Common Ground Board of Directors Meeting Minutes: Nov. 22, 2021

Link to: Zoom Recording

New Haven Ecology Project

Board Meeting Minutes

November 22,2021

Board Members present:  Bob Parker, Peter Ludwig, Errol Saunders, Christopher Hayes, Charles Negaro, Terri Snell, Kyeen Andersson, Carly Osburne, Deloris Vaughn, Joseph Melendez

Staff Members present: Elena Augusewicz, Audrey Nefores, Cherry Pacquette Emmanuel, Rebecca Holcombe, Deborah Greig, Joel Tolman, Bev Greene


Bob Parker called the meeting to order at 5:38. Seeing no public comment, Bob moved on to Business Requiring Approval. 

Public Comment

There was no Public Comment

Business Requiring Approval (6:05)  

Minutes from the Oct 25, 2021meeting 

Joseph moved to approve the minutes, Peter seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously

Errol suggested an amendment to the minutes: where it says next meeting at the end, it should say Nov. 22 and not the 29th.

Invoices Needing Approval (5:40)

The following invoices were presented for approval. Kyeen moved to accept all the invoices. Carly seconded the motion. The motion passed with one abstention by Joseph. 

HB Diversified $26,004.00, Projectors for classrooms (budgeted expense included in ARP ESSER)

Thurston Foods $6,884.53, Monthly food orders for Cafeteria

Zangari Cohn Lawyers $16,195.00 for Oct. 6-Oct. 29 legal fees related to unionization drive

**Bills previously approved by Finance Committee:

Great American $13,057.01 on Nov. 3, Commercial Liability Insurance

EA1 Education $15,214.68 on Nov. 3, Bulk calculator Order

Executive Director Report  (5:43) (Monica)

CGHS update (Cherry): Cherry updated the board on current enrollment and attendance rates, noted our new SPED hire Javier Rodriguez, and reviewed MAP scores and improvement plans.  She also mentioned that we are engaging in a partnership with Higher Heights for college advisement instead of hiring an individual for the school counselor position. Cherry also requested that the board meet with our culture consultant during the Jan. Board of Dir meeting as part of that ongoing work.

Farm Happenings (Deb): Powerpoint, Food Story Tamales. Deborah presented a powerpoint of farm updates and the farm’s broader goals of Access, Education and Community Engagement. She also discussed some of the farm’s ongoing challenges.

Audit Committee (6:45)

Deloris stated that the audit committee did not meet in November. They are scheduled to meet Dec. 2.

Building Committee  (6:46) 

The building committee did not meet in November. The building committee asks the board to approve the Svigals + Partners Architecture & Engineering Design Services Proposal in its entirety with the caveat that should the surveying reveal the land as not being conducive to building construction CG will not move forward with the design phases and Svigals will not hold CG liable. At this time, we are also asking the board to approve the initial expense of $11,000 to cover surveying, zoning/code/city plan review and visioning workshop.

Peter moved to approve the initial expense of the Svigals + Partners Architecture & Engineering Design Services Proposal and Survey for $11,000, Joseph seconded the motion to approve this expense for the proposal and survey. The motion to approve this expense for proposal and survey was approved unanimously.

Development Committee (6:49)

Charles wanted to remind the board that we are completing the end of year appeal letter. He commended board members who have worked with Audrey to create personalized letters. 

Audrey wanted to share her gratitude for Chris Hayes and Chris Alpert, our student board representatives, who both contributed to the End of Year Appeal. Audrey also wanted to shout out Goia who was interviewed by development. Interviews are a great way for us to celebrate board members and share them with our donors, she looks forward to doing similar interviews with other board members as well.  

Finance Committee (6:55)

The Finance Committee met on November 15th, to review budget vs actuals and cash on hand. The Finance committee will meet again on December 20th.

Peter stated that we are currently on track with revenue and general spending. We still have a ways to go in fundraising to meet our budget goals. 

Monica said the finance committee did a deep dive on our cash on hand. We have a lower number of days of cash on hand than usual, this is typical of this time of year. We grew our operating budget and fundraising goals, we are on track based on our first quarter projections. 

Governance Committee (7:07)

The Governance Committee met on November 16th and discussed Board officer terms. Having received no comments or suggestions from board members after a first read, the committee decided to send out the proposed changes to our bylaws for a final vote. Next meeting is scheduled for December 14th (one week early due to holidays).

Charles moved to approve the proposed changes to the bylaws, Errol seconded the motion to approve the proposed changes to the bylaws. The bylaws with the proposed changes were approved unanimously.

School Committee (7:11)

The School Committee met on November 18, 2021 to discuss upcoming policy changes related to CT paid leave and proposed policies for the high school. The next meeting will be on December 9th at 4pm. 

New Business (7:11)


Executive Session (7:12)

Kyeen moved to go into executive session, Charles seconded the movement to enter into executive session. 

Adjourn (7:19)

Errol moved to adjourn this month’s Board of Directors Meeting, Charles seconded the motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned at 7:19pm

The next meeting will be held on Dec 20, 2021at 5:30pm


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