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NCompass Live: “Intended Process” as Director-Facilitated Trustee Education: Nonresident Fees Case Study


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Steve Fosselman with the Grand Island Public Library will illustrate a trustee training model he calls "Intended Process", which he has used to involve and educate trustees on complex issues. Steve will use a real life example where results may vary from library to library, but it’s the process that makes it trustee education with the result of an informed decision free from too many "unintended consequences".
NCompass Live - June 13, 2012.

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NCompass Live: “Intended Process” as Director-Facilitated Trustee Education: Nonresident Fees Case Study

  1. 1. NCompass Live “Intended Process” as Director-Facilitated Trustee Education: Nonresident Fees Case Study Presented by Steve Fosselman, Director Grand Island (NE) Public LibraryGeorge, now is NOT the time to bereminding me how less painful thingswere for you because you stuck tothe #%!*@$ “intended process”! June 13, 2012
  2. 2. A process you intentionally plan and follow with the result of an informed decision without intense pain or too many "unintended consequences".And how exactly do you propose to survive the winter after yourliposuction procedure?
  3. 3. The problem, in a nutshell:After 40+ years of interlocal agreement betweenthe library and county, the county startsexperiencing budget problems after we report amajor bookmobile repair need. Despite good faithnegotiations by our library board to reduceoutreach (bookmobile) services while maintainingfree library cards, the county board unilaterallybreached this interlocal agreement for ALL libraryservices (bookmobile and free cards) for HallCounty residents outside of Grand Island.
  4. 4. Here are some approaches to making a complex decision at the board level:1) Problem is presented, free-for-all at board meeting, lots of opinions, maybe some facts, make a decision, hope it works2) Problem is presented, director provides professional judgment, then it is a free-for-all3) Problem is presented, a process is mutually agreed upon, board holds several monthly sessions with no decisions made and board members freely commenting/questioning but reserving judgment, director facilitates through professional analysis at each meeting, and through the process real learning occurs and informed decisions are then made with fewer unintended consequences
  5. 5. Staying inside this box meets our community’s needs Staying inside this box meets Straying outside this box doesn’t our community’s needs meet our community’s needs Learning Organization
  6. 6. Some other benefits to choosing approach # 3 in our case study:1) Study sessions served as public hearings that were attended by several concerned citizens2) Director met with more patrons about this than all other issues COMBINED in past 21+ years, and almost all patrons went away with a better understanding of the library’s situation and options for them to contact county board members to address their concerns3) Public information was also disseminated in stages and through various means (including internet at so the public was well informed about the real problem and need for a library board solution4) While emotions were part of the process, they were balanced by the educational parts5) Undue influences kept to a minimum both inside the board room and out6) Other publics – staff, city admin, city council, county board – were well aware of each step of the process and had sufficient input7) This was a very transparent process, one leading our newspaper to conclude “County should not be surprised by library fee proposal” and “Up-front vote”
  7. 7. Local government shouldalways be this open,deliberate and exacting …because of the libraryboard’s processGeorge Ayoub, columnist,Grand Island Independent,March 17, 2010
  8. 8. Board Discussion Pertaining to NonresidentServices in City’s Program Prioritization Process
  9. 9. Board Discussion Pertaining to NonresidentServices in City’s Program Prioritization Process
  10. 10. Does it necessarily follow thatcities with local sales tax shouldprovide free cards tononresidents? The facts do notbear this out.• 20 libraries in cities over 2500 had county funding in 2007 (Grand Island excluded) – 75% of these libraries had out-of-county nonresident fees• Overall, 77% of all libraries in cities over 2500 charged some form of nonresident fee in 2007
  11. 11. City Services (Budget) or County Services (Budget) Some ExamplesCity of Grand Island Budget County BudgetGrand Island Fire Rural Fire DistrictsGrand Island Police County SheriffGrand Island Public Works County RoadsGrand Island Parks County ParksGrand Island Public Library A county library is legally possible but not budgeted by County - service was through Interlocal Agreement
  12. 12. Objectives in making our March 2010 decision (these had been covered in one way or another throughout the process):• First and foremost, our library cares for the library needs of every non resident, we have many non resident patrons who use the library regularly, and we have made every attempt possible to provide such service in accordance with an interlocal agreement• Establishing a non resident fee is necessitated by the county’s breach of contract which has left us with no funding and no legal agreement to provide comprehensive library services to non residents
  13. 13. • In the absence of such a legal agreement, the mission of the Grand Island Public Library is fulfilled by state statute and city code in remaining forever free to the inhabitants of Grand Island, and extending service through fees• Non resident user fees in the absence of such legal agreements are common in Nebraska and across the United States• Non residents for our purposes are classified as those who do not inhabit the legal boundaries of Grand Island
  14. 14. • Grand Island Public Library wishes to remain a NebrasKard participant until further review, and so some non residents using our library will be covered by this statewide reciprocal borrowing agreement• We have well-established the significant value of our library services• The board desires to institute a household card fee as opposed to an individual card fee
  15. 15. • While the value of a household card fee can be reasonably computed at over $100, libraries in Nebraska as a business practice currently do not assess household fees at a higher rate than individual card fees• After several possibilities were discussed, the board decide on a fee of $40 per household which is very reasonable fee for the service value and is only $5 more than the fee charged in 2000 to out of county non residents (prior to NebrasKard)• If/how non residents’ local sales tax might affect this resulting fee will not be computed
  16. 16. • Some limited exemptions from a non resident fee are reasonable• The library is not obligated to cap its non resident revenue budget• In the future, fees may not be necessary given several legal service models in place in state law that may be open for discussion; however the library will only entertain good-faith negotiations that include mutually- agreeable terms.