Common Ground Board of Directors Meeting Minutes: Dec. 20, 2021

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New Haven Ecology Project

Board Meeting Minutes

December 20, 2021


Board Members present:  Bob Parker, Charles Negaro, Christopher Hayes, Joseph Melendez, Kyeen Andersson, Beth Klingher, Terri Snell, Peter Ludwig, Deloris Vaughn, Carly Osborne, Babz Rawls Ivy, Errol Saunders

Staff Members present: Deborah Greig, Elena Augusewicz,  Rebecca Holcombe, Tara Cote, Cherry Pacquette Emmanuel, Crystal Fernandez, Gioia Connel, Audrey Nefores, Joel Tolman


Bob called the meeting to order at 5:35. Seeing no public comment, Bob moved on to Business Requiring Approval. 

Public Comment (5:36)

There was no Public Comment

Business Requiring Approval (5:37)  

Minutes from the Nov. 22 Meeting. Bob called for a motion to accept the minutes. Charlie moved to approve the Nov. 22, 2021 minutes, Kyeen seconded the motion. The minutes were approved with Beth and Peter abstaining. Joseph noted an incorrect spelling of Javier Rodriguez’s name spelling, Kyeen also asked that her name be corrected at the bottom of the minutes. Both spelling corrections were made. 

Monica asked that the board to approve the following Policies. The edits are necessary to make the paid leave policy up to date legally by Jan 1. Peter moved to approve the Revised Leave Policies for CGHS and NHEP. Beth seconded the approval of these policy changes. The policy edits were approved unanimously. 

Revised Leave policy in alignment with changes to CT FMLA and Paid Leave law
CGHS Policy
NHEP Policy

Monica made minor changes to the Accounting Policies in order to make our bidding rules clearer, especially when applying for federal and state level grants. Peter moved to approve the revisions to the accounting policies to clarify bidding rules. Joseph seconded the motion. The policy revision was approved unanimously. 

Revision to Accounting Policies to clarify Bidding Rules

Invoices Needing Approval (5:46)

The following invoices were presented for approval. Beth moved to approve the invoices from PowerSchool, Henry, Raymond, Thompson LLC and Zangari Cohen. Babz seconded the motion to approve these invoices. The invoices were approved with Joseph abstaining.

PowerSchool $8,900.00- Naviance Core, Assessment, Deployment, Consulting, Training, Online quick start (to be paid on January 3rd)

Henry, Raymond, Thompson LLC $6,640.00- Financial Ratios, Financial Statement for Year end 2021, progress on financial statement audit, EFS, and Federal/State Single Audits.

Zangari Cohen $11,181.66- Legal fees related to union election and next steps11/1/21-11/30/21

Executive Director Report (5:50)

Monica shared some context of the org-wide goals. Each manager on the management team has worked on their departmental goals and then they reviewed them together at a quarterly management retreat. We are looking at how we operationally plan and make programmatic decisions. The goals are focused on stabilizing the organization and how we work together across the organization. 

Org-wide goals

Cherry stated that since our last board meeting enrollment has gone down by one student, and no new staff were added in December. We received PSAT data and are reviewing that. We have a new math improvement after school program and SAT tutoring opportunities for students who need it. We are currently in school recruitment season and have gotten about 25 applications. We will start school culture PD for staff in January. We did have our 4th student covid case and our first staff positive case. 70% of students are partially vaccinated and 65% are fully vaccinated. 

CGHS update

Audit Committee (6:06)

The audit committee met on December 2 to discuss the audit process for FY 21 and the plan for considering proposals for new auditors for FY 22.  Deloris said that the committee had compiled a list of potential new auditors. Deloris wanted to know who on the board would be participating in vetting the new potential auditors. Bob thinks that the finance committee would help the audit committee with that task and they can discuss more outside of this meeting. 

The next Audit Committee meeting is scheduled for January 6. 2022. 

Building Committee (6:08) 

The building committee met in December. Monica said that we will receive civil engineers reports in January and we will need to review those before bringing a plan or other information to the board. The next phase would have some sort of public input but we are waiting for the engineer reports before collecting that info. The committee will meet again on January 19th, 2022. Interested parties can contact 

Development Committee (6:10)

The development committee met on December 14th to write thank you cards to long-term supporters and celebrate the work of board members in meeting our financial goals.The committee will share our progress towards the goal for the EOY campaign along with ways the board can support.

Audrey wanted to thank everyone who supported her in getting the end of year appeal out and into the mail. We wrote 150 personal letters which allowed deep and personal connections to be made with our donors. We are $5,000 towards our $20,000 end of year appeal goal. Audrey encourages the board to “like” and share social media posts and send personal emails to friends. Our direct appeal goal for the whole year is $51,000 which includes this end of year appeal and multiple other campaigns. Audrey will be sending out personal emails to each board member to support and encourage them with social media and outreach to potential donors. 

Finance Committee (6:14)

The Finance committee will meet on December 20th to review budget vs actuals as of November 30th and cash on hand. The next meeting of the Finance committee will be on January 24th. Interested parties can contact Treasurer 

Beth shared that we received our audit from our current auditors. Betsy wil use that audit to update our quickbooks to reflect that and it does take some time for her to do that. It looks like we will be using some of the PPP loan money, this is different from the last time we discussed the budget with the board. Last year we received a lot of grant money and could not use it by the end of the fiscal year and had to roll it over to this year. That reduces our revenue. There were significant expenses and some need to be capitalized vs. expensed. Betsy, Monica, and Beth will continue reviewing the audit with our auditor and will submit it to the state once the review is complete. 

Beth also wanted to talk about the budget vs. actuals for this year. We are close to budget and our revenues are 44% and revenues are 36%. However, the annual appeal is a bit low for this time of year but we hope that there is more on the way. This is not an unusual position for this time of the year. Our accounts payable and receivable is higher this year than last year, mainly because of inter-org transfers related to the PPP loans. We would like to reduce the amount of inter-org transfers so we can better understand who we owe and who owes us outside of our organization. The board discussed the current cash on hand and how it relates to historical cash on hand trends. 

Governance Committee (6:29)

The Governance Committee met on December 14th. There was a discussion of the possibility of a new Labor Committee, which would seek guidance from our lawyers as we begin a new relationship with the staff union. Bob made the board aware of the resignation of Julius Stone, who will no longer be serving as a Common ground board member. Bob also said that the governance committee is reviewing the Executive Director’s goals and evaluation process for the year. The next meeting is scheduled for January 18, 2022. Bob encouraged other board members to let him know if they have recommendations for additional board members. We anticipate 4 board member terms will be up in the spring, some of those people may sign on for another term but we will also need to increase new membership if people leave. 

School Committee (6:34)

The School committee did not have any agenda items and did not meet in December. The next meeting is scheduled for January 13th. Anyone who would like to add items for the committee’s consideration or attend the meeting should email

New Business (6:35)

No new business

Executive Session (6:35)

Charles moved to enter into executive session, Peter seconded the motion to move into executive session. The move to go into executive session was approved unanimously. 

The board of directors returned from executive session at 6:52pm

Adjourn (6:52)

Chris moved to adjourn the meeting. Errol seconded the motion to adjourn. The meeting was adjourned unanimously at 6:53pm

The next meeting will be held on Jan.24 2022 at 5:30pm


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