Minutes: April 2020
CLERMONT COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
APRIL 13, 2020
VIA ZOOM TELECONFERENCE
Present: Tony Cardinal, Joe Braun, Judith Kocica, Tricia Lyons, Mary Jo Waite, Jennifer Doss, Adam Bird
Staff: Theresa Herron
Mr. Cardinal called the meeting to order at 6 p.m.
Tony Cardinal, Judith Kocica, Tricia Lyons, Joe Braun, Mary Jo Waite, Jennifer Doss, Adam Bird, here.
The meeting was conducted via Zoom teleconference and Facebook Live to meet the stay-at-home order issued by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
Attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
MARCH 13, 2020, MINUTES:
Motion by Ms. Waite, seconded by Mr. Braun, to approve the March 13, 2020, special meeting minutes. In favor: Mr. Cardinal, Mr. Braun, Ms. Doss, Ms. Waite with the following abstaining: Ms. Kocica, Ms. Lyons, Mr. Bird. Motion was adopted.
MARCH 16, 2020, MINUTES:
Ms. Kocica asked to make one correction to the March 16, 2020, regular meeting minutes. In the paragraph about the compensation study, “financial projects” should be “financial projections.”
Motion by Ms. Kocica, seconded by Ms. Waite, to approve the March 16, 2020, regular meeting minutes with the one correction. All in favor except Mr. Bird who abstained. Motion was adopted.
The meeting was paused briefly to adjust the teleconference camera.
Library Director Christine Wick read questions submitted by the public via the Library’s website.
The board was asked if any Library staff would be laid off. Ms. Wick said administration is working very hard to avoid layoffs, however, they don’t know what the future will bring.
If staff is laid off, how would social media and website content/services be impacted? Ms. Wick said the content provided by staff from home has been amazing, but if staff must be laid off, adjustments would be made.
The public image of the Library is very important. How will you keep the library engaged with the community? With the stay-at-home order, engagement is severely impacted. The Library is engaging with the community through the website and social media.
What is the plan to protect the staff and public once the libraries reopen? The Library is following the guidelines and recommendations from the Ohio Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control regarding sanitation. Administration will consult with the county health department before opening again. Also, materials will be quarantined before being checked in.
Will hiring functions be impacted by the virus? A hiring freeze has been put into place with the exception of the HR director.
When will public computers be available again? The public computers will be available once the libraries are open to the public again.
FISCAL OFFICERS REPORT:
March financial report was presented.
Ms. Kocica asked when the fund used to build the Miami Township building will be closed. Fiscal Officer Maura Gray said the fund will be closed after some work is completed in the parking lot to provide more handicapped parking.
The Public Library Fund is down slightly in April, and anticipated revenue from this fund is expected to be down for the next few months.
Motion by Ms. Kocica, seconded by Ms. Doss, to approve the March financial report. All in favor. Motion was adopted.
Motion by Waite, seconded by Ms. Lyons, to pay the March 2020 bills. All in favor with Mr. Braun and Ms. Doss abstaining. Motion was adopted.
The Library branches were closed to the public March 13. The last day for non-exempt staff to be in the buildings was March 14. Managers worked at the branches through March 19. Material return bins were locked March 19. The Ohio Department of Health issued the Stay-At-Home order March 24 and later extended it through April 30.
While the libraries are closed, Ms. Wick expressed her pride in the staff’s contributions to the website and social media.
The administrative team is moving forward with hiring an HR Director. Interviews will be conducted the week of April 13.
Ms. Doss also praised the staff contributions to social media.
The Imagination Library steering committee selected the United Way Eastern Area as the fiscal agent for this fund-raising effort. The Duke Energy Foundation has indicated they are interested in donating money, as well as Connect Clermont. About $35,000 is needed to offer the Imagination Library in Clermont County. Once the 501(c)3 is established, grant money can be requested.
Motion by Ms. Kocica, seconded Mr. Bird, to approve Resolution 2020-12: Acceptance of Gifts to the Library: donations as listed. All present were in favor. Motion was adopted.
Motion by Ms. Waite, seconded by Mr. Braun, to approve Resolution 2020-13: Disposal of Unneeded or Obsolete Library Materials. Roll call vote: Ms. Waite, yea. Mr. Braun, yea. Ms. Doss, yea. Ms. Kocica, yea. Ms. Lyons, yea. Mr. Bird, yea. Mr. Cardinal, yea. All present were in favor. Motion was adopted.
To address the expected shortfall in the state and local taxes that support the Library, Ms. Wick proposed the following:
After seeking legal advice, non-exempt staff are not working from home as of April 13.
The pandemic and administrative teams have been working on plans for returning to work and reopening the libraries to the public. Ms. Wick does not anticipate opening the branches the same day staff returns. Administration will work with the county health department on best practices for reopening.
A task force was formed to create the Curbside Pickup service. The Institute of Museum and Library Services issued a report on how to quarantine materials. With those recommendations, procedures have been drafted to quarantine returned items for 48 hours.
Administration has created a plan to address the expected reduction in the Public Library Fund. This includes instituting a hiring freeze; watching discretionary spending very closely; and cutting the Collection Development budget by $500,000. Administrators are expecting a 40-percent reduction in the PLF and some reduction in the local property taxes.
To preserve services, save jobs with all benefits and keep all branches open, starting April 27, all exempt staff will take a 20-percent reduction in pay and non-exempt staff will have their work hours reduced by 20 percent. These are temporary measures. Pay will be restored when the budget stabilizes. Staff will keep their medical coverage, keep regular sick time and vacation accruals, pension credits and other insurance benefits. Administrators will continue to monitor and access the situation. They hope by taking these measures, layoffs can be avoided.
Mr. Cardinal said this is a good plan. It is out of the box thinking.
Ms. Doss asked what percentage of the budget comes from the PLF and local property tax. Ms. Gray said approximately 55 percent of the annual budget comes from the PLF and approximately 45 percent comes from local property taxes.
Ms. Gray is starting to plan for putting salaries back in place. This is a payroll reduction. Employees cannot use their sick or vacation time to make up the hours cut from their schedule.
Ms. Doss said the board is invested in getting the staff back to normal.
Motion by Ms. Kocica, seconded by Mr. Doss, to adopt the proposed pandemic plan. Roll call vote: Ms. Kocica, yea. Ms. Doss, yea. Ms. Waite, yea. Mr. Braun, yea. Ms. Lyons, yea. Mr. Bird, yea. Mr. Cardinal, yea. All present were in favor. Motion was adopted.
Mr. Braun left the meeting at 6:55 p.m.
Will the public be made aware that only exempt staff will be working? Staff can forward emails from the public to their managers.
Once staff goes back to work, will the Library be open May 4? The libraries will open with recommendations from the state and local health departments.
Once staff goes back to work, will staff be given safety equipment? How will the Library help staff prevent spreading the virus? Gloves, spray, and wipes are available. Staff are welcome to wear masks. Administrators will look into goggles. Curbside pickup will be contact-free. Sanitation will be conducted routinely. Materials will be quarantined. Procedures will be in place before reopening to help staff handle patron interactions.
When will administration and the board look at returning staff to normal salary? Administration will look at revenues routinely and make recommendations to the board. Staff will be updated monthly.
How will administration handle the stay-at-home order if it is extended or if another one is issued in the fall? Administration will address those situations if they happen.
How will the rainy-day fund be used in current circumstances? Administration is looking at all available funds.
In light of the reductions in pay, have voluntary layoffs and early retirements been considered? Yes.
Given the hiring freeze, has the HR director been discussed as being on hold? The HR director is for the good of the library and the pandemic is a temporary situation.
Ms. Wick showed a Say Hello video put together by Meghann MacMillan of the Bethel Branch featuring comments by several staff members. Ms. Wick said the video shows everyone’s passion for the library. She thanked the board for passing the pandemic plan and preserving everyone’s job.
Mr. Cardinal thanked the staff for their patience and contributions during this pandemic situation.
Motion by Ms. Kocica, seconded by Mr. Bird, to adjourn the meeting at 7:13 p.m. All were in favor. Motion was adopted.
Next meeting date is May 18.