The Special Meeting of the Eisenhower Public Library District Board of Trustees August 18, 2020
CALL TO ORDER
President Braun, called the meeting to order at 7:03 P.M.
Present Electronically: Ringelstein, Braun, Magnelli, Magnuson, Parent, Adams, Ross (7:08 P.M.).
Absent Committee Member Massaro.
Also Present Electronically: Bacarella, Committee Members Stacy Wittmann, Penny Blubaugh, Dawn Parent, Dan McPhillips (7:10 P.M.), Stam, and Attorney Thomas M. Melody.
Declaration by the Board President that a fully in-person meeting is not Practical or Prudent because of COVID.
RECOGNITION OF VISITORS
Attorney Thomas M. Melody, Committee Members Dawn Parent, Dan McPhillips, Penny Blubaugh, and Julie Stam were recognized.
There were no comments from the public.
ISLAND WITHIN A CITY BOOK
Director Wittmann submitted a document to the Board and the Committee Members that laid out three potential options in continuing with the project. She created these options because she had a sense from the last meeting that there was a concern about the direction that the book was going in, a concern about not having an established exact type of citation, and progress on the book. She briefly outlined each option to the Board and Committee members.
Option one would require the author to provide a table of contents and each one should have the scope of the topic for each chapter. This would have to be submitted to the Committee by August 31. The author would be required to write a report to Director Wittmann of her activities every month and along with that, she would need to provide the first quarter of the book completed by September 30, the second quarter by October 31, the third quarter by November 30, and the fourth quarter by December 31. Starting with the October 31 deadline, the author would have to submit edits to the previous quarters. Concurrent with this the Committee would work on hiring an editor. Whatever the author submitted to the Committee would be sent to the editor for review. On January 31, 2021, any edits required for the fourth quarter would be due. Once the entire book was done, they would wait to publish it until the scope of the pandemic and its impact was ascertained.
Option two the author would be asked to stop working on the book and the Committee would provide a summary of what they required and a list of historical events of the community that they want the author to write about. Each Committee member could put together five ideas they would like to bring to the table. The Committee would then narrow them down to top ten events they wanted the author to cover in the book. The timeline would be adjusted accordingly.
Option three would be to terminate the contract with the author and table the project until they are better able to articulate their thoughts and wishes to another author that they contract with and then wait until the pandemic is over.
Trustee Parent paraphrased an observation that Dawn Parent had made. He advised that at a couple of the meetings they had given the author very specific advice of what they do not like but abstract information of what they want. Dawn Parent’s suggestion would be to reverse that and give the author more specific information of what they want her to write about. The Committee would shoulder the burden of the things they wanted and would put themselves in the driver’s seat. He thought there were many advantages to option two.
Trustee Ringelstein advised that she was interested in combining option one and two where with option one the author would still report to Director Wittmann but she would still have her creative flare, and at the same time, they would monitor and give her some freedom. She felt that this could then let the Committee feel comfortable and confident with the direction of the book.
Trustee Magnuson wanted to know from a financial perspective how large, the potential audience would be and if it would warrant their expenditures. Director Wittmann responded that anecdotally the first book was in high demand and it was referenced widely. Penny advised that many people have asked about the book and that the first book was surprisingly popular. Trustee Magnuson commented on how that should drive what goes in the book. She also liked the idea of combining option one and two. Penny felt that if you combine option one with two then the timeline would have to be extended.
Dawn Parent felt that combining option one and two would be workable but she was leaning more towards option two, which she felt would keep a tighter rein on the project in terms of what they wanted to see in the book. She felt that expanding the timeline would be a good idea. Director Wittmann advised that maybe they could have Laura suggest five ideas to the Committee on what she could write about. Trustee Parent advised that with five suggestions she could share how much material she had for them. He thought this would offer her the opportunity to contribute the things she had already researched and the material she had and combining with the items that they wanted her to write about. The Committee agreed to offer the author the opportunity to contribute in terms of things she had already researched and had material on and found fascinating. They also agreed that they would like to request a timeline from the author. Trustee Magnelli thought they should go through what the author had and then decide. He liked option one with a sprinkle of option two. Trustee Ross liked a mixture of option one and two. Trustee Magnuson liked Trustee Magnelli’s recommendation of going through what the author had and then they could decide what they wanted out of that in the book. Penny advised that maybe they could get an outline of what the author would like to include in the book and then the Committee could come up with their own items. Director Wittmann recommended that the Committee meet and go over what they wanted in the book and come up with ten must haves and the author could submit a table of contents with all of the scope she was thinking for each chapter unpacked for the Committee. Dan felt that it was time to help the author. He had a patron ask where the book was. He thought the author needed some guidance on subjects and he would like to hear what the author had.
Attorney Melody made a suggestion to the Board and Committee that whatever they wanted to do it needed to be presented to the author in terms of a contract modification. He advised that they should preface it to the author that they were less than pleased with the way the last meeting went and give her a new direction they want to go in. The author could give her input on what she wanted also but it had to be something the Board and Committee could live with. He advised that he would write up a contract addendum to make it clear to the author what the Committee expected and with what the author expected. He felt everything was on the table right now. He suggested that they should go in nicely with a “let’s work together” to see how they were going to make this project go forward in a way that was satisfactory and acceptable to everyone and he would write up a one page contract addendum. Trustee Magnelli asked if they were obligated to pay the author or if they could withhold it. Attorney Melody advised that they could withhold payment at this point. The current payment due date should be changed. He advised that they needed to notify the author to let her know that they wanted to move in a different direction. He recommended that the Committee and Board outline in the addendum the key expectations of what would happen from now until the completion of the project. The Committee needed to give the author some direction and that had to be in writing. Attorney Melody advised that they do not need to hash out everything now and that the next step would be to sit down and talk with the author and discuss how they wanted things to unfold, what the next steps would be, and what the timeline should be. If the author was all on board and agreed to the schedule and timeline then payment could be made. The Board would have to vote on the addendum, and if the author was ok on the addendum then the Board could approve it later and no special meeting would be needed.
Director Wittmann advised that her concern was establishing a timeline because this had not worked well in the past. Trustee Parent recommended that each Committee member email five events they would like covered in the book to Director Wittmann. She would collect them and put them together. Trustee Parent wanted to know if those items needed to be voted on by the Committee. Attorney Melody responded that it was up to the Committee if they wanted to vote on those items. He stated that it depended on the preference of the Committee if they wanted to move quickly or make sure everyone on the Committee is ok with everything. He said the Committee really did not have to vote on anything until they have to approve a final agreement or until they are ready to spend money. Trustee Parent asked if it was legitimate for Director Wittmann to compile the items submitted and then send them out to the Committee for a straw poll vote. Attorney Melody advised that this was fine to do as long as they did not “reply to all”. Director Wittmann advised that she would reach out to the Author and clarify what will happen moving forward. Trustee Braun asked if they could ask the author if she had a list of contents yet and a chapter outline. Attorney Melody advised that they could absolutely ask for those things, the author should report those things to the Committee. He also commented that as part of the addendum going forward she should maintain regular reports to Director Wittmann. Trustee Ringelstein advised that she was 100% on board with this. Trustee Adams agreed with the direction that the book was going and she was on board with everything. Trustee Ross liked option one and two. Trustee Magnuson and Trustee Magnelli are also good with this. Director Wittmann advised that she would draft an email to the author and have it reviewed by Attorney Melody.
Dawn Parent would like a synopsis from the author of what they could expect to see in the chapters. She felt this would give them more of an idea where the author was heading with the project. She advised that she still was not entirely sure where the book was heading. She advised that she would like the interviews that were conducted and she would like the author to provide the interviews transcribed as an addendum. She clarified that she would like the interviews where the author used quotes in the book transcribed as an addendum. She would like to put this on the author’s radar. Trustee Braun commented that this information does belong to the Library. Trustee Magnuson responded that she felt that the informational addendum would be nice for the Committee but not in the book. She advised that she felt people would possibly be reluctant to speak openly if they knew their entire interview would be published in the book. Dawn Parent advised that there had to be something to cite and that having the interviews transcribed in the addendum would allow anyone reading the book have access to the information. She also thought maybe the audio could be stored digitally somewhere for people to access. Trustee Magnuson advised that this would have to be set up in advanced of the interview that the content would be stored and available upon request. Attorney Melody advised that there should be written notification given in advanced that the interview would be recorded and that the recording would be preserved and made available to anyone who wanted to hear it. This statement should be made before the interview, and signed off acknowledging it. Trustee Parent commented that the Library owned any interviews that the author performed. Attorney Melody also stated that the recordings and all her research and drafts belong to the Library. If the interview recording existed, the Committee would like them.
The Committee agreed that the goal was to have a discussion with the author and then work on an addendum to the contract. The Committee could start submitting topic suggestions to Director Wittmann and she would start putting them together.
Trustee Magnelli asked Attorney Melody if they were entitled to the recordings and all of the research if the author decides to pull out of the project. Attorney Melody responded that everything the author had in regards to the book belonged to the Library. Penny Blubaugh wanted Director Wittmann to tally up the topic suggestions sent to her from the Committee members.
Trustee Parent thanked Director Wittmann, Trustee Ringelstein and Penny for their preparatory work for the meeting. He also thanked Attorney Melody for attending.
Next Island Within A City Committee Meeting Date—
The Board will hold off on setting another meeting date.
Trustee Ross moved, seconded by Trustee Parent, THAT THE MEETING BE ADJOURNED. A roll call vote was taken and the results were as follows: AYES Magnuson, Ross, Magnelli, Ringelstein, Parent, Adams, and Braun. NAYS None. ABSENT None. The motion carried unanimously. The Committee Meeting was adjourned at 8:02 P.M.