07.17.19 – EB Meeting Minutes
EXECUTIVE BOARD MINUTES
BERGEN COUNTY COOPERATIVE LIBRARY SYSTEM
Norwood Public Library
July 17, 2019
PRESIDING: Kurt Hadeler Mahwah
PRESENT: Dave Hanson BCCLS
Stephanie Bellucci Cliffside Park
Gerry McMahon Franklin Lakes
Jennifer Breuer Glen Ridge
Ellen O’Keefe Glen Rock
Mimi Hui Hasbrouck Heights
Matthew Latham Ramsey
Sai Rao North Bergen
Sally Diaz Norwood
Dave Marino Waldwick
Laura Leonard Wyckoff
NOT PRESENT: None
ALSO PRESENT: Darlene Swistock Recorder of Minutes
GUESTS: Holly Belli Bloomfield
Ruth Rando Closter
Linda Corona Edgewater
Camille Valentino Emerson
Gretchen Kaser Ho-Ho-Kus
Amy Babcock-Landry Livingston
Peter Coyl Montclair
Paul Shaver Montvale
Lynn Reiff Norwood
Dale Ehrenreich Norwood
John Trause Oradell
Leonard LoPinto Paramus
Thomas Madru Park Ridge
Samantha McCoy West Caldwell
Margaret Mellett Wood-Ridge
Kurt Hadeler called the meeting to order at 9:38 am.
He reminded everyone to sign in on the sign-in sheet. He thanked Lynn Reiff and Sally Diaz for hosting today’s meeting. In an effort to follow parliamentary procedure, he asked guests to wait to be to recognized and identify themselves before speaking and to limit their comments to the Public Portion and Membership Hearing parts of the meeting.
1. Minutes of the Meeting on May 15, 2019
It was MOVED BY: Gerry McMahon Seconded by: Sai Rao
To approve the minutes with 2 spelling corrections (Peter Coyl and Amanda Eigen) noted by Jennifer Breuer.
All in favor, 1 abstention (Matthew Latham who was not at the meeting.)
Minutes of the Special Meeting on June 6, 2019
It was MOVED BY: Matthew Latham Seconded by: Jennifer Breuer
To approve the minutes.
All in favor, 1 abstention (Ellen O’Keefe who was not at the meeting.)
2. Public Portion
3. Treasurer’s Report
The Budget vs Actual and Check Register were previously distributed to the membership. Stephanie Bellucci advised that the Delivery YTD Report was not included in the packet because it is being refined. There were no questions about the Treasurer’s Report.
It was MOVED BY: Ellen O’Keefe Seconded by: Matthew Latham
To accept the Treasurer’s Report.
All in favor.
The anonymous “New” BCCLS e-mail was previously distributed to the board members and the membership. Kurt Hadeler explained that he found this correspondence deeply troubling as it does not open the door for dialogue or try to build consensus. He noted that when BCCLS takes action, it is taken collaboratively through the system and that many decisions require a super majority vote to take action. A discussion followed:
- Camille Valentino said that those in the minority feel they are not being heard and that the writer of the e-mail was expressing frustration and it was not a deliberate attack on BCCLS. Kurt Hadeler felt it is important to listen to other people’s opinions and to change our own opinions when appropriate and necessary. He commented that this was a problematic way to communicate and she replied that the writer felt this was the only way she could communicate. He replied that there are many ways to voice concerns: Small Group meetings, Executive Board meetings, System Council and there is a difference between not being heard and not getting the outcome wanted.
- Amy Babcock-Landry was concerned to hear that some directors have a fear of retribution and suggested a code of conduct for e-mail communications and System Council meetings. She offered to help with this initiative since she worked with NJLA on their code of conduct. Peter Coyl also offered to help to create a document that the membership votes on. Kurt Hadeler asked them to proceed with drafting a Code of Conduct to present to the Executive Board at an upcoming meeting.
- Dave Marino felt that communication between BCCLS and his library about how decisions are made has improved over the last few years and continues to move in the right direction.
- Dave Hanson mentioned that a new website is coming along with a new KB. He is working on a communication plan to provide BCCLS updates to directors and directors can also share these updates with their boards on a monthly basis. The Strategic Planning Committee has a diverse range of members and one of the objectives of the Strategic Plan is long-term financial viability of BCCLS so voices are being heard.
- Kurt Hadeler noted that many staffers read the committee agenda and minutes that are posted in the KB as a source of information.
- Len LoPinto also found this letter troubling and that we all need to work together to change things so directors are not afraid to speak up.
- Kurt Hadeler explained that the Executive Board is the preliminary decision-making body and directors should reach out to someone on the Executive Board to start a dialogue about their concerns and try to build consensus around difficult issues. He also reminded everyone of the progress that has been made in trying to encompass many views over the last few years with the new billing formula and delivery. He suggested that directors can talk to committee chairs, call members of the Executive Board and come to Executive Board meetings.
- Tom Madru, trustee at Park Ridge and trustee representative on the Executive Board in 2016, observed that there have been a lot of opinions in the last few years, but everyone acts professional and no one has been disrespectful. He supports the idea of a code of conduct.
5. President’s Report
Kurt Hadeler’s did not prepare a written President’s Report for this meeting. He felt deeply troubled regarding the recent pseudonymous correspondence from “Mary Thomas” and felt that it should be addressed through a full and deliberative conversation with the Executive Board.
6. Executive Director’s Report
Dave Hanson’s report was previously distributed to the board members and the membership. He gave an update on the BCCLS office staffing plan: the Business Manager position has been posted, he is working on moving non-exempt positions to exempt positions and identified a consultant to conduct a comprehensive compensation study for BCCLS employees. The cost is $5,600 which can be paid out of the consultants’ line in the personnel budget. He also mentioned the opportunity with Baker & Taylor to pre-emptively upload bib records for popular items approximately 9 months before their publication date and users can place holds. This will benefit all libraries, especially the smaller libraries. A discussion followed about how popular materials are determined (run rates, Oprah’s book club list, membership input, other sources). Peter Coyl mentioned that Montclair and other libraries that use B&T’s “Custom Library Service” to receive shelf-ready materials are already paying for this service, but have not been able to use it. Samantha McCoy said this includes labels, barcodes and scans. Len LoPinto asked about world languages and collaborating with NYPL to get records into the catalog quickly. Kurt Hadeler noted he, Dave Hanson and Paul Shaver as Chair of the World Languages Committee have started those discussions. Records are available from several world language vendors but the BCCLS office needs to be comfortable trusting the quality of the records coming in and meeting their quality standards. Kurt Hadeler asked about the staff’s reaction to the staffing plan and Dave Hanson replied that he reviewed it with everyone before it was included in the Executive Board packet and the timeframe to implement is October/November to allow time for cross training and a reasonable evaluation period for their prior responsibilities. There were no further questions from the membership about his report.
7. Committee Reports
a) Friends & Trustees Committee – Foundations 101: Success Stories – Evaluation –
This was a well-regarded event. Ellen O’Keefe thanked Peter Coyl for participating on the panel, and Bloomfield and Maplewood for providing panelists as well.
b) Adult Services Committee – Reader’s Advisory: Becoming the Expert in an On-Demand World – Evaluation – This was also a well-regarded event.
c) Delivery Task Force – The minutes from the last meeting were distributed to the board members and membership prior to the meeting. Kurt Hadeler noted that items in transit dropped from 40,000+ to 16,000 recently. Stephanie Bellucci, chair, provided an update. There were some early hiccups (driver turnover and the rented vans did not allow for forward sorting) when delivery was launched, but now that the drivers are fully staffed, the rented trucks are bigger and an additional route has been added, delivery should stay on track.
A discussion followed:
- Margaret Mellett asked about the reference to 510 items dropping down to 200 items in the minutes; is that items or bins? If it is bins, she asked that it be corrected. (It is bins, not items.) She also asked if sorting will take place outside in the winter. (Dave Hanson explained that sorting takes place in the warehouse now that the backlog has been alleviated or it takes place on the trucks after the drivers transfer the materials picked up on other routes. When drivers return about 12:30 pm, they are able to finish the inter-sorting and the sorting process is much quicker. The volume is significantly higher on Monday and Tuesday and drivers are returning closer to 1:30 pm which does not allow for inter-route sorting. He indicated that delivery is improving as the drivers are becoming more familiar with their jobs and management has a better idea of the volumes on the different routes; most of the routes are manageable, but one route has a larger volume. Route 2 may change in the fall. Some overtime in July, along with the addition of two temporary employees, was needed to manage the volume, but it will be well within the allocation.
- John Trause asked about the lengthy list of libraries not allowing early entry into their buildings. (Dave Hanson replied that some libraries share their locations with municipal offices and not allowing early access will require BCCLS to change the order of routes. If drivers are unable to have early access to libraries, routes need to be changed and they may need to skip the stop or circle back which has a financial impact on the entire membership as delivery expense will increase or efficiency will decrease). John Trause said he would then recommend advocacy visits to these boards to explain the importance of allowing early access. Visits could be conducted by Kurt Hadeler, Dave Hanson and neighboring directors who have successfully explained the importance of early access to their boards.
- Jennifer Breuer asked if libraries are sorting their outgoing bins properly. (Dave Hanson replied that there is still a learning curve for some libraries and Kurt Hadeler asked if it may be necessary for Christine Zeni to visit some libraries to review best practices for packing.)
- Ellen O’Keefe suggested sending the membership photos of good and bad bins. She also suggested separate seasonal delivery slips for the temporary Route 6 rather than trying to remember which libraries are on the seasonal route.
- Matthew Latham also asked about revised delivery slips for Route 6. (This will not change in the immediate future.)
- Len LoPinto thanked the BCCLS office staff for their fantastic and exceptional show of comradery for the drivers, but commented that the drivers must be able to accomplish delivery without help from the BCCLS office staff and volunteers from the membership. When the reassessment is done, it should look at the number of routes since the original delivery plan called for 7 routes and sorters, and the plan that was implemented had 5 routes and no sorters. (Kurt Hadeler explained that this will need to be done in time for budget discussions.) Len LoPinto suggested looking at LLNJ statistics for January-March 2017 and Kurt Hadeler noted that LLNJ only counted boxes/bins and not individual items.
- Margaret Mellett asked for a line-by-line accounting of all delivery expenses, including bins, vans, payroll and overtime as well as the time spent by the volunteers since that is also a cost and is not sustainable. Peter Coyl commented that the cost of the Delivery Task Force should also be factored in. Kurt Hadeler reminded everyone that the Delivery Task Force had many discussions and considered a variety of options, including having sorters on the trucks. Stephanie Bellucci pointed out that some of the issues early on were on the front end with the membership (limited early access to libraries and packing of the bins) and not with the drivers.
- Kurt Hadeler reminded everyone that we need to be sensitive to cost and cannot simply add routes and drivers, and get a bigger warehouse which will increase delivery costs to the membership. We need to balance service and cost, and plan for costs to increase in subsequent years (for example 3% increases). The service must be sustainable for the coming years. Stephanie Bellucci pointed out that volunteers were used to help with the backlog, not to save money. John Trause suggested that contingency costs be considered and Laura Leonard mentioned seasonal costs.
- Kurt Hadeler also reminded everyone that the original intention was to launch delivery in May which would have given BCCLS a month to sort out any issues before the volume picked up due to summer reading, but the launch was delayed due to the delay in receiving the bins and customized vans. He gave kudos to Dave Hanson, Christine Zeni, the BCCLS office staff and the Delivery Task Force for launching delivery at the busiest time of the year. The use of a 6th route year-round vs select times will be evaluated as we need to balance delivery service vs delivery cost.
- Samantha McCoy thought launching delivery was a fantastic accomplishment and benchmarks are needed. We need to allow 18-24 months to see the results and that BCCLS has done a good job with the budgeting.
- Mimi Hui asked about the turnaround of Jersey Cat items. (Dave Hanson replied that there was a backlog, but there is about a 3-day turnaround now depending on when the items are received. TForce picks these items up on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and then items go to their warehouse for processing and delivery to non-BCCLS libraries. Jersey Cat volume is more than expected, about 12 bins a week which will be about 8,000-10,000 items a year. There are more outgoing items than incoming items.) BCCLS pays $500 for this delivery stop for 6 months. Mimi Hui suggested including this $500 in the cost for delivery.
- Camille Valentino asked if the directors will receive a breakdown of delivery costs. (Dave Hanson advised that libraries were charged $9,000 for delivery and Kurt Hadeler explained that any unused funds would be credited back to the libraries on next year’s bills.)
8. Old Business
Discussed under Delivery Task Force/Committee Reports.
b) Strategic Plan Update
Dave Hanson provided an update. He noted the new Strategic Plan slightly refines BCCLS’ mission statement for a clearer vision of the role it plays for libraries. The Strategic Planning Committee has a meeting on July 18 and will have a final draft for the Executive Board meeting in August, hopefully a recommendation for System Council in September and a vote in October. Cost-effective resource sharing, shared professional development and fostering of initiatives to facilitate a forward-thinking public library system are the 3 big pieces of the mission statement. Margaret Mellett asked for definitions of mandated vs opt-in services and she noted that a small number of people, the Finance Committee, will be evaluating the mandated vs opt-in services and the billing formula on behalf of the membership. Dave Hanson will share these concerns with the committee and there will be opportunities to share comments at the Executive Board meeting and System Council. Peter Coyl asked that the membership share their concerns prior to the Executive Board meeting and System Council. Kurt Hadeler explained that core services are defined in the bylaws.
c) Consultant Fee for Benefits Study (VOTE)
Dave Hanson explained that a consultant had been engaged to conduct a benefits survey for the BCCLS office last year. The purpose was to compare the BCCLS office benefits (salary, benefits, etc.) to benefits offered by libraries and other non-profit organizations. The survey provided was incomplete and lacked a cross-industry analysis comparison for all positions, including salary and benefits. It is estimated that the new survey will cost $5,600 and can be delivered in 2-3 weeks. Kurt Hadeler asked if the deliverables will be defined and achieved before payment is made. Dave Hanson confirmed they will be defined. Jennifer Breuer asked which expense line will be used. (There is a consultant line under Personnel.)
It was MOVED BY: Ellen O’Keefe Seconded by: Mimi Hui
To move forward and engage a consultant to conduct a benefits survey comparing the benefits for the BCCLS office to benefits provided at libraries and other non-profit organizations at a cost of $5,600 that will be delivered in 2-3 weeks.
All in favor.
Kurt Hadeler pointed out that the agenda for Executive Board and System Council meetings will now indicate when agenda items require a vote. If directors leave a meeting early, they know they will be missing a vote.
9. New Business
a) Bylaws Committee – Recommended Change (VOTE)
Gerry McMahon, chair, reviewed the Election Committee’s proposed change to bylaws. In the event a candidate for the Presidency is unopposed, an online election will not be conducted and the Executive Director, as Secretary of BCCLS, would cast the deciding vote. Ellen O’Keefe asked what prompted this change and Gerry McMahon replied that it would save the time and expense of setting up an online election when the President is running unopposed.
It was MOVED BY: Jennifer Breuer Seconded by: Matthew Latham
To accept this recommendation and introduce it to the membership at System Council in September.
All in favor.
b) Bergen County Grant – Press Coverage
Dave Hanson advised that he spoke with several reporters for the TAPInto articles. He also received a call from the communications rep for the freeholders and clarified that non-Bergen libraries do not benefit from the Bergen County grant. He advised that the freeholders have no desire in directing the use of the grant. They feel it is BCCLS job to decide what to do with the grant money.
c) Policies & Procedures Committee – Discussion
Jennifer Breuer, co-chair, wanted to be pro-active regarding the fee assessed to patrons for paying fines via credit card. Kurt Hadeler explained that when the Technology Committee recommended using Comprise for credit card payments, Comprise recommended a credit card processor. Jennifer Breuer stated that the 50-cent fee charged to patrons no longer covers BCCLS’s costs and Kurt Hadeler asked if other credit card processors were considered. He shared that he was able to renegotiate rates with the credit card processor for his library; for example, he estimates Mahwah is paying approximately 10 cents to process a $10.00 fine. He is concerned about having to raise the credit card fee to $1.00. Jennifer Breuer noted that BCCLS originally thought the processing fee would be 43 cents, but that did not include the fee charged by the credit card companies (Visa – 12 cents, Mastercard and Discover – 2 cents). Payments via Visa cards represent the major of transactions (80-85%); patrons are paying 50 cents and BCCLS is being charged 51 cents to process payments made via Visa cards. Kurt Hadeler also advised that Visa offers tiered rates for preferred vs non-preferred and unqualified cards, but less than 10% of the transactions qualify; the rates are higher for other tiers. Dave Marino commented that companies regularly renegotiate rates and there is a lot of competition out there. Dave Hanson noted that some credit card processors do not want to be involved with an integrated ILS as it is a complicated process. Ellen O’Keefe suggested trying to renegotiate the fees and keeping the fee as close to 60 cents as possible with the ability to review as needed. Jennifer Breuer will ask the BCCLS office to try to renegotiate these fees or look at other options and report back to P&P. Sally Diaz also recommended trying to renegotiate these fees and asked about the usage of credit cards to pay fines. Kurt Hadeler replied that some libraries have significant activity and others do not. The Board asked the Policies & Procedures Committee to investigate alternatives and come back with a recommendation at an upcoming meeting.
d) Social Media Policy
Ellen O’Keefe, chair of the Friends & Trustees Committee, asked about BCCLS Social Media Policy in light of BCCLS upcoming 40th Anniversary. Kurt Hadeler asked who are BCCLS customers? Is it the membership or the public at large? The answer will drive BCCLS’ social media policy. Ellen O’Keefe would like to create vignettes (e.g. 40 Years, 40 Stories) and ask libraries to tweet them out. She also asked about creating a special 40th Anniversary logo. It would be created by a committee member at no cost to BCCLS. Kurt Hadeler advised that it would need to be approved by the Executive Board and he asked where and how long it would be used. She replied that it would be used on the website and social media during the last few months of 2019. She will include usage recommendations in her proposal to the Executive Board next month.
e) Friends Breakfast
Ellen O’Keefe mentioned the Friends Breakfast on October 22 and a link to reserve tickets would be sent on August 1. The featured speaker is Jane Green, so tickets are likely to go fast.
f) Unified Loan Periods
Jennifer Breuer advised that the Policies & Procedures Committee will take feedback from the membership and make a formal recommendation to the Executive Board at the August 7 Executive Board meeting. If approved, it would be introduced at System Council on September 19 and voted at System Council on October 17. She asked that questions be sent to her, Amanda Eigen, Samantha McCoy or anyone else on the committee and she will share a draft of the recommendation immediately after the Executive Board meeting on August 7. John Trause asked if the changes could be made universally. (Dave will investigate.) If approved, these changes, including auto renew, would go live on February 14, 2020. The vote at System Council will be for the single package which includes unified loans and auto renewals. Sally Diaz asked if fines will be included. (Fine free is not part of the proposed changes.)
10. Membership Hearing
- Mimi Hui wanted to let the Executive Board know that the reporter from TAPInto attended her Mayor and Council meeting at Hasbrouck Heights, and she was unaware that the library would be discussed. The reporter followed up to ask her what is her decision regarding the dissolving of the reimbursement program and how it impacted the library.
- Len LoPinto mentioned that a reporter contacted him about the Net Lending vote and asked him his opinions as well and if he stood by his response to Dave Hanson’s white paper (Yes). There could be ramifications, but we need to accept the vote and move on.
- Peter Coyl talked about the perceived dichotomy of the libraries and the “haves” and the “have nots”. He pointed out that he pays for everything (pension, public works) at his 2 library locations and staffs 6 service desks due to the higher volumes. All libraries, big and small, have their own challenges. He also stated that he blocks a full day for System Council while other directors leave the meetings early and then complain about the vote outcome. He asked what is the criteria for having “attended a meeting”?
- Linda Corona asked about indicating that it is mandatory to attend the full System Council meeting in the bylaws.
- Kurt Hadeler asked for feedback about holding 6 System Council meetings a year which would make the meetings shorter. They would alternate with the Executive Board meetings. Some directors liked the idea of more frequent and shorter meetings, and one director preferred the schedule as it is.
- Jennifer Breuer asked about scheduling the items requiring a vote at the beginning of the meetings.
- Kurt Hadeler asked about presenting the scholarship awards at the Friends Breakfast instead of at the June System Council which is typically a long meeting. John Trause commented that the entire membership is not represented at the Friends Breakfast and he prefers not to separate the presentation from the System Council meeting. Ellen O’Keefe pointed out that the winners would just stand up and be recognized at the Friends Breakfast, but there would be no speeches. Paul Shaver asked about creating an e-mail bio about the winners and Kurt suggested including photos, what they are currently doing, what they have done at their libraries, quotes from their director, and what school they are attending. Mimi Hui thought this change would give trustees and Friends a chance to see the winners and Jennifer Breuer commented that the freeholders would be there also. Kurt Hadeler asked the Friends & Trustees Committee and Scholarship Committee to work on this for next year by creating a pamphlet when the awards are given and then presenting the awards at the Friends Breakfast.
- Stephanie Bellucci thought leaving System Council early is a problem and Gerry McMahon noted that some directors leave early on a regular basis.
- Dave Marino thought it was a reasonable requirement for directors to attend these meetings in full.
- Kurt Hadeler asked about sending a letter to all of the Board Presidents at the beginning of every reorganization year reminding them that the Director is the library’s voting representative and is responsible for attending the meetings in full.
- John Trause asked about adding a statement to this effect on the bylaws certification, including that Directors are required to attend the meetings in full and participate in voting. Mimi Hui asked what is the penalty for non-compliance. Kurt Hadeler advised that a letter would be sent to the board and penalties escalate in the bylaws. Len Lo Pinto noted that this was necessary only one time in the past.
- Jennifer Breuer and Stephanie Bellucci asked if proxy voting counts as attending the meeting. It does not.
- Laura Leonard suggested sending out the information about proxy voting again as a reminder and Kurt Hadeler asked that the Bylaws Committee provide a condensed version of the meeting representation requirements so it can be included in the packet for System Council each time.
- Paul Shaver pointed out that Robert’s Rules has a provision that proxies can vote if the motion is amended. Kurt Hadeler explained that is a bylaws change for another time.
- Gerry McMahon confirmed that proxy voting does not constitute representation at the meeting and failure to meet these obligations will result in action by the Executive Board to ensure that these obligations are met. Kurt Hadeler also mentioned the bylaws spell out what remedies are available to the Executive Board if these obligations are not met.
- Kurt Hadeler announced that Susan Wilkinson will be the new Director at Allendale and that Cindy Czesak will be the Interim Director at Demarest.
11. Next MeetingExecutive Board: Wed, 8/7/19 @ 9:30 am – Franklin Lakes
System Council: Thu, 9/19/19 @ 9:30 am – Wyckoff
It was MOVED by: Jennifer Breuer Seconded by: Matthew Latham
To adjourn at 12:23 pm