September 18, 2006 Minutes of the Regular Meeting

< ANN ARBOR DISTRICT LIBRARY BOARD
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2006

07-026 I. CALL TO ORDER

President Leary called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M.

07-027 II. ATTENDANCE

Present: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
Staff: Nieman, Parker, Pollock (Recorder), Soave
Other: Jim Greene, Dykema

07-028 III. VOTE FOR EXECUTIVE SESSION AT THE NEXT REGULAR SCHEDULED BOARD MEETING FOR OPINION OF COUNSEL

Trustee Cahill, supported by Treasurer Barney Newman, moved to approve the vote for executive session for opinion of counsel.

A roll call vote was taken:

AYES: Cahill, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman
NAYS: None

Motion passed: 4-0.

07-029 IV. RECESS TO EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR OPINION OF COUNSEL

07-030 V. RECONVENE REGULAR MEETING

President Leary reconvened the regular meeting at 6:40 p.m.

07-031 VI. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

President Leary, supported by Trustee Cahill, moved to approve the Agenda.

Trustee Cahill, supported by President Leary, moved to amend the Agenda to add the following item under New Business:

1) Discussion of the Report from the Community Security and Public Space Task Force.

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion to approve the Agenda with amendment passed: 7-0.

The original motion was brought to vote.

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

07-032 VII. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF JULY 17, 2006

President Leary, supported by Trustee Surovell, moved to approve the Minutes of July 17, 2006.

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

07-033 VIII. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 6, 2006

President Leary, supported by Trustee Cahill, moved to approve the Minutes of September 6, 2006.

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

07-034 IX. CITIZENS’ COMMENTS

Eric Owen, Interim President
Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library (FAADL)

“Good evening, my name is Eric Owen; I am serving as the interim president of the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library. I want to begin by apologizing to our Friends members and volunteers, the Library staff, the Library Director, the Library Board, and the Ann Arbor community. Due to our recent failure to properly acknowledge receipt of a bequest donation, and the subsequent discovery that the state of Michigan had ceased to recognize our organization’s status as a domestic nonprofit since 2003 due to lack of filing proper paperwork, we were asked to postpone our popular Bookshop Preview Night and suspend any book sales on Library premises until we have fulfilled a number of recommendations.

I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on the actions of the Friends Board to address the concerns of the Library Board in the hopes of returning our Bookshop and book sales operations to business as usual.

1. Since our Friends Board meeting one week ago, we have obtained the assistance of a lawyer, Alan Price, of the firm Hooper Hathaway, who is correcting our organizational and administrative procedures at no cost to the Friends.

2. The accounting firm Deloitte has been contacted on our behalf and they have agreed to provide us with assistance in financial matters, subject to the Friends Board approval.

3. We have begun to reorganize our internal organizational and financial records.

4. We have secured a new website (http://www.hvcn.org/info/faadl) and I will have handouts if you would like to look at these later. And we have a new mailing address- P.O. Box 7350, Ann Arbor, 48107 – we are still working with Library personnel to get a new phone line up and running.

It is the intention of the Friends to hold our Membership Preview Night and reopen the Friends Bookshop downtown to normal operations as soon as possible. Book donations continue to be taken at the Downtown branch and our volunteers are continuing to work hard in preparation for the reopening. We are working diligently to address the oversights and mistakes that have been made and have led to
the current situation. I am confident that we will be able to regain the trust of the Library and renew the spirit of the friendship which we have cultivated over the past fifty plus years of our existence. Thank you for the opportunity. There will be extras of the handouts for anybody who would like to pick them up, with our new mailing address and URL.”

Robert Gunn
Former President of the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library

“Good evening Board members, I am Bob Gunn, former President of the Friends of the library and longtime friend of the library. I wanted to remind the Board that over the last several years, there have been several times that the Friends have come to the aid of the library. In 1996, when the state required that we become a separate body from the school system, the library was forced to begin funding itself through its own millage. The Friends immediately stepped in and wrote two checks totaling $10,000 to begin financing that campaign. I was fortunate to be a co-chair of this campaign with my wife.

The Ann Arbor News was viciously against this millage if you may recall. However, thanks to the Friends support, it passed by 72% of the vote in the Ann Arbor School District. Without this millage, we would have no library today and no beautiful new satellite libraries, and, no Board.

Several years later, a library staff member was found guilty of stealing money from the library. A sad event, which caused the library thousands of dollars in legal fees. Again, the Friends stepped forward with $51,000, money over and above their usual generous giving to the library to help the library print its newsletter and purchase new books. The Friends did this with no strings attached, when they knew our beloved library needed aid.

In these two examples, the Friends did not distance themselves from the library, in fact they offered help in money to allow the library to exist and get back on its feet. Now, when the Friends have run into a snag, it’s interesting that the library responds not with help, but with shunning and pulling back from the Friends.

The Friends have not misappropriated any funds and are already remedying the issue of their nonprofit status. Asking them to undertake a $10,000 audit, close down (even temporarily) our major fundraiser, the bookstore, which exists for you, and the library, and particularly consider allowing the library Board to appoint even one member to the board is hardly acting like a friend, when a friend is in need. Reconsider these actions Board, and do onto us as we’ve done onto you. Thank you.”

Ruth Haldeman
Former member of the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library Board

“I am Ruth Haldeman, a former member of the Friends of the Library Board, and a Friends Bookshop volunteer for 7 years.

I am sorry about the unfortunate situation that resulted from the failure to respond appropriately to a donation. As a former Board member, I share the responsibility for the fact that we didn’t follow state nonprofit filing requirements. There was a lapse in our maintaining of organizational continuity over the years. We didn’t know what we didn’t know.

I am very heartened and impressed with the way the current Friends Board is standing up to deal with these problems and with your concerns. I have volunteered to help them as a member of a newly appointed Policies and Procedures committee. I must say that while the Friends’ Board operations can be improved, I have seen no signs of mishandling or misappropriation of Friends funds.

In my many years of contact with the Friends organization, as a staff member of the AADL, I have seen how much it has helped the Library:

--by providing a voice for the citizens of AA in building this fine public Library,
--by providing support for millage and bond issue campaigns,
--by providing a focal point for community volunteer service to the Library, and
--by providing funding for library collections, programs, new technology and facilities and other things that would not otherwise be possible.

As Bob has said already, the Friends rose to the occasion and provided $51,000 from its reserve fund and at a time when it was sadly in need of money for books. The library has enjoyed the support of this amazing Friends group over the years and it should continue to value, nurture, respect, and support the group now in its challenging moments, just as the Friends have supported the library during its bad times.

The bookshop is an activity of the Friends that helps to make this library unique among its peers. In addition to its ever-increasing success as a source of special funding for the Library, the Friends Bookshop serves an important role in the community. It makes the rich book and media resources of the area available for resale and reuse, at a low cost, to all. It has become a major recycling center for books and other materials. Between 300-400 people come to the shop each weekend and many, many more come to purchase books at the special sales. For some customers, it is their very first visit to the Library.

The volunteers, who work in the shop, handling nearly half a million items in a year, need to know that the Shop will be reopened soon. Their continuing work should be recognized and applauded. The Bookshop is highly valued by its customers and the longer it stays closed, the more it will be missed. I urge you to work closely with the Friends Board to ensure that this wonderful service is quickly returned to the public, as soon as the Friends’ nonprofit status is re-established. Thank you.”

Neil Haldeman
Volunteer, Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library Bookshop

“Hi, I’m Neil Haldeman, I’m a volunteer at the bookshop. And I’ve been married to the library for 33 years, so my credentials should be obvious. I just have a couple of things to say.

First of all, I want to urge you guys to let the shop to reopen, whether or not there is an audit done. Really, it needs to be open. It’s easy to see how an audit can stretch on into Thanksgiving perhaps, or even further. And, if the shop is closed during that time, we may be turning our $10,000 problem into a $60,000 problem, or worse. Here’s how to make it happen:

Last year 2005, the bookshop took in $50,000. That’s $50,000 during the months of September, October, and November. If we’re closed during those months this year, that’s about how much we’ll lose. It’s very simple, if it goes into December, we are talking about another $13,000 or $14,000. My only other comment has to do with the volunteers and Diane Clark, the manager of the shop.

I was a manager at the University of Michigan for many years in various capacities, in various computer departments. Including, with Barbara’s husband, Gavin. I’ve seen a lot of good managers and I’ve seen a lot of bad managers. And I have to say that the way Diane Clark keeps that bookshop, that amazing enterprise-going with all volunteers, is pretty amazing to me, very impressive. The people who have worked with me over the years all have to come to work in the morning. The volunteers don’t if they don’t want to. Amazingly,they do. There are about 100 volunteers associated with the shop, in one way or another. About 25 come in every week. And many of those come in 4 days a week or more. And from my perspective, and that is the perspective of one volunteer, this move to distance the library from the bookshop and from the Friends, and the way it’s been done seems to be a little over the top, even a little mean-spirited. That $10,000 gift that had to be returned, it was an awful mistake. But, that is behind us now. And, in light of the fact there is no evidence that I’ve seen of any illegal activity, you should let the shop open. If there is an audit to be
performed, let there be an audit. But let the shop open. Because, when the shop is closed, everybody loses. Thanks.”

07-035 X. VOTE FOR EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR OPINION OF COUNSEL

Trustee Cahill, supported by Vice President Head, moved to approve the vote for executive session for opinion of counsel.

A roll call vote was taken:

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

07-036 XI. RECESS TO EXECUTIVE SESSION FOR OPINION OF COUNSEL

07-037 XII. RECONVENE REGULAR MEETING

President Leary reconvened the regular meeting at 7:25 P.M.

07-038 XIII. VOTE TO AMEND AGENDA

Vice President Head, supported by Trustee Cahill moved to approve the vote to amend the Agenda.

Update on Status of Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library under Old Business was moved to the next item on the agenda.

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

07-024 XIV. UPDATE ON STATUS OF FRIENDS OF THE ANN ARBOR DISTRICT LIBRARY

Josie Parker, Director

Steps have been taken internally to deal with the fact that the bookshop did not open on time. The traditional donation receipt that is given out when books are donated will be changed to indicate that donations will be made to the Ann Arbor District Library for now. The district library will be responsible for the donations and the decisions made after the donation(s) have occurred. That relieves any confusion about what happens to the material in any interim period prior to the bookshop reopening.

In regards to the FAADL obtaining their own phone line, there will be a conversation next week as to what will be required to have a separate line brought into the library, and to a location that is convenient to them.

The biggest piece we need to deal with is the reality of the bookshop not opening and that the library can anticipate shortfall-- the donation that is made to the AADL on an annual basis. We budget for a $90,000 donation. All of the donations from the Friends are made to the community relations budget. So, it is not distributed throughout our entire budget. The associate directors and department manager met this week. We came to the conclusion that programming or services will not be compromised due to shortfall. The level of publicity will be adjusted, as well as marketing. This is how the shortfall will be made up.

Trustee Murphy spoke on behalf of the board in stating how the AADL considers the relationship between the FAADL and AADL. We want to continue a good relationship and we value our relationship with them. We are asking for regular business practice of a nonprofit organization, the Friends—nothing more, nothing less and an assurance that they are taking this action seriously.

07-039 XV. VOTE FOR MANDATORY MEETING WITH FAADL BOARD

Trustee Murphy, supported by Trustee Cahill, moved the following:

There will be a very early meeting between the President of the FAADL and their legal counsel, treasurer,financial advisors and members of the board along with our board president, executive director, financial advisor and legal counsel and at that meeting both groups share understanding of what is expected of each other and clarify expectations and make it very clear what we consider to be satisfactory and what the timeline is to achieve those expectations. No more than a couple of weeks later, a second meeting will be held with the same people to report progress towards those expectations. The AADL Board President, after discussing with counsel, can call a special meeting of the board, or bring it to the next meeting of the board, depending on the timing, and we will try to
make this all happen expeditiously.

The purpose of this first meeting is to determine who is doing what and why. Upon completion of their work, the FAADL will call the second meeting, depending on when they are ready to do so.

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

07-040 XVI. FINANCIAL REPORT

Associate Director Nieman took the floor and reported the following:

There are no financial reports this month. We are currently undergoing an audit for the last fiscal year.

07-041 XVII. DIRECTOR’S REPORT

In addition to her written report, Director Parker also reported the following:

Our auditors are here this week, preparing for the library’s audit.

Three final titles have been selected for the community read. We are again working with the University of Michigan semester study theme on citizenship. The three titles are:

The Partly Cloudy Patriot—Sarah Bowles
Mountains Beyond Mountain—Tracy Kidder
Better Together, Restoring the American Community—Robert Putnam

These titles are blogged on the website, and the community can vote on them.

AADL received a note from Michael Abbott of Abbott’s Nursery stating he was given the go-ahead, and location to plant a native multi-stem red maple tree next to the big rock at the Pittsfield library branch as a “welcome to the neighborhood” present. Mr. Abbott wanted to thank the library for allowing him to make this wonderful contribution to the library.

07-042 XVIII. COMMITTEE REPORTS

No committee reports.

07-043 XIX. OLD BUSINESS

04-207 A. UPDATE ON PITTSFIELD BRANCH

Our sign company, Sign Graphics, is working on issues regarding placement of signs.

06-125 B. UPDATE ON NORTHEAST BRANCH

Bids are out. We are expecting to open them on September 27th. Then will begin the process of the contractors taking the bids, check on what has been submitted, then bring in the contractors to determine if the scope of the bid was understood. After that time, recommendations will be made to the board.

07-044 XX. NEW BUSINESS

07-045 A. RESOLUTION TO ACCEPT THE TERM OF LEASE FOR THE WEST BRANCH

Vice President Head, supported by Trustee Cahill, moved to accept the term of lease for the West Branch.

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

07-046 B. BOARD RETREAT UPDATE

The library board retreat will consist of a review of the strategic plan and direction for the library. An important item to consider is the renovation of the downtown library and meeting space issues. Additionally, a section of the retreat has been set aside for Board development.

07-047 C. DISCUSSION OF THE REPORT FROM THE COMMUNITY SECURITY AND PUBLIC SPACE TASK FORCE.

The appointment of the library director to the task force was important to the community. Director Parker went into this work with the understanding that primary responsibility was to promote the interest of the library. This was a very educational exercise for her, as she learned quite a bit about the political process and the financial status of the City of Ann Arbor and the DDA. Parking adjacent to the library is vital to the operation of a library.

Trustee Cahill stated that a decline in use of this building will promote increase of use in other branches. He does not predict we’d have to move within a decade, but if this goes through, circulation downtown will drop to that of a new branch.

President Leary discussed points regarding the importance of public parking and a vibrant public library. She does not believe underground parking will be built. It is not cost effective.

All trustees spoke on the need to create a vibrant and active environment around the library during the evening and on weekends. Director Parker was asked to send a letter to City Council stating that the library Board does not support the Task Force recommendation to place the police and district court on the “library lot.”

07-048 D. VOTE FOR EXECUTIVE SESSION AT THE NEXT REGULAR SCHEDULED BOARD MEETING FOR OPINION OF COUNSEL

Trustee Cahill, supported by Vice President Head, moved for Executive Session at the next regular scheduled board meeting for opinion of counsel.

AYES: Cahill, Greene, Head, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

07-049 XXI. ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.