VCOG board meeting minutes, 6/24/10 - Va. Beach

Virginia Coalition for Open Government

Board of Directors

June 24, 2010

Virginia Beach Hilton Oceanfront

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Final Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 10:30 a.m., by Lawrence McConnell, President.

The following Board members were present: Lawrence McConnell, President; Dorothy Abernathy, Vice President; Craig Fifer, Secretary; Wat Hopkins, Immediate Past President; Paul Casalaspi; Lucy Dalglish; Doug Easter; John Edwards; Forrest Landon; Tom Moncure; Matt Paxton; Ed Reams; Jeff South. Also present was Megan Rhyne, Executive Director; and Craig Forbes of Alpha Omega Wealth Management.

McConnell welcomed new board members Forrest Landon, Ed Reams, and Jeff South. McConnell also announced that Melody Scalley has been named to the board by the Virginia Association of Broadcasters.

Upon a motion by Casalaspi, seconded by Paxton, the minutes from the March 19, 2010, meeting of the Board were unanimously approved by voice vote.

Edwards, chair of the Nominating Committee, reported that the committee considered 16 candidates to fill the seat vacated by Rod Smolla. The committee recommends Olga Hernandez, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. The nomination was seconded by Dalglish. There being no further nominations, nominations were closed. By voice vote, the Board unanimously elected Hernandez to fill the vacancy.

Edwards further reported that the Coalition has not been notified by the Virginia Press Association or the Virginia Association of Broadcasters of any new appointments from those organizations to the Coalition Board.

Edwards referred the Board to a report produced by Rhyne that described the demographic composition of the Board.

Forbes delivered a report on the Coalition’s investments, and answered questions from the Board. Rhyne presented the proposed Coalition budget for FY2010-2011. The Board discussed potential options to lower the cost of staff health insurance premiums. Upon motion by Dalglish, seconded by Edwards, the Board unanimously approved the proposed budget on voice vote.

On behalf of the Futures Committee, McConnell referred the Board to a five-year planning worksheet. He pointed out that the worksheet was not etched in stone, but would provide a framework for future activities. Upon a motion by Dalglish to approve the plan, seconded by Hopkins, the Board engaged in discussion.

Dalglish suggested adding to the section on grants a point about applying for litigation grants from the National Freedom of Information Coalition. Easter pointed out the importance of having local representatives and activists appear before the General Assembly, in addition to staff lobbyists from access organizations. Landon asked to what degree the committee viewed major fundraising as a significant element of the plan. Edwards suggested encouraging student groups to become active in the Coalition. McConnell said that the ideas presented during discussion would be added as notes to the plan. At the conclusion of discussion, the Board voted unanimously by voice to approve the plan.

Casalaspi, chair of the Awards Committee, reported that the committee has issued a call for nominations for the Coalition’s annual awards, which has been posted on the Coalition’s website and provided to a variety of organizations, agencies, and mailing lists. Rhyne reported that the Coalition has already received three nominations. The nomination deadline is August 1, 2010.

Abernathy, chair of the Annual Conference Committee, reported that the Coalition’s 2010 annual conference will be held in Richmond. It will include a Board meeting and dinner on Thursday, October 21, at the Commonwealth Park Suites Hotel, and panel presentations on Friday, October 22, in House Room 3 at the State Capitol. The Coalition’s use of the Capitol is being sponsored by Del. Sal Iaquinto. Rhyne referred the Board to a conference fact sheet she has created, which can be given to prospective conference sponsors and attendees.

Edwards, chair of the Membership Committee, reported that new membership applications were received from 18 applicants and approved by the Executive Director between March 24, 2010, and June 24, 2010. New and renewing memberships included five members of the General Assembly and three newspapers. The Coalition’s membership has increased from 152 last year, to 170 this year. Edwards commended Rhyne for her outstanding efforts to promote and expand membership.

On behalf of the Marketing Committee, Rhyne reported that the committee would be supporting the Futures Committee’s plans related to marketing. The committee would also be working to distribute copies of the Coalition’s citizen’s guide to FOIA and promote Sunshine Week. The committee also planned to explore the creation of a Coalition license plate, and the use of Google AdWords advertising to draw traffic to the Coalition’s website.

Rhyne reported that the National Freedom of Information Coalition Summit was held in Arlington in May. Rhyne reported that panels included Coalition board members Lucy Dalglish and Ginger Stanley, and several Board members attended. The Coalition is waiting to learn to what extent it may receive proceeds from the event.

Rhyne referred to her staff activity report. She added that she has been exploring the possibility of holding a seminar at the Library of Virginia in September, targeted at the state agency employees who are tasked with fulfilling FOIA requests. Rhyne also reported that she was working with the state to ensure that Coalition newsletter e-mails to state employees would not be blocked by state spam filters.

Rhyne reported that the Coalition has received requests for the following endorsements:

· From the Virginia League of Conservation Voters to endorse their efforts “to advocate for more transparency and citizen involvement in the redistricting process”

· From the Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability, to endorse their efforts to create a citizen review board for complaints regarding police conduct in Fairfax County

Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board that no action be taken with regard to these requests, but that the Executive Director indicate the Coalition’s support for transparency in all areas of government.

McConnell reported that the Coalition received a request from the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), to participate in their “1 for All” initiative to build understanding and support for First Amendment freedoms. Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board that the Executive Director indicate the Coalition’s desire to be listed as a supporting organization in ASNE’s material.

The next meeting of the Board of Directors will take place on October 21, 2010, in Richmond, in conjunction with the Coalition’s Annual Conference.

There being no further business to come before the Board, McConnell adjourned the meeting at 12:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Craig Fifer