Minutes--October 26, 2004 SCC meeting, Fisk Hall, Wesleyan University
1. Central Connecticut chapter: Vincent Maruffi, Steve Krevisky
2. Fairfield chapter: Ed Friend
3. Hamden chapter: Aaron Gustafson, Francis Braunlich
4. Hartford chapter: Ed DuBrule (NV), Lynah (voting for Hartford chapter and for Women's Caucus), Mike DeRosa, Barbara Barry DeRosa, Chris Reilly (NV)
5. New London chapter: Andy Derr
6. Northwest chapter: Elizabeth Brancato
7. Shoreline chapter: Colin Bennett
8. Tolland chapter: Tim McKee (facilitator)
A quorum was not reached until 8pm. Reports were done from 7:15-8pm.
The agenda item "Comments/approval of September SCC minutes" was not taken up.
Treasurer's report (read by Ed DuBrule):
"The filing with the state for the third quarter was completed last Thursday.
"Our receipts were $260. $160 of that was from monthly contributions. Our total expenses were $190.60. $85 of that was for credit card processing. That number includes a $50 annual fee as well as $35 for the month. We also paid out $51 for the phone service at the office in Hartford and $51 for the electric service at the office in Hartford. Rounding out the expenses was $3 for the toll free phone number.
"Coming up soon we will owe another $250 for rent on the office in Hartford.
"Currently we have a balance of $1,318.
"I want to thank Chris Reilly for doing the inventory for the assessment for the office in Hartford. This is due on November 1st and is required by the city of Hartford for determining property taxes on the office.
"As always please consider being involved in the Fundraising and Budget Committees.
CT Green Party Treasurer"
Chris said that his inventory of the Hartford office showed $1800 (overall assessment) but with depreciation taxes will be levied on $539.
Unreimbursed expenditures of Chris Reilly. The Executive Committee requested that Chris make a presentation to the SCC tonight on his unreimbursed expenditures. During his presentation, Chris responded to the questions raised in the Women's Caucus proposal on those unreimbursed expenditures (Appendix 1). That proposal includes the following questions:
"1) why Chris Reilly, founder of the GPC and former treasurer, did not communicate the presence of the loans to at least two of the co-chairs (Tom and Justine), despite his obvious knowledge of GPC process;
"2) why Chris wasn't repaid (if the loans were regarded as short-term and 'informal' by Bruce and Chris) once there was income from a fundraising letter;
"3) why half of the rent for the Hartford office wasn't paid by the Hartford chapter, even if the SCC half was paid through a loan from Chris."
Chris passed out an Excel spreadsheet listing expenditures he made and for which he has not been reimbursed. The spreadsheet lists 17 expenditures; the earliest is dated 4/1/03 and the latest is dated 3/12/04. Six of the expenditures are rent payments for the Hartford office. The rent payments range from $150 to $800 and total $2,650. Ten of the expenditures are for envelopes, postage, or printing. They range from $6.29 to $370 and total $855.82. Finally, there is a $35 check made out to Network Solutions for domain registration renewal for the CTGP website. The total of the unreimbursed expenditures is $3540.82.
Chris passed around, for viewing by all SCC attendees, a cancelled check, cash register receipt from OfficeMax, receipt from the US Postal Service, or similar documentation for each of the seventeen entries on the spreadsheet. Tim, the facilitator, asked if any attendees had any questions relating to the receipts and cancelled checks that Chris had passed around--no one did.
Chris said that the November 14, 2000 SCC meeting had decided that the state party would pay half the rent and half the utilities for the Hartford office. At this time the rent was $400 per month. For months after that the CTGP treasurer wrote a check for the entire rent for the office and made an accounting entry for the Hartford chapter's half of the rent (this accounting entry was made in the Hartford chapter's "setaside" account, also known as the "chapter balance"). During this period Chris sent the treasurer a reminder that the rent was coming due, the treasurer sent Chris the check, and Chris brought the check to the landlord.
Then in February 2003 Bruce Crowder was elected treasurer. In early April 2003 Chris learned from Bruce that the rent hadn't been paid for two months. Due to problems with bank paperwork, Bruce had been unable to sign CTGP checks. Bruce agreed that Chris should pay two months' rent ($800--March and April), and Chris did this. Later the landlord informed Chris that they had received a $400 check from Chris Nelson, the former treasurer, so that the $800 paid by Chris became rent for April and May. Chris straightened out the problems at the bank with the paperwork.
Chris said that in 2000 the CTGP had raised over $25,000, including nearly $9,000 from the annual fundraising letter. In 2001 almost $15,000 had been raised, including close to $10,000 from the letter. But in 2002, after Chris had stopped being treasurer, a fundraising letter did not go out. Thus in early 2003, when Bruce took over the treasurer position, the party checking account held only $2000 or less. It required about $2,000 in postage and printing costs to mail the annual letter, so Chris proposed paying the office rent for a month so that CTGP funds could be used for the mailing. Some progress was made toward putting together the maiing--Ed Savage worked on merging the chapters' lists. The next month Chris e-mailed Bruce and again offered to pay the office rent.
Chris distributed an excerpt from the minutes of the 7/21/03 Executive Committee meeting. Chris' handout included, in part, the following:
5. Hiring of staffperson(s). A proposal submitted by Tim McKee to the Executive Committee is appended ....
The Executive Committee will need to write a job description ... Due to the Connecticut Green Party's low bank account balance, it would make sense to hire this person, perhaps, as an independent contractor, though reservations were expressed as to whether progressive organizations should be using independent contractors ....
The Executive Committee would post the position opening/job description .... The Executive Committee would interview candidates and make a recommendation as to hiring to the SCC. ... A proposal will be submitted by the Executive Committee to the July SCC meeting.
6. Fundraising. The annual fundraising letter (sent out in September last year) might bring in $2500 (a guesstimate). Perhaps, because of the low bank account balance of the Connecticut Green Party, postage could be spent on sending the letter initially to 1000 names. With donations received from this initial mailing, the rest of the names could be mailed to. Or a loan from a Party member could be sought for postage costs.
Chapters should be encouraged to hold fundraisers, sharing revenues with the state.
Chris pointed out, in particular, the sentence above which reads "Or a loan from a Party member could be sought for postage costs."
Chris distributed an excerpt from the minutes of the June 24, 2003 SCC meeting. The attendees at that meeting included all members of the Executive Committee (co-chairs Mike DeRosa, Tom Sevigny, and Justine McCabe; secretary Ed DuBrule, and treasurer Bruce Crowder). Chris' handout included, in part, the following:
5 Treasurer's report. The Party bank account has holds $2,200; $1200 is owed in debt. In a typical month, there is $400 in operating expenses but only $300 comes in.
Chris said that the $1,200 owed in debt referred to the rent payments he had made thus far. At this meeting, much to Chris' embarrassment, Mike publicly thanked Chris for paying the rent. Other minutes from this period also mention a debt in the Treasurer's report, Chris said, though a calculation may need to be made. Tom read the Treasurer's report in one of those minutes.
Eventually a mailing was done to 1000 names. It had a poor financial return. It raised at most $1500 but cost nearly $1000 to do. No follow-up mailing was done. Therefore Chris did not ask for reimbursement at this time.
Bob Eaton was elected treasurer in March 2004. By this time the office rent had risen to $500 per month. One of the rent checks on Chris' spreadsheet is for $150--Bob wrote a check for $350 and Chris wrote a check for $150.
Ed DuBrule said that he had sent an e-mail to Bruce a few days ago, asking if Bruce could come to tonight's meeting, but received no reply. Bruce had told the Executive Committee previously that he is now very busy with graduate school and a new job. Ed said that he has multiple copies of an e-mail from Bruce relating to these matters which he could distribute.
Question 1 above asks "why Chris Reilly ... did not communicate the presence of the loans to at least two of the co-chairs (Tom and Justine), despite his obvious knowledge of GPC process". Chris said there has never been clear process in the CT Green Party; there has been talk of putting together a policy-and-procedures manual, but no one has ever done it. (Elizabeth reminded us that the July 2004 SCC meeting passed a proposal on financial management.) Chris pointed out that he worked with the treasurer, Bruce, in these matters. Andy asked if Mike and Ed, who had been on the Executive Committee during these events, had known about Chris' spending his own money. Mike said that he had been generally aware of the situation. Ed said that he had been aware that there was a problem involving Chris' spending his own money, though he hadn't understood the details. Lynah said that the Executive Committee had failed in its responsibility to inform the SCC of the situation.
Mike said that often in the past Greens spent thousands of dollars and were reimbursed later by the Connecticut Green Party. Chris agreed with this statement.
Question 3 above asks " why half of the rent for the Hartford office wasn't paid by the Hartford chapter, even if the SCC half was paid through a loan from Chris." Chris said again that the Hartford chapter's share of the rent was paid for (in some sense) by an accounting entry in the "setasides" account (Hartford chapter balance). The Hartford chapter balance is now large and negative. Chris further noted that per an SCC decision, 30% of donations made to the CTGP are sent back to the chapter of the donor--the failure during 2003 to do a fundraising mailing which included Hartford chapter members had left the Hartford chapter low on funds.
Chris said he hoped that a successful annual mailing could be done soon. He said, however, that he was concerned about the condition of the mailing list.
The facilitator asked if the secretary could put into the minutes that Chris had addressed all the questions in the Women's Caucus proposal to the best of his ability. There were no objections to this request. Elizabeth said that the intention of the Executive Committee was that Chris should not have to spend his time at future SCC meetings addressing this issue; the hope was that all questions chapter members had could be addressed tonight. Chris had also explained the unreimbursed expenses at the August 2004 SCC meeting.
The meeting turned to the proposal from the Executive Committee on partial repayment of Chris (Appendix 2). Mike, Ed DuBrule, and Elizabeth explained that this proposal divided Chris' unreimbursed expenses into two categories: expenses related to the rent payments for the Hartford office, and other expenses (envelopes, postage, printing, and website domain name registration). The Executive Committee feels that consensus may be reachable tonight on repaying Chris the "other expenses"; more discussion among SCC members and chapter members may be needed before consensus is reached on reimbursing Chris for the rent-related expenses. This proposal totals the "other expenses" ($890.82--see proposal) and proposes paying back Chris this amount at the rate of $74.24 per month for twelve months.
SCC DECISION: By consensus the SCC passed this proposal.
B. OLD BUSINESS AND PROPOSALS
1. Bylaws segment "4-1 Chapters" (Appendix 3). Referred to chapters by September SCC meeting (a step in the bylaws revision process). Discussion was brief due to the lateness of the hour. Francis said that the wording "three consecutive months" in section 4-1-C would be better than the current wording. Andy said he would rewrite the proposal incorporating this suggestion.
2. Bylaws segment "4-2 State Central Committee" (Appendix 4). Referred to chapters by September SCC meeting (a step in the bylaws revision process). Mike referred to section 4-2-B, which gives each chapter two voting representatives, and an additional rep for each 100 registered Greens residing in the chapter. He said that this would tend to lead to many small chapters. He wondered if a chapter that was successful in electing candidates should be entitled to more voting reps. Barbara said that she objects to many parts of the proposal. For example, it could make a difference when the list of registered Greens was obtained, because people switch parties before primaries. Towns might charge for voter lists, and this expense may be a burden on some chapters.
Further discussion of the proposal was deferred to the next SCC meeting.
3. Proposal from Fairfield chapter on setting up Office Committee (Appendix 5). Eddie Friend presented the proposal. Echoing the language in the proposal, Eddie said that people from chapters that favor state funding of an office could come to a meeting of this committee and bring ideas for fundraising. People from chapters that don't favor state funding of an office could come with insurance information. Tim, Lynah, Mike, and Eddie wish to serve on this committee.
SCC DECISION: the proposal was passed by consensus.
4. Proposal from Executive Committee on fundraising letter (Appendix 6). Mike presented the proposal. Aaron noted that he has created a website which contains many lists which might be useful in the mailing.
SCC DECISION: proposal passed by consensus.
1. Elections Committee and campaign reports.
**Vincent said that about 7 Greens came to the convention which re-nominated Ralph Ferrucci; Ralph is now on the ballot. He did debates.
**Aaron said that Calvin Nicholson asked for a debate with the two current New Haven registrars of voters but was turned down. Got Advocate article, interviewed by New Haven Register.
**Mike said his candidacy has been endorsed by several organizations; got articles in Courant and Herald and WTIC radio interview.
**Elizabeth said Tom Sevigny was endorsed by the Courant; it's a four-way race including a Working Families Party candidate. Tom debated on cable TV and has another debate coming up; he has campaigned at the town's transfer station (convenient place to meet voters in a semi-rural district).
**Ed Friend said that Nancy Burton's candidacy has been reported in all three weekly newspapers; she's emphasizing environmental issues including closing the Millstone and Indian Point nuclear power plants. Film "Fatal Fallout" about an attack on Indian Point will be shown at Burton's campaign office.
2. Women's Caucus--Lynah reported that they will meet next month.
3. Executive Committee--plan mailing of fundraising letter (see "Proposals", below). Minutes of the October EC meeting were put on the News listerve last night. At that meeting Elizabeth Horton Sheff resigned from the CT Green Party. She is willing to work with us on issues of mutual concern.
4. Chapter reports
**Tolland chapter (Tim): showed anti-WalMart movie; working on Vernon area development issues. Tim will organize a "thank-you candidates"/recap campaigns and "Where do we go from here?" potlunch luncheon and meeting for November 13.
**New London chapter (Andy): have TV show (including Ralph Ferrucci discussing the Nader and Cobb campaigns); talking to Elizabeth Horton Sheff about the Sheff vs. O'Neill lawsuit; working on local elections and charter revision; Cobb will be at Connecticut College.
**Fairfield chapter (Ed Friend): Cobb will be at Bloodroot Restaurant.
**Northwest chapter (Elizabeth): Bob Eaton appeared on a local cable show sponsored by a peace group; discussed Cobb campaign.
**Hamden chapter (Aaron): Working on new middle school issue (contaminated soil). Kelly McCarthy was on TV show on importance of voting, and plans to do more tapings.
**Central Connecticut chapter (Vincent and Steve)--work on Ferrucci campaign; people favor action (such as vigils) not meetings.
**Hartford chapter (Mike): save-the-office parties/movie nights, including Greg Palast movie on Florida elections and his latest movie on the Bush family's fortunes.
5. Report from US Green Party representatives--Tim reported that the national Party may take against Vermont and Nevada, whose Green Parties didn't put Cobb on the ballot.
6. VOTER--Mike hopes VOTER will again meet to work on minor party ballot access issues and ballot paper trail issues. The CT Secretary of State has declared her support for a paper trail but a call for proposals voting machines seems at odds with this. Tim said that the November 2 elections provide an opportunity for Greens to talk about such issues.
Appendix 1 Proposal on unreimbursed expenditures made by Chris Reilly
Green Party Meeting Proposal Form
PRESENTER (committee, chapter(s) or group of individuals): CT Green Party Women’s Caucus
CONTACT (name, address, phone number, email)
SUBJECT (10 words or less)
Audit of loan to Chris Reilly and explanation from former treasurer Bruce Crowder.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE (100 words or less; include relationship, reasons and/or justification to the State Central Committee)
One of the pillars of our party is accountability and transparency in all things; and, at the present, the SCC has been unable to reconcile the debt owed to Chris Reilly because the former treasurer, Bruce Crowder, has not provided any explanation for the situation. Even if Bruce is no longer active with the party, his actions are leaving the GPC heavily in debt and he shares in this responsibility. The Women's Caucus is proposing this audit so we minimize the possibility of similar incidents occurring in the future.
PROPOSAL (200 words or less)
We propose that the SCC request Bruce Crowder and Chris Reilly appear before the SCC at the next meeting in order to explain the history of the current GPC debt related to the Hartford office. We would like for them to reconcile:
1) why Chris Reilly, founder of the GPC and former treasurer, did not communicate the presence of the loans to at least two of the co-chairs (Tom and Justine), despite his obvious knowledge of GPC process;
2) why Chris wasn't repaid (if the loans were regarded as short-term and "informal" by Bruce and Chris) once there was income from a fundraising letter;
3) why half of the rent for the Hartford office wasn't paid by the Hartford chapter, even if the SCC half was paid through a loan from Chris.
Appendix 2 Proposal from Executive Committee on partial repayment of Chris Reilly.
Green Party Meeting Proposal Form
PRESENTER (committee, chapter(s) or group of individuals): Executive Committee
SUBJECT (10 words or less): Partial repayment of Chris Reilly
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE (100 words or less; include relationship, reasons and/or justification to the State Central Committee): Chris Reilly has presented the Executive Committee with receipts for many expenses of the Party that he paid from his own funds during 2003. The Executive Committee has investigated and is satisfied that he paid the amounts that he is claiming. Because members of the SCC still have questions about some of the expenditures and whether or not they were authorized, no authorization to repay Chris has been approved. The Executive Committee believes that all the questions of the SCC should be answered before action to repay Chris can be taken, and we have taken steps to ensure that will happen. In the meantime, we believe there are some expenses that Chris paid that are not in dispute. Those expenses are:
$ 35.00 Domain name
PROPOSAL (200 words or less): We propose that the Connecticut Green Party repay Chris Reilly for these expenses, at the rate of $74.24 per month, to resolve this debt in one year.
Appendix 3 Proposed bylaws changes from BRPP committee (bylaws, rules, policies and procedures) [Submitted by New London chapter per e-mail of 9/13/04 from Andy.]
4-1-A. A local chapter shall consist of Green Party members from towns and municipalities within a contiguous geographic region. No chapter shall be larger than a County and none smaller than a single town with the exception of Campus Green organizations.
4-1-B. A local chapter may petition for affiliation with the State Central Committee upon having at least three meetings with five or more Green Party members in attendance at each of the three meetings.
4-1-C. A chapter may be declared inactive by a majority vote of the State Central Committee (SCC) if it has not met within the past three months. A chapter will automatically be declared inactive if it has not sent chapter representatives to the State Central Committee meeting for three months in a row. Inactive status will begin as of the third meeting.
4-1-D. The State Central Committee may vote to revoke a chapter's affiliation with the CTGP if that chapter has not met within the past 6 months.
4-1-E. An inactive chapter will be declared active again if it hold two consecutive monthly meetings monthly meetings with at least five members present and sends representatives to two successive state meetings.
4-1-F. Chapters that have had their affiliation revoked must re-petition the State Central Committee for affiliation once the requirements detailed in 4.1.B are met.
Appendix 4 Proposed bylaws changes from BRPP Committee (bylaws, rules, policies and procedures). [From e-mail received from Tom 7/26/04; revised per 9/13/04 e-mail from Andy.]
4-2 STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
4-2-A. The State Central Committee (SCC) shall be the final decision making body of the Green Party of Connecticut, and shall consist of democratically elected representatives from each affiliated local chapter.
4-2-B. Local chapters of the CTGP shall be represented at State Central Committee meetings accordingly : Each chapter is entitled to two voting representatives, and is also entitled to an additional representative for each 100 registered Greens residing in the chapter. Voter lists from an appropriate authority (either a town clerk or the Secretary of State) will be the final source in determining the count of a chapter's membership. If these are not obtainable the chapter shall be entitled to two voting representatives.
4-2-C. Caucuses for under-represented groups shall be entitled to one voting representative on the State Central Committee. Under-represented groups are defined as any grouping of Greens that has historically failed to gain adequate access to power in society at-large (i.e., women, African-Americans, youth, etc.). Caucuses shall be established by the State Central Committee. An individual attending an SCC meeting may cast multiple votes--one vote as a chapter representative and one as a caucus representative.
4-2-D. Representatives to the State Central Committee are responsible for disseminating information to their respective local chapters. They are also responsible for following the mandates of the local chapters they represent.
4-2-E. The modified consensus process will be used at State Central Committee meetings. In the event consensus cannot be reached, a vote will be taken with a simple majority being needed for passage of the proposal. Changes to the bylaws need a 66% majority for passage.
4-2-F. Quorum shall be required for votes taken at the State Central Committee meeting. Quorum shall be defined as representation (by at least one voting representative) of at least two-thirds of all active CTGP chapters, excepting Campus Green chapters and inactive chapters.
4-2-G. Chapters shall elect their representatives to the SCC once a year. Representatives shall be eligible for re-election.
Appendix 5 Proposal from Fairfield chapter on setting up Office Committee
CONNECTICUT GREEN PARTY PROPOSAL FORM
PRESENTER (committee, chapter(s),or group of individuals): Fairfield County Greens
SUBJECT (10 words or less): Creation of Office Committee
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE (100 words or less; including relationship, reasons, and/or justification to the State Central Committee) The office space rented in Hartford has become a contentious issue which has disrupted the SCC. This committee would be charged with formulating a plan that would consider the feasibility of continuing to support the office space and the associated insurance issues
PROPOSAL: (200 words or less) We propose that the Office Committee be formed to prepare a report to the SCC concerning the future of the office space in Hartford. The committee would have two main considerations. If the office is to remain open, how would it be funded? If the office were to be shut, how would the state party maintain the liability insurance that is necessary for chapters to hold events? This committee would recognize the need for a timely report and recommendation to be made to the SCC in order to resolve this issue.
Appendix 6 Proposal from Executive Committee on fundraising letter.
Green Party Meeting Proposal Form
PRESENTER (committee, chapter(s) or group of individuals): Executive Committee
SUBJECT (10 words or less): Fund-raising Letter
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE (100 words or less; include relationship, reasons and/or justification to the State Central Committee): The Green Party of Connecticut is in need of funds. In the past, most of the operating funds of the Party have come from Fund-raising mailings. In the past they have raised about $3,000. to $6,000. Mike DeRosa has obtained the following quote for a mailing of 2,000 letters from American Mailing Services, New Milford, CT:
1. Download our database and setup format and printer. CASS certify the database. Insert pieces into #10 envelopes (one page, 8-1/2X11, folded). Direct address pieces, sort, tray/bag, tag and deliver to Post Office- $235.00
2. Postage - $420.00
3. Copy the 1-page letter and insert a small return envelope. - $200.00-$300.00
TOTAL - $855.00 - $955.00. The postage amount would be paid before the mailing went out, and the balance could be paid within thirty days.
PROPOSAL (200 words or less): We propose that the SCC approve this expenditure, and that the mailing takes place the second week of November, 2004.
Addenda are published to the News listserve and are considered part of the minutes. They are brought to the following month's SCC meeting (for distribution at the time the minutes are approved/disapproved); they are posted to the CT Green Party website as part of the minutes.