Pike County Times
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Photos of the Library Manager presentation to bring in specialty items to our local library. More pictures below the article.
Meeting of the J. Joel Edwards Public Library Board of Trustees - March 1, 2019
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - The monthly meeting of the J. Joel Edwards Public Library Board of Trustees was held on March 1, 2019. Members attending were Audrey Lanier (Chair), Anthony Vinson, Joy Walker, Curtis Ward (Treasurer), Rosemary Bunn (Library Manager), Natalie Marshall (Flint River Regional Library System (FRRLS) Representative, Gillian Appleton (Vice Chair), Rhonda Morgan (Acting Secretary) Patty Talley, and Tina Venus. Those in the audience included Rusty Lanier, Peter Potter, Chairman Briar Johnson, and Becky Watts from Pike County Times. [Note from the Editor: The agenda looks great!]



There was a quorum.


Question about whether to amend minutes that were approved in January. It will take a 2/3 vote. This is a formality that can be added in April.

Motion to approve the agenda. Approved.


County Commission Chairman Briar Johnson was there as an invited guest. [Note from the Editor: The Library Board has had some issues with how meetings were conducted over the past couple of months. Robert's Rules of Order (RRO) were introduced and enforced in such a manner that some were not allowed to speak and some appeared intimidated by a process that was unfamiliar to them. This seemed like a way to introduce the entire board to the process and show those in leadership how to conduct a meeting without being overbearing.]

Briar talked about Robert's Rules of Order and how the commissioners conduct meetings. He went to Meriwether, Spalding, Harris, and Upson Counties to see how they do things and said that we follow it probably more than they do. He said that the main thing is to get business done in a timely and orderly manner. He said that he felt like Robert’s Rules of Order is centered on courtesy, a balance of rights, the majority to decide, and the minority to be heard.

He walked through how the commissioners do things. Briar doesn’t make motions or seconds because of their policy so he can be neutral and unbiased with the exception of executive session. He also said that he doesn’t always enforce RRO to the letter of the law. He emphasized knowing the rules and conducting business in a timely manner. He walked through how to make a motion, stressed staying on topic, and being timely. He talked through abstentions so it can be on record way they are abstaining and addressing to the chair as well as addressing decorum. There is handout for everyone as well.

He told them some things to crash a meeting: start late, ignore the agenda (he said that commissioners rarely amend the agenda), confuse members (they should have all of the information before them prior to the meeting), show favoritism (treat everyone the same), etc.

He also advised that the county has been sued because of past actions like adding items to the agenda at the last minute without being advertised. He talked about the relationship between the library board and the commissioners and encouraged them to follow their policy and bylaws. He also told them that executive session stays in executive session, and also said that they can call commissioners but they are supposed to talk to the county manager.

He said that there is $70,000 in the Board checking account and $24,000 in savings. $24,000 is the library’s money. The $70,000 is the library’s money too. The Board can decide how to spend it. The board is being treated as an authority even though they aren’t. This is how we’ve done it.

Question about becoming a county department? Nothing will change from now with this after July 1. The board will still run the library. The county is not taking this over.

Briar said that he is here because he cares for the library and this board. He isn’t on any side. He is on the side of the people who want to do what is best for the library and the commissioners. He encouraged board members to do what is needed to work together. He also cautioned them about meeting and talking about anything if there is a quorum and stressed how bad that is. [Note from the Editor: This is in reference to the discussion that took place after the December meeting. Our commissioners are very careful to ensure that they never give the appearance of a quorum where business could be conducted without the public's knowledge. I don't know how many were involved and never thought to ask when I should have. At this point, it's a moot point and they know the rules so it should never be an issue again.] He ended his talk by saying that he is not an expert of Robert’s Rule of Order, and he hopes that the board gets any issues worked out.

Question: Will the money at the end of the year go back to the county? The money will stay with the library and nothing will change on this come July 1. If it’s in your account, it will build and you can buy whatever. This board will make the decision on the money in your account. The board thanked Briar for speaking.


Motion to approve the February minutes. 2nd. Discussion: Anthony thanked Rhonda for standardizing the minutes. Gillian asked about the concern about changing the name of the library. Commissioners were contacted by email. Approved unanimously.


Natalie said that she appreciated Chairman Johnson speaking. She advised that the State House has passed the 2020 budget. There have been some increases that she named specifically. This will go to the Senate, and it is in committee. She gave a federal funding update about money that comes to the library to pay for services that libraries don’t have to pay for. $4.5 million that is not in the budget right now, but this could change with the money going back into the budget. Library funding is important and people could call their representatives on a federal level.

Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell is partnering with the library for up to 4 people to the center for free. We will have this pass here in the near future.


Rosemary announced that there was an employee resignation. The library is operating with skeletal staff right now. This is being advertised.

Library Week. There is a grant proposal to partner with Kiwanis and A Novel Experience that will deal with reading to see if we can get an outside reading deck so people can read and use the internet here.

Budget Proposal. The county will not be doing our finances next year. County Manager Bobby Bickley will meet with Rosemary about a budget proposal for next year. She asked this to be on the next agenda. The county will pay payroll but not the monthly bills. The county will give an exact number and the board will be able to vote on the line item budget for 2020.

Vendor Payments. Edmund from the regional library system will continue being a check and balance for our vendor payments. Edmund pays out of our checking account, Curtis and Rosemary have electronic signatures for them. He matches up invoices and he pays them electronically. No checks are directly written from the library. The 3rd party is part of levels of accountability suggested by a previous audit. Curtis comes by once a week to review invoices. Rosemary has already checked for accuracy. Two people check here and Edmund actually signs the check. Natalie gets a report on this so she signs off on everything that we sign too. Edmund is the Business Manager for the Region. This is an added level without a cost.

If we pay our own bills, what software will we use? Smart Fusion is used by the county, but it will not work here so no changes on this.

Funds in the bank account. Once upon a time, the library was required to keep a 6 month cushion. Now, it is recommended to be only a 2 month cushion to cover operating expenses for the year.

Chair Audrey Lanier asked if the board needed to decide about spending down the funds. Treasurer Curtis Ward said that they heard tonight that the money belongs to the board as we heard from Chairman Johnson. The money is there and it is spendable to spend as we see fit. Vice Chair Gillian Appleton asked if we take the monthly amount of amount $3,000 and put 20% of the yearly amount and keep it in contingency. She said that we need to agree on this amount and Audrey agreed.

More discussion. Curtis advised that money was not allocated for payroll. The county did not allocate money for payroll until this fiscal year. The county gave a lump sum of money to the library to spend as it chose. Audrey suggested that this be an agenda item in April with Rosemary making her presentation tonight. Curtis was asked whether we are on budget, and we are.

Rosemary had emailed a copy of the proposal for each item listed below previous to the meeting. Everything would be used in the Steam Room under library staff supervision.

• Ellison Die Cut. She goes elsewhere and can make 500 cuts in an hour. This could benefit teachers, civic groups, Sunday School teachers, etc. Rosemary travels to Chattanooga to use theirs. This would go in a Steam Room where the public can come to the library to use this. There is a sticker machine too.

• 3D printer. For teachers, the STEAM program from the high school, small businesses, etc. could use this. Durability was questioned. Rhonda asked about the maintenance cost on this.

• - Microfilm and digitizing. Our microfiche machine doesn’t work like it should. This would put everything online from here on out. Links were sent to members so they could get educated on this. [Note from the Editor added 4.3.19: Library Manager Rosemary Bunn contacted me by email and advised the following: The machine I have suggested is a reader and scanner. It does some basic searches, but is not fully digitized. The digitized newspapers are an ongoing project with GPLS and should be available online in the future, but the time frame is not certain.]

• Materials and supplies.

• Furniture that will go with the computers. 20 chairs that will replace the hard wooden chairs that they have now.

• Lockers for employees. Discounted price.

• We have a circulating backpack that came from the state of Georgia. Some libraries do gardening supplies. Rosemary wants to do crafting tools. Each bag would have a list of items that much be returned as well as instructions. Patrons could check out the bag, take it home, make their items, and bring it back. Discounted sale price until tomorrow on the bags.

• Rolling carts like that under the silhouette cutter.

• Order some items so it can be reconciled by the end of the year.

A question was asked about whether we have had any kind of poll to find out what we need and how we know what to purchase these items. Rhonda mentioned meshing with the STEAM program at the school system and ensuring that we are duplicating services. Children don’t have access to the Ellison Die Cut machine at the school. Much discussion. Teachers are going to find out info from the schools.

5 minute break at 6:32 p.m. Back into session at 6:36 p.m.

Audrey asked about specific amounts for items. Rosemary said that she has the amounts. Curtis said that the reason that we have lump sums is because he asked her to put together the presentation in a shorter format so it would be in a compact, easy to read form for members but said that Rosemary had the final amounts for members.

Can we approve partial items? There is a question about timeliness to save money on books for March, April, and May. Patty asked if she could make a motion on this. Gillian wants to be sure that we have enough money to cover it all. There isn’t a sense of urgency because the library is going to spend these funds with no time limit.


Rhonda has been added as a signatory. Curtis urged them to look at year to date. Nothing is out of the ordinary as far as the budget goes. Everything reconciles.

Rhonda asked a question about the budget. The former county manager gave numbers to the commissioners, and they voted on it. The number for payroll that was voted on was not the same so our number was higher than theirs. There is a journal entry that shows payroll. Curtis made a suggestion that the board budget should not even include payroll.



The region has signed it with no changes and returned it to the county. Question about dropping “of Pike County.” It would still be considered this, but we would not have to change name on the sign or on bank accounts. Motion that Audrey sign the MOU as chair of the Library Board. Approved.


Postpone this until next month.



Secretary and Regional Representative are open. Floor was opened for volunteers and motions.

Acting Secretary Rhonda Morgan volunteered for secretary. Motion to appoint Rhonda as the secretary for the remainder of this term. 2nd. Approved.

Patty Talley volunteered for regional representative. Motion to appoint Patty as the regional representative for the remainder of the term. 2nd. Approved.


No applications have been received at this time. Postponed until next month.




Motion to adjourn. 6:54 p.m.


[Note from the Editor: This meeting went very smoothly compared to the past several months. The board as a whole seems much more cohesive and there were very few problems in this meeting. I hope that upcoming meetings from here on out are like this meeting.]

To read about the November 8, 2018 meeting, click here.

To read about the December 13, 2018 meeting, click here.

To read about the January 10, 2019 meeting, click here.

To read about the February 14, 2019 meeting, click here.