Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee
Van Block Facility
July 28, 2010
Members Present: State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Public Records Administrator LeAnn Power, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Fiscal Administrator Mark Smith, CSL; Nancy Bray, Colchester Town Clerk; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Ginger Salisbury, Southbury Town Clerk; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; and Louisa Trakas, Plainfield Town Clerk.
Members Absent: Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk; Antoinette Spinelli, Waterbury City Clerk; Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; and Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk.
Others Present: Public Records Archivist Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Field Archivist Kathy Makover, CSL
I. The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:09 p.m.
II. The members reviewed the minutes of the March 24, 2010 meeting. The minutes were accepted as written with Nancy Bray, Patty Strauss and Louisa Trakas abstaining as they were not at the last meeting.
III. The State Librarian introduced the State Library’s new Fiscal Administrator, Mark Smith, who has been hired to replace Rich Kingston.
IV. Fiscal Report
Mark Smith reviewed the fiscal report that was in the committee’s meeting packet. Total revenue including interest for FY2010 is $1,216,978 which is a slight increase over FY2009. Grantees returned $6,653 in refunds. There is currently $644,471 available for grants and $145,996 for administrative expenses.
Ginger asked about the status of towns in arrears for payments. Kathy reported that almost all towns are up-to-date with only two towns behind by more than one month. June traditionally has a higher number of late filings as it is the end of the fiscal year. Patty Strauss asked if there are sufficient administrative funds available. Ken stated that the Library has cut its expenditures to meet the revenue received. The budget planning process begins soon and he plans again to pursue a fee increase from the legislature. It will be a difficult budget year as there are many unknowns as to what the next administration will do when it comes into office.
There was a discussion on why some towns return money at the end of the grant period. This usually occurs because a project came in under budget. Often the town does not notify staff prior to submitting the final report. When possible, Kathy works with the town to find ways to expend the funds within the guidelines. Stafford returned money for an FY2009 grant, not a FY2006 grant as indicated on the fiscal report.
V. Old Business
1. FY2010 Grants: Fifty-two of 94 towns have submitted final reports. Kathy will be sending a reminder to the remaining towns in August.
2. FY2011 Grants: 131 grants totally $507,000 were approved for Cycle 1 of FY2011. The program has crossed the $11 million mark for grants awarded. Contract processing is more streamlined with the new procedures approved by the Attorney General’s office. The funds for approved contracts were released on July 19th. Currently, one town has submitted an application for cycle 2.
B. Workshops & Training:
1. LeAnn spoke with Town Clerk Association Education Committee Chair Paula Ray about the possibility of having a workshop in conjunction with the Town Clerk School at Central Connecticut State University in December. The staff suggests a “Basic Preservation” course taught either by Northeast Document Conservation Center [NEDCC] staff or Jane Cullinane. This was the topic of the first workshop 10 years ago. If the Town Clerks School is not an option, the course could be taught at the Van Block facility.
LeAnn asked for other suggestions for workshops. The committee discussed another hands-on disaster recovery course, maps preservation, the Americans with Disabilities Act concerning access, records retention schedules and records management, and sustainability in preservation. Map preservation could be integrated into the basic preservation course as there is not enough information for a separate class. The disaster recovery course would have to be taught at the Middletown Service Center or some other location as water and other contaminants would be too close to the records and work areas at the Van Block facility.
2. Lizette reminded the members of the National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators’ [NAGARA] Local Government Archives and Records Administration Certificate. The State Library will be requesting approval of future workshops for credit under this program. Participants do not need to be a member of NAGARA.
3. Ken inquired about the feasibility of providing training through webinars and on-line courses. The State Library is considering purchasing new software for webinars and e-conferencing. The town clerks were receptive overall to the idea. The Essential Records courses through the Intergovernmental Protection of Essential Records [IPER] program will initially be presented only as webinars.
C. Real Property Electronic Recording Committee: LeAnn reported that the committee’s next meeting will be September 13th at 9:30 am here at the Van Block facility. Carol Fogelsong from the Property Records Industry Association [PRIA] will speak on PRIA standards at the meeting. LeAnn is hoping to have a representative from the Department of Revenue Services discuss issues concerning the conveyance tax.
Lizette is adapting the South Carolina administrative regulations as a working draft document in the proper format for submission to the legislature’s Regulation Review Committee. South Carolina has the most comprehensive language.
In the afternoon, on September 13th, Carol Fogelsong will speak at a special town clerk meeting at the Van Block facility. Joe Camposeo will be coordinating the meeting.
D. Probate Court Records: State Archivist Mark Jones reported on the progress of transferring records to the State Archives as a result of the probate court consolidation. State Library staff from Archives and Public Records attended eight Probate Clerk roundtable meetings with the Probate Court Administrator staff in the spring to explain transfer procedures for the probate books and estate files. Confidential records will remain with the court. The Probate Court Administrator, Judge Paul Knierim and Attorney Bonnie Bennet are scheduled to speak at the Town Clerks Fall Conference on Friday morning. Public Records staff will be meeting with Probate Court Administration staff in August to begin developing retention schedules and disposition form for court records.
The probate clerks from the consolidating courts have begun scheduling transfers. Archives staff is picking up the books from the courts. The Library has capital funds available to purchase compact shelving for the VanBlock facility to accommodate the probate records.
E. Access to Confidential Records Committee. Mark Jones reported on a new committee being formed to deal with the issue of access to confidential records such as patient files. The issue arose from certain state agencies attempting to retroactively apply confidentiality laws to older historical records. There is currently no statute that makes records automatically open if transferred to the State Archives or cuts off confidentiality restrictions after a set number of years. The committee will consist of three members of the State Historical Records Advisory Board, members of the Archives staff and the State Librarian. It will look at issues regarding confidentiality, access and use of the records as well as any possible statutory changes.
F. Graphical Representations on the Land Records. LeAnn reported that she received two conflicting opinions from the Library’s assistant attorney general and another assistant attorney general who has real estate experience. A higher level attorney may need to resolve the issue. A discussion on the history of graphical representations and how the individual town clerks deal with the issue followed. This issue will be important for eRecording as the procedures must be the same for electronic documents as for paper.
VI. New Business
A. Patty Strauss reported that she received a complaint of non-compliance with the requirement that towns have an electronic grantor/grantee index available to the public. Representative Steve Fontana has said that if the situation cannot be rectified, he would reopen the HDPP statute to provide for a penalty. Kathy reported that she has contacted the town in question. The clerk says she has an Excel-based index that is available on a public terminal. She will follow up with the town’s vendor and make a site visit to verify.
B. Mark Jones reported that October is national Archives Month. Each year he requests an official statement from the Governor. This year the SHRAB is producing a 12”x18” poster that will be distributed throughout the state. Town Clerks will be included in the mailing distribution. The Connecticut Town Clerks Association is one of the listed sponsors. The Library web site will be a web clearinghouse of information regarding activities being held at institutions across the state.
C. Jane Cullinane reported on the formation of the CT-COSTEP committee. The committee is modeled after the Coordinated Statewide Emergency Planning program developed in Massachusetts. The goal is open communications with state and local emergency managers to protect cultural heritage resources and to serve the community in the event of a disaster. Mark Jones, Jane Cullinane and Lizette Pelletier are on the committee.
VII. The State Librarian adjourned the meeting at 2:45 p.m.
VIII. The next meeting is scheduled for October at the Van Block Facility. LeAnn will contact the members as to the exact date. Everyone is welcome to share a brown bag lunch prior to the meeting.
Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
July 28, 2010