Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Van Block Facility

July 22, 2009

 

Minutes

 

 

Members Present:        State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Nancy Bray, Colchester Town Clerk; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Chic Spinelli, Waterbury City Clerk; and Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk.

 

Members Absent:         Louisa Trakas, Plainfield Town Clerk; Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk; Ginger Salisbury, Southbury Town Clerk; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; and Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk.

 

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

 

 

I.              The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m.

II.           The members reviewed the minutes of the March 18, 2009 meeting.  Mark Jones made a motion to approve as written.  Chic Spinelli seconded the motion.  The motion passed with Nancy Bray, Lisa Valenti and Mary Louise Jensen abstaining as they were not at the last meeting.

III.         There were no introductions.  The State Librarian discussed the State’s early retirement program and its impact on the State Library.  Nineteen percent of the agency’s staff retired under the program including Eunice DiBella, Public Records Administrator, Rich Kingston, Chief Fiscal Officer, and Sheila Mosman, Grants and Contracts Manager, who were members of this committee.  Eunice has been approved to return on a part-time basis until the end of September while the Library obtains permission to fill the Public Records Administrator position and to assist with the Real Property Electronic Recording Commission.  The loss of staff means that, at least for the summer, the main building will be closed to the public on Mondays but telephone service will still be available.  Because no budget has been approved yet, the library is operating under an executive order that provides for salaries and some basic operating expenses.  The State Librarian also spoke about the budget deficit mitigation bill which took $900,000 from the fund.  He had testified before the legislature on the fund and had no indication that it would take back unappropriated funds designated for specific purposes.  Although funds were taken from the account, the program is still operating and new funds are accruing.

IV.        Terri Consoli, Fiscal Services Supervisor, who was not able to attend the meeting, is assuming Rich Kingston’s fiscal duties over the Historic Documents Preservation Fund.  Kathy Makover will perform the contract reviews previously done by Sheila Mosman.  Monthly revenue has started to increase but remains lower than the same period last year.  Because the $900,000 reduction took away the reserve funds for this grant year, the Library had to suspend competitive grants and cycle 2 targeted grants. All cycle 1 targeted grants will be processed in the order the applications were received.  The staff will monitor the fund carefully over the next few months in order to be able to set the grant amounts for FY2011.  The Town Clerks Association has not taken any formal action on the issue to date.  The State Librarian stated that the towns need to document their needs and how the program has positively impacted them.  The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and other municipal groups should be involved in lobbying for the program.  Some towns may be supplementing town clerk budgets with the dollar fund due to local budget issues.  Lizette Pelletier reported that, as of April, towns were keeping up to date with their filings with a few exceptions.  Staff will notify the members if problems develop with timely filings.

V.           Old Business

A.           Grants

                                                                                    1.            FY2009 Grants: 

a.             LeAnn Power reported that all outstanding grant contracts have been processed.

b.            Sixty-four expenditure reports have been submitted so far.  The reports are due for receipt by September 1, 2009.

                                                                                    2.            FY2010 Grants:

a.             Eight towns submitted competitive grant applications. After the legislature took the money from the fund, they had the option to submit targeted grants.  Some did a smaller project based on their proposed competitive grant.  The rest found other projects.  The program will not offer competitive grants until sufficient funds can be built up again per the guidelines.

b.            The staff received 94 targeted grant applications for cycle 1, for a total of $615,000.  Thirty-one contracts were mailed out on April 28th and 19 contracts on June 30th.  Staff will process the remaining 44 contracts monthly on a funds available basis.

The Attorney General’s Office has informed the grant staff that towns are now exempt from filing non-discrimination certifications with the grant contracts.  The office had been working with Sheila Mosman to develop a contract template and an agreement to streamline the award process, eliminating the need for the Attorney General’s Office to sign off on individual town contracts.  The Library will continue to pursue this.

c.             The guidelines state that disaster grants are available only if there are sufficient funds available.  At this time, the fund could not support funding the grants. The State Librarian stated that in the event of a natural disaster, the Library will work with an affected town to provide a disaster grant if funds are available.

B.           Workshops & Training:  LeAnn reported that the half day workshop to be held in conjunction with the Town Clerks’ Fall Conference did not materialize for a number of reasons.  Grant staff is working with Therese Pac to have the workshop at Central Connecticut State University in late fall.  The grant staff is working with the New England Document Conservation Center to develop a full day workshop on Microfilming & Digitization.  IIMC requires a minimum of six hours for 3 credits.

C.           Map Regulations:  The Regulation Review Committee rejected without prejudice the proposed amendments to the map regulations.  Lizette will be arranging a meeting with the map regulation advisory panel in early September to address the issues raised by the committee.  The revisions can be submitted directly to the committee and do not require that the Library begin the process anew.

D.           Electronic Recording Committee: The Electronic Recording Act has been amended to allow the State Librarian to convene the advisory committee prior to the October 1st deadline set in the initial legislation.  The first step is to select the constituent members.

E.            State Archivist Mark Jones reported that an artist database is now available to researchers to access paintings, biographies and photographs related to the WPA Arts Project. The project is developing an exhibit and a poster. Each clerk on the committee received a copy of the poster.

VI.        New Business

A.           The State Archivist announced that the National Historical Publications and Records Commission [NHPRC] has awarded the City of Bristol a grant to process its historical records.  He invited town clerks to call him for further information if interested in additional information.

The State Historical Advisory Board received an eighteen month State and National Archival Partnership [SNAP] grant from the NHPRC for a number of projects.  The grant provides some support for History Day activities for middle and high school students in the state.  The program is always looking for volunteer judges for the state and regional events each spring. The grant includes funding for promoting Archives Month in October.  The Society of American Archivist’s website, www.archivists.org/archivesmonth, has more information on possible projects including mini-exhibits.  Town Clerks can also contact the State Archivist for more information.  The final component of the grant is to hire four assessors to gather additional information on a select number of private organizations which collect archival records.  These repositories participated in an earlier grant funded survey. There will be a conservation symposium to address the issues raised by the surveys as well as a database of best practices.

B.           The State Librarian reported that the Library is working with the Probate Court Administrator regarding the court consolidation and its effect on probate records.  The court is required to report its consolidation plan to the legislature in the fall.  The State Library is interested in taking in some of the historical records.  At this time, the Probate Court Administrator has made no decisions regarding the physical custody of records from any courts that are closed.

C.           The Governor has issued an executive directive requiring agencies to communicate by email whenever possible.  After this grant cycle is complete, the staff will review its procedures and implement this policy when possible.

D.           Therese Pac complimented the State Library and the grant staff on its efforts to keep the grant application and reporting process as simple as possible.  She is finding the federal grant administrative requirements very complicated and time consuming.  Lisa Valenti seconded that sentiment.

VII.      Mark Jones made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Therese Pac seconded the motion. The State Librarian adjourned the meeting at 2:25 p.m.

VIII.   The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday October 21, 2009 at 1 p.m. at the Van Block Facility.  Everyone is welcomed to share a brown bag lunch prior to the meeting. 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

July 22, 2009