Library board president: New policies could reduce FOIA requests

Farmington Community Library Board of Trustees president Jim White suggested several board policy changes Thursday designed to increase transparency.

White said the moves could reduce the flood of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests fielded by director Riti Grover, who is now on paid administrative leave. He acknowledged that the library violates an Open Meetings Act requirement to post draft minutes within eight days of a meeting.

Previous boards have also been in violation, he said.

More information on the website

White asked that staff add trustee agenda packets and meeting recordings to the library’s website.

“Zoom meetings are all recorded, it seems like it would be easy to post these recordings and keep them on the website,” he said.

Grover said, under the board’s current policy, recordings are destroyed after trustees approve meeting minutes. White said the policy referred to audio recordings of in-person meetings; trustees have been meeting online since March of last year.

Even if trustees return to the board room, White said, the public will continue to participate electronically, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

‘Contact the Library Board’ link

White suggested adding board member terms of office to the website and that emails sent through the “Contact the Library Board” link go to all board members. Secretary Renee Murphy now receives and forwards them. 

Trustee Danette Duron-Willner pointed out that the director’s contact requires Grover to receive communications from the public and report back to the board.

Trustee Megan Stryd said when people click the link, they believe they are contacting the board as a whole.

“If we can get those emails in real time, with Riti as the point person, that seems most in line with what we’re saying … if you want to contact the board, here’s how you do it,” she said.

“If that’s a community expectation, I think we need to reset that expectation,” board vice president Bill Largent said. He suggested moving the discussion to a board subcommittee.

“I would like to make people more confident that messages are received,” White said.

Watch the meeting; this discussion starts at the 2:53:00 mark:

 

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