Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Ad Hoc Committee on the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center
May 22, 2014
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center met on Thursday, May 22, 2014, at 6100 Foundation Place, Bryan, Texas.
Larry G. Holt, committee chair
Martha Doty Freeman
Sandra J. Pickett
Michael C. Waters, commission chair, ex officio
Sharon T. Carr, vice chairman
Mark Smith, director and librarian
Jelain Chubb, director, Archives and Information Services
Donna Osborne, director, Administrative Services
Alana Inman, manager, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center
Jill Sutherland, senior purchaser
Tracy Kuhn Lash, executive assistant
Commissioner Holt called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m.
- Approve minutes of April 8, 2014 meeting.
After corrections were noted, Commissioner Freeman moved approval of the April 8 committee meeting minutes. Commission Chairman Waters seconded. Motion passed.
- Review and discuss updated information on the facility repair work at the Sam Houston Center.
Jelain Chubb provided an update on security, fire suppression system work and other maintenance projects at the Center along with timeline and budget information about each item. She and Alana Inman answered questions about the projects.
Review and discuss updated information on the site plan for the Sam Houston Center.
Jelain Chubb provided a topographic survey map of the Center’s grounds completed in April and a proposal to address drainage investigation and improvement, both from the engineering and survey firm, Fittz and Shipman, and responded to questions from the committee. Ms. Chubb said the agency is contracting with the firm to perform comprehensive engineering and surveying services for the Center’s site plan. Once the recommendations for work are received in mid-July, staff will add their recommendations and provide all to the committee. The committee set a tentative meeting date of July 18 to consider the recommendations.
Commissioner Holt recessed the meeting at noon for a lunch break and reconvened the meeting at 1:01 p.m.
Discuss preparation of the Legislative Appropriations Review and discuss updated information on the site plan for the Sam Houston Center.
Mark Smith reviewed the agency’s proposed Exceptional Items for the Legislative Appropriations Request for FY15-16 originally provided to the commission at its April 8 meeting. Commissioner Freeman suggested that the exceptional item amount for repairs to the historic structures in Liberty would not be sufficient or sustainable and that she couldn’t support the item because she believes it broadens the agency’s mission and negatively impacts other agency programs and funding. Commissioner Pickett noted that building issues at the Center had been neglected over the years and obtaining the state funds in the next legislative session would allow for such issues to be addressed so that the routine maintenance and upkeep provided by the Atascocito Historical Society could continue. She said the costs identified by the state exceed the finances of the Society which has been able to make repairs, pay utility bills and make donations to the Center for the purchase of materials for the collection.
Commissioner Freeman informed the committee that historic properties managed by the Texas Historical Commission cost considerably more to maintain and staff than the amounts budgeted in the exceptional item. She said she believes the amounts in the exceptional item are inadequate to properly address the historic properties’ needs that go beyond property maintenance but should also include preservation planning and interpretation. She and Commissioner Carr requested details on the number of visitors to the properties. Jelain Chubb noted that in recent years, visitorship has been low because the historic buildings have been closed due to their condition and to limited staff time to devote to such activities since staffing was reduced in 2011.
Commissioner Holt noted that the agreements between the Society and TSLAC allow for de-accessioning the buildings. Commissioner Freeman said the committee needs more information on the Society’s resources and intentions and would prefer to see the Society and the commission work together toward a solution.
After further discussion, Commissioner Pickett moved to divide the exceptional item into part A to include one FTE for an employee to manage the historic properties and curate exhibits at the Center and part B for maintenance for the historic buildings at the Center, $100,000 per year and $150,000 per year of the biennium, respectively. Commission Chairman Waters seconded. Motion passed 3-1 with Commissioner Freeman voting against.
Commissioner Holt informed the committee that he wants the committee to report back to the commission as a whole with its ongoing concerns about the financial, resource and personnel commitments involved with the historic buildings located on the Sam Houston Center property and how best to capitalize on them or to determine what to do with them. Commission Chairman Waters noted that the commission will take its final vote on the exceptional items at its meeting in August and also asked the committee and staff to carefully read the portion of the draft Agency Strategic Plan that discusses the historic properties at the Center.
Discuss a draft agreement among the Atascosito Historical Society, the Friends of Libraries & Archives of Texas, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Mark Smith presented a draft Memorandum of Understanding among the Atascosito Historical Society, the Friends of Libraries & Archives of Texas and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to transfer ownership of certain properties at the Sam Houston Center to the Friends. Commissioner Freeman moved to recommend the MOU to the full commission for approval. Commission Chairman Waters seconded. Motion passed.
At 2:35 p.m., Commissioner Holt recessed the meeting and called it back to order at 2:45 p.m.
Discuss the relationship between the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and partner groups.
The committee reviewed and discussed agreements that the agency has with partner organizations that support maintenance and upkeep of the historic properties owned by the agency in Liberty. Commissioner Holt advised the committee if they have legal questions regarding the agreements to refine them for submission to the Office of the Attorney General. Noting that very few of the agreement copies provided to the committee have signatures, Commissioner Holt said the committee needs to obtain the recorded agreements and contracts. He also said the committee needs to determine the current trustees of the Partlow Charitable Trust.
During the discussion, Commission Chairman Waters noted that the agreement with the Atascocito Historical Society and TSLAC contains a specific provision with steps to take should the commission ever decide to discontinue its responsibility to the buildings. Commissioner Freeman suggested that a legislative appropriation for building maintenance would relieve the AHS of its contractual obligation and Commissioner Holt agreed but said the issue should be referred to the Office of the Attorney General so that decisions made by the committee and the commission will not compromise the commission’s legal obligations.
The committee discussed whether the need to identify “a clear and compelling benefit to the state” was a requirement of the initial audit report and response. Jelain Chubb stated that the clause was from the November 2013 follow-up audit. She will provide clarification before the next committee meeting. She also said staff will break out key contract terms and compliance requirements of the primary agreements for the next committee meeting.
After further discussion, Commissioner Holt adjourned the meeting at 3:55 p.m.