Minutes (quorum-less) of 11/25/03 SCC meeting--Fisk Hall Room 302, Wesleyan University, 7:15pm-9pm
Tim McKee (facilitated); Mike DeRosa, Bruce Crowder; Karin Norton; Ed DuBrule, Penny Teal; Lynah Linwood; Lindsay Mathews; David Adams; Tom Sevigny; Elizabeth Brancato; Rachel Goodkind; Chris Reilly; Colin Bennett
A quorum (9 chapters) was not present, and hence no decisions could be made. The meeting was held two days before Thanksgiving.
Next meeting: it was decided by those present that the next SCC meeting should be held Tuesday January 6. No meeting will be held the last Tuesday of December, because of the holidays.
Thus there will probably be two SCC meetings during January--the January 6 meeting and the usual last-Tuesday-of-the-month meeting (January 27).
Treasurer's report : the Party bank account contains $3700. Bruce Crowder (the treasurer) and Chris Reilly (who helped with the fundraising mailing) reported that the fundraising mailing to1000 Greens brought in $570 (and money is still coming in); this represents 20 checks (20 people donated). The mailing yielded two monthly sustainers (though one didn't list the amount he/she would be contributing each month). Ten percent of the addresses were bad; Ed said that he still has some address corrections to hand back to the chapters. The cost of the postage (first class) was 1000 times 37 cents = $370.
Internal elections/fundraising letter to more Greens: Mike has talked to several people who may serve on a reactivated internal elections committee. Karin said the Tolland chapter has discussed the internal elections; they have concerns about the amount in the state bank account. Karin spoke of the idea of mailing ballots only to registered Greens. To save postage, the internal elections mailing could consist of a postcard rather than an envelope-with-contents; the postcard could tell the time and place of the Annual Meeting and tell how interested Greens could obtain a ballot. Tom said that candidate biographies could be put on the website and ballots could be printed from the website by Greens who wanted to vote. Tom said that the Norwest chapter favors mailing to registered Greens only (rather than all those who fit the bylaws' definition of "member"). Penny said that the Southeast chapter also favors mailing to registered Greens only. Mike said that postage costs need not be an argument for mailing only to registered Greens--if the internal elections mailing contained a fundraising letter the funds raised could pay for the mailing. Mike said that the Hartford chapter had discussed this issue and wants ballots sent out; the difference between the postage costs for an envelope and a letter would not be that much; making potential voters go to a website might discourage people from voting. Chris said that the February 2003 internal elections mailing led to contributions of $1700 (despite the fact that the mailing did not ask for funds). Karin raised a question about the legality of combining elections and fundraising; political parties cannot charge dues; are we crossing a legal line here?
Maybe the envelope could contain fewer sheets of paper than last year to save postage and printing costs. There are about 2000 registered Greens in Connecticut. [Note from the secretary: the figure of about 2000 registered Greens in Connecticut, reported at tonight's meeting, is in agreement with the number of registered Greens in Connecticut compiled by David Bedell: 1,046 in 2000; 1,538 in 2001; 1,947 in 2002 (e-mail to Ed and others dated 11/11/03).]
It was asked whether the bylaws require mailing internal elections materials to all who fit the bylaws' definitions of "member". If this were true, mailing only to registered Greens would require changing the bylaws, and this would delay the election. Finding an interim treasurer might be necessary if the internal elections were delayed.
Penny said that in the February 2003 internal elections thousand of ballots were mailed out and 114 people voted; of these 114 probably 40 or 50 were mailed-in ballots.
Maybe it could be arranged that Greens under 18 years old (who couldn't have registered to vote) could be mailed to. What about felons? What about people who have helped the Greens but have registered Democratic in order to vote for Kucinich (a good progressive)?
If the internal elections mailing consisted only of a postcard (referencing candidate biographies and a ballot on the website) a phone number could be included on the postcard giving people without internet access a way to obtain the candidate biographies and a ballot.
V.O.T.E.R/reform of election laws concerning ballot access for "third parties" in Connnecticut: Mike has been working with V.O.T.E.R., a coalition of organizations (including the Greens) who favor legislation making it easier for "third parties" to have ballot access in Connecticut. He said that there's a January deadline for getting such reforms introduced into the Connecticut legislature, and hence V.O.T.E.R. could use help from interested Greens now.
Proposal to hold a "spring gathering" of Connecticut Greens: this proposal is appended below (Appendix 1); Appendix 2 contains a document which expands on the proposal. Tim and Tom said they liked the idea. Appendix 1 mentions polling Connecticut Greens informally as to what issues Greens should be working on; it was suggested tonight that a poll concerning which Green presidential candidate was favored could be done at the same time.
One attendee emphasized that there is a need to strategize and to set goals/timelines.
Possible new chapters: Tom has been working to help establish a new chapter in the Middlebury/Southbury/Waterbury area. Mike reported that a man came to a Hartford chapter meeting, wants to run for office, and wants to form a chapter in the New Britain area.
On the lack of a quorum at tonight's meeting: It was suggested that a proposal could be written to change the quorum to representatives to 2/3 of the chapters, rather than the current requirement of 3/4 of the chapters. It was pointed out that this would be a change to the bylaws; there was discussion of whether or not the bylaws allow the SCC to change the bylaws until an Annual Meeting is held.
Why aren't we reaching a quorum? It was stated by a representative of one chapter that many in his chapter do not feel they get anything out of the state-level Green Party and that many in his chapter see no reason to go to SCC meetings.
Another attendee said that chapters need to bring proposals to the SCC which inform the SCC of what the chapters need. Another attendee wondered if chapter(s) could take responsibility for putting on an educational presentation that might increase attendance; one possible topic might be facts about the electoral corruption in the 2000 presidential race (for example); such a presentation could be held very early in the meeting (while latecomers were arriving).
Should the SCC meet every other month, or quarterly?
Hiring fundraiser/event organizer(s). Appendix 3 is a proposal for hiring fundraiser/event organizer(s); Appendix 4 is a hiring announcement for a fundraiser. Ed pointed out that there are differences which still need to be reconciled between these documents (for example, in the duration of the position). Mike said that he felt we should run the ad (the hiring announcement) soon. Bruce said that details of the hiring could be negotiated with the person we are considering hiring. Mike said that he knows of at least one Connecticut person who could give the hired person information helpful to his assignment; also there are contacts on the national level.
More than one person could be hired; the commission earned could be split among the hired persons. Tim said that one person hired might be good at doing one thing--he gave an example of a Rhode Island Green who was good at organizing fundraising concerts. Another hired person could specialize in, say, doing mailings.
Could a student intern be used? Perhaps from a school of social work? The position would need structure so that such a student could earn course credit. Students could do fundraising and/or other tasks such as voter registration. An ad could be run in the UConn campus paper.
There was consensus (as pointed out by facilitator, Tim) that we should run advertisements for the position(s) soon.
Possible new office. Colin Bennet (from the Shoreline chapter) said that he has become aware of a very inexpensive possibility for an office in Westbrook; it has access to a conference room. The possibility of sharing the space (and expenses) with other organization(s) was discussed. Would it be considered an office of the Shoreline chapter and/or of the Connecticut Green Party? Would expenses be shared by the state and the Shoreline chapter? An analogy to the Hartford office was drawn. If the state paid for the office completely (because it is so cheap) would that be fair to the rest of the chapters? Should the other chapters be offered a similar rental amount, if they can find similarly cheap office space? A proposal could be presented to the next SCC meeting.
Appendix 1: Proposal to form a short-term committee to plan an "early spring gathering" of Connecticut Greens
Green Party Meeting Proposal Form
PRESENTER (committee, chapter(s) or group of individuals): Executive Committee
SUBJECT (10 words or less): form short-term committee to plan "early spring gathering"
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE (100 words or less; include relationship, reasons and/or justification to the State Central Committee): from time to time it is productive for an organization to set aside time to think about fundamental issues (such as chapter health and winning elections)
PROPOSAL (200 words or less): a committee should be formed to plan a gathering, perhaps in Middletown on a Saturday and/or a Sunday, at which chapter health and how-to-win-elections (and possibly other issues) are discussed. The gathering could occur in mid-March. This committee could meet in person three times and disband after the gathering. This committee could also accomplish other work, such as polling Connecticut Greens informally as to what issues the Greens should be working on. Further ideas are written in a document to be distributed at the November SCC meeting (and also by e-mail ahead of the SCC meeting).
Appendix 2: document which expands on the proposal to form a committee to plan an "early spring gathering".
Formation of short-term committee to plan an "early spring gathering" of Connecticut Greens
--The gathering could be held in mid-March 2004.
--The committee could meet in person three times (for example, in mid-January, mid-February, and early March).
--The committee will disband after the gathering. (Though some committee members may choose to re-name themselves as a "Party Growth Committee" or some such term and continue working.)
--The gathering could be Saturday and/or Sunday meeting(s) in Middletown where interested Connecticut Greens gather to discuss such topics as:
(1) Health of the chapters (Saturday 11am-2:30pm)
How are our twelve chapters doing? What can be done to improve chapter functioning?
Areas of concern would include recruitment of chapter members, retention of chapter members, leadership development, successful meetings, successful projects, and chapter finances.
--circle to discuss the subject (30 minutes)
--informal presentation by Diversity Committee (15 minutes; includes questions-and-answers)
--formal presentation by one relatively successful chapter (Tolland? Shoreline?) on how it structures its chapter (30 minutes; includes questions-and-answers)
--break/lunch (45 minutes)
--presentation of "poll" results (see footnote below) (10 minutes)
--circle for further discussion (15 minutes)
--small groups to write recommendations (30 minutes)
--circle to discuss the recommendations (30 minutes)
--Party Secretary (and/or others) "publish" the recommendations
The Saturday gathering could include a presentation by person(s) with knowledge of how volunteer organizations motivate volunteers.
Footnote: Committee members may choose to "poll" (informally) Connecticut Greens across the state as to what projects/issues "the grassroots" wants the Greens to work on. This poll could be done by phone and/or a limited mailing.
(2) Our November 2003 election results, and planning for November 2004 (Sunday 11am-2:30pm)
--A format similar to the "health of the chapters" session could be used, with alternating large-group discussion and small-group breakouts.
--Successful candidate(s) (or nearly-successful candidates) could make presentations.
--The gathering could include showing video(s) designed for campaign training, with discussion of how we did or didn't put the ideas in the video into operation.
--There could be "suggested reading" ahead of time of materials downloaded from the national website (such as the campaign manual that Penny Teal helped write).
--Planning this session could be a project of the Elections Committee.
The work of planning the "spring Greens gathering" would be nearly as important as the gathering. That work would consist largely of telephone conversations among Greens all over the state (and/or focused on your chapter and perhaps one other chapter). These telephone conversations would involve discussion of the issues that will be considered at the Saturday and Sunday gatherings (for example, what makes one chapter function well and another function poorly? Why were Elizabeth, Joyce, and Ken elected and not all our candidates?)
It is suggested that committee e-mails be done via a temporary Yahoo listserve set up for the purpose. (Such a listserve was set up for the Elections Committee.) These e-mails would be moderated and potentially edited to remove possible personal attacks. Dissemination of information as to how Connecticut Greens could join the listserve (and how such a listserve functions) would be one of the first tasks of the committee. (Anyone with access to a computer can participate in a Yahoo listserve--you need not be using SBC/Yahoo as your internet service provider.)
Appendix 3 Proposal for commissioned (10%) fundraiser/event organizer(s)
Was in proposed agenda for Oct 2003 SCC agenda, but e-mails among Executive Committee members in November made me call into question as to whether this is the proposal we'll be using
Green Party Meeting Proposal Form
Presenter Executive Committee
Proposal(In ten words or less) Create commissioned fundraiser/event organizer position(s)
Background and Purpose (in 100 words or less) At the August 2003 SCC meeting, Tim McKee was hired as a fundraiser/field organizer. He was hired under the terms of a plan which stated (among other provisions) that unless he raised $500 in a month he would not be paid for that month. Tim McKee did excellent work but has now resigned from the position for personal reasons. Tim did not earn any money from the position.
At the 10/20/03 Executive Committee meeting it was decided to redefine the position to eliminate the $500 threshold--it will now be a simple 10% commission.
Goals are (1) increasing Party income; (2) education, public visibility, and Party-building (if the fundraising is done by arranging events, such as bringing speakers to Connecticut)
Proposal: (200 words or less) Hire fundraiser/event organizer(s) for six months. A 10% commission shall be paid on funds (net profits after expenses) raised for the Connecticut Green Party by the person(s) exclusively through his/her individual efforts (through means such as phoning potential donors or organizing events). When funds are raised by organizing an event in conjunction with a chapter, the profit from the event shall be divided between the Connecticut Green Party and the chapter on a 50/50 basis, and only the profit amount going to the state shall be used in computing the 10% commission.
The position will be a contract worker ("1099") (independent contractor). It will therefore not be benefitted (health benefits or other). At 6 months from the date of hire by the SCC, the Executive Committee (reporting to the SCC) and the person(s) hired will renegotiate compensation and terms of employment. At any time, the person(s) may be fired for cause at an SCC meeting with a majority vote.
The Executive Committee will establish a period of approximately three weeks in which resumes are accepted. The Executive Committee will interview candidate(s) of its choosing and shall make hiring recommendation(s) to the SCC.
A person hired shall write a brief proposed job description within two weeks of the date on which the SCC hires him/her and submit this proposed job description to the Executive Committee for review and possible revision. The Executive Committee and the person hired shall use the proposed job description as the basis for a finalized job description. (This process could allow different job descriptions to apply to different hired persons. One person might wish to focus on phoning potential donors; another person might wish to exclusively plan events; etc.) Fundraising under the above-described terms (with payment of commission) shall begin only after the finalized job description is approved by the Executive Committee.
A person hired shall submit a report every two weeks to the Executive Committee summarizing his/her work for the prior two weeks, and shall periodically submit a report of amounts owed to the person hired. The report of amounts owed shall include detailed, clear records of monies raised and any expenses incurred. The treasurer of the Connecticut Green Party shall pay commissions owed and expenses owed in full within 2 weeks of the time the hired person submits a report of amounts owed unless the Executive Committee decides that the submitted report contains a possible error, in which case the matter shall be resolved by the Executive Committee no later than one month after the report of amounts owed was submitted. Expenses may include long-distance telephone call charges; the Executive Committee may request a record of such calls.
Appendix 4. Hiring announcement for fundraiser position [Draft received from Tom Sevigny 11/17/03]
OVERVIEW: The Green Party of Connecticut is seeking a part time fundraiser to further the efforts of the party.
Job description: The fundraiser will be hired by the State Central Committee as an independent contractor and supervised by the Executive Committee. People of color, women, LGBT, youth, and working class people encouraged to apply.
Responsibilities: While the specific role and duties of the position will vary, the following is a partial listing of what the Fundraiser will likely be asked to perform:
1. Create fundraising plan for the party.
2. Oversee the fundraising committee.
3. Organize fundraising events/mailings.
4. Work with the treasurer to maintain fundraising database.
Qualifications: The successful candidate will have:
1. Ability to work independently as well as cooperatively in a team;
2. Ability to be highly organized and to multi-task;
3. Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
4. Knowledge of basic computer technology and programs, including word processing, spreadsheets, databases, email and internet tools;
5. Basic knowledge of how to organize events.
Length of Contract and Hours: The contract will be renewed yearly. The position will be part time and some weekend and evening hours will be required.
Compensation: The fundraiser will be compensated from a percentage of the money raised by the party on a monthly basis. Exact percentage of compensation will be based on experience.