Steering Committee Meeting Notes – January 19, 2013

Warren St Marks Community Garden
Steering Committee and Chicken Tenders Meeting
Saturday, January 19, 2013

Time: 10:30 am
Place: PURE restaurant (88 Fifth Ave.)

ATTENDEES
–Coordinators
Cathy Carver
Ruth Chasek
Emilie Hagen
Andrea Kannapell
Pat McCarty
McRae Petrey
Sheri Stein
–Chicken Tenders
Chloe Abercrombie
Tammy Dunn

AGENDA

Planning for Annual General Membership meeting, scheduled for 2/17, 2013, 5th Avenue Committee offices.  The basics for an annual meeting:
Introductions
Reports
Budget Approval
Elections
and, in WSMC Garden practice, collecting renewals, key distribution, scheduling open hours management

Occasionally, annual meetings have been facilitated by someone not on the steering committee.

Saturday, we can expand on these basics.  How will they look on 2/17?

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Ruth suggested a review of the bylaws, particularly emphasizing that, in elections, qualifying coordinator candidates are strongly encouraged to have at least one year membership prior to steering committee service.  David Bivins also had sought some bylaws revisiting.

The steering committee hasn’t the authority to change the bylaws, merely suggest an amendment, subject to membership ratification.  Any amendment pertinent to election protocol must be ratified before a vote.  Ruth suggested that any such change would apply to next year’s voting

Even if no new coordinators are elected, a steering committee is considered a new committee with each term.  We reviewed the known proposed changes:  Administrative Coordinator, Plots Coordinator.  We do not yet know whether Kathy Hutson has agreed to serve the remainder of Rosana Vidal’s vacated Publicity Coordinator term.   Andrea had spoken with Kathy and remembers that she was disinclined to assume the vacated position.

That others among us have agreed to continue to serve does not guarantee their positions.  Dylan Mabin and Tammy Dunn have offered to serve on the steering committee.  We agreed with outreach to the community, that the voices of anti-chicken neighbors might be channeled constructively to the benefit of the garden.

There was some discussion as to whether we would elect a steering committee who would then self determine their respective coordinator positions.  As a practice, in the past, each position was voted individually.  The exact protocols of an election aren’t specified in bylaws:  Generally, nominations from the floor, and a show of hands; in some contests, secret written ballots, with candidates excused during the vote.

With reports, it was suggested that each coordinator take a moment to specify the responsibilities of the position he/she serves.

Separately, and lastly, a BANG representative, and alternate must be elected.  They can be chosen from membership at large, but preferably, from the just elected steering committee.  Sheri Stein agreed to write summary of representative’s responsibilities—required and suggested.

It was noted that TPL had just conveyed the deeds to the five gardens now comprising BANG.  As owners, we must assume a different perspective, not as mere stewards, but as owners of not one, but all BANG. TPL distributed material concerning garden responsibilities and potential violations to BANG board members. Andrea said she would make copies of this material for annual meeting.

In the past, Aaron Kaufman had agreed to moderate the AGM.  He was contacted during this meeting, and agreed, with the note that he’d not be available Sunday, 2/17/2013, during the Presidents’ Day weekend.  There was discussion about rescheduling the AGM,  because of likely absences over a three-day weekend, that formal invite/notices hadn’t yet been sent.  Pat agreed to contact Denise Torres, of 5th Avenue Committee office, with whom he’d arranged 2/17 meeting space, on Monday, to determine whether they had March 3, 2013 available as an alternate.  We cannot schedule to meet everybody’s availability, but we’ll try for majority.  (Plan A = 3/3; Plan B = 2/17)

The Chicken Tenders had received the following final report from the Monitor Committee that was represented by both WSMC Garden and those who’d opposed any chicken keeping at the garden:

“The monitoring committee recently met in person to discussed (sic) the concerning issues of the community and the solutions set forth by the tenders and we feel that all issues have been considered in the protocol to take care of the chickens. The monitors have responsibly taken care of the chickens and the space around them. The garden has never seen this much action during the winter months as far as I know; families are frequently stopping by the garden during the day when tenders are there.  As a whole, we feel the community is better off with the chickens during this fostering period. We recommend that the garden keep the chickens through April until their return to Governor’s Island. We recommend that the steering committee address all concerns of the community in a thorough communication effort if chickens are going to be considered at any future date.”
There was some discussion about the general disposition of the Chicken Tenders, how they perceived the future at the garden.  From Chloe and Tammy (and others of the Steering Committee who’d participated in the effort), there was consensus that, in April, as planned, the hens would return to Governors Island; if, during winter 2013-2014, Earth Matter or another group would ask for foster chicken care, we would better and in more timely way, advise the non-garden member neighbors; we would not seek our own flock at this time; we would not dismantle the henhouse.

We had our annual discussion regarding the maintaining of open hours.  It was reminded that we want to avoid the perception of an exclusive garden with locked gates.  Pat laid out the arithmetic:  20 open hours/week x 4 weeks/month x 8 months/season x 2 members/shift = 1280.  that number divided by c.100 members =  c.13 hrs/season/member.

Here is a proposed solution:  Work committees, one of which would administer the others’ schedules, would be formed to accommodate posted open hours.   This entire effort would be monitored by the Administrative Coordinator.  The other committees suggested included children, composting, events (individual members’, not garden sponsored), litter, sidewalks.  Plot privileges would require additional responsibility.  All members would be required to attend regularly scheduled monthly garden workdays and the preceding meetings.

If we are able to reschedule the AGM, then this Steering Committee and Chicken Tenders blend will meet again on 2/17, to approve a budget and an agenda.  Else, we must choose another date to reconvene prior to the Plan B 2/17 AGM.

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