VCOG Board of Directors meeting minutes 11.13.14


Virginia Coalition for Open Government
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes of November 13, 2014
Center in the Square, Roanoke, VA

Board Members present:  President, Craig Fifer; VP Dick Hammerstrom; Treasurer, Paul Casalaspi; Secretary, Olga Hernandez; Immediate Past President, Dorothy Abernathy; Brian Eckert; Peter Easter; Mark Grunewald; Frosty Landon; James LeMunyon; Jeff Lester; Lawrence McConnell; Marisa Porto; Jeff South; Ginger Stanley; and Executive Director, Megan Rhyne.

Board Members Absent: Lou Emerson, Paul Fletcher, Christopher Gatewood, Bob Gibson, Stephen Hayes, Wat Hopkins, Pam Luecke, Patricia O’Bannon, Melody Scalley, and Nancy Kent Smith;

President C. Fifer called the meeting to order at 12:48 p.m.

Announcements:  Welcome to Marisa Porto the VA Press Association designee to the VCOG board.  Thanks to M. Rhyne for her organization of the conference and to all the donors who contributed.  Congratulation to Melody Scalley on her recent marriage.

Minutes:  P. Easter moved O. Hernandez seconded approval of the minutes of August 15, 2014. J. LeMunyon abstained because he was absent. The minutes were approved.

Finance Report: 
Budget: Income is ahead compared to same time last year, due to workshops.  Expenses are up, with a deficit of $335.00.  Two withdrawals from the endowment will be taken this fiscal year to avoid cash flow problems.  Expenses will be high for November due to conference costs. 
Endowment is down 1.77% for the fiscal year and down 2.76% for the past 12 months. The committee can make more recommendations based on what was disscussed in August 2014.  P. Casalaspi contacted the Spider fund and got a reference.
The Chip Woodrum funds (CWF) are in a separate Wachovia account   We’re expecting $15,000 to $16,000 from the Chip Woodrum reception but not a big fundraiser, we’re paying to expose people to what we do.  As of Monday 120 RSVPs have been received.  Lots of Chip’s friends and fellow legislators that served with him have responded.  Chips daughter, Meredith is attending, she is traveling from Tallahassee, FL.  Chip’s sons both contributed $1,000 apiece.  F. Landon is pleased with the list of attendees.
Discrepancy of $28,000 from the CWF account was corrected on the IRS filing. IRS 990 has been filed, copies were made available. 
P. Cassalaspi moved and J. Lester seconded the acceptance of the financial review for 2013-14.  Vote passed unanimously.

M. Rhyne’s outreach on internship applications have yielded one response from VCU who heard through the Sorenson Institute.  D. Hammerstrom will help vet the applications.  More outreach  is needed. Roanoke College and Randolph Macon may have interested parties.  It was determined the intern can be a recent graduate and be available 2 or 3 days a week to work during the General Assembly session starting January 14, 2015.  Work should not be just clerical.  M. Rhyne recommends developing print material to leave at colleges.  A decision on whom to hire will be made by December 1. 

Nominations:  Board members Paul Fletcher’s and Wat Hopkins’ terms are recommended for extension until December 2015.  Pam Luecke, whose term expires December 31, 2014, will be stepping down.  The committee recommends Frank LoMonte, Director of the Student Press Law Center, to an at-large seat for a two-year term to expire December 31, 2017.  The current officers are recommended to continue until December 31, 2016.  L. McConnell moved and D. Abernathy seconded the motion to accept the committee’s recommendation.  The motion passed.
P. Easter stated he believes officers should be restricted to one two-year term to insure turnover.  He wants to discuss the idea and possible bylaw change at the next meeting. 

Executive Director’s Report:    M. Rhyne asked for help in writing thank you notes to donors.  Grant applications have been unsuccessful. F Landon stated since the Knight foundation is no longer giving grants that we should follow-up with conference attendees. Several other media companies like Gannett have foundations but they depend on specific projects or interest of the year. 

M. Rhyne stated the workshops have been successful and well attended.  The feedback is attendees want some kind of certification for the training.  She will develop attendance certificate.  VCOG will raise the workshop attendance fee.

The Annual Conference has 65 registered attendees including speakers.  Doors at the O. Winston Link Museum open at 10 am and close by 4 pm.  The Sunlight Foundation is a sponsor of the conference along with multiple other businesses. 

The Governor’s Commission on Integrity is accepting public comments.  F. Landon stated any submission needs to be carefully vetted by the Executive Committee, P. Easter requested that the board be kept informed.

Open Discussion:  A complimentary letter was received from Kimberly Johnson Smith a frequent caller to VCOG. 
Delegate J. LeMunyon (also a VCOG board member)  is heading the FOIA Council’s 2.5-year review of the FOIA exceptions.  They will be looking to the 2017 session to bring up recommendations.  They have gotten rid of two exceptions so far from over 175 plus or minus exceptions that now exist.  They have made an eight-minute video for state agency boards on the open meeting concept.  President Fifer restated that all FOIA laws should be sent to FOIA Council or have a super majority.  He credited Delegate J. LeMunyon for shepherding the bill to a study, LeMunyon credited G. Stanley for the idea. 

The reception opening remarks will start at 5:45 p.m.

President Fifer moved to adjourn, P. Casalaspi seconded the motion.  The motion passed and the meeting adjourned at 2:37 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by
Olga Hernandez,