Illinois historic board introduces new Director of Lincoln museum
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Board of Trustees met May 9 to introduce Alan C. Lowe as the new Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum.
Here are the meeting's minutes, as provided by the board:
The Board determines policy for the agency; appoints Agency director; Sets Compensation for the Director and other employees.
ILLINOIS HISTORIC PRESERVATION AGENCY BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING May 9, 2016 11:00am-3:00pm ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTAL LIBRARY 112 N. SIXTH STREET SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS
James Bruner, Chair Julia Bachrach Gary Hammons Jane Hay Gail Shiel Mindy Spitzer-Johnston Andy Volpert
Rene Brethorst, Chief Operating Officer, ALPLF Amber Bolden, Recording Secretary Tom Carlisle, Chief Legal Counsel Rebecca Cisco, Executive Assistant to ALPLM Director Wanda Dole, Interim Library Director Ed Harmeyer, Chief Fiscal Officer Carla Knorowski, Chief Executive Officer, ALPLF Rachel Leibowitz, Preservation Services Division Manager (via phone) Raymond McCaskey, Chair, ALPL Foundation (via phone) Heidi Brown-McCreery, IHPA Director Rita Moore, Internal Auditor Nadine O’Leary, Interim Director of the ALPLM Katherine Parker, Marketing Director Ryan Prehn, Historic Sites Division Manager Peggy Snyder, Legislative Liaison Shanta Thoele, Recording Secretary Lori Tinsley, Human Resources Director Chris Wills, Public Information Officer
Chair Bruner called the meeting to order at 11:02am. A quorum was present with 7 members in attendance.
Meeting Dates Discussion
Director Brown-McCreery wanted to give the Board an opportunity to discuss meeting locations, dates and times. She recognizes some board members travel from out of town and would like to accommodate them. Chair Bruner expressed interest in different sites but understands travel costs as well as longer distance to some historic sites make it difficult at this time. Trustee Julia Bachrach stated there were meetings in Chicago before as well as at different sites, some which were a little challenging to get to. Director Brown-McCreery thought having two meetings in Springfield and one meeting at a historic site would work in the future. She stated that she will reach out to all Trustees to see what dates will work best for the meeting in July. She also stated she wanted the next meeting to be held after the new Director of ALPLM was on board.
All trustees agreed that 11 a.m. works best to schedule meetings, to give those traveling enough time to attend the meeting. Chair Bruner stated he will work with Director Brown- McCreery on scheduling the meeting date in July.
*Minutes from the February 18, 2016, Public Meeting.
Trustee Jane Hay made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 18, 2016, public meeting. Trustee Gary Hammons seconded the motion. The minutes were unanimously approved.
Chair Bruner thanked Nadine O’Leary for stepping up and handling duties as the Interim Director and being the Chief of Staff. O’Leary will return to her role as Chief of Staff when Mr. Alan Lowe starts his new role as Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Governor Rauner selected Alan C. Lowe as the new Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum (ALPLM). Mr. Lowe will oversee operations of the Lincoln Museum, an institution that has attracted millions of visitors since its opening in 2005, and the Lincoln Library, which holds tremendous collections related to President Lincoln and the rich history of Illinois.
Mr. Lowe served as Director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas since 2009. As the library’s inaugural director, Mr. Lowe helped guide the organization from its inception. He oversaw every aspect of the library’s establishment, from the development, design, and construction stages, to the 2013 dedication and the first three years of public operations. Before going to the Bush library and museum, Lowe helped create and oversaw the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee.
Mr. Lowe earned a B.A. and an M.A. in history from the University of Kentucky. His career with NARA began in 1989 as an archivist at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. He moved to the Office of Presidential Libraries in 1992, where he served as Director of Operations and Senior Analyst until 2003. From 1998-1999, he also took on the role of Acting Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
He briefly left NARA in 2003 to become the founding Executive Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. While in Knoxville, Lowe served as Majority Leader Bill Frist’s representative on the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress. He also served as a member of the Advisory Board for the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the advisory Panel for the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center. He was also the President of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress.
Mr. Lowe and his family will relocated to Springfield on July 11, 2016.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
Interim Director Nadine O’ Leary introduced Rene Brethorst, Chief Operating Officer of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.
There are written reports in the binder that share information regarding the Abraham Lincoln Presidential and Library Museum which O’Leary asked board members to review. There is also a report on the museum’s new exhibit, “Unfinished Work” that she is very proud of and asked if board members have not seen the exhibit, to please view it after the meeting adjourns. The exhibit cost less than $7,000 to put together. The exhibit was scheduled to be up for 30 days, but due to popular demand, the exhibit will continue until September 2016. Guest are very amazed when they walk in the Illinois Gallery.
O’Leary stated the ALPLM, Foundation, and HPA are working diligently together and meet on a regular basis. The museum store is open every day except three days a year. They are very happy that they can serve the public like they did in the past.
The Summer on the Square event on July 23rd has been canceled due to the Bacon Throwdown event in Downtown Springfield. The music from that event will drown out the Summer on the Square event so it was best to cancel. Due to the Civil War band’s schedule, there wasn’t another day to reschedule the event.
Everyone is excited about the arrival of the new Director coming here on July 11. Mr. Alan Lowe spent four days in Springfield. He is very professional and is a museum expert.
Interim Library Director Wanda Dole agreed to extend her contract another six months to help with the new transition. Hopefully with Mr. Lowe coming as Director, ALPLM will be able to fill the State Historian position that has been vacant for a while. Under Dole, four librarians were hired and have started within the last month.
O’Leary introduced the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation chairman Raymond McCaskey, who called in to the board meeting. Chairman McCaskey, is looking forward to serving on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation Development Committee as well as meeting board members in person.
Dr. Carla Knorowski, Foundation CEO stated that Friday, May 13 is the ALPL Foundation 2016 Lincoln Leadership Prize Event which is held in Chicago. The Foundation is currently working on future exhibits and looking for funding to help with the papers. HPA, ALPLM, and the Foundation have been working diligently the last couple of weeks to fund the Papers of Abraham Lincoln and hoping to receive good news about funding. There have been various meetings regarding funding to keep the papers running. Interim Director O’Leary stated hopefully they will find out something in the next couple of weeks or so about funding.
*Interim Director O’Leary presented an action item to pay day-to-day bills including cleaning supplies, car services, ticket system, exhibits etc. O’Leary would like to make a motion to move the Foundation Funds account back to the museum to pay expenses. Renee Brethorst, COO, of the ALPL Foundation, stated there is a savings account to accept the money.
Trustee Julia Bachrach made a motion to approve moving the funds from the agency to ALPL Foundation to be used for expenses at the ALPLM; Trustee Gary Hammons seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.
Preservation Services Update
In the binder Rachel Leibowitz provided a Preservations Services update. There were several national register listings during the third quarter. The Central Manufacturing District from Chicago is listed under Criterion A for industry as the first industrial park, and under Criterion C for its good representation of architectural styles.
The Ford House is listed at the national level of significance under Criterion C for Architecture as the best surviving example of domestic architecture designed during a critical juncture in the career of master architect Bruce Goff pioneer of “organic architecture”. The homeowner is now pursuing National Historic Landmark designation for the property,
There will be an IHSAC (Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council) meeting on June 24th.
There were five applications for the CLG grants for the fiscal year of 2016. This was fewer than expected, and the requests totaled less than the required 10% ($114, 300) for the two-year grant cycle. This means the agency can offer grants for other CLG projects, or offer travel stipends to CLG members to training events or preservation workshops, or host training events or workshops of their own. All five of the applicants have been awarded grants and we are in the process of preparing the contracts so communities can get started on their work. We did not have as many applicants as we have funds to disburse. As mandated by the federal program regulations, IHPA is required to pass through a minimum of 10% of its annual Historic Preservation Fund grant ($1,143,000) as CLG sub grants. The CLG in Jacksonville has expressed interest in applying for a CLG grant to complete a National Register nomination for its downtown historic district.
In February Leibowitz had a great visit with (CHA) Chicago Housing Authority. She looked at four public housing complexes. All four complexes are currently under review for rehabilitation of the historic buildings.
Wrigley Field is still an ongoing project and Carol Dyson continues to work with the Cubs and their consultants as they plan the next phases of off-season work.
The Chicago Motor Club Building–Hampton Inn Downtown Chicago area received an award from the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officer (NCHSHPO). They recognized the Chicago Motor Club rehabilitation project as one of “Preservation’s Best” for 2015 during its annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Chair Bruner requested a motion to go into Executive Session. Trustee Julia Sniderman Bachrach made a motion to go into Executive Session. Trustee Andy Volpert seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved and went to Executive Session at 11:15am.
Returned from Executive Session at 11:33am.
Director Heidi Brown-McCreery wanted to inform the board members of her experiences and accomplishments since starting IHPA. Director Brown-McCreery appreciates the staff at IHPA and ALPLM for being patient with her as she learns more about the agency. She had one-on- one meetings with Executive Staff to learn about their roles in the agency which was very helpful.
Brown-McCreery has been to ten historic sites so far and plans on meeting different site superintendents to better understand the different challenges they may have. Ryan Prehn been a great ambassador to assist her with site visits and meet with superintendents. Her goal is to get to all of the historic sites by the end of the year.
Also, Director Brown-McCreery met with several state legislators, and on April 21 she and Nadine O’Leary testified on behalf of the ALPLM and IHPA during appropriation hearings. She also met with Landmarks Illinois and local community leaders. When visiting a historic site, she reaches out to the legislator in that district to see if they would like to attend the site visit as well.
She has done a lot of television, radio and newspapers interviews. During National Tourism week she did television interviews for Good Morning Springfield. PIO Chris Wills been extremely busy writing press releases as well as speaking engagements for her.
Some highlights that happened since Brown-McCreery was named Director:
• Hillary Clinton was at the Old State Capitol. Justin Blandford was very helpful converting the Chamber into an actual television studio. It was great to use one of IHPA sites. Clinton’s advance team was great to work with.
• Last week the agency hosted the Statewide History Fair at the Capital Convention Center. More than 1,200 students participated. Governor Rauner was there to hand out the Governor’s award; the first time in 20 years for a Governor to attend.
• Visited Cahokia Mounds and met with a group of archaeologists from Italy that were in town.
• Attended the ALPLM Annual Volunteer appreciation dinner. It was a nice turnout with more than 400 volunteers attending.
She reminded board members to complete the Open Meetings Act and the Ethics Training which is in the binders. Director Heidi Brown-McCreery then introduced Tom Carlisle, the new Chief Legal Counsel.
At 12:00 p.m. Chair Bruner called recess for lunch. The meeting resumed at 1:00 p.m.
Historic Sites Update
Ryan Prehn highlighted the increase in revenue during the first quarter of calendar year 2016 vs. calendar year 2015. The attendance is up 30.2 percent from last year. He added that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was at the Old State Capitol on March 14. The program aired on MSNBC.
The Governor’s Conference on Illinois Tourism was back in Springfield for the first time in 8 years on March 20-23rd and brought a plethora of industry professionals to town to discuss current trends. Cahokia Mounds received USA TODAY’s reader’s choice award for 2nd best Archaeological Site on April 15th. Credit is due in large part to staff creativity and help from the Foundations and volunteers.
37 seasonal hires were requested to spread around the State to help at the sites with both maintenance and interpretive work. Individuals that worked last year and left in good standing will be rehired fairly quickly. For others, it may be a lengthy process due to backgrounds checks.
The big event was the funeral reenactment in Springfield. Last year marked the 150th anniversary. There was no cost to the agency, majority was donations from the local communities. There were a few staff that received overtime while working the event. Would like to do this as an annual occurrence.
Last month Prehn met with the Pullman working group that is gaining momentum in variety of areas (Programmatic Agreements, environmental remediation of contaminated land on the site, and planning for the development of the National Monument).
He is trying to be more aggressive on filming and photography at sites to generate revenue. We are looking at proposals for filming at sites.
The good weather as well as hosting more special events throughout the year have helped generate attendance.
The Purple Heart Memorial plan has been completed. A letter of authorization to proceed has been sent to the Purple Heart Committee. With weather permitting, they will start landscaping.
Mike Norris been working with local contractors on items that are enclosed in the report. Without the contractors willing to work without payment, due to lack of budget, the HPA sites could shut down. Norris would like to thank the local communities for their support of HPA sites.
The agency’s procurement staff person took another position. Director Brown-McCreery is working with the procurement office to get an agreement or hire a new procurement staff.
Rita Moore thanked the Board of Trustees for appointing her as the Internal Auditor. Key items include the orientation to all Executive Staff Members to get on board with HPA effectiveness and efficiency of operations.
Moore also prepared a PowerPoint to Executive Staff, which is located in all of the binders. The PowerPoint presentation was to give staff an idea of what Internal Auditors do and what the difference is between an internal and external auditor.
There needs to be an audit function. There is an exemption in the Open Meetings Act that when we start talking about Audits that can be done in Executive Session. There are professional standards that internal auditors must follow and are mandated by a Board that oversees all the state auditors. So when you stay in compliance there has to be a risk base audit plan that needs to be approved by the board and Director Brown-McCreery.
In the next meeting Moore will be bringing the Department Charter, a part of the institute for the internal audit standard. In September the Auditors are required to do an annual report that measures where HPA is against the plan, what was conducted, and if there are outstanding audits findings.
Currently working on a GAAP audit, which is mandated by the Financial Accounting Standard Board which is due by May 31st.
In regards to the audit plan, it is a 2-year plan that we are requested to do and has to be approved by the end of the fiscal year. The plan is revised every year.
Chair Bruner asked the board for a motion to approve the audit plan.
Chair Bruner made a motion to approve the audit plan report. Trustee Mindy Spitzer-Johnston made a motion to approve the audit plan. Trustee Julia Bachrach seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.
There were no public comments.
Chair Bruner requested a motion to adjourn. Trustee Julia Bachrach made a motion to adjourn. Mindy Spitzer-Johnston seconded the motion. The motion unanimously approved.
The Trustee’s Board Meeting adjourned at 1:45pm