A meeting of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston as a Corporation and as an Administrative Agency was held at the Central Branch, Copley Square, on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
Present at the Meeting were: Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman, Trustees: Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Donna M. DePrisco, Carol Fulp, Paul A. La Camera, and Byron Rushing. Absent from the meeting were Trustees Zamawa Arenas and Dennis Lehane.
Also present at the meeting were: President Amy E. Ryan; Nancy Grilk, Clerk of the Board; Boston Public Library and City of Boston Staff and 8 members of the public.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.
The Chairman addressed the item on the meeting agenda pertaining to the review and approval of the Minutes of the Trustees meeting held on January 10, 2012. On a motion made and duly seconded, the Minutes of the Trustees meeting held on January 10, 2012 were approved.
The Chairman moved to the next item on the agenda for the President’s Report. President Ryan introduced City of Boston Chief Financial Officer Meredith Weenick for an overview of the City of Boston’s FY 13 budget to be filed with the City Council on April 11th. Ms. Weenick reported that the FY 13 budget outlook for Boston Public Library (BPL) is stable and level funded from FY 12 with 1% to 2% increases for contractual and inflationary factors. Ms. Weenick also reported that City’s bond rating was reaffirmed and anticipates receiving an extremely favorable 2 ½% rate on a $237 million bond issue tomorrow.
President Ryan called on BPL’s Chief Financial Officer Sean Nelson for an overview of the BPL’s recommended FY 13 Operating Budget. He reported the recommended budget is slightly higher than last year’s with an increase that would restore the materials/collections budget to the FY 11 level, an increase for IT lease/purchase, and for fine arts insurance. The Governor’s recently released budget is level funded. The House will release its budget in mid-April and the Senate in mid-May. The Conference Committee convenes in May with an expected release of the final budget in June. An increase in the gifts and grants budget is anticipated, due in part to the Enterprise Fund. The CFO reports that the budget is stable with no anticipated budget deficit.
President Ryan reviewed the BPL’s FY 13 Recommended Operating Budget report which charts the operating budget, personnel levels, collections budget and rising demand for services, over time. President Ryan recognized the leadership of the Trustees, BPL staff and unions for providing increased services despite staffing and fiscal reductions of the past two years. Discussion followed.
Trustee La Camera requested a breakout of the circulation by books, CDs and DVDs be provided to the Trustees at a later date.
On a motion made and duly seconded it was,
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston authorize the President, or her designee, to submit the proposed recommended
FY13 Boston Public Library Operating Budget to the City of Boston.
President Ryan addressed the next agenda item of review of the Preliminary Draft of the FY13-FY17 Capital Planning Recommendations which is dynamic and developed with annual input from Trustees. She outlined the status of current capital projects from the prior capital plan. President Ryan reported that the Uphams Corner project options are under consideration. The new East Boston Branch groundbreaking will take place this spring, with an expected late fall 2013 opening.
President Ryan spoke on the proposed new projects beginning with Central Library renovations including: relocation and expansion of the Children’s Library, and associated programming and funding partnerships; reconstruction of the Boylston Street pedestrian plaza; and, improvements to the first floor, concourse levels, and Rabb Lecture Hall. She reviewed the branch facilities audit which would assess the physical conditions of each branch and create options for each that measure up to the BPL Compass Principles. The Roslindale Branch would be used as a pilot to test the branch audit for remodeling. Needed repairs previously identified would be made at the Jamaica Plain Branch and remain part of the broader facilities audit. Included is funding for completion of the relocation of materials from the Norwood facility to the City of Boston Archives Center, and the system wide replacement of the pay-for-print infrastructure. Discussion followed. CFO Nelson reported that the annual capital budget is typically in the range of $5 to $7 million, however this year it would be considerably higher due to construction of the East Boston Branch. Trustee Rushing expressed his appreciation that the projects are aligned with the Compass Principles and include improvements to the exterior of the Johnson Building.
On a motion made and duly seconded, it was:
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston authorize the President, or her designee, to submit the proposed recommended FY13 – FY17 Boston Public Library Capital Budget to the City of Boston.
The Chairman moved to the agenda item for the Trustees Finance and Audit Committee (Committee) report regarding the recommended Draft “Trustees of the Boston Public of the City of Boston Investment Policy Statement as Amended December 2011” and called on Committee Chair Evelyn Arana-Ortiz and CFO Sean Nelson. Chairman Rudman noted that the amended Investment Policy Statement before the Board is the result of an extensive and thorough process by this Committee. He thanked Committee members Chair Arana-Ortiz, Trustees Arenas, DePrisco and Rushing, and BPL staff for the significant attention the Committee has devoted to this topic.
Chair Arana-Ortiz reviewed the reasoning behind amending the policy; to reduce risk and maximize the return on investment. The Trustees will vote on two items; first to update the Investment Policy Statement, and second to approve classes of asset allocations for investments in the new portfolio. CFO Nelson noted that the Investment Policy Statement has not been updated in ten years. The current BPL portfolio of 60% stocks and 40% bonds does not allow diversification of the portfolio or mitigate risk across equity classes.
The Committee charged BPL’s investment consultant, New England Pension Consultants (NEPC) to recommend how to diversify the portfolio and mitigate risk across asset classes. CFO Nelson referred to the Draft Executive Summary document and called on Mr. Michael Black of NEPC to provide background on the recommended changes. Mr. Black reported that risk is inherent in providing expected investment returns. He added that the Committee thoroughly discussed what the prudent risks are for the portfolio. The overall goal of the asset allocation recommendation is to stabilize returns. Mr. Black reviewed the goals and methods to attain them.
- Reduce the overall equity exposure, and add a number of diversifying asset classes. Accomplish by adding a global asset allocation manager and an absolute return manager, two liquid and broadly diversified approaches to asset allocation management.
- Diversify equity exposure to incorporate international equities.
Mr. Black reviewed the comparison of the current and recommended asset allocation classes, and the implementation steps to achieve the proposed allocation. He pointed out that the expected risk reduces over time. Mr. Black reviewed a comparison of the City of Boston’s portfolio which four years ago adopted a similar Investment Policy Statement and asset allocation being considered for the BPL. He reported that the City’s investment return was 3% compared to the BPL’s 1.4% return for the same time period, with a lower risk than the BPL.
Discussion followed. Chairman Rudman asked Mr. Black to provide some definitions for the Trustees. Mr. Black defined global asset allocation as a broadly diversified mutual fund that provides more investment options than available under the BPL’s current model, and allows for assets to be nimbly shifted. Mr. Black explained that absolute return broadly refers to the goal for that piece of the portfolio to be uncorrelated to the rest of the portfolio, and is reliant on the manager’s investment skill to add value.
Committee members asked Mr. Black to speak to social screens in asset classes. Mr. Black responded that social screens cannot be included in global asset allocation and absolute return because they are mutual and co-mingled funds. The Committee modified the Investment Policy Statement to state that social screens will be incorporated where prudent and able. The option for social screens would be in place for a portion of the portfolio and Mr. Black reviewed the recommended funds and their use of social screens. Chairman Rudman noted that his goal for the BPL’s portfolio is to reduce volatility and maximize return on investments. Discussion on social screens followed. Committee member and Trustee Rushing added that the Committee is attempting to be as flexible as possible on social screens, not rejecting them, further adding that the Committee will make recommendations to the investment managers who will understand the parameters set by the Committee. He added that social screens continue to be an important component to the BPL as a public institution. Trustee La Camera expressed his agreement with Trustee Rushing’s comments. Trustee Fulp added her approval from a business and social perspective.
Chair Arana-Ortiz called for the two agenda votes to be combined and voted as one and to incorporate Trustee Rushing’s amendment to add after December 2011 the words “by the Finance and Audit Committee”.
On a motion made and duly seconded, as amended, it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston adopt the “Trustees of the Boston Public Library of the City of Boston Investment Policy Statement”, and adopt setting the asset allocation targets and ranges, and defining the permissible investments to the approved Investment Policy Statement as Amended December 2011 by the Trustees Finance and Audit Committee.
Chairman Rudman thanked the Committee and NEPC and Sean Nelson.
Chairman Arana-Ortiz reviewed the next agenda item of the Management Letter. Significant progress has been achieved on action items for prior years. As is the Committee’s past practice, this year’s items have been reviewed and prioritized based on the level of severity and importance. No major concerns or material weaknesses have been raised by the auditors.
Chairman Arana-Ortiz reported on the IRS Form 990, an annual IRS filing required of non-profit organizations. The questions relevant to the Trustees will be sent via electronic mail by the Clerk to each Trustee for their response for inclusion in the IRS Form 990.
The Chairman called on President Ryan for the continuation of the President’s Report. President Ryan addressed the Conveyance of the former Kirstein Business Library building to the City of Boston and called on Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston, Ms. Catherine Lizotte to review the Memorandum of Agreement and the Deed documents. Ms. Lizotte provided a brief chronology of events that led to these two votes. The Trustees sought and received authorization through the court system to insure the conveyance met with the Trustees obligations of care and control of the building. Permission was granted to close and transfer the building to the City of Boston for the City to sell and further directed that the City would use the proceeds from that sale for similar charitable purposes of the Trustees.
The first vote is a Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Boston and the Trustees to memorialize the City’s responsibility to apply the proceeds of the sale of the building back to a similar charitable purpose of the Trustees. The MOA language expresses that the proceeds of the sale will apply to the BPL’s capital project budget or a similar charitable purpose as agreed to by the parties.
The second vote is to execute the deed which will complete the transfer of the former Kirstein Business Library to the City of Boston.
Discussion followed. Trustee DePrisco asked what the current use is of the former Kirstein Business Library. Ms. Lizotte replied that her understanding is the City of Boston is currently using the building as temporary office space, and once the transfer is complete, the City will determine when it can get the highest value for the property and then sell the building. Trustee DePrisco stated she is pleased that the proceeds will benefit the BPL and with the relocation of the Kirstein Business Library, but expressed her unease with the process. Chairman Rudman expressed his full support for the process as initiated by the President and Board of Trustees. The Chair recalled that the Trustees were sued over the closing and sale of the building, and expressed his personal and professional appreciation to Ms. Lizotte for her good judgment in seeking and securing judicial approval on behalf of the Trustees for the Kirstein Business Library building.
On a motion made and duly seconded it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston execute the Memorandum of Agreement By and Between the City of Boston and The Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston.
On a motion made and duly seconded it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston execute the Deed of Edward Kirstein Memorial Library Building from Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston to City of Boston.
Trustee La Camera asked if there has been a growth in usage since the Kirstein Business Library relocated to the Central Library, Copley Square. President Ryan noted that it is open for more hours, has more computers, with more efficiently arranged staffing. An update will be provided to the Trustees on activity at the Kirstein Business Library.
President Ryan provided several announcements. The Trustees are invited to attend the Massachusetts Legislative Library Caucus breakfast on March 21, 2012 at the Central Library, Copley Square co-hosted by Trustee Rushing and Representative Kate Hogan the Library Caucus Chair for the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
President Ryan provided an update on the transition of services from the Washington Village Branch to the new Learning Center at the Boston Housing Authority’s Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston. Beginning April 9, 2012, the BPL will offer increased programs at the Learning Center as the BPL begins to transition services from the Washington Village Branch. This pilot program will provide a range of programs including homework assistance, early literacy programs, job searching, and book clubs and reiterated that the public is encouraged to express their opinions on services they would like to see provided. Services at the Washington Village Branch will end on March 30, 2012 with regular services beginning at the Learning Center on April 9, 2012. President Ryan thanked Director of Branch Libraries, Christine Schonhart for her leadership on this project.
The Boston Public Library Special Collections Committee (Committee) was the next update for President Ryan. She reported that, based on the Compass Strategic Planning model, this Trustees Committee has updated and approved its revised charge. The Committee’s membership will consist of individuals who are experts in their field with BPL staff supporting the work of the Committee. To clarify the work of the Committee, the name was changed to Special Collections Committee and will continue be chaired by Brian Clancy, Chairman Rudman’s designated chairman. The Committee will report on their activities to the Trustees by this fall. Chairman Rudman noted that the new charge of this Committee ties in with the Compass Principles as an effort to include diverse input on the Special Collections. He noted that BPL staff has done a wonderful job of making the BPL treasures more available and visible to the public. There are many comparisons of competing goods that require difficult choices are made, and this is a way to democratize the choice process.
Lastly, President Ryan reported on the Compass: Priorities for Supplemental Funding led by comments and ideas from the Trustees, staff and the public which highlights three of the Compass Principles, Children and Teens, Special Collections, and Access and Innovation, and outlines suggestions for supplemental fundraising ideas for the affiliates. The BPL Foundation and Associates Boards will review the document and President Ryan will attend their board meetings for their input. President Ryan requested any additional input by the Trustees by April 1st. The final version will provide future guidance with the BPL Foundation, Associates and City-Wide Friends. In following the Compass Strategic Plan to keep the public engaged, each Compass Principle will be the subject of a workshop at branches across the city. Workshops on Sustainability and Children and Teens have taken place; the next is on Access and Innovation is scheduled for May and others to follow.
President Ryan reported that the Associates of the BPL are in the early stages of planning a capital campaign for preservation, conservation, and digitization.
There being no New Business, Chairman Rudman opened the meeting for Public Comment.
Public comments were provided by four members of the public. Two commented on the Jamaica Plain Branch capital improvements; one on the Friends of the Dudley Branch May 12, 2012 fundraiser; and one on the City-Wide Friends of the BPL announcement of a $10,000 grant program to benefit the branches.
There being no further business, the meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency adjourned at 10:00 a.m.
Clerk to the Trustees