James Johnson, Jr., Chair
900 North Ashley Drive
Tampa, Florida 33602
James Martin, Jr., Vice-Chair
William Scheuerle, Secretary
Phone: (813) 273-3660
Fax: (813) 273-3707

Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Board



Dr. Scheuerle called the meeting to order. A quorum was present.


Library Board Members Present:
William Scheuerle, Mary Silver
Helen Swisshelm, Alma Hires
Dora Reeder, James Harkins
Kay O'Rourke, Margaret Fisher
Sandra Cameron
Library Board Excused:
Laura Vickers, Ted Corwin

Library Board Absent:
John Hinton

Library Staff Present:
Joe Stines, Director, Library Services
Linda Gillon, Manager, Staff and Administrative Support
David Wullschleger, Manager, Operations & Technology
Assistant County Attorney, Linda Davidson

Jackie Zebos, Administrative Services
Suzy George, Facilities Officer
Barbara Marquette, Administrative Assistant


Special Guests:

Mary Helen Campbell

Members of the Public:

Maureen Gauzza
Brett Scharringhausen


Revised copies of the minutes were distributed. The only change was the addition of the Policy & Bylaws report. Ms. Swisshelm moved that the minutes be approved as written. Mr. Harkins seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


Dr. Scheuerle asked to change the order of the agenda to allow Hillsborough County General Council, Mary Helen Campbell to give an overview of the Sunshine Law. A show of hands was called for. All were in favor of the change. Assistant County Attorney, Linda Davidson introduced Ms. Campbell. Ms. Campbell walked through the basics of the law. Florida has one of the best, most open minded open government laws in the nation. It is in our constitution and as the court construes the laws very much toward open government. Everyone who is a public official, employee, or volunteer service on a board should understand the requirements. The law has a declaration that all meetings of these types of governmental boards and entities are open to the public at all times, and no action other than those taken at a public meeting shall be binding, and reasonable notice shall be required of the meetings.

What is a meeting? A meeting is construed to be anytime any two members of a board subject to the Sunshine Law speak to each other on issues that might foreseeably come before the Board for business. Members of the same Board should not contact each other by phone to discuss issues that might come up before the Board. The use of e-mail, a liaison, or a staff member cannot be used to poll everyone on the Board to determine a consensus before a meeting. A Delegation of Authority (if the Board were to delegate to one member of the Board to go out and make a decision or to meet with someone on an issue) this would carry the court requirements of Sunshine Laws. Subcommittees must meet the Sunshine Law requirements.

Reasonable Notice: The statute requires reasonable notice. The Attorney General has interpreted this to mean the time, the date, the place, and the subject matter to be discussed. For emergency situations the basic rule is 24 hours.

Does an Agenda have to be published? The Attorney General's Office and the courts have said, "No, you do not have to put an agenda in the notice." It is not a requirement and you do not have to be bound by the agenda. You can consider things that are not on the agenda.

Open to the Public at all Times: The meeting facility has to be in a place that does not discriminate. You can not have a Sunshine Law meeting at a facility that requires membership. On inspection field trips, members of the public may attend and minutes are to be taken. Lunch meetings are permissible as long as the public does not have to purchase food or pay admission and can see and hear clearly what is going on.

Public Participation: The Sunshine Law does guarantee the right of the public to attend meetings. In the statute there is no written right of the public to participate. The Attorney General's Office encourages the public's right to attend and be involved while allowing the Board to run the meeting in an orderly fashion. Generally speaking there is no right to public participation in the Sunshine Law. The Board can not have secret ballots.

Requirement for Written Minutes: The Law requires written minutes. These become public record. The minutes do not have to be a verbatim transcript but they should be such that any public business that was discussed and the action taken are clear.

Questions from the Board: Mr. Harkins asked "When we have a meeting do we have to post a sign in the building?" Ms. Campbell responded, "All the Sunshine Law states is that reasonable notice must be given." As long as an attempt is reasonable, such as putting it on the web site, it's considered reasonable.

Dr. Scheuerle asked, "A staff member may not poll the Board, what about the staff member polling members for a meeting date?" Ms. Campbell responded, "The Attorney General's Office has looked at the difference between substantive and procedural issues. This comes up in voting conflict of issue areas rather that in the law. To be a liaison, that is where the staff member is intently and consciously used by the Board to go and talk to each member and come back and report what the members are going to say. It would not be a violation for a staff member to call the members to ask which date they are available.

Dr. Scheuerle asked, "Site visits are conducted in a van with more that one or two Board members, is that considered a meeting?" Ms. Campbell stated that inspection trips are subject to the Sunshine Law. Anytime any two members of the Board meet in any context. She suggested taking two vans where the group can be split and you can have members of the public attend with some one to take notes. The alternative is to do all your talking outside of the van at the site where the public can hear you and someone can take minutes. When you get in the van to travel you don't talk about the site. Or save all your discussion until you are out of the van.

Dr. Scheuerle asked for clarification, "When two Board members meet is it the discussion of business that may come before the Board or a vote that is going to be taken that should not be discussed?" Ms. Campbell stated that the Statute and the Attorney General use the words "for which foreseeable action may come before the Board". Anything that a reasonable person would think might come before this Board for action would be something that could only be discussed between two members at a noticed meeting, when you have someone taking minutes, and the public can attend. It's an action not something that you might take a vote on.

Dr. Scheuerle, "If someone has missed a meeting and wants to discuss what happened at the meeting, prior to receiving the minutes. That person cannot get in touch with another Board member?" Ms. Campbell suggested that the Board member get in touch with the staff liaison, or wait for the minutes.

Ms. O'Rourke stated that as a former chairman she had contacted Board members who seemed to have personal problems and could not attend the meetings. "Is a telephone call to that person to ask about a personal situation against the Sunshine Law?" Ms. Campbell stated that the test is that you cannot speak to another member of the Board other than at a meeting of something that might foreseeable come before the Board for action.

Ms. Swisshelm asked, "Can the chairman of the nominating Committee call an individual and ask if they are willing to serve hold office?" Ms. Campbell suggested that staff members contact the Board members.

Ms. Silver asked, "Whether it was permissible to express personal views at other meetings that possibly would come before the Library Board or where other Library Board members may be present?" Ms. Campbell responded, that position papers were allowed. However, if someone comes back and says that they agree with your first three points, then you have interaction that the Attorney General's Office says rises to the level of a meeting. As long as you don't speak to another Board member about actions that will foresee ably come before the Library Board you can be a citizen and you don't give up your rights because you are sitting on this Board.

Dr. Scheuerle made the following announcements: He thanked Ms. Swisshelm for chairing the Board while he was away. A letter was sent to John Hinton regarding his absence. A resignation letter was received from Mr. Hinton. A replacement will be made by the BOCC.


Brett Sharinghausen, President of the Upper Tampa Bay Library Foundation. Mr. Sharinghausen addressed the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on January 18, 2003 requesting an additional 5,000 sq. ft. for the Upper Tampa Bay Library and the Bloomingdale Library. Commissioner Frank asked him to share information with the Library Board. Mr. Sharinghausen distributed copies of data that he prepared (Sources of Data Compilation concerning Hillsborough Libraries, funding scenarios, and an e-mail letter to the BOCC). Mr. Sharinghausen is going before the Legislative Delegation on January 31 requesting support of a Community Budget Request for $3.275 million for the Upper Tampa Bay Library.

Mrs. Maureen Gauzza, President, Friends of the Upper Tampa Bay Library Chapter. The Friends of the Upper Tampa Bay Library invited the Board to their February 5th meeting, 7pm at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Club, 10405 Countryway Blvd. Mrs. Gauzza provided a copy of the CIT Report that was published in the December 19, 2002 Tampa Tribune. Dr. Scheuerle asked staff to research the CIT report.





    Co-Chair Kay O'Rourke thanked everyone for their participation at the meeting noting that input from the community and the Board members was welcome. David Wullschleger reported on the West Tampa Library stating that new construction should be completed by late summer. Renovations and restorations are being completed on the existing building. There was a public meeting held on Tuesday, January 21st to discuss the City of Tampa's donation of property and the shared parking lot with the Sierra Meat Market. This will be heard by the City Council in March.

    Mr. Harkins asked how parking spaces were allocated. Mr. Stines stated that when planning facilities with Architectural Services they are given the number of parking spaces that we think staff will need and the number of public spaces needed. In future we will ask for a breakdown of the parking spaces.

    The construction contract for the Lutz Library expansion is out for bid. A groundbreaking will be scheduled soon.

    The Committee discussed the status of the West Gate Regional Library. A structural study has been ordered to determine if it would be feasible to build up or to expand and is due on March 1st. Mr. Stines stated that on January 21st the Working Group and the West Gate Friends of the Library meet to discuss the ongoing Town n' Country Community Plan and the town center plan. Another community meeting is scheduled for February 28th. A consultant has been working with Planning & Growth Management. Some of the plans brought forth by the consultant recommend tearing down the library and building a new one. The only way that will happen is if the BOCC would allocate more funds.

    Ms. O'Rourke asked Mr. Stines to update the Board on the Master Plan due on March 19th. Mr. Stines stated that he and David Wullschleger are working on a contract with Wilson Miller. A Phase One report will be available for consideration as a BOCC agenda item for March 19th. The Master Plan will concentrate on the new funded projects Upper Tampa Bay, South Brandon, and South County since there is concern regarding the square footage of these projects. In Phase Two, the plan would focus on other issues and the unfunded needs list. The Board will have to vote on Phase I of the Master Plan at its February 27 meeting in order for staff to meet BOCC deadlines. The February Library Board meeting location was changed to the John F. Germany Public Library auditorium since the Lutz meeting room would not accommodate the anticipated audience.

    Eric Johnson, Director, Management & Budget Department, will be providing a funding statement to the BOCC based on the recommendations of the Master Plan. Ms. O'Rourke asked when Mr. Johnson would address the Board regarding Indirect Costs. Mr. Stines replied that he was hoping to schedule him for February 3rd.


    Chairman, Helen Swisshelm stated that the committee reviewed the December 2003 budget report. The Interlocal payments to Temple Terrace and Plant City were made in January. The committee is continuing its review of the exempt managers' salaries. Ms. Gillon was praised for her exceptional work on this project. The committee will be bringing a recommendation to the Board at the February meeting. Ms. Swisshelm urged the Board members to attend the Budget and Planning Committee meeting scheduled on Monday, February 3 at 1:30 p.m. in the John F. Germany Public Library. The Budget Committee has asked for a presentation from the Management and Budget Department on the Indirect Cost increase.


    Chair, Dora Reeder stated that the County Attorney was reviewing the Code of Conduct.

    Mrs. Reeder asked the Board to review the Bylaws and to bring changes to the attention of the Committee before the February 27th meeting. Ms. Cameron suggested that the Mission Statement be on a separate page from the Bylaws.

    The Committee received a request from the Friends of the New Tampa Regional to name the community room in honor of Gerri Zelinsky, a founding member. The consensus of the committee was to consider a broader base of opinion. Ms. Challener will continue to research.








Dr. Scheuerle asked for a representative from the Library Board to attend the Cultural District meetings. Dr. Alma Hires volunteered.

Dr. Scheuerle asked for a volunteer to act as Parliamentarian. Mr. Harkins stated that the Parliamentarian should not be a member of the Board. It is usually an outside person who would not unduly influence the Board.

Dr. Scheuerle asked the Board to RSVP if they were planning to attend Library Staff Day on February 17, 2003 from 8am-5pm


Dr. Scheuerle stated that he had called a meeting of the committee chairs. He felt that the protocol/procedure at committee and library board meetings should be reviewed. Copies of a "Speaker Request Card" were distributed. The Order of Business was not changed. Protocol and seating arrangements were discussed. Dr. Scheuerle stated that he would like the Policy and Bylaws Committee to recommend a procedure for the public to add items to the Board's agenda for discussion. Mr. Harkins suggested that the Speaker Request Card include the speaker's organization/affiliation and that a parliamentarian be appointed. Dr. Scheuerle asked for a motion to accept the Protocols with two amendments. Ms. Reeder moved and Ms. Cameron seconded. Discussion followed. Ms. Fisher asked, "What happens if a person comes in after the public comment and wants to address the Library Board?" Dr. Scheuerle stated that they would not be able to address the Board.

Mr. Harkins suggested that a time be set at the end of the agenda for comments/discussion from the public. Mrs. O'Rourke stated that the Library Board had followed that procedure several years ago but was discontinued. Prior commitments did not allow some Board members to stay.

Mr. Stines stated that new issues could be assigned to the appropriate committee for discussion. Another way would be to direct the Library Director to address the issue with the individual.

Ms. Swisshelm asked whether the public would be allowed to speak to a subject that was not on the agenda. Dr. Scheuerle stated that anyone who wished to speak regarding an agenda item should speak first.

Dr. Scheuerle restated the motion. Approve the procedures with a friendly amendment; approve the procedures without the Speaker's Request card. The Request Card be sent to the Policy and Bylaws Committee for revisions and that the Committee will create a policy regarding the Public's right to add an item to the agenda of Committee meetings and Library Board meetings. Ms. Swisshelm asked that the Speaker Request card be accepted at this time. Dr. Scheuerle stated that this was part of the original motion with one exception adding Mr. Harkins recommendation to add the speaker's organization/affiliation. Ms. Swisshelm agreed and suggested that the card be put into use before recommending any revisions by the Policies and Bylaws Committee. The motion was approved.


Mr. Stines stated that he would answer any questions regarding the Director's Report that was included in the Board package. There were no questions.

  1. Proposed elimination of the State Library. State Librarian, Barrett Wilkins retired on February 6.
  2. Recommended $32.4 million in State Aide this would ensure no cuts.
  3. Recommended 5.9 million for Library Construction project. That is approximately $3 million less than is needed to fund all projects on the list. We have two projects on the list (South Brandon and Upper Tampa Bay). If all projects are fully funded there will be adequate funds to take us beyond our two projects.

Mr. Stines stated that the message to the Legislative Delegation should be to support the Governor's budget on State Aide and Library Construction funds.


Budget Committee - Thursday, February 20 - 1:30pm at the John F. Germany Public Library, Auditorium

Planning Committee - Thursday, February 20 - 1:30pm at the John F. Germany Public Library, Auditorium

Policy & Bylaws - Thursday, February 27 - 2:30pm at the John F. Germany Public Library, Boardroom

Library Board - Thursday, February 27 - 4:00pm at the John F. Germany Public Library, Boardroom


The meeting was adjourned at 5:30pm.

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: February 27, 2003
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: John F. Germany Public Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

Hillsborough County Comments | Contact Us | THPL.org | HCPLC.org
© Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
Member: Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative

Site established: March 15, 1995  |  Page revised: June 30, 2014