VCOG board of directors meeting 4.26.16

Virginia Coalition for Open Government

Board of Directors Meeting Minutes of April 26, 2016
Virginia Press Association, Glen Allen, VA

Board Members present:  Vice President Dick Hammerstrom; Treasurer, Paul Casalaspi; Secretary, Olga Hernandez; Immediate Past President, Dorothy Abernathy; Brian Colligan; Peter Easter; Brian Eckert; Christopher Gatewood; Bob Gibson; Stephen Hayes; Wat Hopkins; Shelley Kimball; Frank LoMonte; Lawrence McConnell; Patricia O’Bannon; Nancy Kent Smith; Jeff South; Ginger Stanley; Jonathan Williams and Executive Director, Megan Rhyne.  President Craig Fifer participated via phone.

Board Members Absent: Melody Himel Clarke; Lou Emerson; Paul Fletcher; Frosty Landon; and Jeff Lester.

Vice President Dick Hammerstrom called the meeting to order at 1:08 p.m.

Announcements:  President C. Fifer could not attend due to illness but will participate via phone.  Ginger Stanley is retiring June 30 after 32 years leading the Virginia Press Association.  Secretary Olga Hernandez was recently awarded the 2015 Citizen of the Year Award by the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations.

Minutes:  The minutes of December 9, 2015, were approved as presented.

Executive Committee Report:  M. Rhyne reported a work fundraising agreement was signed with Ms. Betty Kent in mid-March.  She has developed a committee job description which was adopted by consensus.  Also a Who Do You Know exercise for board members to tap for potential development.  Membership numbers are down to 166 but donations are up, many renewal invoices have been sent.  M. Rhyne is using the Salesforce contact management software to better organize the different lists she uses.

Public Engagements:  M. Rhyne will speak at the Sheriff’s Association.  Her class at William & Mary’s Christopher Wren Association starts next week.  She participated in ten outreach events listed in the Executive Directors report.

The FOIA and records management workshop has 120 registrations as of today. Participants will get certificates.  VPA is pulling back from providing training.  VCOG is hoping to fill that void.  Ginger Stanley complimented M. Rhyne for her work.

Chip Woodrum Intern Elisa Rudolph was self-motivated at the GA and got lots of experience in different aspects of legislative work. 

Laurence E. Richardson Legal Fellow intern will be Nebraskan, Norma Volkmer of William and Mary.  She is interested in election law and is splitting her time between a job in DC and VCOG.

Social Media:  Facebook likes 516; Twitter followers 1,518;  daily newsletter subscribers 464; monthly newsletter subscribers 542.  Email/phone inquiries 189 in about 4 months.  These stats are being kept for fundraising help.

Transparency Virginia report published April 19 was principally authored by M. Rhyne.  Of note are the positive steps taken by the Speaker at the start of the session.  Looking back in 2005 only 3% of bills got defeated without a recorded vote; in 2016 95% of defeated bill were killed without a recorded vote.  The big change is the subcommittee system.

Daily Press/Office of the Executive Secretary lawsuit had a ruling against the Daily Press, on access to the court database, they are appealing.  The Litigation Committee will meet with VPA attorney on the appeal, VCOG may weigh in.

FOIA Council is still working on FOIA exemptions but no agreement has been reached.  Frosty Landon will step down from the council in June because of term limits.  Dick Hammerstrom’s name has been put forth as a replacement.

Janice Denton vs City of Hopewell case had a ruling against the use of closed meetings to decide the mayor.  The City will be paying her attorney fees.

Annual Conference:  Inquiries in Harrisonburg have not been responsive.  Peter Easter stated that Richmond may be a better location for attendance.

Finance Report:  All the funds in the endowment have been transferred to a Vanguard account.  A new bookkeeper is being assigned.  March was a slow month financially.  Not printing the newsletter has saved money.  The third installment from VPA was received.  M. Rhyne has not received a raise in seven years, a raise is provided in the budget.  Bob Gibson moved and Wat Hopkins seconded a motion to increase the

Executive Director’s pay by 2%.  Motion passed unanimously.  Treasurer Paul Casalaspi will get a letter instructing the bookkeeper to include the raise in the Executive Director’s salary. 

New Business:  Potential change to bylaws regarding remote participation, the bylaws committee will explore and make a recommendation.  M. Rhyne will research who is on the bylaws committee.   Gift receipt policy will be discussed by a committee. M. Rhyne was asked to query Betty Kent about other organizations’ policies.  Dick, Olga, Pat, and Brian and will serve on the committee.  A recommendation will be brought to the next meeting.

Old Business:  VCOG 20th Anniversary Award Dinner:  This may serve as a fundraiser honoring Ginger Stanley’s long service.  The event is to be held in September at the Boathouse River View Room at Rockett’s Landing in Richmond.  It was suggested the Betty Kent be asked for potential organizations to ask for sponsorships.  The annual conference is separate from this event.  Frank LoMonte agreed to serve on a committee to explore options.

Adjournment:  Vice President Dick Hammerstrom adjourned the meeting at 2:39 p.m.

Next Board meeting will tentatively be in the summer, Megan will send a Doodle inquiry to determine a good date.

Respectfully submitted by
Olga Hernandez,