Common Ground Board of Directors- Minutes December 19, 2016

Present: Mike Doolittle, Monique Frasier, John Jessen, Beth Klingher, Kerry Lord, Claudia Merson, Frank Mitchell, Bob Parker, Melissa Spear. Staff: Kimball Cartwright, Liz Cox, Joel Tolman. Guest: Cornell Wright

Bob called the meeting to order at 5:37 PM


Mike moved approval of the minutes of the November 28, 2016 meeting. Claudia seconded. APPROVED.
Melissa presented the invoices needing approval: Newfield $89,378 and $15, 877.03, LaRosa $40,626.84. Kerry moved approval for payment; Beth seconded. APPROVED.


Melissa reported that the 2015-16 fiscal year has been completed and we were approximately $200,000 under budget, leaving us sufficient funds to pay for remaining renovation costs and our first $50,000 payment on the construction loan.
Mike and Beth reported for the Finance Committee in Jane’s absence. The 15-16 audit has been competed with one finding, which was not of ongoing concern. Claudia moved to accept the audit; Kerry seconded. APPROVED.
They reported that Jane had reconciled the credit card statements. And that the committee is working on a new format for their monthly reports.
They also reported that cash flow is in good shape, if a little tight for this time of year, so the committee is recommending that we approve an increase in our line of credit from $100,000 to $300,000 (10% of the operating budget).
Mike moved acceptance of the Finance Report; John seconded. APPROVED.

Executive Director’s Report

Melissa reported that the staff are in the final shakedown of the buildings, learning the various operating systems. There are still a few more bumps before the commissioning of the building renovations will be complete.
She was disappointed that the first choice for Farm Director chose not to accept the position, but was happy to report that an excellent candidate had just completed second interviews with various staff. She is hoping this candidate will be available for an early March start.

School Report

Liz reported that it is the week before holiday, lots of good energy as well as anxiety. She also noted that the school is in the ramp up to this year’s SAT’s.
She was glad to say the the draft CEIO Work Plan had been shared with the full staff, and that there was good feedback that could be considered in our rollout of the plan.
There will be a recommendation for a new school schedule by February 1st, which will make way for strong new offerings, including social justice education.
Liz also reported that the staff are pushing this year’s Seniors harder than ever, especially regarding their portfolios and the required April defenses. There is a social justice seminar being offered to this class, which is going well.
The staff have presented a recommendation for expulsion of a student. The school committee (Bob, Claudia and Frank) will meet next week to hear the case.

Development Report

Kimball reported some good and bad news – the loss of some anticipated foundation grants, with growth in other areas of development, keeping our revenue in a stable position for now.

Old Business
CEIO Report

Kerry and Bob reminded the board that several important parts of the Plan require the board’s involvement, including the proposed Critical Friends committee, as well as new systems for staff recruitment and retention. Discussion included ensuring that this was directed at all categories of staff, building Human Resources capacities.
It was proposed that a small group of the board meet mid-January to begin strategizing around the Work Plan and our role in it.

Shared Mission Retreat

Melissa reported that she will meet with representatives of New Haven Farms, New Haven Land Trust and City Seed at a retreat at Wisdom House on January 19 and 20, 2017. This group has been awarded $10,000 to facilitate their discussions on how best to collaborate in the best use of what we all offer the community. She asked if there was any interest on the part of a Board member to accompany her and other staff to that retreat. Kerry will check her calendar to see if she is available.

Our next meeting will be January 23, 2017 at 5:30 PM

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 PM


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