Common Ground Board of Directors Minutes- May 2019

Meeting of the New Haven Ecology Project Board of Directors
May 20, 2019

Present: Bob Parker, Wendy Battles, Michael Doolittle, Brian Springsteen, Errol Saunders, Jane Lee, Terri Snell, Charles Negaro, Beth Klingher, Ilene Crawford, Kyeen Andersson

Staff: Elena Augusewicz, Betsy Sneath, Kimball Cartwright, Deborah Greig, Joel Tolman, Rebecca Holcombe, Liz Cox

Public Participation: N/A

Bob called the meeting to order at 5:30

Business Requiring Approval:

April 22, 2019 minutes
Mike moved to approve, Wendy seconded;
Beth abstained from vote

May 6, 2019 Executive Session minutes
Beth moved to approve, Ilene seconded

Rock to Rock Community Partner Checks: all other participating partner payments will be less than $5,000.00. Participating partner payments are based on donations made to riders for those organizations minus the processing fees.
Massaro Community Farm: $25,072.57
New Haven Farms: $18, 933. 77
Columbus House: $11,250.73
Cityseed: $10,310.43
Errol moved to approve, Michael seconds

Finance Committee

Finance Dashboard

Betsy presented the board with the current Draft Budget. Betsy said that last year new Salary Scales were implemented for Teachers and Support Educators. We added a full time SPED paraprofessional, full time security, and additional support educator capacity. This year, after all department heads and program managers submitted their 1st round of budgets, there was a deficit and the finance committee required us to balance it.

All managers were asked to cut budgets. They did this by reducing publicity, professional development, stipends, Green Jobs Corps wages, Mobile Market route stops We will not be purchasing new projectors or moving forward with any farm infrastructure improvements. We have also decided not to offer grants for Teaching Out Cities schools. Unfortunately, these cuts were not enough to balance the budget so we also cut a full time position, moved a full time position to part time and reduced some part time hours (all affected parties have already been spoken to). We did maintain the salary scales that were agreed upon and left in Team Lead Stipends.

In the current budget there will be no raises for anyone who is not scheduled to move up on a salary scale. With those adjustment we now have a balanced budget. Our revenue for this year was down. Philanthropic giving is down nationwide and we did not have an Executive Director to support fundraising efforts. If revenue changes before the end of the fiscal year, restoring jobs and offering raises will be the priorities.

Brian stated that staff wasn’t happy to hear this and the teachers really want to keep full time security. That being said, It’s good to hear that restoring those jobs and raises are a priority if more money comes in.

Betsy said that we are increasing the number of grants we apply to, with the help of our part time grant writer, we are also increasing facility rentals. We are anticipating more revenue for next year.

The goal is to have a draft budget out to the Board by June 15th so everyone can review and send questions in advance of the June Board meeting.

HR Report

Liz received a letter of resignation from Joe Lesiak, our Social Worker, who is retiring. Joe was a founder of Common Ground, had served as a board chair, and worked in different capacities all over campus. We will be recruiting a new full time social worker. Larry Dome, Math Teacher, is also retiring and his position will be filled.

Errol motioned that we should do something to special to thank them for their service to Common Ground. Michael seconds

Organizational Updates

Program Dashboard

Rebecca wanted to celebrate Deborah and the Farm Crew because The Seedling Salle made more money than last year. There was some worry because we split it from the Sheep Shearing/Spring Festival event that we usually do. Turn out and feedback for all these separate events was great and they were all a good time.

Executive Director Search

Bob stated that tomorrow night we are meeting with the candidate for the first time to begin the negotiations to sign an agreement. Working on draft letter of agreement which will be sent to our lawyer. Hoping for approval of the agreement for the June meeting, hoping for a start date of July 1, 2019.

Old Business

Board Member Recruitment

One of our goals is to bring 3-4 new people onto the Board each year. We are now behind for this year and unlikely to have candidates by the June meeting. If you have suggestions for prospects please let Bob or Wendy know. We have a running list of names from last round of recruitment. Our goal is to have a list of candidates for the sept meeting to review with current board members.

New Business

Charter Renewal

Liz stated that our Charter Renewal Application deadline is coming up, one on June 7 and another in Sept. 6. These dates are much earlier than they were in the past. Liz is working on some new policies that will need to be passed before the Sept. 6th deadline. We may need a special session over the summer to get them passed. There is an important phone conference on May 23rd that Joe and Liz will be a part of.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:35

Next Meeting: June 24, 2019, 5:30 PM


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