DRAFT- Board of Directors Minutes: Oct. 26, 2020

PLEASE NOTE: In order to comply with adjusted CT Open Meeting laws, this Zoom meeting will be recorded and posted on the Common Ground website

New Haven Ecology Project
Board Meeting Minutes
October 26, 2020

Please click here for a Zoom Video recording of this meeting.

Board Members Present: Christopher Alpert, Ky Andersson, Beth Klingher, Peter Ludwig, Monica Maccera Filppu (ex officio, non-voting), Charlie Negaro, Bob Parker, Babz Rawls Ivy, Ana Reyes, Errol Saunders, Terri Snell,  Deloris Vaughn

Staff Members Present: Elena Augusewicz, Kimball Cartwright, Monique Frasier, Deborah Greig, Joel Tolman, Betsy Sneath, Monique Frasier, Rebecca Holcombe, Emily Schmidt

  1. Welcome 
    1. Bob called the meeting to order at 5:34pm
    2. Bob moved that the Board go into Executive Session at 5:35, Beth seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous to go into the Executive Session to discuss personnel matters. The Board returned from Executive Session at 5:52. No votes were taken in the Executive Session.  
  2. Public Comment (5:52) 
    1. There was no public comment.
  3. Business Requiring Approval (5:52)  
    1. Minutes of the September Board Meeting 
      1. Kyeen suggested the formatting around the executive session be changed. Charles moved to approve the September Board Minutes, Kyeen seconded the motion. The September Minutes were unanimously approved. 
    2. CDBG Board Resolution here
      1. Babz moved to accept the CDBG resolution, Errol seconded the motion. The resolution was accepted unanimously.
  4. Invoices Needing Approval (5:54)
    1. B&B Transportation, Buses for CGHS Students to be paid from Covid Relief Funds, $13,500.00
      1. Beth moved to approve to pay this invoice, Terri seconded payment of this invoice. This invoice was unanimously approved.
  5. Miscellaneous (5:56)
    1. Board Members each need to sign off on the Conflict of Interest Statement here.  Please send signed/dated statements to Betsy bsneath@nhep.com
  6. Executive Director Report (6:01)
    1. Monica explained that we have been operating in a hybrid model since September with no compliance issues on campus. When we first formulated this hybrid plan, we set forth with a standard for how we would react to infection numbers in the state. That plan indicated that we would change our mode at 10 cases per 100,000 people we would scale back to a distance learning model. As of Friday morning, we reached that number and so we have shifted to a distance learning, support-only model as of Monday (10/26). This week there is no in-person student learning on campus; next week there might be some depending on the results of the feedback that we receive from teachers and families. We are creating a plan on how to conduct both on campus experiences and improve distance learning moving forward.
  7. School Committee Report (~6:15)
    1. Report on nominating process: Bob stated that the School Committee has met to discuss the election of a new teacher representative to this board. The School Committee is also continuing the conversations around adding another ex officio staff to the Board. That latter issue has been handed off to the Governance Committee for further study. 
    2. Present the revised Common Ground High School handbook to the board with recommendation for approval
      1. Kyeen moved to approve the handbook, Peter seconded this motion. The motion to adopt the revised Common Ground High School handbook passed with Deloris Vaughn voting not to approve. Terri Snell abstained.
  8. Governance Committee Report (~6:20)
    1. Working on adding an additional staff board member: Monica stated that as of this morning we did not have a member of the teaching staff self-nominate for this position. The school committee will reconvene to discuss this matter and hopes to present a potential candidate at the next board meeting.
    2. Will begin working on bylaws review at the next committee meeting. Errol encouraged Board Members to review the current bylaws and use this opportunity to submit suggestions, ideas, and recommendations on how to revise and reimagine these bylaws so they more closely reflect the spirit of our organization. 
    3. Bob encouraged Board Members to send names of potential new Board Members to him to bring before the Governance Committee.
    4. Kyeen explained the role of the Governance Committee to new members. 
  9. Finance Committee Report (~6:25)
    1. Q1 Report and Projections: Betsy mentioned that Monica suggested quarterly projections last year and it has been a very helpful change to our system. Betsy has met with all department heads and managers to make sure their budgets were in line with the Board Approved Budget and to see if they were going to stay on track until the end of the year. Beth explained that we are in good shape financially due to bringing in more than expected in Children’s Programs Fees and Covid Relief Funding. Monica explained that we did not make changes to our fundraising goals but we did make changes to our hiring goals and other covid related organizational changes. Beth said that the Covid Grants are matched with expenses. 
      1. Charlie asked what impact our receipts of relief funds would have on our financial standing. Monica and Beth explained that there are multiple programs being referred to as “covid” funds: our PPP loan from the Small Business Association and monies that were specifically allocated to Common Ground from the State government for covid-related reopening expenses. Should all things go to plan, we would end the year with $400,000 in reserves.
  10. Development Committee Report (~6:35)
    1. Kimball reported that we are doing well and meeting many people each month to build relationships that we hope will benefit our fundraising. 
    2. Charlie is urging Board Members to help Kimball with the “nuts and bolts” of thanking supporters and reaching out to potential donors for the end of year appeal.  We are hoping that as we meet with new donors they will spread the word of our organization to others. Last year our end-of-year appeal brought in $15,000 but we are increasing our goal to $40,000 that includes a generous $20,000 match from a donor. Charles said that he is reaching out to many friends and connections by writing a personal letter and mailing it out to them to encourage giving during this appeal. We really want to impress the donor providing the match and bring her back year after year. 
    3. Kimball will send a follow up email about the end-of-year appeal to Board Members tomorrow. 
  11. New Business (6:40)
    1. There was no new business. 
  12. Adjournment (6:42)
    1. Bob asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:41pm. Beth moved to adjourn. Charlie seconded the motion. The motion to adjourn was unanimously passed. The meeting was adjourned at 6:42pm

Next Meeting:

Monday, November 30th 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Public Comment: 

In order to comply with adjusted Connecticut Open Meeting laws, any member of the public wishing to participate in the meeting must sign up on the Public Participation Sign-up Document. Sign-ups for Public Participation will open at 5 pm on the last business day before the meeting (Friday, June 26th) and will close at 5:00 pm on the day of the meeting (Monday, June 29th). Public Participation is limited to 2 minutes per person up to 30 total minutes. Anyone wishing to make a statement to the board can also submit testimony in writing to the Board Secretary: Errol.Saunders@nhep.com by 5:30 pm on the day of the meeting. All submitted documents will be included in the publicly shared meeting minutes.


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