VCOG Board of Directors Meeting, July 22, 2022

VCOG Board of Directors meeting
July 22, 2022
Via Zoom

In attendance: Jeff South (President), Paul Casalaspi (Vice President), Joe Fuentes (Treasurer), Stephen Hayes (Secretary), Betsy Edwards, Craig Fifer, Bob Gibson, Joshua Heslinga, Wat Hopkins, Lawrence McConnell, Bruce Potter, Jay Speer, Jonathan Williams, Anita Shelburne. Also in attendance: Megan Rhyne (executive director).

The meeting convened at 11:08. A quorum was present.

Rhyne reported that Anita Shelburne would be stepping off the board at the end of the year. Shelburne thanked the board.

McConnell moved to approve the minutes from the Feb. 15, 2022, meeting. Heslinga seconded. The vote was unanimous.

Rhyne thanked the board members for filling out the contact form she sent out earlier. She asked those who had not filled it out to do so. She noted everyone agreed to their new, adjusted terms, as proposed in the board meeting adjustment packet. Heslinga asked for confirmation that the 2022 terms would end at the end of 2022. Potter asked about what the bylaws say about the terms. Rhyne reported that the bylaws contemplate staggered terms but do not say how many of each. South moved to approve the term readjustments, Heslinga seconded and the vote was unanimous.

Rhyne then shared the proposed board committee realignment. She said she hoped to reduce the number of committees and boost the number of people who are on each. She pointed out, however, that on a 27-member board, 11 members want to be on the legislative committee. That means the board is passionate about the issue, which is wonderful, but maybe passionate about running the organization. She encouraged members to add or change their membership preference to one of the other committees. She also noted that the bylaws specify that only officers and ex officio members are on the Executive Committee. Speer and Hayes said they would join the Development and Membership Committee.

Rhyne directed attention to the budget narrative, as well as the budget by month and year-end endowment reports. As for the budget, we finished FY 21-22 in the black by around $1,250. Revenue was lagging, primarily because (1) we did one event rather than three, and (2) we took only $28,000 of the $38,000 budgeted from the endowment. We did claw back around $5,000 of the $16,000 loss and that can be attributed to memorial donations in Frosty’s name. Expenses were down in part, again, one event instead of three, plus not having either a Woodrum Legislative Intern or a Richardson Legal Fellow.

The endowment was a disaster since the stock market took such a hit. The value — considering capital gains, dividends, drawdowns, etc. — was down by around 16%. Potter urged the board to consider other sources of sustainable revenue so we don’t have to rely on the endowment as much.Speer agreed, noting that people who give to VPAP should want to give to VCOG. Rhyne noted that she was not successful in past attempts to rope in lobbyists. Edwards noted that VPAP has been successful in monetizing the daily newsletter.

Speer asked who reviews staff salaries. Casalaspi said the executive committee has been looking into it.

Rhyne reviewed the proposed budget for FY22-23, noting the $10,000 that will come in from NFOIC. One event has been proposed. The drawdown represents 4.5% of the June 30 endowment value. There are modest increases in other categories. The $10,000 from NFOIC allows us to make up for some of the rising costs associated with inflation, like for the bookkeeper and the webmaster. It also figures into a 4.8% raise for the executive director that will compensate the ED for the work she’ll do for NFOIC. Shelburne said that for future budgets the salary should be raised further if the VCOG income issue can be resolved, based on the work Rhyne does already.

The board went into closed session to discuss the ED’s salary.

There is no record of the meeting when reconvened in open session, but the board voted unanimously to approve the budget but with an additional 1% increase in salary for Rhyne and to make cuts in the same amount to expense lines as Rhyne suggests.

The following reflection of that motion was approved in a July 25, 2022, email to staff.

- increases Rhyne’s salary (and the related taxes) by 1%, or $551, rounded down to $550 to make an even number.
- cuts the expense line for the awards event from $3,500 to $3,000 (-$500)
- cuts the expense line for travel mileage from $1,900 to $1,850 (-$50)

The board discussed proposed legislation for the 2023 session, a joint letter from VCOG and the press association to Virginia’s Commission for the Promotion of Uniformity of Legislation in the United States about electronic meetings during emergencies and a joint letter between VCOG and the DC Open Government Coalition to WAMATA about access to transit police body camera footage. The board then adjourned.