Public libraries aren’t the only institutions facing difficult choices in this budget cycle. The City Council is holding a hearing this Wednesday regarding the possible merger of DORIS, the Department of Records and Information Services and the DCAS, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. For more information and to make your voice heard on this issue, please see the information below.
Information Sheet on the Proposed Merger of DORIS & DCAS
Issue Summary and How You Can Help
New legislation is currently under review by the City Council that will change the administrative structure of the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS), the department that is responsible for the NYC Municipal Archives, City Hall Library, and records programs. The proposed legislation merges DORIS into the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), a larger and less specialized agency. The proposal must be brought before the City Council and approved by its members before it can be enacted. A Fact Sheet on the proposed merger is available here: http://www.nycarchivists.org/graphics/uploads/2011/03/Fact-Sheet.pdf
THE STATED REASONS FOR THE MERGER
The Commissioners of DCAS and DORIS, who support the merger, contend that the change will reinvigorate DORIS and enhance the services it already provides. They believe that as part of DCAS, DORIS would receive assistance with functions unrelated to its mission that drain its resources, including budget and fiscal operations, legal operations, personnel, procurement and contracting, and IT support.
In addition, the commissioners feel that a merger of DORIS and DCAS would shield DORIS from mandatory cuts to its operating budgets. DORIS absorbs cuts to its own budget as an independent agency, as part of DCAS, these cuts would be shared by all of DCAS.
READ THE LEGISLATION
Text of the merger legislation can be found here:
CONCERN AMONG INFORMATION PROFESSIONALS AND OTHERS
There are concerns among archivists, records mangers, historians, and genealogists regarding the proposed merger of DORIS and DCAS. ART held two meetings in early April. The first, on April 4th, provided a forum for members to discuss the issue. The second, on April 5th, provided a forum for members of several professional organizations to discuss the issue (meeting notes from this meeting are here: http://www.nycarchivists.org/graphics/uploads/2011/04/SummaryFinal.pdf )
The discussions at both meetings generated several concerns and recommendations that ART compiled into a document that was submitted to the City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations. The document can be read here: http://bit.ly/e1hkIw .
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
TO VOICE YOUR OPINION IN PERSON
The Committee on Governmental Operations will hold a public hearing on the proposed merger legislation on Wednesday, April 27th at 1:00pm at 250 Broadway, 14 Floor, Manhattan. Directions and information on security procedures can be found here:
Rachel Chatalbash, President of ART, will be testifying at the hearing on behalf of ART.
Any member of the public is welcome to testify at the hearing, for or against the measure. Anyone who wishes to testify (including those invited to testify) must fill out an appearance form (a “yellow slip”) with the sergeant-at-arms, who will be seated near the entrance to the hearing room.
Speakers will be arranged into panels. Although witnesses do not have to pre-register, it is helpful for the committee to know in advance in order to better arrange the panels. Please contact Seth Grossman, Counsel to the Committee, in advance if you intend to speak at the hearing. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Witnesses should bring twenty double-sided copies of any written testimony they wish to submit to the committee.
TO VOICE YOUR OPINION IN WRITING
If you are unable to attend this hearing you can still let the City Council know that this issue is important to you.
You may submit written testimony for the hearing. Send this testimony to Seth Grossman, Counsel to the Committee on Governmental Operations, at email@example.com. He will make sure that it goes in the record and is considered by the Committee members. Written testimony should be submitted prior to the hearing; at the latest, on April 25th.
You may also send letters or emails to the members of the Committee on Governmental Operations, as well as your own Council representative. (Names and addresses of the committee members are listed below. You may find your own City Council Member here: http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml .)
City Council Members need to receive your letters by Monday, April 25th. All letters sent to the City Council should be copied to Gale Brewer, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations; and Seth Grossman, Counsel to the Committee.
Committee on Governmental Operations:
Gale A. Brewer, Chair, Committee on Governmental Operations, New York City Council, 250 Broadway, Suite 1744, New York, NY 10007 firstname.lastname@example.org
Inez E. Dickens, Committee on Governmental Operations, New York City Council, 250 Broadway, Suite 1875, New York, NY, 10007 email@example.com AND to District Office Director, Lermond Mayes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erik Martin Dilan, Committee on Governmental Operations, New York City Council, 3250 Broadway, Suite 1763, New York, NY 10007 Edilan@council.nyc.gov
Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Committee on Governmental Operations, New York City Council, 250 Broadway, Suite 1785, New York, NY 10007 email@example.com
Peter F. Vallone, Jr., Committee on Governmental Operations, New York City Council, 250 Broadway, New York City Council, Suite 1754, New York, NY, 10007 firstname.lastname@example.org
Seth Grossman, Counsel to the Committee on Governmental Operations, New York City Council, 250 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, New York, 10007 SGrossman@council.nyc.gov