- Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
- Call To Order
- Public Voices
- Approval of Agenda
- Approval of Consent Agenda
- Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Oath of Office
- Veronica Merritt, City Attorney
- Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Reports of the Committees
- Unfinished Business
- New Business
- Director's Report for May 2018
- Board Members' Comments
- Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
- Submitted By
Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
May 8, 2018
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
James A. Sullivan, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Wardine Alexander, Gwendolyn Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Fatima Carter, Willie S. Davis III, Sherri Nielson, Kimberly Richardson , Eunice Johnson Rogers, James A. Sullivan, Judge Scott Vowell
Call To Order
- James Sullivan called the meeting to order. Georgia Morgan Blair provided the invocation.
- Judge Scott Vowell stated he invited Gwendolyn Guster Welch to the board meeting to discuss ongoing matters while she served as chair of the Personnel Committee. Judge Vowell consulted with Attorney Merritt who said it was acceptable to have Welch participate in the discussion of the Personnel Committee’s report during executive session.
- There were no public voices.
- There were no presentations.
Approval of Agenda
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to approve the agenda. Judge Scott Vowell seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Approval of Consent Agenda
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to approve the consent agenda. Eunice Johnson Rogers seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Terry Oglesby provided an update on projects. A pre-bid meeting is scheduled for May 17. The Powderly Branch Library’s roof is out to bid on June 15. Trane is replacing the cold cathode lighting at Central and boxes in ceilings. The purchase order for the VOIP project is being worked on by the city’s finance department. Oglesby confirmed the mayor has committed to moving ahead with the stair replacement project.
Oath of Office
- Judge Charles “Chuck” Price II swore in new members Wardine Alexander and Sherri Nielson. Judge Price also swore in James Sullivan as president and Gwendolyn Amamoo as vice president.
Veronica Merritt, City Attorney
- Attorney Veronica Merritt recommended the board enter executive session pursuant to Alabama State Code 36-25-A-1 to discuss pending litigation and to review a formal written complaint against an individual whom the board governs. Attorney Merritt asked Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch stay during executive session because of her recent participation in the Personnel Committee’s deliberation and recommendations.
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to enter executive session. Eunice Johnson Rogers seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to exit executive session. Wardine Alexander seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Attorney Merritt shared information about the vending machines in the library. If the municipality purchases or leases the vending machine while that municipality pays the cost of utilities, then the proceeds are public funds. If an employee association contracts for the vending machines and pays the cost of utilities or rents the space, then the association can use the funds. Currently, the Staff Association does not pay the utilities for the machines or rents the space. One solution would be for the Staff Association to determine if they want to pay the utilities or rent the space. The other option would be that the contracts be appropriately managed by the city, and the board would decide how to use the public funds. Kimberly Richardson stated this issue is part of the Long-Range Planning Committee discussions.
Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Floyd Council presented the finance report and budget proposal to the board. With the mayor’s proposed budget, the library will lose three full-time employees (one Librarian I, two Librarian II) and three part-time employees (Library Assistant I). These positions are currently vacant. Council encouraged board members to attend the public hearing on the mayor’s proposed budget on May 14, at 5:30 p.m.
- Council reported the library received the Hibbert M. Weathers Fund disbursement check. Kimberly Richardson clarified the board sets parameters and does not need to be involved in deciding how the funds are spent.
- Richardson asked if there is a plan in place to have the funds spent or encumbered by the cut-off date. Council stated the biggest expenditures have been spent or encumbered. With some of the expenditures, there is a lapse in statement periods. The rest of the funds are typical operating expenses. Georgia Morgan Blair asked if capital funding will be replenished from when the city used it for the Negro League Baseball Museum. Council stated the funds will likely not be replenished.
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to approve the finance report. Kimberly Richardson seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Reports of the Committees
Personnel Committee Report
- The Personnel Committee report was discussed during executive session.
Policy Committee Report
- The committee submitted the security plan to the full board for approval. The security plan instructs security staff on daily operation procedures including opening/closing steps at all library locations in addition to the incident report process and review. Staff will be able to refer back the plan.
- Kimberly Richardson acknowledged and congratulated staff for their work especially with the many issues they face regarding security. Richardson expressed concern the plan did not include the security plan for staff or public safety. Council responded it is purely security operations and is a working document. The city is in the process of developing an emergency action plan that would be uniform for all city departments. Richardson suggested adding the evacuation plan to this security plan even if it exists in more than one document. Georgia Morgan Blair moved to accept the security plan with the stipulation the evacuation plan be included. Wardine Alexander seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Long-Range Planning Committee Report
- Kimberly Richardson reported the meeting highlights to the board. The committee reviewed security concerns from the staff survey which was done in part to gauge staff morale in accordance with the strategic plan. The survey revealed 33% of staff did not know the process of filing a grievance, and it was decided an orientation will be performed for staff. The committee reviewed security concerns and internal communications. The committee recommended quarterly meetings with the staff instead of one meeting a year (Staff Day). The committee reported that Floyd Council will provide summary updates of the strategic plan to the board.
- The library was given three options for the lease renewal at Eastwood Branch Library. The options were a 2-year lease at the current monthly rate at $3900, a 1-year lease at the monthly rate of $4500 that would auto-renew unless there is a 9-month notice, and a 1-year lease at the monthly rate of $4636. The committee recommended executing the 2-year lease at the current rate.
- The board will look to the city to pursue the contracting relationship with the vending machines in the libraries. It was agreed that the Staff Association is not a legal entity to hold contracts within the library facilities.
- Judge Scott Vowell moved to execute the 2-year lease for the Eastwood Branch Library. Sherri Nielson seconded the motion, and it was approved. Floyd Council, Sandra Lee, and Damein Baity canvassed the area for an alternate location. Ultimately, there is not enough funding to move to another location at this time. The two year lease will provide time to raise capital and find a suitable location.
- Kimberly Richardson requested Floyd Council take up the issues with security. From the results of the survey, nearly 1/3 of employees stated they currently did not feel safe in the work place with many of the comments stemming from the restructuring of the security desk at Central Library. Richardson asked Council to prioritize having conversations with staff to help decrease the percentage of employees who feel unsafe.
Advocacy Committee Report
- The Advocacy Committee minutes were reported on at the last board meeting. The minutes were included in this board packet for record keeping purposes.
- Willie Davis III asked about the status change in meeting room rates and policies. Floyd Council asked the board to refer the item back to the Policy Committee to discuss recent developments from the city regarding meeting room usage and non-profit agencies.
- The board clarified there was a vote to allow all new board members to attend the ALA conference.
- James Sullivan announced the new committee appointments.
- Advocacy Committee: Willie Davis III, Chair; Wardine Alexander, Kimberly Richardson, Pat Rumore (Friends Foundation Advisory Member), in addition to a-large members outside of the library system
- Finance Committee: Kimberly Richardson, Chair; Eunice Johnson Rogers, Judge Scott Vowell
- Long-Range Planning Committee: Eunice Johnson Rogers, Chair; Willie Davis III, Sherri Nielson
- Personnel Committee: Gwendolyn Amamso, Chair; Sherri Nielson, Georgia Morgan Blair
- Policy Committee: Judge Scott Vowell, Chair; Fatima Carter, Wardine Alexander
- Sullivan asked board members to reach out to any new members they would like to mentor.
- Fatima Carter asked about the status of the Learning Lab librarian position. Edith Major confirmed the position has been offered to a candidate.
- Council received feedback information from security staff. Sandra Lee and Karyn Davis-West scheduled meeting sessions for staff to provide input about the rearranging of security at the Central Library. Council plans to have a security guard in the first floor monitor room at times while security sweeps are conducted throughout the buildings. Richardson reported that the staff survey exhibits concerns with the security guard being absent from the front desk. By asking for additional staff feedback, Richardson asks that something be done to accommodate staff input or communicated to staff why having floating security is a better plan. It was noted there is a fixed security guard in the computer commons at all times. James Sullivan stated that he takes the security concerns from staff seriously.
Director's Report for May 2018
- Floyd Council reported he is working on strengthening the management structure so that the staff under management will begin to feel empowered. The security manager, community engagement manager, and senior accounting position will not be funded. Council will work with Edith Major on an alternate plan. Council expressed appreciation to the board for their support.
Board Members' Comments
- Wardine Alexander is very happy and thankful the Birmingham City Council for appointing her to the Birmingham Public Library board.
- Sherri Nielson shared she has wanted to be on the BPL board for some time and looks forward to contributing to the library. While she was working in the mayor’s office, she worked on projects for the libraries including roof replacements and the Central stair replacement.
- Patricia Rumore is glad to be back at the BPL board meetings and looks forward to working together.
- Kimberly Richardson welcomed the new board members. Richardson noted Floyd Council has performed above and beyond in his role as executive director when recently dealing with a loss in the family. Richardson extended support to Council and encouraged him to take time as needed.
- Willie Davis III welcomed the new board members. Davis provided a quick recap of the library’s partnership with the Dannon Project. In the span of three weeks, thirty-one patrons have been assisted, and sixteen referrals were made. The referrals included prescription and identification assistance.
- Georgia Morgan Blair welcomed the new board members. Blair commented she attended two excellent library programs regarding the desegregation of public libraries and the freedom underground railroad quilts. Blair suggested having the quilts exhibited at Central.
- James Sullivan, Eunice Johnson Rogers, and Fatima Carter welcomed the new board members.
- Kimberly Richardson congratulated Eunice Johnson Rogers on her recent retirement.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo welcomed the new board members. Amamoo noted that according to the desegregation program, Miles College students were the people who desegregated the Birmingham Public Libraries.
- Judge Scott Vowell attended a packed, well-received program at the Avondale Library regarding the book, Murder on Shades Mountain: The Legal Lynching of Willie Peterson and the Struggle for Justice in Jim Crow Birmingham.
Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
Floyd Council, Secretary