- Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
- Call To Order
- Public Voices
- Approval of Agenda
- Approval of Consent Agenda
- Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Kayla Lawrence, City Attorney
- Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Committee Reports
- Public Voices
- Unfinished Business
- New Business
- Director’s Report for April 2017
- Board Member's Comments
- Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, June 13, 2017
- Submitted By
Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
May 9, 2017
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
Georgia Morgan Blair, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Georgia Morgan Blair, President; James A. Sullivan, Vice-President; The Honorable Scott Vowell, Parliamentarian; Gwendolyn R. Amamoo; Willie S. Davis, III; Kimberly Richardson; Eunice Johnson Rogers; Dora U. Sims; Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch
Call To Order
- Georgia Morgan Blair called the meeting to order.
- Eunice Johnson Rogers provided the invocation.
- At the time, no public voices were signed in. Public voices were moved to the end of the meeting after a late sign-in.
Jeffrey White, partner at Banks, Finley, White & Co. presented the 2016 audit to the board. White said the library audit is complete for the year ending in June 30, 2016 and said there is nothing negative to report. The board and staff were cooperative and gave information in a timely manner. There were no disputes.
White mentioned that Banks, Finley, White & Co. will likely perform the audit in 2018 and skip a year according to City of Birmingham policy. Another auditor is picked every three years. Georgia Morgan Blair thanked White.
Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved to accept the auditor’s report from Banks, Finley, White & Co. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Dora Sims, Chair of the Advocacy Committee presented the Innovative Awards to the March and April recipients. Leigh Wilson of North Birmingham received the award for an exercise program for seniors. The funds will be used to purchase pedometers for the participants. Heather McWilliams of Smithfield will use the funds for an adult summer reading kick-off event. Teresa Ceravolo and Samuel Finch, Sr. of Southside will use the funds towards the purchase of chess sets for adults and teens.
- Sims moved to accept the Advocacy Committee report and award the three recipients $50 each for the Innovative Cool Award. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Approval of Agenda
- Kimberly Richardson moved to approve the agenda with the change in the order of the Advocacy Committee report. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Approval of Consent Agenda
- Judge Scott Vowell moved to approve the consent agenda. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and the motion carried.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Terry Oglesby was not in attendance for the meeting. Sandra Vick Lee reported that Southside’s roof repair was delayed, and the library requested that Southside switch with Springville Road in the order of repairs by the city. Lee is waiting for a response. At Wylam, the entire air conditioning unit will need to be replaced costing around $5000. It has been requested on an emergency basis and was sent to City Council for approval. Lee asked the staff to update her on the conditions in case the library needs to close and staff to relocate.
- Richardson stated her concerns regarding the Southside library roof. Lee said the city has put patches on the roof as temporary fixes. Richardson stated there needs to be more advocacy around this issue. Blair suggested Lee copy the city councilor for that district to the email when another repair is requested.
Kayla Lawrence, City Attorney
- Attorney Lawrence certified there were matters of personnel that needed to be discussed in executive session pursuant to code of Alabama, section 36-25-A22. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved to enter into executive session. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and it was carried.
- Eunice Johnson Rogers moved to end the executive session. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Kimberly Richardson made a motion to close out the current executive search process and pending a review of the search criteria, restart the search process. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch seconded the motion.
- The board voted as follows: Gwendolyn Amamoo: Yes; Georgia Morgan Blair: Yes; Willie S. Davis III: Yes; Kimberly Richardson: Yes; Eunice Johnson Rogers: Yes; Dora Sims: Yes; James Sullivan: Yes; Judge Scott Vowell: No; Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch: Yes
- With the majority vote, the motion carried.
Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- The finances were discussed during the committee reports.
Sandra Vick Lee reported that Barbara McGrue from the city finance department requested a meeting with her on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Lee and Damien Baity met with her, and she informed them the mayor indicated the library needed to cut 11% of the budget for fiscal year 2018. McGrue showed them a spreadsheet projected on a screen where the 11% was cut from each of the library’s line items except personnel. Hard copies were not made available. Lee told McGrue she did not have the authority to move money or make those decisions without approval from the board. The Finance Committee of the library board met two days later, and Baity shared his attempt to recreate the spreadsheet, showing 11% taken away from operating expenses outside of personnel services and items such as utilities. McGrue said the cut would occur with all city departments. Welch asked how the library is expected to cut lease costs, and Baity replied the city gave the option to cut vacant positions in lieu of cutting across the board.
- Eunice Johnson Rogers reported the Finance Committee did not have a recommendation because they could not find an area to cut that would make sense. Judge Scott Vowell asked if Lee had an opportunity to see how it would affect operations, and Lee replied if the money had to be supplied of the Birmingham Public Library Fund, basically all programming, travel, and training would not be possible. The library has been supplementing the city’s budget in regards to telecommunications, janitorial supplies, building /facilities costs. To absorb 11% in those areas would reduce library services.
Welch asked Lee and Baity to verify the amount of benefit cost associated with positions that are being considered to be eliminated with McGrue. Welch believes the cuts should not come from materials or library services.
McGrue asked Lee to respond by Thursday, May 4, 2017, at close of business. Lee and Baity wrote a memo which the Finance Committee reviewed and made changes to before Lee sent it to McGrue. Judge Vowell asked why there was a limited timeframe, and Lee replied there were no specific reasons but a general response in that the mayor was looking to fund initiatives in the new budget year.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch said a decision needs to be made by the board in this meeting. Then, after the mayor presents his budget to city council and city council speaks of the library, the board and staff will need to be present to advocate for funding.
- Baity presented two options to the board. The first was to delete a Librarian III and Librarian I position. Baity said the alarm contract can be reduced, work study services, and annual contributions to the Board of Education. Welch added the library does not give annual contributions to the BOE, so it can be cut. The other option included eliminating Librarian III, Librarian I (at a different grade), and a Library Assistant in the page room. Welch replied eliminating the two positions with their benefits should be sufficient, and the alarms and work study should be able to remain.
- Eunice Johnson Rogers moved to eliminate positions Librarian I, Central ALS and Librarian III, Southern region to meet the budget requirements of the city. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and all were in favor. The motion carried.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch commented the library’s youth department librarians lack in diversity. Welch requested a diverse pool of applicants to be considered for the open youth position.
- Damein Baity added the memo mentioned the library’s pressing needs and though the eliminated positions will meet the requirements, the library will still fall short on some line items. Baity informed the board that some areas will still need to be cut back and has started to implement a plan to cut spending. Judge Vowell stated the public needs to know that they are the ones who hurt from this cut. Baity said it was the staff’s hope the board would reach out and spark conversations. Welch asked to let the board know when the budget hearing will take place.
- The Finance Committee met on the Thursday before the meeting, and the minutes were not ready. The board will review the minutes at the next board meeting.
Long-Range Planning Committee
- The committee made a recommendation to move forward with replacing the escalators with stairs. This decision was based on the cost of replacing and maintaining of the escalators and current trends. Sullivan believes stairs would be the better option in the long run. Gwendolyn Amamoo commented that although the board minutes reflected the board was informed of a meeting between then board president Kimberly Richardson and the mayor’s office about replacing the stairs with the escalators, it was not acted upon so that is why there were no objections. Georgia Morgan Blair expressed concern that there was not a cost estimate for the stairs. Damein Baity received cost estimates from Kone about the cost of escalators. Sandi Lee attempted to contact Sherri Nielson at the mayor’s office, but she is out of the office. Baity shared that the cost of the escalators would be $1.9 million. Sullivan stated the stairs could work since Linn-Henley currently operates with stairs and elevators. Sims clarified that the proposed stairs in the Central would be in place of the escalators instead of the current stairs behind the escalator. Amamoo asked if there is a way of finding out how many people use the stairs. Sullivan replied it is possible, and it is his responsibility to think what is best long-term. Amamoo asked the library would also get new elevators. Sullivan said he would hope so but the Central renovation is on hold. Judge Vowell added that Jarvis Patton made it clear that a decision needed to be made. Georgia Morgan Blair thinks the vote from the board is premature, and Sims added that before the board acts on it, the cost of the stairs needs to be known. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch stated that in her research, there are more accidents that occur on stairs versus escalators. Welch would like to see that data, how much the architectural drawing would cost, and how much the total cost would be for the stairs.
- Based on the finding from the Long-Range Committee, James Sullivan made a motion to replace the escalators with a staircase. Judge Scott Vowell seconded the motion.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch made a substitute motion and moved that the Long-Range Planning Committee bring additional data to the board including the cost of stairs versus the cost of escalators so the board can make a more informed decision. Judge Scott Vowell seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- In regards to using the Daniel Foundation grant for the purchase of new items for the Wylam library, Sandra Lee stated the plan was voted on and approved by the board in December. Two windows have been replaced and a television was purchased, but the rest of the proposed purchases have not been made yet. Lee added that to delay using the funds might impact the relationship with the Daniel Foundation since an extension has already been asked for this grant.
- James Sullivan made a motion to move forward with the proposed purchases for Wylam using the Daniel Foundation grant funds. Dora Sims seconded the motion. Judge Vowell asked if the changes to the proposal were made known to the Daniel Foundation, and Lee replied that the Daniel Foundation accepted the changes to the proposal. The motion was approved.
- Natasha Rembert, the Director of Career Services at the Dannon Project presented the board with volunteer opportunities for the Dannon Project. The Dannon Project is known for being one of the top re-entry programs in the country. In addition to this, the Dannon Project has a youth program assisting them with earning a high school diploma, GED, certifications, and trainings. Dannon Project offers volunteer and internship opportunities, allowing students to go to businesses and organizations to gain experience. The youth are ages 17-24 and have barriers such as no transportation, living in a high crime area, being a parent, or not possessing certification or trade. Rembert wanted to inform the board about this other aspect of the Dannon project. The Dannon Project has 4 or 5 volunteers at the Birmingham Public Library and wants to expand. The main issue with the youth is they have little to no professional experience. The Dannon Project is working to make partnerships around the community.
- James Sullivan asked if the Dannon Project partners with other non-profits and how to go about forming a partnership. Rembert confirmed they partner with non-profits, churches and schools. Rembert said to form a partnership, they would need to speak with the board and executive director. Georgia Morgan Blair thanked Rembert. Edith added Rembert used to be an employee of the library.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch asked if background checks are performed on library’s volunteers. Sandi Lee replied that currently there is no backround check for volunteers due to cost, and there has been conversations of adding a requirement for a volunteer to cover the cost of a basic background check. Welch added that many volunteers work around children.
- James Sullivan asked if there are enough funds for attending the ALA Conference this year. Sandi Lee reported there were no funds for this.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch thought the staff reports from the ALLA conference were excellent. Welch recommended allowing those staff members to provide staff development throughout the year.
- Welch gave Development staff a copy of Next Gen, a contest that recognized and awarded Birmingham City Schools employee and students, for ideas for Staff Day.
- Georgia Morgan Blair referred the creation of a new department and chief of security job description to the Personnel Committee.
Director’s Report for April 2017
- Sandra Lee reported that Councilor Tyson requested to partner with the West End library for a program in June. Councilor Tyson provided a sponsor Edwin Waters, Strada Professional Services and asked the West End library to request $2000 from the sponsor. Her office will provide tables and chairs. The program will be for adults and children on the lawn area next to the library. Welch asked if Lee supports the program, and Lee does support it.
- The man in charge of a poetry program held at North Birmingham in the summer asked that Lee resubmit his proposal to the board after his request was denied at the last board meeting. He informed Lee the student to instructor ratio would be 25:1. He also confirmed that he used BPL’s name as a partner of the program to solicit funds. The library was not in partnership with the program. Blair stated the board decision stands to discontinue the program.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch asked what needs to be done to get funds for the Central branch from state senators who give to the branches. Welch requested Lee or the Development staff look into it.
- Sandi Lee has not yet heard from the Steel City Jazz Festival in regards to a partnership. Lee asked if the Central library could be closed Saturday, June 3, 2017 due to the noise level. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved to approve the closing of Central on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Sandi Lee reported Charter Spectrum requested to use the library to host a press conference to announce their low cost internet for households participating in the National School Lunch Program, the Community Eligibility Provision, or Supplemental Security Income. The press conference will take place Monday, May 15, 2017, in the atrium with a panel discussion. The mayor and members of city council are anticipated to attend.
Board Member's Comments
- There were no board comments.
Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, June 13, 2017
- The meeting was adjourned at 6:33 p.m.
Sandra Vick Lee, Secretary