Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Van Block Facility

July 27, 2011




Members Present:         Public Records Administrator LeAnn Power, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Fiscal Administrator Mark Smith, CSL; Nancy Bray, Colchester Town Clerk; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Debra L. McKeon, Colebrook Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Ginger Salisbury, Southbury Town Clerk; Antoinette Spinelli, Waterbury City Clerk; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; and Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk.


Members Absent:          State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Louisa Trakas, Plainfield Town Clerk; and Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk.


Others Present: Public Records Archivist Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Field Archivist Kathy Makover, CSL.


I.            The Public Records Administrator called the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m. The State Librarian was unable to attend due to other commitments.

II.          The members reviewed the minutes of the March 30, 2011 meeting.  Therese Pac made a motion to approve.  Chic Spinelli seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved on a voice vote.

III.        The Public Records Administrator introduced and welcomed the newest board member, Debi McKeon from Colebrook. 

CSL Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen is no longer on the board as she retired from state service, June 30th.  Joe Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk, has resigned.  Debi is the new Litchfield County representative.

The members reviewed the attendance policy.  The last revision was in October 2006.  LeAnn proposed changing “Public Records Grant Specialist” to “grants staff” since that was her former position which no longer exists.  The members had no other suggested changes to the policy.  Members should send a substitute if they cannot make a meeting from either the county or their office staff, whichever they prefer, to ensure that there is proper representation on the committee. Virginia made a motion to implement the change as suggested.  Therese seconded the motion. The motion passed.

IV.       Fiscal Report

Mark Smith reviewed the fiscal report provided in the committee’s meeting packet. Revenue for FY2011 was down approximately 4% from FY2010.  While the future is difficult to predict, he believes that there should be sufficient funding to maintain the same grant levels for the FY2013 grant cycles.

Patty Strauss inquired about the possibility of competitive grants in the next fiscal year.  The targeted grants require approximately $700,000 and there is a set aside for the disaster recovery grants.  The committee will revisit the issue at the November meeting.

He also briefed the members on the situation at the State Library.  The Governor’s budget is no longer proposing to close the Library, but it does cut the agency’s appropriation by 24%.  In an agency this small, there are not many areas that can be cut without affecting staffing levels.  The library materials budget and the library grants have been targeted for cuts.  The Library is slated to lose 10 of 61 general revenue positions (about 18%).  All affected staff has been noticed of the potential layoff.  There are also 4 people who have been notified about the possibility of being bumped from their positions.

V.         Old Business

A.         Grants

                                                   1.          FY 2011 Grants:  Kathy reported that 84 final reports have been submitted to date and 65 are outstanding. She will send out an email reminder that the receipt deadline is September 1.

                                                   2.          FY 2012 Grants:  Kathy reported on the Cycle 1 grants.  There were 126 applications for a total of $535,000 in grant funds. The largest number of projects fell under the Organization and Indexing and Preservation/Conservation categories.  Award letters and contract documents were mailed on June 22nd and 62 contracts have been returned and processed to date.  The first batch of payments will be going out soon.

                                                   3.          Census Figures:  Lizette was able to determine the final town population figures comparing 2000 and 2010.  Four towns moved from the small to the medium funding level.  They are Farmington, Mansfield, South Windsor, and Windham.  No towns moved to a lower funding level.  As a result there are now 124 small, 40 medium and 5 large towns for funding purposes.

                                                   4.          Non-Applying Towns:  Kathy prepared a list of towns that did not apply for grants under FY 2011 and have yet to submit an FY 2012 application.  At past meetings, members have asked for this information in order to encourage these towns to apply.  In FY 2011, 20 towns did not apply for grants.  Seven of those towns have applied so far under FY 2012, leaving 13 towns on the list.  Some towns have lost thousands of dollars in funding over the years.  There are a variety of reasons that some clerks don’t apply.  The committee members agreed they would work through their respective county vice presidents to encourage these towns to apply.

B.          Workshops & Training: 

                                              1.               The annual workshop was held June 14th at the Middletown Library Service Center.  There were 47 attendees for the disaster recovery training which consisted of two half-day sessions.  The course received very positive reviews, though some would have liked to have had a full day with more hands on training.  If the fiscal situation improves, that could be a future possibility.

The evaluation form asked for suggestions for future workshops.  Respondents suggested presentations on retention schedule basics, dPlan, and how to design and implement a disaster plan.  Advisory committee members were asked if they had additional suggestions.  A discussion of half day versus full day workshops ensued.  Therese liked the half day because it allowed her to send additional staff while still providing office coverage.  Lizette asked if the IPER disaster planning training was held as a face-to-face course at the Van Block facility, would the members prefer full or half day courses spread out over a couple of months?  The committee was receptive to half day trainings for that course.

Joyce suggested that since the next workshop will be after the municipal elections and there will be a number of new town clerks, it might be a good time to revisit microfilming.  Clerks need information on how to review their microfilm rolls and what issues to look out for.  There is a need for best practices regarding contracts and quality control.  How does a clerk make sure that the contract is being followed?  Should there be standards for microfilm labels?  What are the important differences between microfilm created by a camera or generated from a scan?  How old are the master rolls?  The Public Records staff needs to update the microfilming policy.  The staff will plan on doing so for next June and offering a workshop on microfilming.

                                                   2.          OPRA staff will be teaching the Records Management Module at the December Town Clerks’ School.  Chapter 6 of the Town Clerk’s manual will be updated at that time.  Lisa Valenti will let the staff know what the date is.

C.         Real Property Electronic Recording Committee:  LeAnn reported that the next committee meeting will be on August 25th at 10:00 AM at the Van Block facility.  Kathy and Lizette are researching the PRIA standards and looking at other statutory requirements.  The authorizing statute requires the regulations to be in line with the rest of the states.

D.    Retention Schedules:

                                                   1.          Schedule M6: The M6 Elections and Elections Records draft has been sent to the committee for final review.  The staff thought that document was done in June but the legislature passed bills that affected a number of records series, requiring additional edits.  The staff expects the schedule to be issued on September 1st.

                                                   2.          Schedule M5: When M6 is issued, work will begin on the Town Clerks schedule.  Joyce mentioned that the new foreclosure mediation notification program records will need to be added.  State Library staff was unaware that the bill contained a filing fee for foreclosed property registrations that may provide additional funds to the Historic Documents Preservation Program.  Joyce will send a copy of the public act.  The number of filings is unknown at this time as the act expanded the requirements for certain notifications from optional to required.

E.          Redaction Case:  There was an article in the Connecticut Law Journal which included quotes from Joyce on the impact of the recent Supreme Court ruling.  There will be a meeting on August 3rd at the West Hartford Town Hall at 10:00 with a roundtable discussion of the topic including representatives from the Freedom of Information Commission.  The goal is to plan legislative action.  LeAnn reported that the Attorney General’s Office says that the court opinion applies to all grand list records not just the motor vehicle list.

F.          MERS:  Joyce forwarded an article on land recording fraud from North Carolina to LeAnn, which she had also sent to the Attorney General.  The attorneys in the real estate section have contacted Joyce for additional information.

G.    State Archives Report:  Mark Jones, the State Archivist, was unable to attend the meeting.

H.    Other:

                                                   1.          LeAnn reported on a replevin case that the office was involved in under CGS 11-8b concerning burial permits from Middletown that had been offered for sale on eBay. She worked through the Attorney General’s Office and the town attorney.  The person, who had purchased them at a tag sale, has returned them.  She recently became aware of 9 more documents which have been referred to the Attorney General.

VI.       New Business

A.         Recording Issues:

                                                   1.          Multiple Documents:  LeAnn has received information from the Attorney General’s Office on this matter.  She will work with the Town Clerks Association on the best manner to distribute to everyone.  Blanket assignments are another issue of concern.  The clerks are hoping to have some legislative action taken in the fall special session of the legislature.

                                                   2.          DEEP and DOT Permits:  The agencies are requiring that photocopies of documents they issue be recorded on the land records.  The signatures are copies as well.  Therese Pac has asked them to submit a cover letter with an original signature.  LeAnn is working with the agencies on this issue.

B.         CSL email addresses:  The State Library changed to a new email system in the spring.  Emails to the old addresses will be forwarded until September.  The town clerks will post a notice regarding the new email addresses on their website.

C.         LeAnn’s request to the Attorney General to update a 1987 opinion regarding original signatures has been sent to the AG’s Rules Committee.

VII.     The next meeting is scheduled for November 30, 2011 at the Van Block Facility.  Everyone is welcome to share a brown bag lunch prior to the meeting.

VIII.   Therese Pac made a motion to adjourn. Chic Spinelli seconded. The Public Records Administrator adjourned the meeting at 2:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

July 27, 2011