VCOG Board of Directors meeting minutes 4.18.14



Virginia Coalition for Open Government
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes,  April 18, 2014
Virginia Press Association Offices, 11529 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, VA 

Board Members Present:  President Craig Fifer; V.P Dick Hammerstrom, Secretary Olga Hernandez, Immediate Past President Dorothy Abernathy, Peter Easter, Lou Emerson, Paul Fletcher, Christopher Gatewood, Bob Gibson, Stephen Hayes, Wat Hopkins, Frosty Landon, James LeMunyon, Pam Luecke, Lawrence McConnell, Patricia O’Bannon, Ginger Stanley, Jonathan Williams, and Executive Director Megan Rhyne.  Mark Grunewald and Jeff Lester participated via Skype.

The meeting was called to order at 1:03 pm. by President Fifer.  He welcomed members and the attendees introduced themselves.

Announcements:  Board member Lawrence McConnell, was congratulated for recently being inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. 

Minutes:  Secretary Hernandez mentioned there are some typos in the December minutes that will be corrected.  L. McConnell moved, P. O’Bannon seconded approval of the minutes as corrected, motion passed unanimously.

Agenda: Adjusted to move the Executive Committee Report to the top of the agenda.

Executive Committee Report:  The committee met prior to the board meeting to discuss VCOG’s future as a lobbying presence.  It was agreed among committee members that lobbying is not the most lucrative and effective way to spend time and money and that we need to be more strategic.  Thus lobbying should not be our Executive Director’s primary focus but no decision was made as details will be worked out.  F. Landon, a founder and VCOG’s first executive director, reminded the group that VCOG was established to be the voice of citizens.  Others countered that at this time we don’t have the resources and  need to shift to public education of our open government mission.  We will still work with our coalition members to  support legislation of interest.  It may be best for our one employee to spend more time on grant writing, membership recruitment and building the organization.  M. Rhyne will continue to observe the FOIA Council.  President Fifer stated that the committee structure needs to be more active as we are all volunteers but must take responsibility for our assignment.  Members are encouraged to send comments to President Fifer and pehaps we can deal with this at the summer meeting.  P. Easter acknowledged that M. Rhyne has had an effect on local government through her outreach and education programs. 

Finance Report:
• A cash flow error was made in Janury resulting in three overdrafts,  the situation was resolved with approval from President Fifer and Treasurer Paul Casalaspi.
• Though expenses are currently under budget, revenue is down and we will likely fall around $7,000 short at year’s end even with the Endowment transfer.  See the P&L Budget Overview Report. 
• Director and Officers Insurance has been renewed but the cost increased.
• NFOIC has put a hold on all grants, they are also struggling.
• The endowment value, year to date, including drawdown is up 4.22 percent.
• Again the budget expires before our next board meeting.  D. Abernathy moved and B. Gibson seconded a motion that we continue to operate under the current budget until the next meeting.  Motion passed unanimously.  We may need to review our budget cycle as this continues to be the case.

Membership and Audience Development
• Eleven new members joined since the December meeting, some from the lapsed list.  M. Rhyne asked for help in getting members to renew.
• Rhyne is looking to have events to raise funds.  Perhaps doing something with UVA’s Crystal Ball and/or the Library of Virginia with the Attorney General.  No schedule has been set.

Executive Director’s Report – Megan Rhyne 
• The Annual Conference in December was well attended and M. Rhyne thanked those who helped.  We had more sponsors and attendees than in the past.  Some were local due to our contacts in the area.  The panels were well staffed and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Aneesh Chopra were good draws.  Next Conference will be in Roanoke in November.  Contacts there may be less available than in M. Rhyne’s Williamsburg hometown.  Hotel Roanoke, Link museum, Art museum, Jefferson Center  might be good locations.  M. Rhyne is planning a cocktail reception for the Chip Woodrum Legislative Internship, suggestions accepted
• RTD reached out to us for Sunshine week with a published Q&A with M. Rhyne. M. Rhyne also particpated in and hour-long Twitter conversation on FOIA and held a reception in Williamsburg at a popular restaurant with citizens, local city officials, Williamsburg’s delegate and local journalists. 
• M. Rhyne provided various training sessions around the state.  D. Hammerstrom pointed out that local governments have records management problems we can help with.  We should continue to reach out to them.
• Received $24,000 for the Chip Woodrum Legislative Internship from Woodrum’s family.  Letters were sent seeking more donations.  F. Landon asked others to reach out.
• See the Executive Directors April 18, 2014 Report attached.

Legislative Report 2014

• Delegate J. LeMunyon sponsored HJ96 asking the FOIA Council to review FOIA’s 172   exemptions.  They will meet April 22 to organize for the review.  Delegate  LeMunyon’s HB788 was referred to the Council to set possible procedures for out of state  request.
• VCOG is developing a survey to determine what kind of issues people are having with  FOIA requests.  Member Carol Lindstrom may help with that. 
• Virginia Public Access Project asked us to speak to the State Board of Elections regarding  the filing deadline time change from 5:00 pm to 11:59 pm.  The group determined this was  not our main focus but other partners would be interested in speaking on the subject. 
See the General Assembly April 18, 2014 report.
• VA Supreme Court ruled that professors’ emails were proprietary.  The ruling was  narrowly written but may be expanded in the future. 

Board Meeting Adjoured at 2:39 pm
Summer meeting TBD
Respectfully submitted by Olga Hernandez, Secretary