VCOG Board of Directors meeting minutes 8.15.14

Virginia Coalition for Open Government  DRAFT
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes of August 15, 2014
The Miller Center at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Board Members present:  President, Craig Fifer; VP Dick Hammerstrom; Treasurer, Paul Casalaspi; Secretary, Olga Hernandez; Immediate Past President, Dorothy Abernathy; Peter Easter; Brian Eckert, Lou Emerson, Stephen Hayes; Frosty Landon; Jeff Lester; Pam Luecke; Lawrence McConnell; Jeff South; Ginger Stanley; Jonathan Williams and Executive Director, Megan Rhyne.

Board Members Absent:  Paul Fletcher, Christopher Gatewood, Bob Gibson, Mark Grunewald, Wat Hopkins, James LeMunyon, Patricia O’Bannon, Melody Scalley, and Nancy Kent Smith;
Vice President Dick Hammerstrom called the meeting to order at 1:09 pm.  President Fifer was delayed in traffic, he arrived at 1:54 pm.

Announcements:  Michael Stowe resigned from the board due to a busy schedule.  Lawrence McConnell is now the new editor of the Roanoke Times.  VCOG President is now the Communication Director of the City of Alexandria.

Minutes:  L. McConnell moved approval of the minutes of April 18. G. Stanley seconded, the minutes were approved unanimously.

Finance Report: 
Dues:  M. Rhyne reported that the 2013-14 budget wrap up was short $825 mostly due to fewer members at the individual level.  She reported that TV, Radio and organizations/trade group memberships increased.  She reached out to media in the Hampton Road area personally.  Conference and workshop income were up by $1,065; individual gifts were down $155.  VCOG did not get the budgeted $2,000 from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. 
Grants:  No grant was received from NFOIC and none is expected. 
Proposed Budget:  P. Easter moved approval of the proposed Budget, P. Casalaspi seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.

Endowment: Doing well, up 3.14%.  Will cost $85 to file quarterltax reports but the bookkeeper is not sending timely billing.  She is now working part-time.  It is estimated that the Chip Woodrum Fund (CWF) would need to raise $33,000 to $40,00 annually to keep things going.  So far $600 has been donated to the CWF by legislators directly solicited.  P. Easter asked about workers comp for the intern, G. Stanley suggested that the intern be considered as an independent contractor.

Discussion ensued about the management by Invesco Global due to their management changes.  P. Easter commented that our association should not get into risky investment.  The report offered did not have enough details for a decision.  D. Hammerstrom suggested that the finance committee investigate the issue and vote via email.  P. Luecke moved and D. Abernathy seconded that the finance and endowment committees look into the issue and decide via email on what action to take.  The committee should report to the board by September 30, 2014  The motion passed unanimously.

Membership & Audience Development:  More seminars and workshops are scheduled.  Next one will be in Richmond and later in SW Virginia.   P. Easter suggested that more local governments be invited to workshops, which is where the problems are.  Suggestion was also made about reaching out to higher education sites in SW Virginia.  D. Abernathy suggested running ads in local papers like J. Lester’s paper in Norton. 
M. Rhyne has a goal of making 10 solicitations a month.  Recent membership outreach yielded one new organization, one member and a law firm. 

Annual Conference:  The next board meeting will be held November 13 at Center in the Square at 1 Market Square SE, in Roanoke, and the Annual Conference will be on the 14th at the O. Winston Link Museum, also in Roanoke.  The budgeted goal for sponsorships is $8,000.  The biggest expense is catering and room rental of $250.  M. Rhyne is reaching out to law firms and TV stations for sponsorships.  D. Abernathy stated that sponsorships can be better attained if not so close to the end of the fiscal year, perhaps asking in the spring. 

A cocktail event is being planned to honor Chip Woodrum in connection with the Conference. Professional fundraiser, Joan Washburn, who knew Woodrum, has offered to help with the event.  She asks for $500 upfront costs and 10% of proceeds raised.  M. Rhyne met with her and she was made aware we are a nonpartisan organization.  The night may net an estimate of $13,500 assuming sponsorships of different levels and guest cost of $50.  Mr. Woodrum’s widow is not involved as she suffered a stroke in April.  Chip’s daughter Meredith is aware of the event planning.  P. Easter expressed concern that Ms. Washburn may be too partisan; he is contacting a Republican operative to see about her activities.  President C. Fifer moved and G. Stanley seconded the motion that Ms Washburn be contracted for the event allowing a 24 hour time allotment to rescind if any adverse information is learned.  Motion passed unanimously.

M. Rhyne is looking at organizing panels on FOIA fees and open government.  Possibly inviting the Attorney General.  She asked the board for recommendation for the award.  P. Easter suggested topics of privatization, public private partnerships transparency and board of visitors policy (UVA) transparency.  Possible posting of “Chipisms” may be used at the venue.

M. Rhyne mentioned that William and Mary may be doing a Sunshine week event with us.

New Business:  FOIA Council review of exceptions to FOIA study is going slow.  They are looking at exceptions chronologically setting aside issues that pose red flags.  Eric Loose, our intern, is doing some research on exceptions. 

F. Landon expressed concern that the executive committee had set policy and not only made a recommendation regarding the Executive Directors duties.  President C. Fifer stated that the executive committee acts in between full committee meetings.  The Executive committee came to consensus that the change was warranted due to finances and membership decline.  Thus seminars, workshops and attention to membership development take precedence.  M. Rhyne is also to observe the FOIA Council.  Currently there is no practical change as the General Assembly is not in session.  President Fifer stated he owed M. Rhyne some direction on lobbying and other issues.  VCOG will have a monitoring role at the G.A. but spend more time on grants, membership and outreach seminars. 

Board Nominations:  Board Nominations are requested.  C. Fifer, D. Hammerstrom and Olga Hernandez have agreed to be re-nominated for their current positions.  The Nominating Committee will be in touch with other board members. 

Pam Luecke moved to adjourn, P. Casalaspi seconded the motion.  The motion passed and the meeting adjourned at 3:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted by
Olga Hernandez,