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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Van Block Facility

November 13, 2008





Members Present:        Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; Administrative Services Director Richard Kingston, 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; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Louisa Trakas, Plainfield Town Clerk; Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; and Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk.


Members Absent:         State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Grants Manager Sheila Mosman, CSL; Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk; Chic Spinelli, Waterbury City Clerk


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



I.              The Public Records Administrator called the meeting to order at 1:12 p.m. The State Librarian was unable to attend the meeting as he had a scheduling conflict.

II.           There were no introductions.

III.         The minutes of the July 19th meeting were reviewed.  Joyce Mascena made a motion to approve as written.  Carla Pomprowicz seconded the motion.  The motion passed with Mary Louise Jensen and Lisa Valenti abstaining as they were not at the last meeting.

IV.        Rich Kingston reported that fund revenues continue to drop.  He projects that the fund balance may only reach $1.2 million this year. The State Library received permission from the Governor’s office to request that OPM transfer a full-time staff position from the preservation fund to the general fund.  If the move is approved, it will happen quickly, possibly by December.  In addition to saving the cost of the salary, the fund will no longer be responsible for paying the fringe benefits which adds considerably to the total amount.  The Library has made significant administrative cuts and is not funding preservation projects at this time.  The State Librarian has submitted a request to OPM to increase the fee to $6.00 with the same percentage of distribution between the towns and the State Library.  He is not optimistic that it will be approved.

V.           Old Business

A.           Grants

                                                                                    1.            FY2008 Grants: Kathy Makover reported that all the towns technically submitted their final evaluation/expenditure reports on time by faxing the document.  All hard copies have been received so the FY2008 grant year is closed out.

                                                                                    2.            FY2009 Grants: The program awarded forty grants for a total of $361,000 for cycle 2.  The total of grants awarded by the program is just shy of $10 million. 

                                                                                    3.            FY2010 Grant Amounts:  The Public Records Administrator informed the committee that given the current fiscal situation, the State Library must reduce the grant amounts for FY2010.  The targeted grants will be rolled back to FY2003 grant levels, which were $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 respectively.  The competitive grants will also be reduced to $250,000 for 5 grants at a maximum of $50,000.  The disaster recovery grants will still be available, if needed.  The staff hopes that the situation will turn around for FY2011.

The town clerks reported that sales are down everywhere, even in Fairfield County.  The situation is further complicated by moratoriums on building sub-divisions because towns are concerned about the related infrastructure costs.  Mortgage refinancing has evaporated as well.  The real impact on towns will come in the next fiscal year.

                                                                                    4.            FY2010 Guidelines:  There will be very few changes to next year’s guidelines.  A deadline of April 30th to file amendments for the current grant year is the most significant change.  All amendments must go through the same approval process as the initial grant including an amended contract.  There is not enough time for a town to complete a project by the June 30th deadline if it files an amendment later than April 30th.  The staff will send out an email notifying the towns when the booklet is available on our website as well as on the town clerk’s site.  Only the very small number of towns that do not have email will receive a hard copy.  The Town Clerks’ website will also provide a link to the Library’s website. 

                                                                                    5.            Vendors:  Kathy is revising the vendor list in order to split it into two documents:  an “approved” list for those vendors that the Public Records Administrator is required by statute or by the grant guidelines to approve and a directory of vendors which she is not required to approve.  The second list will be for reference use only.  The document will have additional information about the relevant guidelines and standards. There will also be a statement prohibiting vendors from using the program for marketing purposes. 

B.           Workshops & Training: 

                                                                                    1.            The staff proposes to offer one grant training session this year with a snow day since town clerks only need to attend training once every two years.  If there is a high demand for two sessions, staff can always add a session.  The town clerks were in agreement.  Grant training will be Wednesday, January 14th from 8-12.  The snow date is January 20th from 12-4.  If a town clerk from a small town without staffing cannot make the snow date, staff can grant a waiver.

                                                                                    2.            The Public Records Administrator stated that staff is considering not offering a spring 2009 workshop due to LeAnn’s pending maternity leave and the uncertainty created by the current fiscal situation.  In addition, the Public Records staff is doing the records management module at the Spring Town Clerks’ School.  An alternative would be a session at the Fall Town Clerk’s Conference, September 23-24th at Waters Edge.  It would be a half-day session for 1 credit. Most professional conferences hold their workshops before the main body of the conference.  Holding it on Wednesday would encourage a better turnout than on Friday afternoon.  The conference program has not been set yet.  Possible topics are disaster recovery, microfilming/imaging standards and vendor contracts which the town clerks said would be very helpful.  The workshop would be open only to town clerks or other municipal employees.  Staff will get in touch with NEDCC.  The town clerks will discuss it at the next Town Clerk Association’s Executive Board meeting on December 3rd.  The registration would be part of the conference packet.  State Library staff would handle making arrangements for the speaker and preparing the certificates.

C.           Map issues:

                                                                                    1.            Kathy Makover did not get a lot of feedback from the last newsletter article.  Apparently, the problem is not very widespread.  The matter has been brought up with the Land Records Recording Advisory Committee.  The committee is setting up a subcommittee to deal with preservation issues.

                                                                                    2.            Lizette Pelletier reported that the amendment to the Map Regulations, concerning who may file which types of documents on the land records, is moving forward.

D.           Electronic Recording

                                                                                    1.            The State Librarian has submitted technical amendments to the electronic recording statute concerning the advisory committee to allow him to call the committee together before the effective date of the initial legislation.

                                                                                    2.            The committee discussed the issue of public search computers.  Only Beacon Falls and Prospect did not have them installed at the beginning of this grant year.  LeAnn will get in contact with both towns and report back to the committee as to their progress.  If neither has them by the January 1st deadline, they will no longer be eligible to apply for grants until the requirement has been fulfilled.

E.            Membership:  Sandra Driska has submitted her resignation to the committee.  The committee thanks her for her time.  LeAnn spoke to the president of the Town Clerks Association who recommended Ginger Salisbury from Southbury.  LeAnn has requested an appointment letter from the State Librarian.

VI.        New Business

A.           Lizette Pelletier distributed a handout from the National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators with a proposed Local Government Archives and Records Management Administration Certificate.  This certificate program is being developed as a joint project with NAGARA and IIMC with the goal of enhancing the records management skills of municipal and county clerks.  The program is in the advanced draft stage.  Many of the workshops and conferences we offer would qualify toward the certificate.

B.           The committee needs to set its meeting dates for 2009.  The members tentatively selected March 18th, July 22nd and October 21st.  The staff will need to verify the dates with the State Librarian.

C.           The State Archivist showed the committee members the award the State Library received for the two volumes of the Public Records of the State of Connecticut concerning the Constitutional Convention of 1818.  Unfortunately, the publication project has been suspended indefinitely due to the current budgetary crisis.

D.           The committee asked about the progress on the State Archive’s WPA project.  The State Archivist reported that he has almost completed the artists’ biographies.  Scanning of the images needs to go out to bid.  The Mattituck Museum in Waterbury which has an excellent local history exhibit, would like to have a joint exhibit in the fall of 2010. They are applying for a planning grant.

VII.      The Public Records Administrator adjourned the meeting at 2:29 p.m.

VIII.   The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday March 18, 2008 at the Van Block Facility.  Everyone is welcomed to share a brown bag lunch prior to the meeting. 

Respectfully submitted,




Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

November 13, 2008