Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee
Van Block Facility
November 30, 2011
Members Present: State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Public Records Administrator LeAnn Power, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, 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; Louisa Trakas, Plainfield Town Clerk; and Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk.
Members Absent: Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL
Others Present: Public Records Archivist Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Field Archivist Kathy Makover, CSL.
I. The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:12 p.m.
II. The members reviewed the minutes of the July 27, 2011 meeting. Nancy Bray made a motion to approve. Therese Pac seconded the motion. The minutes were approved on a voice vote.
III. There were no introductions.
IV. Fiscal Report
Mark Smith reviewed the fiscal report provided in the committee’s meeting packet. Revenue for the first quarter FY2012 was down from the same period in FY2011. The Business Office functions have been moved from the State Library to the Department of Administrative Services which may partially reflect the 33% drop for October as reports must go to a new address. Most town clerks on the committee are experiencing less than normal activity. Lisa Valenti reported that she had good activity in November.
Ginger Salisbury asked about Beacon Falls which is several months behind with filing the monthly report. Kathy Makover stated that the town has often been late in filing. However, the town has filed a cycle 2 grant application so it will have to become current with its monthly filings or the grant money will be withheld. The individual who handles payments to the State is following up with delinquent towns on a regular basis.
V. Old Business
1. FY 2012 Grants: Kathy included a list of the cycle 2 applicants. Twenty-two towns applied for a total of $100,000 in grant funds. She also included a list of non-applying towns for FY 2012. At the last meeting, the members had agreed to talk to the clerks in certain towns that had not applied within the past two fiscal years. Three of these towns applied in FY 2012 as a result of the members’ efforts. The remaining towns had specific reasons for not applying.
2. FY 2013 Grants: Mark Smith presented 6 different funding options based on the projected balance for the grant fund for FY 2013. The maximum amount the program could comfortably award is $800,000. Option 6 would increase all levels by $500. Therese Pac made a motion to adopt Option 6. Nancy Bray seconded. The motion passed on a voice vote.
3. Future Grants: Ginger Salisbury asked about the possibility of Competitive Grants. The State Librarian stated that it would be necessary to accumulate funds for that purpose. He would also like to see an updated needs assessment as the program has accomplished much of its original intent. He would like to know how much still needs to be done in various areas.
Kathy asked the committee its opinion of security surveillance cameras as an eligible project. A town recently wanted to apply for a grant for these cameras, but security systems are not currently eligible for funding. The committee felt that it would be appropriate but that the guidelines should specify that the cameras be used for the protection of permanent records rather than for general office security, for example, for cameras installed in vaults. After further discussion, the committee agreed on a new project category that will include cameras or other types of theft deterrent devices for the protection of permanent records. This project will fall under the Storage and Facilities grant category.
B. Workshops & Training:
1. State Library staff will be conducting the Records Management module of the Town Clerks School on December 13th at Central Connecticut State University. Mark Jones, Jane Cullinane and Paul Baran from the Archives staff will be joining the Public Records staff. Public Records staff is updating Chapter 6 of the Town Clerks Manual.
2. LeAnn inquired about the New Town Clerks’ session that is usually held in January at the Legislative Office Building. Joyce said that arrangements should be finalized soon but it is usually in late January.
3. Lizette reported on the Essential Records Course held on November 1st. About a third of those who registered to attend were Town Clerks or assistants. About half of the registrants attended despite the extensive power outages from the October Nor’easter. The course will be repeated again in January. Those individuals who were unable to attend the previous session will receive first priority for this class.
The committee discussed continuity of operations and the importance of records. There is a potential vendor for developing and maintaining COOPs. The company will be doing a web based presentation for the staff sometime after the holidays.
C. Attendance Policy: The committee reviewed the updated policy that was included in the meeting folders. The document was changed to reflect that LeAnn’s former position no longer exists. Carla Pomprowitz made a motion to accept. Therese Pac seconded. The motion passed on a voice vote.
D. Real Property Electronic Recording Committee: LeAnn reported that staff has been working on answering questions raised at the last meeting with the Legislative Commissioner’s Office, the Secretary of State’s Office, and a PRIA representative. Ken feels that we have a good working document for the draft regulations. The next meeting will be at the end of January or the beginning of February.
E. Redaction Case: Joyce updated the committee on the response to the court ruling regarding redaction of protected addresses. The proposed changes did not go forward in the October Special Session. Legislators preferred that it go through the regular legislative process. She hopes to get the opposing sides together to have a discussion without all the emotion surrounding the issue. Everyone’s goal is to get real protections for the affected parties. The Lieutenant Governor may be potential facilitator due to her past working relationship with many of the unions involved. Patty Strauss recommended that any future meeting include a demonstration of what is currently available on the internet for any given individual. This led to a discussion of the privatization of land records and the MERS lawsuit. There should be more discussion on the integrity of the records and less on the loss of fees.
F. State Archivist Report:
1. Public Records of the State of Connecticut: Work on Volume 20 is going well. The volume will cover the development of the state’s tax system. There will be an electronic version of the volume available. The editor would like to stretch the work over an additional year to three years due to the increased demands of his “day” job.
2. New FOI Exemption: A last minute amendment to a public health bill in the last session of the General Assembly created a category of “privileged correspondence” that retroactively applies confidentiality to records where none existed before. It is unclear what the Library’s legal standing is in this situation. Many believe that the Department of Mental Health is trying to hide potentially embarrassing records of outdated practices. Ginger stated that she had a large number of conservator appointments filed on her land records as the Southbury Training School is located there, that might be affected by this new law. Ken is hoping that legislation will be passed this upcoming session that would limit restrictions to 75 or 100 years. This is the practice in many states.
G. Other: Ginger inquired about the number of foreclosure notices filed in October under the new law. When the fiscal report was compiled for the meeting there were 28 towns with outstanding reports so it is hard to determine. Most committee members had only seen a couple filings. One had received 10 for the month. Ken suggested once the Library has a better picture of the revenue from the fee, the funds might be set aside for future competitive grants.
VI. New Business
A. Public Records Policy 05: The new policy consolidates the existing state and municipal policies into one document. Every state and municipal employee will be receiving a copy and will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of receipt form. Distribution of the policy and the form will be through the MCEO’s office. The Attorney General’s office vetted the new policy. LeAnn hopes that the policy and sign-off will reduce the number of complaints concerning unauthorized disposals of public records.
The town clerks requested that the RC-075 form instructions be revised to state more prominently that municipal staff must forward the signed original copy to the town clerk’s office for retention. Each municipality often has its own internal procedures regarding disposals. Staff will address this when the form is revised. Staff will also add this information to future municipal training presentations.
VII. LeAnn will select three meeting dates for 2012 after consulting with the Town Clerks Association calendar. Next year is a Presidential election year so the November meeting will need to be later in the month. She will email all the members with the dates.
VIII. A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 2:30. The motion passed.
Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
November 30, 2011