Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) Meeting Between Board Chair Carlo Fassi and Trustee Matt Swanson October 13, 2020

Board of Library Trustees (BOLT)
Meeting Between Board Chair Carlo Fassi
and Trustee Matt Swanson
October 13, 2020
11:30 AM
Zoom virtual meeting

Members Present:
Carlo Fassi, Board Chair
Matt Swanson
    Others in Attendance:
Tim Rogers, Library Director
Tristan Denmark, Clerk of the BOLT

The meeting convened at approximately 11:30 a.m.  

Chair Fassi said he called the meeting to discuss Committee structure for the ad hoc Conference Center Committee. He said he knew that Director Rogers had conversed with Trustee Swanson about the Finance Committee serving as the ad hoc Conference Center Committee, and said there were also a handful of people on the Foundation and some Conference Center staff, who would be interested; Finance Chair Swanson would in turn be leading his already-headed Finance Committee, and these several additional ex-officio members. Trustee Swanson said he has heard there has been very little interest in serving, which he understands based on time commitments, but if it were going to be combined with any other committee, Finance makes the most sense. His concern is the time commitment. He suggested either extending the Finance Committee meetings to 90 minutes to allow additional time for Conference Center-focused discussion, or changing the structure of the Finance Committee meetings to where they discuss Finance issues bi-monthly and Conference Center issues on the alternate months; he is unsure whether the bylaws would allow such a change. 

Chair Fassi asked Director Rogers is the bylaws restrict the Finance Committee to reviewing the financial reports every month; Director Rogers said no, they do not – they can review the financial reports on whatever schedule they wish. He also said that the previous months’ financial report being included on the full BOLT agenda is not required; just the proposed budget, the adopted budget, and any amendments to the budget. Director Rogers said he thinks Trustee Swanson’s idea is a good one, and that the time allotted to the financial report could be shrunken down, as the full report does not need to be read aloud. The Finance Committee members receive the report in their packet prior to the meeting. Trustee Swanson mentioned that in private higher education they generally receive quarterly financial updates – that is an option as well. Have committee members read the report in advance and bring any questions to the meeting, and Chuck McNeil could hit just the high notes in his report, then at the end of each quarter a longer block of time is provided for him to give a review of the quarter and provide more detail. Director Rogers liked this idea, and said it also lines up with budget planning for the next year. Trustee Swanson said that is four meetings per year where the Finance Committee would need to focus strictly on budget, and add another one or two for budget, that would allow him 30-35 minutes dedicated to discuss the Conference Center. 

Director Rogers mentioned the question from several years ago about who should address the focus and progress of the Conference Center, not the finances. He said that at some point it was decided, though he is unsure of who decided it, that the Governance Committee would discuss the work of the Conference Center, and the Finance Committee would handle the finances of the Conference Center, but since he has been with the Library the Governance Committee has never discussed it and has not had an agenda item about it. However, the Finance Committee regularly has questions about it, so it would make more sense to him for the Finance Committee to deal with the Conference Center. Though former Trustee King will not be at meetings going forward, Trustees Dame or Payne may be able to address this. Chair Fassi agreed it should be the Finance Committee reviewing all things Conference Center; he said he is also in favor of moving to quarterly reviews of the financial reports. He asked if this should be pitched to the Finance Committee on Thursday; Trustee Swanson said the Finance Committee meeting has been moved to Friday November 13th. He is not opposed to it being broached there, or during the full BOLT meeting this Thursday October 15th. He does not know if it would require a change in the bylaws; Chair Fassi and Director Rogers both said they do not think it would. Director Rogers said that the Finance Committee meetings used to be held prior to the full BOLT meeting, from 10:30-11:30 am, after which the members would go grab their lunch and then return for the full BOLT meeting at 12 pm. Unfortunately, they found that discussions about the Conference Center would cause the meetings to go on so long that they were unable to eat their lunch; they were not even able to get through the full financial report. Director Rogers mentioned that the discussions the Finance Committee will be having about the Conference Center moving forward will be much more long-range – what is the best approach for the Library to take with the Conference Center? It will really be an analysis of the current operation, not so much of the people who are working there, but what is the business case we are working toward – do we want to use the Conference Center to make money or do we want to leverage the space to deliver on our other mission elements. Chair Fassi agreed and also said he would want the ex-officio members to be at the table, giving their input to make sure we’re all going in the right direction. Director Rogers said the Conference Center Manager Mandie McKenzie and her staff are putting together some information to bring to the meetings.

Chair Fassi said that he would announce during his report at Thursday’s BOLT meeting that it will be the Finance Committee that will be taking up the Conference Center review process, and toward the end of the agenda he will have Trustee Swanson discuss the switch to quarterly updates from Chuck and his staff. Trustee Swanson agreed, and said that he would anticipate having a substantial Finance update for the full BOLT after the more in-depth, quarterly meetings. He said he thinks this will make the best use of everyone’s time.

Director Rogers said there are some COVID-related issues he will need to discuss with Chair Fassi at another time. Chair Fassi asked if everything is good and ready to go for Thursday’s full BOLT meeting; it is. He also let Trustee Swanson know that this Thursday’s BOLT meeting will be the last to be held via Zoom; after it we will start transitioning to in-person meetings for November, assuming nothing changes. He said he would also like to do something in-person for former Trustees King and Anderson, who have served and are cycling off. Director Rogers mentioned the normal things of purchasing a book in the name of the Trustee and adding it to the collection. He said Trustee King will officially eb off the board as of tonight; Trustee Payne will be reappointed into that seat. Trustee Anderson’s replacement has not yet been named, so he will stay on until someone else takes his seat on the Board. We may do former Trustee King’s book in November, then Trustee Anderson’s in December or January.

Director Rogers mentioned the walk-on item that has been added to Thursday’s agenda; it is something that would have gone through the Finance Committee if it were not time-sensitive. It is the LSTA grant the Library received for the Special Collections Preservation Project and due to some things being changed, it is running behind.

Trustee Swanson verified that the November Finance Committee meeting will be in-person; Chair Fassi said he would allow Trustee Swanson to make that decision. However, it was then determined that the Governor’s order expires on October 27th, so the November Finance Committee meeting will need to be in person unless the Governor extends his order. Director Rogers said we are waiting to hear from OGC whether or not some members can attend through Zoom if there is a majority of Committee/BOLT members physically present; since Jim McCain will be present at Thursday’s BOLT meeting we can ask him then. Chair Fassi said he would also like to start talking to Director Rogers within the next month about the potential of holding BOLT meetings at other Library locations. Director Rogers said we have to be able to be prepared for an audience so there are not a lot of other branches that are possibilities when taking social distancing into account, but they will discuss it.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:58 a.m. 

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