Library Trustees Meeting
March 3, 2009
Medway Public Library
Meena Jain, Vice Chair
William Roberts, Secretary
Wendy Rowe, Chair
Margaret Perkins, Assistant to Director, Medway Library
Dennis Crowley, Selectman
Richard Dunne, Selectman and our Library liason
Andy Espinosa, Selectman
John Foresto, Selectman
Suzanne Kennedy, Town Administrator
Glenn Trindade, Chairman of the Board of Selectman
Jeff Nutting, Town Administrator
Felicia Oti, Library Director
Ken Wiedemann, Chairman of their Board of Library Directors
Cindy Dobrzynski, member of their Board of Library Directors
Transcript excerpts from digital recording of March 3 2009 Trustee meeting attended by BOS.
Wendy Harrington did a paraphrased transcript which is part of the minutes of the Board of Selectmen's March 3 2009 minutes that were approved at a subsequent Board of Selectmen meeting.
I (Wendy Rowe) am supplying actual quotes, from listening to the recording. Where I couldn't understand a word clearly enough, I have supplied the contextual meaning or both words when I couldn't tell for sure which was used.
Jeff says Franklin will be open 4 days/week. At the time the proposal was 16hrs/wk as 2 days' Felicia's time (after this meeting they realized Felicia works a 35hr week so 2 days would be 14 hrs/wk).
Dennis - “...If you take the money element out of it … does it make sense to do some sort of regionalization?” “ … I was told by Rich” [each library would be open 3 days/week)
Wendy - “We're on a path, if we get the same funding … we will be recertified in November.” Then our people can go to Franklin and other libraries and borrow materials.
Suzanne - “As time goes on … things to come … I think a lot of town administrators [are saying] how sustainable is our form of government? … the services we provide … I think as time marches on, resources are going to become fewer.”
Jeff – his model for regionalization is eventually “maybe four or five or six towns” sharing expertise. “The form of government we have in MA is not sustainable.”
MaryAnn - “if we could spend less money and by the same services … but if you want to try this [we'll go along]”
Andy - “Is there synergy here? … If you're satisfied with six days/week and 4 hours versus six days a week and more hours … what we're trying to do here [is say not what we do here but try to look to the future]”
MaryAnn – we have separate buildings, so we can't tie in everything over that distance.
Andy - “What we're looking for is to get the maximum amount of service for the money... we're more apt to want to move in that direction [regionalization] than just maintain the status quo.”
MaryAnn - “It's still going to cost money … and it's not necessarily going to cost less money.”
Rich – We're looking at putting in $250,000 … but to get where we really should be, we're at $500,000, or $400 something … so right there's an opportunity to save money … we're also going to get at least 64 hours, Medway will have use of a library for at least 64hrs vs 32 …”
MaryAnn – but if certified can use an other libraries whenever they're open. So if we could share but without costing more money [that would be good]
Glenn – [unlike Franklin] “if we don't get stimulus money we could be in a very different situation... We're getting that money with a formula that ends after next year.” Do we hire more staff then have to cut it if the formula changes? “How responsible is that?” [Don't spend stimulus money on operating expenses]
Glenn - “How do we move to a library that IS open more, and has programs for all ages … and I'm not seeing how we do it on our own … I believe that if we take the leadership in going out [to do] some sort of regionalization, that we will be rewarded by the state.”
Glenn - “What I've learned in the past [couple of] years of being a selectman, is that the library's not about books, it's a community center...people come here for a lot of reasons … when my kid was taking speech therapy, it was here in these meeting rooms”
Andy - “It's hard for me to believe that a person of the same quality is going to accept a position for 19 hours … where I work, you're always looking for the best quality person you can buy.”
Wendy - “But the trick here is, because there are people with part time positions in other communities...” for instance we have MLS degreed Margaret “she works in Holliston.”
Jeff said Felicia has a PhD. “We still pay at the bottom of the barrel” (about $80K where others are paying in the $90-$99K ranges). “You're right, in the short term, if you just want to do apples to apples, this is not a good deal … but I've been in this business 30 years, and it's changing. And it's not going to go back … and you'll be sitting here three years from now … 'we gotta close the library' again.”
Jeff said they just spent $870,000 on a fire truck and his fire chief agrees with him that “we could share this with four towns, but no-one wants to dance.”
Glenn - “We're not singling you out, we're doing this with lots of departments … the nightmare is ...next year isn't going to be any better ...Again, the Chapter 70 formula changes … and then in two years, we've got a big issue … so that's why as a Board of Selectmen … to get ready … we're trying everything.”
Andy - “I feel that if there were the ability to have more open hours in this scenario and we share the directorship for two days and hire an assistant director … these are the kind of things we can start thinking about … it's an investment …. To maintain the status quo … it becomes a difficult decision for us to say we can't maintain this investment, we're not going anywhere, so, you know, I give that to you as well”
Chuck - “Our problem is for the past three years we've been told to cut expenses, and we've done a great job of reining in, we've cut hours, we've cut staff … books, everything … and now we're being told 'OK, we're going to spend more,' you're going to give us more money to do this.”
Jeff says if we seem more joint (re the libraries), more people will be willing to go to the other library.
Glenn - “Look at facilities, programs, duplication of effort … if we're buying some of the same things they are, that's kind of crazy”
Jeff says they have townwide maintenance (school/town). Wendy – we'd love to share maintenance. Glenn says our Town Hall needs it, too.
Franklin Trustee (female, find her name in our minutes) - “I work in a non-profit … how do you best serve the mission? Ultimately, we will be better off if we can collaborate.”
Dennis? (not in secretary's transcript and I couldn't recognize the voice) - “[about] “sustainability of the funding … if you look out to 2012 when they re-do the formula for Chapter 70 money … and the sustainability of the library funds could possibly remain where they're at … The Tuchinsky money … eventually that's going to go away … and for the town to step up to replace that, that's the question.”
MaryAnn - “But you're talking about spending more money, so if that were to happen you'd be in the position of having to tell Franklin, 'Hey, we can't pay our share.'”
Andy - “yes but that only gets you a certain number of hours, a certain level of service. What we're trying to say is that for every dollar spent now, I get say about 30 hours or 28 hours or whatever, OK, but with every dollar I spend in the future, with this investment I get 48 or 68 hours.”
MaryAnn – but with Minuteman we get to use all the area libraries “There's no difference.”
Glenn – [you're assuming] “that Minuteman will be continuing on, and I don't think that … what we assume is that this is all going to continue the way it is ...”
MaryAnn – yeah but you're saying “that looking ahead to 2012 when the formula changes, there won't even be enough money to continue what you're doing now … how are we going to be able to participate … If we get less money in 2012 than now, how will be be able to continue?”
Suzanne – do you really think the economy is going to recover any time soon? “I believe there are going to be incentives developed to encourage people to join forces … are we going to have the resources over the next three years to keep funding Medway services at the same level? … That's the key here”
Felicia - “Does it make sense” for us to have the same databases in Franklin that can be used anywehre in the United States if you have a Franklin library card? “We already have that expertise.” “We really don't want to force Medway to do anything, we just want to work together.”
Jeff would be willing to sell us whatever we want (Director, Children's Librarian, Maintenance, Tech, Facilities management). “We have all that expertise.” “We're not looking to make a profit.”
Jeff - “It's how you market it” re a joint website listing both libraries' programs and where they are.
Cindy Dobrzynski – with Minuteman you can't see everything, e.g. there are databases and special collections Franklin has that are available only to Franklin residents.
Glenn - “It's going to be fluid this year … we need to know from you, is this something you're willing to [pursue / go forward with / support]. We hope you do. And it's our intent to work with you, to work with the Town of Franklin, to make something that benefits both of you.”
Glenn - “We thought this was a good enough idea that we've already put this much time into it. And if you tell us to go forward with it, we will make it happen.”
Dennis - “Well, that's a very interesting question … I will only speak for myself, [I'm not speaking for] the Board of Directors … I would be more inclined to be able to fund towards regionalization than I would be more inclined to put more dollars into hiring another Director … That's only my opinion, OK, I haven't talked to the rest of the Board about that, they haven't expressed their opinion, but for me it is [best / essential] to look into the future.”