Minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 15, 2008


(As approved at the regular meeting of June 5, 2008)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, May 15, 2008, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


Vice-President Munson called the meeting to order at 4:40 pm.


Commissioners present: Del Portillo, Harris, Lee, and Munson.


Commissioner Kane arrived at 4:42 pm.


Commissioner Chin arrived at 4:47 pm.


President Gomez arrived at 4:50 pm.




An anonymous citizen said another budget season has gone by without the Commission exercising its responsibilities as trustees of the Fuhrman fund.  He said there have been four lawsuits regarding the Fuhrman fund.  He said after the 1989 earthquake the Library combined the Fuhrman fund with some FEMA funds and used it as a down payment for a computer purpose even though that was a blatant abuse of the intention of the fund.  He said the California State Attorney General had forced the Library Commission to alter its conduct related to the fund.  He said you would think that information presented in public comment would have been conveyed to the City Attorney at the time.  He said his point is that the Commission’s strategies to not learn the truth are actually very expensive for the society as a whole.


Peter Warfield said the previous speaker had some significant points to make about financial oversight.  He said there had been a discussion of Link+ at the Library Citizens Advisory Committee, of which he is a member.  He said at that time the City Librarian said that there would be cost and benefit figures discussed at a future date at the Commission.  He said he does not recall explicit discussion about all of the costs and presumably the benefits about Link+.  He said he thought it would be worthwhile to have a comprehensive report of the program.


Sue Cauthen, Chair Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC) said the previous speaker was not at the April meeting where the Link+ issue was vetted thoroughly.  She said the LCAC passed a resolution supporting it because the issue of the lost book fee had been resolved.  She said LCAC had also discussed Link+ at a previous meeting where the previous speaker was also not present.  She said an issue has arisen about the fines and fees resolution and if the ordinance is adopted by the Board of Supervisors that it will take oversight authority away from the Board of Supervisors.  She said she was hoping for an answer to that question.


Ellen Egbert said she wanted to give an update on a couple of events supporting the Bernal Heights Branch Library.  She said children’s day was a terrific success and they raised about $1500 for the library from the fundraising at that event.  She said the Le Mons race was a glorious success and it raised about $4,000 through contributions and pledges per lap.  She said she pledged $1 a lap for the public comment fund contributions which she makes to the library.  She said the public comment fund is contributing $411 to Friends of the Library for the Bernal Branch.




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the first half of his comments on the first page were represented accurately but there was nothing included about the second half of what he said.  He said  what he actually said was that what the Friends are paying for is not only that reason doesn’t matter, but that explanations are not forthcoming.  He said the meaning is that the Friends are paying for things so that there are no explanations.  He said that on page 3 where it says he was not quite ready to discuss this item it was misrepresented because it did not include the irony in which it was said.


Peter Warfield said he did not attend the meeting so he listened to the tape.  He said at the bottom of page 1 the Chair of LCAC had mentioned that the Library was not charging the $1 per day late fee charged by Link+.  He said this was not mentioned in the minutes and he thought it was important that it be included.  He said under public comment in the middle of page 2 it was omitted that the anonymous citizen talked about blatant illegality of excluding citizen summaries from the minutes.  He enumerated several other significant points that were made that he thought should have been included in the minutes.


Commission Discussion


MOTION: by Commissioner Lee, seconded by Commissioner Harris, to approve the minutes of April 17, 2008.


AYES: 7-0 (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and, Munson)




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, referred to his memo to the Commission dated May 9, which gives background on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Library and the Department of Public Works (DPW).  He said the Controller’s Office, at the request of the Commission and the City Librarian provided a review of the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP).  The audit recommended that the Library and DPW “replace the current MOU with one that describes in detail specific activities necessary for each agency to meet its obligation to efficiently and effectively manage the bond program.”  He said the draft was first submitted to the Commission on February 15, 2008, but the item was tabled.  He said it was subsequently presented to the Commission for discussion on March 6, 2008.  He said since that time there has been significant edits to the draft that clarifies the processes to the management of the program.  He acknowledged the efforts of Deputy City Librarian Jill Bourne and DPW Bureau Manager Edgar Lopez for all their hard work on developing this MOU with the help of our Deputy City Attorney Francesca Gessner.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said they are presenting a revised draft of the MOU.  She said the goals in drafting the MOU respond to the recommendations in the Auditors Report.  She said the key areas they will be discussing will be roles and responsibilities; decision making and approval process; project controls and tools for oversight that have been developed; and finance.  She said Section I which begins on page 3 provides the background and history of the BLIP.  She said Attachments A1 through A4 provide information about the revenue of the program, established budgets, current schedule and a record of all budget actions taken since the program’s inception.  She said Section II details the Roles and Responsibilities for each department within the program.  She said Section III further describes these roles and the tools being used to manage these projects.  


Edgar Lopez, Bureau Manager, DPW, said we have been working on this document for many months.  He said we have improved some of the tools we have been using and he said we have clarified roles and responsibilities and created consistency.  He said DPW’s roles and responsibilities fall in the areas of scope, schedule, budget and change management.  He explained the way the MOU addresses these issues.  He explained the documents and forms in Attachments C-1 through C-6.  He said there has been a lot of discussion about the forms and how they can best be effective.  He said sustainability has been discussed and was addressed in the MOU. 





Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the memo was available on Friday and he said he appreciates the time given to review this.  He said the attachments are not literally attachments, yet they are available.  He said congratulations on the matrix on which comments will be tracked.  He said the matrix is not one of the attachments, however.  He said he has concerns about the financial agreement in Section 2.2.1 and he said he would have liked to have seen more details in that section.


Peter Warfield said he is glad the Commission is taking this up in considerable detail and over time.  He said it is over $100 million for the program and how important it is for the coordination of the program.  He said he is disappointed there is not a very clear marking of changes.  He said he would like to see a definition of “library stakeholder involvement.”  He said on page 14 Terms and Conditions, 4.2 Modification to MOU he is alarmed that the public and the Commission are not included in a process for making modifications to the MOU.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Lee asked about Section 2.2.3 Regulatory Approvals.  He said he was also concerned about Section 2.2.4 where it states DPW shall, within 6 months of final completion date, provide a detailed project cost breakdown for the project.  He said he would like to see that report be filed within a maximum of 60 days.


Edgar Lopez, Bureau Manager, DPW explained that the architects are required to file the building permit application and once it is filed DPW tracks the process.  He said the detailed project cost breakdown includes payments that may be still outstanding, which is the reason for the time delay in providing that report. He said there are also outstanding issues including payments and claims.  He said in public projects there are no Mechanics Liens but there are still issues that need to be resolved at the completion of the project.


Commissioner Lee asked about Section 3.5 Construction Phase that any change that may affect the budget or schedule in excess of 5% of the construction contract amount, DPW shall present the request to SFPL for approval.  He asked if that means that on any changes below 5% there is no authority required for change orders.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said that the MOU states that DPW shall present any changes to budget or scope for approval to the Library at weekly coordination meetings.  She said if the revision exceeds 5% there is a formal authorization process.


Edgar Lopez, Bureau Manager, DPW said that they would take another look at the 5% and possibly reduce the percentage at which the formal authorization process is required.


Commissioner Lee asked about Section 3.5.4 Project Budget Close-out Procedure and asked if it is possible to reduce the six months time period that DPW and SFPL may use remaining project funds to address needs at the branch.


Edgar Lopez said they would look into reducing that time period.


Commissioner Munson said he was also concerned about the 5% for approval by the Library for changes effecting the budget or schedule.  He said he was thinking a dollar amount such as $100,000 might be more appropriate.


Edgar Lopez said they would be willing to designate a dollar amount for changes to be approved by the Library.


Commissioner Munson said he would like to know the process for developing the forecasts for the project’s schedule and budget.  He asked if these amounts include the costs for LEED certification and he asked for a full presentation on this at a future meeting.  


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the Library and DPW are having ongoing discussions about the cost implications relating to LEED and said this would be brought back to the Commission.


Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager, said that in the active program report she specifically reports each project’s suspected increases.  She said the forecast number is an ongoing process since each project is on a different timeline.  She said the forecasts are discussed on a weekly basis at a staff level with DPW and the Chief of Branches staff.  She said she reports to the Commission any potential budget and schedule increases, but until there is more detailed information we don’t know what the exact increase will be.


Commissioner Munson said forecasting a contingency column would be an important step forward.


Commissioner Del Portillo asked about the policy of local hire for these projects.


Edgar Lopez, Bureau Manager, DPW, said our contracts do have provisions for local hire.  He said there are requirements that the contractors have to make a good faith effort to hire manpower locally.  He said the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development tracks that information.


Commissioner Del Portillo said she would like to have that information reported back to the Commission.


Commissioner Kane thanked staff for all their work on this.  He asked if this MOU was standard operating procedure for DPW and other departments.  He also asked if DPW foresees any issues with the upcoming budget and possible budget cuts that would affect the program.  He requested that when the issue of soft costs is brought back to the Commission that the costs of DPW’s services will be discussed at that time. He said he would like the Library to report back on an annual basis any material changes to the MOU.  He asked about the warranty section and if there is a problem with a branch after it is open and who would handle those issues.


Edgar Lopez said that each MOU is slightly different and tailored to the Department’s needs.  He said DPW does not expect the budget to affect the program.  He also said DPW is oftentimes involved with any warranty issues after a new branch is open.


Commissioner Munson said he would like to see any changes in three months.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the Library and DPW would like to sign off on the MOU and come back to the Commission in three months with a progress report.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said that they would bring make the different implementation tools and processes to the Commission for review.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there is a tremendous level of engagement internally but there are also external stakeholders who are involved at all levels of design and execution of the projects.


Commissioner Chin said she is very focused on quality.  She said the reason we are renovating the branches is to get quality work.  She said she would like to see some collaboration to insure that the work is the highest quality possible.  She said the MOU is a matter of refining the good work that has already been done.  She said she does see that this MOU will be a valuable tool. 




Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager, said that there were no informational or special reports for this meeting.    She said as of 4/17/08 the approved budget was $147,362,986.  She said the revenue sources total $147,362,986.  She listed the appropriations.  She said every change to the baseline budget is included and the last budget was approved on April 17, 2008.  She said the schedule report is a summary level report that is broken down by project in alphabetical order and it is also available at the back of the room.  She said the last time a schedule change was approved was April 17, 2008.  She said each project has the original schedule, the last approved schedule and the forecasted schedule.  She gave the Active Projects Report including information on new construction and renovations; and the Construction Report.  She said active projects that have been completed are West Portal, Western Addition and Noe Valley.  She showed photographs and gave reports on the Richmond, Portola, Ingleside, Bernal Heights, Eureka Valley, Potrero, Parkside, Visitacion Valley, Anza, Ortega, and Merced projects.  She said other active projects are Bayview; North Beach, where there is a Master Plan process in place with the Recreation and Park Department; Park, Presidio and Golden Gate Valley.  She said there would be a North Beach community meeting on May 28.   


President Gomez left the meeting at 6:17 pm and Vice-President Munson took over as chair of the meeting.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, emphasized the importance of the Master Plan process for the North Beach branch.  He said because it is Recreation & Park Department property there is a great deal of interest in the project.  He said the first community meeting had over 100 people in attendance.  He said potentially the project will have impacts that will require environmental review and that it may require some joint Commission meetings with the Recreation and Park Commission in the decision-making process. 


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he has complained several times about the lack of readability of these reports.  He said under Schedule Changes on page 2 it says 4/17/08 Potrero extended due to rebid, however, on the Bond Program Schedule Report it shows that the approved schedule and the forecast schedule are completely different.  He said what has changed is the approval of the Library Commission of a change to the budget; therefore, he said the schedule changes in the report are wrong.  He said someone has to be in charge of catching these things and noting when it happens.


Commissioner Chin left the meeting at 6:27 pm.


Peter Warfield said public comment used to be after Commission discussion.  He said he thinks it is important that when Commission discussion goes in unforeseen directions it is important to hear public comment.  He said ideally you would have public comment both at the beginning and the end of an item.  He said in the last discussion he was disappointed that there was no Commission direction that they approve both the MOU and any changes.  He said there are comments about LEED certification and it is not clear to him how that will be evaluated and when it will be considered.  He said the Commission should insist on full and open discussions, cost analyses and decision making by this Commission.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Munson asked about the item on the MOU and whether there should have been Commission action on that item.


Francesca Gessner, Deputy City Attorney, said the item was a discussion item only and no action is required by the Commission on the MOU.






MOTION: by Commissioner Harris, seconded by Commissioner Del Portillo to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, May 15, 2008.


Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


ACTION:  AYES: 5-0 (Del Portillo, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).


The regular meeting of May 15, 2008, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 6:34 pm.


Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary


Please note:  Copies of commission minutes and handouts are available in the office of the secretary of the San Francisco Public Library Commission, 6th floor, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-4733.


Explanatory documents:  Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows:  (1) from the commission secretary/custodian of records, 6th floor, Main Library; (2) in the rear of Koret Auditorium immediately prior to, and during, the meeting; and (3), to the extent possible, on the Public Library’s website  Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents on this agenda, if any, that are distributed to library commissioners prior to or during the meeting in connection with any agenda item will be available to the public for inspection and copying in accordance with Government Code Section 54954.1 and Sunshine Ordinance Sections 67.9, 67.28(b), and 67.28(d).