Texas State Library and Archives Commission
April 17, 2020
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission met on Friday, April 17, 2020 via gotowebinar telephone and videoconference.
Martha Wong, Chair
Larry G. Holt, Vice Chair
David C. Garza
F. Lynwood Givens
Arthur T. Mann
Bradley S. Tegeler
Mark Smith, Director and Librarian
Gloria Meraz, Assistant State Librarian
Donna Osborne, Chief Operations and Fiscal Officer
Sarah Swanson, General Counsel
Jelain Chubb, Director, Archives and Information Services
Craig Kelso, Director, State and Local Records Management
Jennifer Peters, Director, Library Development and Networking
Sarah Jacobson, Director, Talking Book Program
Michael Ford, Director, Information Technology Services
Tracy Kuhn Lash, Executive Assistant
Susan Floyd, Communications Officer
Megan Carey, Manager, Records Management Assistance, SLRM
Erica Siegrist, Government Information Analyst, SLRM
Dan Graves, Weaver and Tidwell
Dr. James Howard Flynn III, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics at the University of Houston
- Welcome and introductions.
Chairman Wong called the meeting to order at 8:33 a.m. and welcomed everyone noting that the meeting was being conducted via videoconference pursuant to the Governor's March 13, 2020 proclamation of a state of disaster affecting all counties in Texas due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Governor’s March 16, 2020 suspension of certain provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act. The Governor's suspension of these provisions has enabled state agencies to meet via videoconference or teleconference instead of in person to advance the public health goal of limiting face-to-face meetings to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, she said. Chairman Wong said the meeting was posted on the Texas Register on April 9, 2020 and that notice indicated the meeting would be conducted via videoconference providing a weblink and phone number for the public to use to access, listen and participate in the meeting.
- Roll Call for members.
Chairman Wong took a roll call of commissioners and established that a quorum was present.
- Roll call for public participants.
Chairman Wong took a roll call to determine if members of the public were present and wished to provide public comment. None responded.
- Approve minutes of February 20 and 21, 2020 Commission Meetings.
Vice Chair Holt moved to approve the minutes of the February 20 and 21, 2020 commission meetings and Commissioner Givens seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
- Public Comment. There was no public comment.
- Conflict of interest disclosures. Chairman Wong took a roll call during which no commissioner disclosed any conflicts.
- Review and approve acceptance of a gift of $500 or greater.
Donna Osborne requested approval of a gift of $5,324 from Crown Castle LLC noting that it is an annual donation to the agency relating to the cellular phone tower on agency property located at 4400 Shoal Creek Blvd., in Austin, Texas. Commissioner Mann moved approval and Commissioner Tegeler seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
- Review and approve contracts greater than $100,000, contract renewals, and amendments.
Jennifer Peters requested approval for a contract not to exceed $285,000 for a term from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 with Education Service Center Region 20 to connect up to 13 libraries in the San Antonio area to its FIBER20 broadband network. Funding for the project is from the agency’s legislative appropriation from the 85th Legislature to provide broadband internet service for libraries. Commissioner Tocker moved approval and Commissioner Garza seconded. Responding to a question from Vice Chair Holt, Mark Smith said there was no restriction on using the funds for construction and noted that ESC 20 is operating a very robust highspeed internet project also funded by the 85th Legislature through the Texas Education Agency. Libraries need financial assistance to physically reach the broadband source or “the last mile connection,” he said. Other opportunities for expanding highspeed internet service for libraries will be discussed later in the meeting he said. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
At this point in the meeting, Chairman Wong returned to Agenda Item 7 at the request of Commissioner Givens who asked about the current contract terms and the possibility of entering into a new and more favorable agreement between the agency and Crown Castle LLC. Sarah Swanson said she has done a preliminary review but needed additional time to research the agreement and discuss with General Land Office staff. Chairman Wong asked that this item be included on the agenda for the commission’s next meeting.
- Report of the Audit Committee.
Commissioner Givens reported that the Audit Committee met on April 16, 2020 via telephone conference and all committee members were present as well as Chairman Wong. During his summary of committee actions, the meeting lost audio contact with Commissioner Givens. Dan Graves told the commission that audits on grants management and prior year audit findings received satisfactory ratings but an audit on agency contract management resulted in an unsatisfactory rating. He noted that contract management entails a very large area that includes many different types of agreements and contracts and that it is not uncommon for agencies to struggle in this area. He said the unsatisfactory rating was mainly due to a lack of standardization across the agency and noted that TSLAC had already been addressing the issue before the audit began most notably by hiring a general counsel.
Commissioner Givens commended staff and the auditors for exceptional work noting that Mark Smith and staff have taken very strong steps to address the unsatisfactory finding. Mark Smith said the agency was aware of this situation prior to the audit but welcomed the audit findings. He said with the advent of Sarah Swanson joining the agency as general counsel in September, staff took a long look at contract management processes within the agency and at other agencies. He said the agency had already begun to centralize contract administration, has completed a contract management procedure manual and currently is actively recruiting a contract manager. He said staff are putting other elements in place that will address the audit’s concerns.
Responding to a question from Vice Chair Holt, Director Smith said the new contract manager position will report to Donna Osborne but work in tandem with the general counsel. Vice Chair Holt asked when contract management in the agency was last audited. Donna Osborne said that area had not been audited and noted Weaver and Tidwell’s approach to auditing has been different from the agency’s previous auditors who traditionally audited processes within each agency division rather than the wholistic approach that Weaver and Tidwell use. Mr. Graves said his firm also expanded the auditable areas from 15 to approximately 50.
Chairman Wong pointed out that the agency did request a contract management position in the last legislative session and Director Smith clarified that the agency requested two positions general counsel and an assistant which would work in contract management but received funding only for the general counsel position.
Because of the earlier audio malfunction, Commissioner Givens summarized the committee’s actions which were requesting an extension of time to construct a fence at the Sam Houston Center in Liberty, asked for a presentation of the Talking Book Program’s detailed strategic plan be presented at a subsequent committee meeting and that staff include visits to some grant recipient libraries in the grant management process and suggested the use of a checklist. He said the committee feels strongly that a “boots on the ground” approach is valuable in the grant monitoring process. No action taken.
- Report of the Archives and Records Committee meeting.
Vice Chair Holt reported that the Archives and Records Committee met on March 30, 2020 via telephone conference and noted that two committee items (the Texas State Records Retention Schedule and the storage and imaging fee schedule) will be covered later in the meeting. Vice Chair Holt noted that the discussion of the Cleveland-Partlow house ownership will not be considered in this meeting and asked Mark Smith to elaborate on that discussion. Director Smith reminded the commission that the house is located in the town of Liberty several miles away from the Sam Houston Center andconsists of a historic house and a meeting facility which is used by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The DARR has had a long-term agreement with TSLAC for its use. Staff discussed with the committee the possibility of exploring transferring ownership of the property to another entity, action that would require legislative authority as well as finding an appropriate organization. No discussions have been initiated, he said.
Vice Chair Holt said the committee also discussed third party collaborative agreements and reminded the commission that the Sunset legislation required the agency to explore these types of arrangements. Sarah Swanson said staff will develop a template for such agreements that will include certain standardized requirements important to the agency based on principles of the National Archives. The agreements would address the agency’s rights to the digital images, indexing the materials and provide access and attribution of the original source, she said. Jelain Chubb reported that she had contacted Ancestry.com to transfer a subset of images of the confederate muster rolls for a pilot project to ingest the images into the Texas Digital Archive. Vice Chair Holt commended staff on the pilot project as a step toward the long-range goal of integrating these resources into the agency’s collection. No action taken.
- Review and approve FY 2021 Records storage and imaging fee schedule.
Craig Kelso presented the FY2021 records storage and imaging fee schedule for the State Records Center operations. Vice Chair Holt moved to approve the schedule and Commissioner Garza seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote with the motion passing 6-0 as the Chair did not vote.
- Review and approve MOU with University of Houston to site a research station at the Sam Houston Center.
Sarah Swanson presented a proposed Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Houston to site a research station at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty. She noted that the commission at its February 20, 2020 meeting requested staff bring a draft MOU to this meeting. Commissioner Garza moved approval and Commissioner Mann seconded. Commissioners expressed concerns about some of the MOU’s terms and recommended changes in the MOU to address those concerns. The motion and second were withdrawn. After Ms. Swanson reviewed the changes and further discussion, Vice Chair Holt moved to approve the agency finalize and negotiate the MOU with the changes specified by the commission during the meeting. Commissioner Mann seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
Chairman Wong recessed the meeting at 10:15 a.m. and called it back to order at 10:20 a.m.
- Review and approve TSLAC Agency Strategic Plan 2021-2025.
Mark Smith presented the Agency Strategic Plan for 2021 – 2025. Commissioner Mann moved to approve the plan and Commissioner Givens seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
- Report of the Director and Librarian.
Mark Smith provided a written report on agency activities and answered questions from the commission. He noted the historic nature of the meeting since it is the first time the Library and Archives Commission ever met via videoconference and complimented Chairman Wong for running a very organized meeting. He noted that the meeting was being conducted in the gotowebinar platform and said the agency is exploring meetings on Zoom but was proceeding cautiously due to security concerns with that platform. Director Smith reported on the state of agency operations as TSLAC public service areas are closed to the public and most of TSLAC staff have been working from their homes since March 17. However, he said that staff are able to maintain the majority of agency activities and services. As of Monday, April 13, some staff returned to work in Talking Book circulation as well as imaging operations at the State Records Center. He said that Center staff have been working throughout the closure to serve state agencies needing records transported to and from the Center.
He also reported that Texas will receive $2.6 million in federal funds as part of the coronavirus stimulus package. Staff are considering two projects that involve connecting libraries to high speed internet backbones and also providing direct grants to libraries. He said details of these grants are still being worked out but he said the agency will move quickly to implement this program. Commissioner Givens expressed concerns about libraries who have already received grants not being able to fulfill grant requirements due to the coronavirus situation with all libraries closed. Director Smith said the agency is aware of this and monitoring these grants. He said the issue is being discussed at both state and federal levels and he expects guidance from the federal government on this issue.
Responding to questions from Chairman Wong, Jelain Chubb reported that the air conditioners are functioning at the Sam Houston Center and an assessment of further repair work there will be done. Chairman Wong asked about the status of moving legislative records from the state archives to the Legislative Reference Library and how the LRL will provide access to those records. Ms. Chubb said the transfer is nearly complete, but she does not know how the LRL will handle or provide access for those records. Responding to a question from Chairman Wong, Gloria Meraz reported on the status of the agency’s ability to advertise certain services and that funds had been expended to boost Facebook posts promoting public library services during the coronavirus pandemic and that additional boosts were planned for other agency services in the future.
Commissioner Givens commented that a herculean effort is required to keep an organization running in such times and commended and thanked staff and Director Smith who thanked Commissioner Givens for recognizing the challenges faced by the agency. He said it was challenging to deploy staff to work remotely so quickly and to maintain staff morale. He reported that teams are meeting regularly and staying in close contact and that staff are maintaining the highest level of accountability. No action required.
- Authorization to post in the Texas Register re-adoption of 13 TAC Chapter 4, School Library Programs.
Jennifer Peters requested approval to post re-adoption of 13 TAC Chapter 4, School Library Programs noting that the posted notice of review received no comments. Commissioner Tegeler moved to approve and Commissioner Tocker seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
- Authorization to post in the Texas Register re-adoption of 13 TAC Chapter 8, TexShare Library Consortium.
Jennifer Peters requested authorization to post in the Texas Register re-adoption of 13 TAC Chapter 8, TexShare Library Consortium, noting that the posted notice of review received no comments. Vice Chair Holt moved to approve the request and Commissioner Tocker seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
- Authorization to post in the Texas Register proposed amendments to 13 TAC 7.1 and 7.7 and proposed new 13 TAC 7.10 relating to procedure and standards for transferring title to local historical resources to depositories.
Jelain Chubb requested authorization to post in the Texas Register proposed amendments to 13 TAC 7.1 and 7.7 and proposed new section 13 TAC 7.10 relating to procedure and standards for transferring title to local historical resources to the regional historical resource depositories. Ms. Chubb said that this is in keeping with the agency’s Sunset review and recommendations to adopt rules and procedures that would allow TSLAC to transfer local historical resources to regional depositories. Vice Chair Holt commented that the Archives and Records Committee discussed this extensively and that Commissioner Givens had suggested modifications incorporated into the final version. Vice Chair Holt moved to approve the request and Commissioner Tegeler seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
- Authorization to post in the Texas Register adoption of amendments to 13 TAC 6.10, regarding the Texas State Records Retention Schedule.
Craig Kelso requested authorization to post in the Texas Register adoption of amendments to 13 TAC 6.10 regarding the Texas State Records Retention Schedule. Mr. Kelso noted that the Sunset Advisory Commission’s Staff Report with Final Results required TSLAC to update the schedule by April 2020 and that the last comprehensive update was completed in 2007. He said a task force worked for several months to revise the schedule and that the Archives and Records Committee met in January and approved the schedule for posting for comment, as authorized by the commission at its November 1, 2019 meeting. The committee met again on March 30 to review the 400 comments received and staff responses to those comments which resulted in the revised schedule presented for adoption. Vice Chair Holt said the schedule revisions were discussed extensively at the committee meeting and thanked Mr. Kelso and his staff for their work on the schedule. Commissioner Mann moved to approve the authorization and Commissioner Garza seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
- Report on agency expenditures summary.
Donna Osborne provided a written report on agency expenditures and responded to questions regarding the report. No action required. Responding to a question from Commissioner Givens, Ms. Osborne said the agency is required to track funds and staff hours spent related to coronavirus activities as well as tracking and estimating any revenue lost from the pandemic’s impact. Commissioner Givens also asked what the impact on staff is and Mark Smith said the agency has two primary goals in mind and those are to keep staff safe and healthy and to continue to provide as many agency services as possible. He said the agency has worked to ensure staff have the resources they need and to minimize the need for staff to work in the buildings and that managers and supervisors stay in close contact with staff. Commissioner Givens said the commission supports the staff entirely and wholeheartedly and understands that there are limitations during this time.
Responding to a question from Commissioner Mann, Director Smith said the agency has not been informed of any staff cuts or hiring freezes but are certainly aware of the budget concerns. He said the agency will begin working on the Legislative Appropriations Request for the next biennium very soon and has had indications that agencies should plan for up to a 20% cut but that has not been confirmed but expected. Commissioner Tegeler recommended the commission expect the worst in the area of budget cuts as indications are that budgets will be impacted drastically as they were in 2005 and 2011. Ms. Osborne pointed out that once cuts reach a certain level the agency’s federal funds could be reduced if the agency cannot meet maintenance of effort.
Chairman Wong thanked Mark Smith and staff for carrying out the work of the agency during such difficult times and thanked the commission for attending the meeting. Commissioner Tegeler moved to adjourn the meeting and Commissioner Garza seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 11:37 a.m.