VCOG board meeting minutes, 6/25/09

Virginia Coalition for Open Government
Board of Directors
June 25, 2009

Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront,
Virginia Beach, Virginia


The meeting was called to order at 11:07 a.m., by Dorothy Abernathy, Vice President.

The following Board members were present:  Dorothy Abernathy, Vice President; Craig Fifer, Secretary; Peter Maroney, Treasurer; Lucy Dalglish; Doug Easter; Mark Grunewald; Dick Hammerstrom; Wat Hopkins; Waldo Jaquith; Pam Luecke; Patricia O'Bannon; Matt Paxton; Joe Smith; and Ginger Stanley.

Also present were Megan Rhyne, Executive Director; and Gardner Rordam, VCOG Intern.

Maroney, chair of the Finance Committee, reported that the Coalition's financial advisor, Craig Forbes, has left SunTrust with two colleagues to form Alpha Omega Wealth Management.  VCOG has signed a new agreement to keep Forbes as the Coalition's financial advisor.

Rhyne presented the proposed FY2009-2010 budget. The proposal reflects the likelihood that contributions from media companies will decrease in the next fiscal year.  Rhyne reported that she has received bids for an audit, ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, which does not include the preparation of IRS Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax).  The Coalition has not received a full audit before.  Upon a motion by Dalglish, seconded by Maroney, the Board agreed unanimously by voice vote to engage Mark Hultzapple to conduct an audit, at a cost of $2,500.

Maroney reported that he has been in discussions with a Richmond organization called The Venture Forum, which is interested in encouraging its members to contribute to the Coalition.  The Forum consists of CEOs of companies not in the Fortune 500, and has invited the Coalition to speak at an upcoming lunch meeting.

Upon a motion by Hopkins, seconded by Dalglish, the proposed budget for FY2009-2010 was unanimously approved by voice vote.

Upon a motion by Hopkins, seconded by Hammerstrom, the minutes from the March 20, 2009, meeting of the Board were unanimously approved by voice vote.

On behalf of the Nominating Committee, Rhyne reported that the terms of Lucy Dalglish, Mark Grunewald, Waldo Jaquith, Patricia O'Bannon, John Moen, John Schick, John Edwards, and Jane Elizabeth will expire at the end of 2009.

On behalf of the Executive Committee, Abernathy reported that the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) has asked VCOG to host their 2010 conference and share the profit.  The likely location would be in Northern Virginia or Williamsburg, in May or June.  The Executive Committee recommended that VCOG invite NFOIC to have the conference in Virginia, but leave the details for further exploration by NFOIC.  VCOG would form a committee to support the conference planning.  VCOG would still hold its own conference in Fall 2010.  Acting on the Executive Committee's recommendation as a motion, the recommendations were approved unanimously by voice vote.  Abernathy appointed Dalglish to chair the new committee.

Abernathy reported that VCOG is working with the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia to explore partnership opportunities.

Rhyne reported that she attended a four-hour seminar on non-profit fundraising, and a common theme was the importance of keeping the board of directors actively involved in fundraising and membership.

Jaquith, chair of the Marketing Committee, reported that WTVR in Richmond has developed a script for a membership recruitment advertisement for VCOG, which will be offered to other television stations.  The Daily Progress has produced a similar print advertisement, which McConnell has asked other newspapers to publish, as well.  So far, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has printed it.  Stanley and Paxton suggested making the ad available in a variety of sizes.

Dalglish reported that the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) has had to end funding for National Sunshine Week, which will mean that new advertisements may not be produced at the national level.

Grunewald asked whether it was still necessary for the Board to vote to approve each new member.  Fifer suggested that the Membership Committee look into this issue and make a recommendation.

Jaquith reported that Fifer and Albright have each recruited two new individual members, and Abernathy recruited an institutional member.  Rhyne sent membership recruitment letters to the members of the Virginia General Assembly and the candidates for statewide office. Rhyne also added a privacy policy to the VCOG Web site. Renewal notices will be sent in July, both to those whose memberships are about to expire and those whose memberships have expired in the past.

Jaquith reported that Rordam has been actively researching potential new members and grant opportunities.

Rhyne reported that new membership applications were received from the following individuals between March 21, 2009, and June 19, 2009:

Professional Investigator & Security Associates
Mark Fagerburg, Richmond
Peter Maroney, Richmond
Justin Wilson, Alexandria (via Craig Fifer)
Del. Bob Purkey, Virginia Beach
Del. Albert Pollard, Lively
Del. Riley Ingram, Hopewell
Deborah Wahlstrom, Suffolk
Del. Chris Peace, Mechanicsville
Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters (via Dorothy Abernathy)
Deirdre Enright (via Craig Fifer)
John Moen, Fredericksburg
Del. Shannon Valentine, Lynchburg
Del. John O'Bannon, Richmond
Gary Grant, Charlottesville
Don Vorakes (via Lee Albright)
Kim Cash (via Lee Albright)
Del. Kenneth Plum, Reston
Del. Tom Gear, Hampton
Del. Steve Landes, Weyers Cave
Sen. Ken Cuccinelli
Del. David Bulova

Upon a motion by Dalglish, seconded by Paxton, the new members were unanimously approved by voice vote.

Rhyne reported that 96% of the members of the board are currently individual members of VCOG.

On behalf of the Awards Committee, Rhyne reported that VCOG has widely solicited for nominations for the annual awards.  So far, five nominations have been received, representing all three categories (government, media, and citizen).  The deadline is Aug. 15.

Abernathy, chair of the Annual Conference Committee, reported that the 2009 Annual Conference will take place on Thursday and Friday, October 15 and 16, in Staunton.  Planned topics include the candidates for statewide office; the judicial selection process; access to court records and proceedings; and the transparency of the Obama Administration.

On behalf of the Bylaws Committee, Abernathy recommended an amendment to the Bylaws to clarify check-writing procedures.  Since the Board had received fewer than 10 days notice of the amendment, it will be deferred to the next Board meeting.

Rhyne reported that she attended the NFOIC conference in Minneapolis, and described the sessions she attended.  She also reminded the Board of the PowerPoint presentation she has prepared and made available for speakers to use.

Rhyne reminded Board members to send her photographs of themselves for use in VCOG publications.

Rhyne reminded the Board that Board meetings are generally scheduled to coincide with meetings of the Virginia Association of Broadcasters (VAB) in Virginia Beach each June and the Coalition's conference each Fall.  In even-numbered years, Board meetings will general lycoincide with the Virginia Press Association (VPA) conference in March, in Roanoke.  In odd-numbered years, the meeting will be held at the VPA's office in Richmond.

The next meetings of the Board will be on Oct. 15, 2009 (in Staunton, in conjunction with the Coalition's conference); Mar. 19, 2010 (in Roanoke, in conjunction with VPA's conference); and June 2010 (in Virginia Beach, in conjunction with VAB's conference).

Hammerstrom reported that the Virginia Supreme Court has proposed a rule to restrict access to the names of jurors.  Stanley reported that VPA will be discussing their reaction on a conference call on June 26.  Rhyne reported that McConnell has asked that the Board approve a resolution opposing the proposed rule.  Upon a motion from Hammerstrom and seconded by Dalglish, the Board unanimously voted to oppose the rule and requested that the Legal and Litigation Committee draft a formal resolution.

Rhyne reported that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed the complaints of all three petitioners in McBurney vs. Mims (regarding the constitutionality of Virginia's limit of access to FOIA to Virginia residents and media outlets), on technical grounds.

Rhyne further reported that a permanent injunction was issued in the Ostergen case, (concerning the publication of social security numbers).

There being no further business to come before the Board, Abernathy adjourned the meeting at 12:54 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Craig Fifer