Board Meeting Minutes — Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Vice-Chairperson, Sommer, called the meeting to order at 7:42 PM

  • Present:
    J. Fausone, S. Foster, T. Hartnett, D. Turner
  • Absent:
    N. Eggenberger, M. Farell
  • Also Present:
    E. Davis, K. Gladden

Call to Audience

(H. Ahmad, L. Golden, R. Havenstein-Coughlin, D. McHugh, M. Nicholson, L. Papa, J. Spencer, N. Szczepanski) – None

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved by unanimous consent.

Approval of General Meeting Minutes

The minutes were approved by unanimous consent.



Director’s Report

E. Davis reviewed the financial statements, noting that we are one-third through the fiscal year and pointing out the areas of Professional & Contractual and Capital Outlay expenses. Due to the PSIP II renovation project, they are trending higher than one-third spent (as would normally be expected at this time of year) but will fall back in line as we move through the year.

R. Havenstein-Coughlin and N. Szczepanski submitted a conference proposal for the Rethink It: On Designing Libraries for a New Age conference, based on their experiences involving both staff and patrons in redesigning the Checkout and Reference Desk areas to conform with Strategic Plan objectives. Their proposal has been accepted and they will be presenting at Grand Valley State University in August.

In response to Trustee D. Turner’s query, Davis explained that the library expanded the Connect Your Summer mailer to include both Plymouth city and Township because of our large reciprocity agreement with Plymouth, shared patron base (due to the shared school system) and ongoing construction at the Plymouth District Library this summer which makes it likely that more Plymouth residents will be visiting us. The added cost to the mass mailing was minimal.

No major changes have been made to the Connect Your Summer program; one change made due to patron feedback is that it will launch on June 1st for homeschoolers, charter school students, and adults for whom the PCCS school year does not apply.

Trustee Comments

D. Turner questioned whether the library has in place a policy covering seniority, accruals, etc. for employees who leave, then come back to the library; Davis responded that it is part of the personnel policy.

Turner also asked if anything in the capital budget needed to be addressed as a consequence of the email problem earlier in the week. Davis and L. Papa explained that the email downtime was caused by the interaction of two different software programs responding to an attempted malware attack. Systems Administrator Carl Swanberg swiftly diagnosed the problem and the system was down for less than half a day. The library’s firewall is adequate and no additional expense is needed.

Finance Committee Report

Vice-Chair S. Foster reported that it was the Finance Committee’s recommendation that the board transfer funds from the endowment program currently managed by the library itself to a donor fund at the Canton Community Foundation. Such an agreement would allow the library to honor donor intent by not touching the principal and also allow the library to realize a larger return on investment. The Committee has had a series of meetings with CCF representatives, discussions have been held with the full board several times over the last few years, legal opinions have been obtained, and all questions and concerns have been handled to the Finance Committee’s satisfaction. They recommend approval of the Resolution which appears later on the agenda.

The committee also recommended that, of the two possible options re: the building bonds (either refinancing the the entire balance or paying off the library’s balance), the board choose to pay off the library’s entire balance. Since this would force the township to refinance their portion of the bond (since they do not have the available funds to pay it off), the Committee further recommended that the library offer to pay for half of the refinancing charges the township would thus incur, as a “good neighbor” gesture. Because the full board had not previously discussed the Resolution, it appears on the May agenda as a discussion item but the board could vote if it wishes.

Unfinished Business & General Orders


New Business

Transfer of the Endowment Fund - The library’s municipal attorney, Anne Seurynck, brought in Doug Mielock (a trusts attorney at Foster, Swift) to review the Canton Community Foundation endowment transfer agreement. While he has no concerns about the Canton Community Foundation, he recognized that any agreement between the foundation and the library should be structured to serve future boards and future administrators of the library, not just the current state. His recommended changes in the proposed agreement were acceptable to Greg Schupra of the CCF. In response to questions previously raised by the board and the Finance Committee:
• Schupra agreed to cut the library’s administrative fee to 1% (from the standard 2%), in recognition that the library would be the foundation’s largest fund.
• The board had asked about an “exit strategy.” All community foundation funds in Michigan are held in perpetuity, so the library would be unable to terminate its relationship with the CCF; however, the library could ask CCF to transfer the fund to another community foundation and/or back to the library; this would be at the CCF board’s discretion.
• The library would receive a 5% distribution of gains annually, based on the average endowment fund balance over the previous eight quarters. These monies could be used immediately, or deposited into an expendable fund which could have its own investment policy; these funds could be used at the library’s discretion. (The approximately $28,000 of accrued gains from the life of the current endowment could also be placed in this expendable fund.)

The Finance Committee believes that all outstanding questions have been answered and issues resolved, and recommended approval of the Resolution.

T. Hartnett moved and J. Fausone supported a motion approve the Resolution to transfer the Endowment Fund to the Canton Community Foundation.

Discussion ensued. D. Turner asked Davis where in the agreement the answers to his questions were included. Davis answered that this is typically handled administratively; the board approves the transfer and the Director carries out the details as discussed. Given that the endowment exceeds $300,000, D. Turner suggested that a written agreement including all of the points be presented to the board for approval at the June meeting, whereupon T. Hartnett withdrew his motion and J. Fausone withdrew his support. Davis said she would work with Greg Schupra at the Canton Community Foundation to incorporate those details for the June meeting.

Bond Redemption Options - The library’s building bond is bundled with other bonds held by the township and runs through 2020, but is eligible for redemption (prepayment) effective with the October 2015 payment. Of the two options the township made available to the library, the greatest library savings would be realized by prepaying the library bond in its entirety. The other option of refinancing the debt at a lower interest rate would also realize savings, but not as much. Both options would realize savings for the township as well, as they would refinance (or re-fund) at a lower rate, but they would also incur refinancing fees as a result of the library’s decision. The Finance Committee recommended that if the board approves redemption of the building bond that the library also pay half of the township’s refinancing charges as a goodwill gesture. The total cost to the library would be approximately $2.7 million.

Davis and D. McHugh provided supporting documents showing the available library fund balance and projecting it over five years if the board approves redemption of the bonds. Davis explained that since this is the first time the board is seeing these details, she would like an idea of how the board is leaning so that she can alert Wendy Trumbull at the township. The full Resolution, prepared by Anne Seurynck and John Kamins of Foster, Swift, would then be brought to the library board for approval at the June meeting.

Discussion ensued, with confirmation from Vice-Chairperson Foster that the Finance Committee supports approval. D. Turner asked if the property would be transferred to the library’s ownership once the bonds are redeemed. Davis responded that this is what is outlined in the original lease and sublease with the Building Authority and Township, and that she would work through the details with Wendy Trumbull and relevant township representatives. J. Fausone asked about the timing of the notice to the township; Davis confirmed that the township would prefer as much notice as possible.

T. Hartnett moved and D. Turner supported a motion to approve a Resolution to Prepay Cash Rentals to Charter Township of Canton and Redirect It to Redeem Related Township Bonds.

Roll Call Vote:

  • Thomas Hartnett: Yes
  • Don Turner: Yes
  • James Fausone: Yes
  • Sommer Foster: Yes

The motion passed unanimously 15/5-21-1.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Policy (1st Reading) - Passage of a more detailed and specific Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Michigan legislature necessitates that the library board have in place a correspondingly detailed policy, procedure and public summary by July 1, 2015. The board was provided with a packet containing a proposed Resolution, policy, public summary and procedure prepared by the library’s attorney, Anne Seurynck of Foster, Swift.

If the board wishes, the library’s Information Technology department can create email accounts for the board to conduct board business, as such emails would be subject to FOIA requests. These email accounts would be included on the board page of the library website. The board will discuss this further at the June meeting.

Several questions re: documents in the FOIA packet were raised by D. Turner. Davis responded that, in accordance with the statute, the library director (or in his/her absence, the Manager on Duty) is the library’s designated FOIA coordinator. Verbal requests for information will continue to be honored by the library. It would not be practicable for the library to post all potential FOIA-able information on the website to avoid requests. Potentially confusing language will be cleaned up and the policy will be presented to the board for their vote at the June meeting.

Strategic Plan Update - The Strategic Plan is in its final year and the document distributed at the meeting outlined accomplishments in the first two quarters of 2015, as the library staff and administration begin to wrap up plan objectives.

D. Turner questioned when the administration would again present statistical information to the board in the form of metrics and “stories.” Davis said that such presentations on circulation, collections and programs will be picked up again at the June meeting. At subsequent meetings, data for the library; data for our peers; and data over time will be presented in context with neighboring libraries and those against whom we benchmark so that, piece by piece, the board will be given the big picture. Davis also reminded the board that, if they had anything specific for which they would like a “deep dive” presentation, they need only ask.

Call to Audience



The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 pm, with Vice-Chair Foster reminding everyone that the June meeting has been rescheduled to Wednesday, June 17 at 7:30 PM.