Texas State Library and Archives Commission
June 5, 2020
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission met on Friday, June 5, 2020 via 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
Alana Inman, Manager, Sam Houston Center, ARIS
Shirley Robinson, Executive Director, Texas Library Association
- 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. Shirley Robinson responded and said the Texas Library Association greatly values the longstanding relationship it has with TSLAC and provided an update of Texas Library Association activities during the pandemic. She reported that TLA’s annual conference which was cancelled in March became a virtual conference with 1,500 participants across the state. TLA has been very active in supporting libraries impacted by the coronavirus with weekly interactive discussions for librarians on topics to help them during the pandemic. Recent topics have included help with operations and reopening information, school library advocacy, summer reading program information, equity, inclusion and diversity activities and understanding budgets impacted by the coronavirus. She reported that the 10 fall district meetings will be conducted virtually as will leadership programs. She said that TLA has long had conversations on equity, inclusion and diversity but during the past week, TLA has also issued a formal statement condemning racism and violence and acknowledges that as an organization they have much more work to do in this area. Chairman Wong said it seems like TLA has adapted well to the current situation and thanked Ms. Robinson for attending the meeting and for her remarks.
Minutes of April 17, 2020 Commission Meeting.
Commissioner Mann moved to approve the minutes of the April 17, 2020 commission meeting and Commissioner Tocker seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
Public Comment. There was no other 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 $30,833.34 from the estate of Mary Jo Edell to the Talking Book Program. Ms. Edell was a patron of the program, Ms. Osborne said. Commissioner Tegeler moved approval and Commissioner Tocker 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 to renew a contract with Amigos Library Services for e-book configuration and hosting services for up to 165 small and medium sized libraries at a cost not to exceed $235,000 for one year. Commissioner Mann moved approval and Commissioner Garza seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Peters requested approval to renew a contract with Counting Opinions for one year from September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021 in the amount of $30,750. Counting Opinions is the online data collection tool to gather the required public library data each year. Commissioner Givens moved approval and Commissioner Tocker seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Peters requested approval for a new contract with Education Service Center 20 to administer the TexQuest program in the amount of $345,902.71 for the contract period September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021. Vice Chair Holt moved approval and Commissioner Mann seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Peters requested approval to renew a contract with the Middle Country Public Library for a one-year contract from September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021 in an amount not to exceed $106,000 for Texas librarians to participate in the Family Place workshops. Commissioner Mann moved approval and Commissioner Garza seconded. Commissioner Tocker said he is familiar with the program and that it is a wonderful program but expressed concerns at renewing a contract that involves travel to another state during the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Tegeler expressed similar concerns. After discussion, Commissioner Garza withdrew his second of the motion. Commissioner Givens seconded the motion stating that he would like agency staff to have the option to earmark the funds. Chairman Wong conducted a roll call vote and the motion passed 4-3 with Chairman Wong, Vice Chair Holt, Commissioners Givens and Mann voting aye and Commissioners Garza, Tegeler and Tocker voting nay.
Ms. Peters requested approval to renew contracts for the TexShare core with ProQuest LLC to provide access to the online genealogy tool, Heritage Quest, and to pay for access fees to three databases owned by TSLAC, totaling $408,199 and with a subscription period from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. Individual amounts are as follows: Heritage Quest $378,750, ProQuest Sanborn Maps access fee $15,525, 20th Century Poetry Access Fees $4, 174, and 20th Century English Poetry fees $9,750. Vice Chair Holt moved to approve and Commissioner Tocker seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote and the motion passed unanimously.
Jelain Chubb requested approval for a one-year contract with Preservica for data storage of the Texas Digital Archive in an amount not to exceed $259,400. She said bids were solicited for this project and based on the materials received determined Preservica offered the best and most cost-effective option for the agency. Commissioner Tegeler moved approval and Commissioner Tocker seconded. Chairman Wong conducted a roll call vote resulting in unanimous approval.
Discussion of Sam Houston Center maintenance upgrades.
Jelain Chubb provided an update on repairs and upgrades at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center and reported that the HVAC system continues to break down and needs replacing. Because keeping the HVAC operational over the past several months has taken funds from project funds intended for the upgrade of the system and because the estimate to replace the system by an engineering firm is higher than the funds allocated, she requested approval to reallocate funds for historic building repairs and a side awning for the Center to the HVAC system replacement. Currently some areas of the Center are without air conditioning including some of the archives. The Texas Facilities Commission would manage the project and Donna Osborne stated that TFC will go out for bid on this project. Commissioner Givens expressed concerns about TFC’s ability to address this immediate need and Ms. Chubb said TFC knows this is a critical need. Sarah Swanson said that generally the agency is required to use TFC but that she has been exploring other options. Commissioner Tegeler asked for information about the Center’s collection since he is relatively new on the commission. Ms. Chubb said the Center’s collection includes the records of Governor Price Daniels, Congressman Martin Dies, records of Texas Senator Carl Parker, letters, diaries, ranching history, African-American history and much more. The Center is a regional depository for the 10-county historic Atascosito district which contains some very early records dating to 1829. She shared photos with the commission of the Jean and Price Daniel House and the historic Gillard Duncan house both located at the Center. Commissioner Tegeler expressed support for the Center.
Chairman Wong mentioned that she and Mark Smith had met with the TFC Director and Commission Chair earlier in the year to share concerns and stress the importance of the work needed at the Center and Director Smith said that meeting helped somewhat. Upon hearing that staff had found mold in certain areas of the Center, Commissioner Givens expressed concerns about the situation and asked for details on what areas of the collection are in danger. Commissioner Tegeler suggested contacting the elected officials in that district for assistance in expediting the TFC pace. Chairman Wong asked staff to take photos of any mold in case a call to elected officials is necessary and said she would check with the governor’s office on protocol of such actions. Alana Inman said staff had taken care of the mold and that she doesn’t believe it is a mold outbreak although that doesn’t completely rule out that there could be mold in other areas. After further discussion, Commissioner Mann moved to approve the request and Commissioner Tegeler seconded. Chairman Wong conducted a roll call vote resulting in unanimous approval.
At 10:09 a.m. Chairman Wong called a break in the meeting and reconvened the meeting at 10:16 a.m.
Initial Review and discussion of TSLAC Legislative Appropriations Request.
Mark Smith said the agency has not received instructions for the Legislative Appropriations Request for FY2022-23 but expect the structure to be similar to previous LARs and to meet an anticipated early August due date, staff prepared a draft LAR for commission consideration and discussion. He said the big unknown is to what extent state agencies will be asked to make budget reductions and explained that the draft LAR sets out budget reductions of five percent increments up to 20 percent. Should the state require further reductions, staff are prepared to respond with further cuts to programs, likely reducing shared information resources, eliminating positions, funding for Sam Houston Center repairs and safety upgrades and other projects and services, he said. Despite the budget situation, he said staff recommend stating the agency’s needs particularly in the area of records storage space and support for the state’s libraries. Therefore, he asked commissioners to allow staff to again include an exceptional item for the records storage solution as the highest priority as it was in the last legislative session but was not funded, and to include other exceptional items to restore budget reductions, as all other state agencies do, and funds to support libraries in a variety of ways.
Commissioner Tegeler said his sources indicate it will be a very difficult legislative session like no other and advised that TSLAC should ask for what the agency needs cautioning against anything that appears excessive during a difficult time. He said his observations are that TSLAC is a lean, well-run agency and suggested that the draft LAR tone could be improved since he considered it a little hostile. His number one priority he said would be support for the Sam Houston Center. Director Smith thanked Commissioner Tegeler for his observations noting that it would never be his intention to appear hostile to the Legislature. He said staff recognize the difficulty of asking for $26 million during a very difficult budget year but he feels that legislators know that agencies have needs and he believes it is important to state those needs.
Gloria Meraz pointed out that during the last legislative session the agency was directed to conduct a feasibility study for finding storage space outside Central Austin to address the agency’s storage needs. Staff were told that the Legislature is expecting the agency to have a path forward as a result of the study which found that expansion at the Records Center is the most cost-effective solution. Also given the length of time construction projects take going forward now will help meet the need when it occurs which is predicted to be in five years.
Director Smith said the rationale for the other exceptional items is that in past legislative sessions staff were asked by legislators why TSLAC had not included restoration of budget cuts in its LAR and that he learned that many agencies include this request in their LARs. He said that the component for library support began prior to the coronavirus situation but sharpened dramatically during this crisis libraries because libraries are in need of support for digital programming and in a position to help their communities with economic recovery.
Commissioner Givens said staff did an excellent job on the LAR and that he understands the difficulty of having to make cuts. He recommended emphasizing the impact of the coronavirus in the LAR. He also said he was disappointed at cuts for the Sam Houston Center but said he would like SHC staff to know that the commission supports them.
Chairman Wong stated that one of the agency’s major goals is to preserve and to keep the archives and so she supports continuing to ask for funds for storage. She said she appreciated the thoroughness of the LAR and presenting reductions in increments and also Commissioners Givens and Tegeler’s support for the Sam Houston Center. She noted that the agency does receive some support for the Sam Houston Center from a local organization there in Liberty.
Vice Chair Holt said he thinks the exceptional items are in the correct order and that he appreciated Commissioner Tegeler’s comments on the tone. He said some of these matters are urgent and should be treated as such and stated that there is a very fine line of stressing the urgency of matters and being overly aggressive. He believes the agency’s records function is a core government function. Though not a public safety issue, he continued, this function is somewhere in the second tier. He said that if the government does not perform that function and keep its own records then it has failed.
Chairman Wong asked Commissioner Tegeler if he would assist staff with the LAR wording. Director Smith said that unless the commission desired to take action at this meeting, staff would move forward to prepare the formal LAR for commission approval at a meeting in July. No action taken.
Report of the Director and Librarian.
In addition to a lengthy written report, Mark Smith updated the commission on agency activities during the coronavirus pandemic noting that even with most staff teleworking, staff have maintained full agency functions and services. Staff are working on site at the Talking Book Program circulation, the State Records Center and in all agency public service areas following the governor’s orders that libraries may operate at 25 percent capacity starting May 4 and up to 50 percent capacity in the week prior to this meeting although demand for in person public service has been light. Agencies have recently been asked to reduce budgets for the current biennium by five percent and staff are working on that plan which will be cuts to TexShare and TexQuest databases which the agency can cover with federal funds. Commissioner Givens asked if the IT division is fully staffed and because of his concerns about cybersecurity, requested an update on that department. Chairman Wong commended staff for being able to operate during the pandemic. No action required.
Discussion of Easement No. ME 96-0028 on State Records Center property.
At the commission’s request and for the benefit of Commissioner Tegeler, Sarah Swanson provided background information regarding the easement that allows a cell tower on the agency’s property at the State Records Center since 1996 and answered questions from the commission. At past meetings, the commission has expressed concerns about the small amount of money generated annually by this agreement and its desire to renegotiate for better terms. Ms. Swanson said the state is getting the majority of the money with TSLAC getting a small portion and shared a table of those amounts. The agreement is in its final year of the fourth term extension and the entity, Crown Castle, has the option to extend to a fifth and final term which would end in 2026. The agreement is negotiated by the General Land Office and Ms. Swanson has reached out to the General Land Office and they have assured her that any new agreements will be in consultation with TSLAC.
Because the funds to state go into the Capital Trust Fund which is generally for construction, Chairman Wong suggested that staff request Capital Trust funds for expansion of the State Records Center and asked staff to research what entity determines how that money is spent.
Commissioner Givens asked staff to determine the real current commercial value of such an agreement and commented that he considered the agreement to be one of the worst he has seen. Ms. Swanson has examined similar agreements and found that other state agencies’ agreements are similar in value.
Donna Osborne said she believed that the agreement may not be renegotiated until the agreement’s final year. Vice Chair Holt suggested that the agency would be in a better negotiating position closer to the end of the term. Because commissioners believe that the commercial value of such an agreement is much higher than what the agency receives and because staff believe Crown Castle would like to be able to sublease the tower usage to other entities currently prohibited in the agreement, Commissioner Givens suggested staff explore with the GLO other options that would be more advantageous to both parties. No action required.
Authorization to post in the Texas Register adoption of amendments, new rules, and repeals to 13 TAC Chapter 2.
Sarah Swanson requested approval to publish adoption of new 13 TAC §2.5, Advisory Committees; General Requirements and §2.9, TexShare Library Consortium Advisory Board (TexShare Advisory Board), amendments to 13 TAC §2.3, Procedures of the Commission; §2.7, Library Systems Act Advisory Board (LSA Board); §2.8, Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB); §2.46, Negotiated Rulemaking; §2.48, Petition for Adoption of Rule Changes, and repeals of 13 TAC §2.6, Sunset Dates for Advisory Committees and §2.57, Petition for Adoption of Rule Changes. She said the proposed amendments, new sections, and repeals were published in the March 13, 2020 issue of the Texas Register for a 30-day public comment period and no comments were received. Vice Chair Holt moved to approve and Commissioner Mann seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote which passed unanimously.
Authorization to post for comment in the Texas Register proposed amendments to 13 TAC 6.1, 6.5, and 6.8 and 13 TAC 7.125(a)(10), Schedule EL.
Craig Kelso requested authorization to post for comment in the Texas Register proposed amendments to 13 TAC §§6.1, 6.5 and 6.8. Commissioner Givens moved to approve and Commissioner Tegeler seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote which passed unanimously.
Mr. Kelso requested authorization to post for comment proposed amendments to 13 TAC §7.125(a)(10) Schedule EL, local government retention schedules related to voter registration and election records noting that the amendments are corrections in the document’s headers and footers and a change in font style to be consistent with other local government retention schedules. Commissioner Mann moved to approve and Commissioner Tocker seconded. Chairman Wong took a roll call vote which passed unanimously.
Discussion of future commission meeting dates.
Mark Smith reviewed the upcoming commission meeting dates which will include a short meeting in July for the commission to approve the agency’s Legislative Appropriations Request and the CARES Act grants to libraries. He said he did not know if future meetings will be held by videoconference. Because two commissioners cannot attend a meeting the week of July 6, staff will revisit dates for that meeting.
Report on agency expenditures summary.
Donna Osborne provided a written report on agency expenditures and responded to questions regarding the report. No action required.
There being no further business before the commission, Commissioner Mann moved to adjourn the meeting and Commissioner Tocker seconded. Chairman Wong adjourned the meeting at 12:02 pm