to keep. The other books will be returned. There is a 45 day window where West will pay for the return shipping.
Mr. Walker made a motion to allow Ms. Everlove to cancel WestLaw, purchase FastCase and for Ms. Everlove to come back at the next meeting with another proposal with what we are going to let go fallow and what we are going to keep going with even though it isn’t going to be a the reduced price. Mr. Wilder seconded the motion and it was unanimously carried.
Ms. Everlove stated that she would like to disseminate the information electronically well before the next meeting. The practical consideration is that there will be hundreds of boxes piling up and we are in the middle of a move, so she wants to get the books out of here as soon as possible. We will have an interim meeting to decide on this once the information is disseminated. Ms. Atkinson will coordinate and post the meeting notice.
Discussion: Mr. Walker asked if there was any chance that a funding request could be made of the County. Ms. Lewis said that there is no money. Mr. Ferguson asked if it would be plausible to ask about reimbursement of the shelving that is going into the County building. Ms. Lewis stated that again she did not know where the money would come from.
IV. CONTRIBUTIONS FOR CONFERENCE CENTER:
Mr. Walker presented a check in the amount of $2,500.00 from the St. Lucie Bar Association for contribution to the purchase of the SmartBoard for the new Conference Center in the Law Library. Mr. Wilder stated that he has a commitment in the amount of $500.00 from the private sector. Mr. Ferguson stated that the Port St. Lucie Bar Association will be meeting soon and they will be discussing a contribution as well.
Mr. Walker asked what kind of signage would be getting with the new Law Library. He stated that a minimum we are going to need a directional sign in the front of the courthouse directing people around the building to the Law Library entrance. Ms. Lewis stated that she would love to see something rustic, but she is sure in the short term that they can do something in the County sign shop. Further discussion was had concerning signs and the necessary permits.
VI. SMARTBOARD (CLE):
Mr. Walker inquired if Ms. Lewis had checked to see if a SmartBoard could be purchased through the County at lesser rate. Ms. Lewis stated that she had neglected to do so, but she would check.
At this time Ms. Everlove stated that this week she received a letter stating that the Bar will be phasing out their video replay program over the next year. We do have six more replays scheduled between now and then. The Bar is going to a digital format and being replaced by webcast to the individual offices. Each person will pay the Bar directly. Even the basic new lawyer classes can now be taken over the internet. Audio CDs are still in effect and the Law Library lends these out frequently.
Ms. Everlove stated that about 4% of the shelves are up. The floor situation has been cleared up, but now there is a problem with the walls. They are not square to the floor. The bookcases cannot be bolted to the wall empty. Due to the weight of the books when the bookcase is loaded it settles the bookcase and it would pull the bookcase from the wall. To deal with this problem the bookcases are being shimmed so that they are somewhat more level and then they are being loaded backwards, so that once they are loaded they can then be bolted.
Ms. Everlove requested that the Law Library be able to fund lunch at least once a week for the Trustees that are helping with the move. Mr. Walker made a motion to approve the purchase of lunch at least once a week for the Trustees. Ms. Lewis seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
As there was no further discussion was to be had, the meeting was adjourned.
DATE: August___________________________, 2009
BURTON C. CONNER, Chairman
JIM WILDER, Member
JOHNATHAN FERGUSON, Member
PAULA A. LEWIS, Member
JAMES T. WALKER, Member