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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Van Block Facility

March 19, 2008





Members Present:        Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Administrative Services Director Richard Kingston, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Town Clerk; Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk


Members Absent:         Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Grants Manager Sheila Mosman, CSL; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Town Clerk; Sandra Russo-Driska, Middletown Town Clerk; Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk


Others Present:             Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Kathy Makover, CSL; Jeff Collins, CSL; LeAnn Power, CSL



I.              The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:08 p.m.

II.           The minutes of the October 3rd meeting were reviewed.  Patty Strauss made a motion to approve as written.  Sandi Wieleba seconded the motion.  The motion passed with Joe Quartiero abstaining as he was not at the last meeting.

III.         The Public Records Administrator introduced the newest member of the Public Records staff, Jeff Collins.  Jeff will be working primarily with the State Agencies.

IV.        Rich Kingston presented his fiscal report.  The fund is currently at a five year low.  There is no certainty as to the immediate future.  The Library is working to keep the administrative costs in line with revenues as best it can.  Payroll is the major expense funded.

The Town Clerks report that is has been very quiet for land records and that revenue from land recordings has dropped off dramatically for them as well.  Patty Strauss does not believe that the situation has bottomed out yet.  Most of the filings on the land records these days are foreclosures.

V.           Old Business

A.           Grants

                                                                  1.            FY2008 Grants:

a.             LeAnn Power reported that there were forty-eight targeted grants awarded in Cycle 2.  The Business Office is still waiting on contracts for two towns to process their payments.  148 towns received grants for FY2008.  Carla stated that the Town Clerk members on the committee have a responsibility to assist and encourage the members from their counties to apply.  After she contacted the towns in her county she got them all to apply this past year.  The mentoring program should help with staffing issues so that the clerk can complete the application on time.  LeAnn will make sure that all the county vice-presidents get a list during cycle 2 next year to encourage more applicants.  Sandi Wieleba and Carolyn Keily are the new Town Clerk webmasters.  Sandi will make sure deadlines and other relevant information and links to the grant program web site are posted to the website.

b.            Kathy Makover reported that thirty-two towns have already submitted their expenditure reports for FY2008.  It is good that more towns are not waiting until the last minute to submit their reports.

                                                                  2.            FY2009 grants.

a.             Staff received 13 interim competitive grant applications for this cycle.  Three applications were rejected because one town had not completed a survey, one proposed project was not eligible for funding and the other was an oversized targeted grant project.  The remaining 10 are currently being reviewed by the staff who will make recommendations for improvement prior to the March 31st deadline for submitting completed applications.

There are some towns that are applying for a second competitive grant.  Hartford is the only on-going project as it is in the third year of a four year plan.  The other towns are applying for a different category or a new records management project to implement another project recommended in their survey.

b.            Fourteen towns have applied for targeted grants so far.  The application deadline is April 30th.  Sandi Wieleba will make sure the deadline is posted on the Town Clerk Association webpage.

c.             The Disaster Recovery Grant Guidelines are complete and available from LeAnn.  She reviewed the major changes that are different from the other two grant types because a Disaster Grant is awarded at any time throughout the year.  The contract period is 6 months from the date of the award.  Final reports must be filed within 30 days of the end of the contract period.  Payments will be made within 30 days of the State Library receiving the final reports.  In addition, the final report requests information on risk reduction to prevent any man-made disasters from occurring again.

                                                                  3.            Vendors

a.             The grant staff met with a representative of MAXONS which is a document recovery company similar to Munters.

b.            The staff discussed some vendor list issues with the committee. Connecticut has a different situation than most states as the Public Records Administrator must approve certain types of vendors by statute.  The other vendors are simply vetted as a courtesy.  Vendors who do not require prior approval call the office requesting approval.  Even if the vendor is “approved” it is still the responsibility of the Town Clerk to make sure the work is done properly.

One option might be to create a list of vendors that towns have used in the past. Then anyone interested in a certain vendor could contact that town clerk for a reference.

                                                                  4.            Other

a.             The State Librarian spoke about the grant that the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  He recently participated in a conference call for states in FEMA regions I & II.  Part of the grant is to develop a training curriculum for town officials concerning business continuity issues so that they can continue to operate in the event of an emergency.  The State has begun to do this with the Pandemic Preparedness, but it needs to branch out into how to deal with other types of emergencies and put the Public Records Office higher on its list of vital agencies and units during a time of crisis.  He also mentioned that the Northeast Documents Conservation Center [NEDCC] is developing a framework for coordinated state-wide emergency preparedness and an emergency response framework for cultural communities.  This tool is supported by IMLS and is designed to guide state libraries, state archives and state museums in planning cooperatively for large scale disasters.

b.            Sandi Wieleba brought up issues the town is having with the Certification of Non-discrimination.  Because the issue is with the state Department of Transportation, she will have to work through them to resolve the issue.

B.           Workshops & Training: 

                                                                  1.            The staff held two half-day grant training sessions in January.  There were forty-four persons in attendance.  Given the smaller numbers, the staff might only offer one session next year as there is probably not going to be a lot of changes to the grant procedures.  Towns only have to attend one session every two years to meet the pre-requisite for a competitive grant application.  Applicants should be attending not other office staff.  The number of grants administrators at the local level is growing so there may be the need for two persons to attend. If there is an overwhelming demand for spaces, the staff will schedule another session.

                                                                  2.            The spring 2008 workshop will be “Municipal Treasures: Unlocking the Secrets in Your Town’s Archival Records.” State Archivist Mark Jones, Assistant State Archivist Bruce Stark and Government Archivist Paul Baran will be the instructors.  This will be an interactive workshop including tours and demonstrations of various techniques.  The session will have a limited enrollment as it will be held at the Van Block Facility.  Therefore, only one person from each town will be allowed to register. 

                                                                  3.            In addition, there will be a $40 charge for the workshop.  The current fiscal situation does not allow the State Library to continue to offer the workshops for free.  The cost of the workshop will include a continental breakfast, lunch and a packet of archival supplies and instructional materials. The State Library is working with Therese Pac and the Education Committee to provide IIMC credits for the course.

C.           Membership:  LeAnn will be contacting potential members for Windham County, New London County and for a representative from a large municipality.

D.           State Library Reports:  State Archivist Mark Jones reported that due to the current fiscal situation, the fund will not be able to support for the foreseeable future any additional volumes of the “Public Records of Connecticut Series.”  He also spoke on a state funded project on the records of the Works Progress Administration which funded most of the municipal art during the Great Depression.  He is also working to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Merritt Parkway.  There will be a digital exhibit.

Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane spoke about her need to review the State Library’s collection of microfilm produced prior to 1990.  Due to the type of plastic used as the film base, if the film was not properly manufactured and/or not properly stored, the film will deteriorate.  She recommended that the town clerks begin a systematic review of all their films stored off-site to determine what condition they are in.  The State Archivist stated that this was a good way to create a benchmark.  The targeted grants include Disaster Planning Surveys as an eligible project so there is funding available to do this.  The staff will emphasize this in the next set of guidelines.  They will also discuss this issue in the next newsletter.

E.            Old business:  Ken reported that the eRecording bill is moving along in the legislature.  This lead to a discussion of the paperless office.  This topic should be a future workshop to cover the various issues that must be addressed including backup, migration of data, etc.

VI.        New Business

A.           The grant staff asked the Town Clerks their opinion concerning the format and distribution of the CONNservator.  It is becoming cost prohibitive to print over 300 hardcopies for the Town Clerks and the municipal CEOs.  The staff has supported this method of distribution as people are more likely to read the hard copy whereas many simply delete email attachments without reading them. A small handful of towns do not have email for their staff.  The town clerks stated that they thought that people would print out a hard copy if the newsletter was sent as a PDF attachment.  They would also be willing to have a link from their web page to the current issue as well.

B.           The fall meeting will be on Wednesday October, 8th.

VII.      The State Librarian adjourned the meeting at 2:32 p.m.

VIII.   The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday July 9, 2008 at the Van Block Facility.

Respectfully submitted,




Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

March 19, 2008