November 22, 2009
GPUS SC Conference Call
Sunday, Movember 22, 2009
8:00 p.m. EDT
Co-chairs: Mike Feinstein, Sanda Everrett, Craig Thorsen, David Strand,
Farheen joined the call during the finance discussion (had a family emergency)
Secretary: Holly Hart
Treasurer: Jody Grage
Staff: Tamar Yager
JIll Bussiere, Jason Nabewaniec and Brent McMillan are not able to be on tonight’s call.
Observer: Julia Aires (FLA) may call in to observe
Facilitator: Jody facilitated the items at the beginning of the call.
Holly facilitated the finance/budget portion of the call.
I. VOTING QUEUE – Holly a. Request to add a one word amendment to the Platform Committee proposal. APPROVED, Mike voting No having a concern about not having received the proposal (Holly sent it, but Mike is not getting all of his email).
b. Eco-Action proposal pertaining to their P&P’s, to facilitate quick decisionmaking when needed. Agreed to take it up on the next regular call, next Sunday.
c. Apportionment Standing Committee proposal to amend timeline for states to submit data. AGREED to take up online and make final decision on next Sunday’s call.
d. UFPJ and Tikkun Invitations – these need to be addressed soon, and should take a minimal amount of time. AGREED to take up online and make final decision on next Sunday’s call.
II. TREASURER’S REPORT – Jody $630 in account, potential another $450, but it may be already earmarked for the International Committee or IT use. We have paid the rent, button order, DiA, mid-month salaries. Urgent need to pay for health insurance for November; to Purchase Power (mailing); Empower telefunding (we owe them $18K, they have stopped calling for now); accountant for October; end of the month salaries amounting to $8000.
IV. FINANCES/BUDGET SC approved guidelines for the budget and a loan proposal – see details, below In our last episode (from 11/15/09 call minutes): ______ Jody proposed that the SC announce to the NC that the SC is working on a budget; proposal, expense and income narratives and budget proposals are nearly finalized, budget will be to the NC in one or two weeks.
Case and Income statements will go up tonight. Mike will send Holly what is to go up; David Doonan will post documents to a web page and supply a link to be added to the proposal, asap. Parts of expense narrative will go up Tuesday afternoon. That leaves the controversial sections, will work on in the coming days. ks discussion, 1 week vote; 50%+1 threshold; Floor Manager – Jody.
…Jody stated we have some hard decisions to consider; we need to come up with ways to cut costs or raise funds or both. ************ Jody posted an assessment of our financial situation and some choices. Discussion to clarify question on most recent revisions. Jody asked for SC to weigh in on options. Mike suggested sending a note to the SC, to give notice, possibly schedule another call for all SC members to be able to participate.
Mike would like to put a budget to NC that pays all our debts. If we want the NC to fundraise, it needs to be a budget that gets us out of the hole. Willing to cut staff expenses if we can balance the budget this year. Any loan has to be for something specifically for fundraising.
Sanda commented on Mike’s concern about decision-making. She thought we would make decisions on tonight’s call, and other SC members were aware of this. Having a budget that pays off all past debts is not the same as having a balanced budget. You can have a balanced budget and not pay off all past debts. She would like us to pay off all past debts. Would like to pay off earmarked funds for caucuses and committees as a priority (establishing credibility with the GNC, believes lack of funds have been detrimental to our reputation; we are talking about a couple thousand dollars, not a lot of money); less concerned about state sharing; wants to pay off printing companies and Empower. Would take a loan that covers those expense, and well as cover some as-yet-unknown fundraising idea. May need to cut staff until we raise money instead of dreaming we can raise money with more staff.
Holly agreed with Nike’s suggestion to continue discussions and involve the rest of the SC. Mike suggested informal calls Wednesday or Friday evening, one more call before next Sunday. Jody preferred to formally ask those on the call to weigh in on items under budget, so we can know what members currently are prioritizing.
1. Send budget proposal that pays all debt in 2010. Jody, Mike and Sanda are in favor of prioritizing his
2. Send budget proposal that makes available all caucus and committee earmarked funds in 2010.
3. Send budget proposal that continues to pay state-driven state sharing each quarter and pays 2010 national-driven state sharing each quarter.
4. Send budget proposal with 2008 and 2009 national-driven state sharing deferred until 2011 or 2010 mid-year amended budget if income improves.
5. Send budget proposal that pays 50% of earmarked funds as of 31 Dec 09.
A. BUDGET options (above) and Discussion 6 Yes votes; 1 qualified Yes (Holly)
David pointed out that earmarked funds for committees and caucuses should be distinguished. Funds that have been sent to caucuses had not shown up. Committees are subordinate to the GPUS/GNC, caucuses are a different entity. Caucuses are semi-independent and have no other bank account outside of the GPUS’s. Jody stated that committees and caucuses must make a request to the Finance Committee for a recommendation to the SC for release of funds. Jody replied that these funds are made available as we actually have them. David pointed out that these are the only funds caucuses have, as opposed to state parties, and asks that caucuses be separated from states in regards to the state sharing option. Farheen agreed.
Sanda re-iterated her belief that both caucuses and committees should get their earmarked funds (for instance, ballot access committee). Ok with national-driven state sharing being put off for another year, if we have to leave out someone, that would be her last priority.
Mike continues to strongly favor a budget that would pay off all debts. Does not think national-drive portion of state sharing is a small number, will not have much impact on our expenses.
Farheen agreed with what Sanda said; of the points, agree with #4,
David request to forgive national drive state sharing funds. Some states cant’ forgive all state sharing, but could ask those who are able to forgive 2009. Small states in particular depend more on this. Incorporate into the budget, but make sure to ask states if they are willing to help achieve this.
Holly – a qualified ok for #1, but would prefer a reasonable fundraising and debt payment plan, an if it ran past 2010, would still approve. Feels it better to have a reasonable means of paying off debt; more constrictions may create a worse situation financially, in the long haul. May need further pioritization to determine earmarked funding for committees.
MIke – to get NC involved in fundraising, need a plan that is broadly stated, not a nuanced question that appeals to some.
Sanda – suggested 20% to states from national-driven state sharing. This would require modification of the fiscal policy.
Mike stated that a revised fiscal policy needs to pass, so NC will feel better and buy in to raising money.
Craig stated he waned to wait until he could get online to follow what was being discussed and comment.
Jody summed up: send to the NC a budget that plans to pay off all debt in 2010; within earmarked funds, caucuses will be given an early priority, and national-driven state sharing as last priority.
B. LOAN (below) and DISCUSSION –
5 Yes votes (Jody, Mike, Farheen, Sanda, David); 2 Abstain (Holly, Craig)
1. Proposal for loan primarily for fundraising and debt repayment totaling no more than $30k to begin 1 Jan 2010 with repayment from Juoni Trust in Jan 2011 if not repaid before.
2. Current loaners to be asked to roll their loan over.
3. Current loaners to be asked to consider forgiving 10% to 20% of loan.
Mike – need to be clear on how we are going to use loan for fundraising and paying our debts. Jody suggested we make just wanted to be clear that we stated clearly the purpose.
Craig – against having a loan. We are mortgaging ourselves 13 months in advance, don’t think it’s a good idea. There has to be something better, we need to think of other options.
Jody – we have a few years of the Juoni Trust. Asked Craig if he had any ideas.
Mike – question is do we continue existing pattern with trust, or something different? Supports the loan because a change in scenery with NC to one where we involve more of the NC, probably what is necessary to be sustainable in the long run. Looking at this loan as tool to get us on an even keel by getting us out of debt. Rather this than a commercial loan.
David – would lie to be in the position to use funds for prospecting. In light of the economic situation, hoping things are getting better, hoping this will get us out of debt this year, supports the loans.
Holly – half-hearted support.
Sanda – think we should do the loan.
Jody – 5 Yes votes for loan proposal – Mike, Farheen, Jody, David, Sanda;
Abstain – Holly, Craig
DISCUSSION – STAFFING PROPOSAL
1. Continue to have three full-time staff members.
2. Change staffing configuration to two and one-half staff members.
3. Change staffing configuration to two full-time staff members and one full-time staff member for six months.
4. Change staffing configuration to two full-time staff members.
Mike, Farheen (SC personnel sub-comm), Jason (staff supervising liaison) and Jody (fundraising supervisor) held discussion. Jody has posted job description of fundraising manager and other fundraising staff we’ve had. What responsibilities are no longer being done by fundraising manager, but by executive director and office manager. What are the highest priorities? What could be done by GPUS Committees (Fundraising Committee, for example)? What remains? Possibly a part-time fundraising position. Question is whether we can afford this full-time; if part-time, how much might we lose in income from a full-time fundraisng. Another question is whether we can afford the position today or whether we can afford this in the intermediate future?
Farheen noted that Jason had suggested we put this discussion aside for a couple months. If we don’t know what we’re funding, why spend time re-configuring the job description. She agrees.
Sanda asked what we are budgeting for in terms of fundraising.
Jody asked for time for her, Mike and Farheen and Jason to flesh this out more. We need input from staff. Idea is to get out
RESULTS: Jody proposed we get language on budget and loan out to rest of the SC, see if there are outstanding concerns or opinions; Jody will write up a loan proposal. She, Farheen, Mike & Jason would continue discussion of staff and have something ready before next Sunday’s call.
Personnel sub-comm will meet on Wednesday; next SC call is Sunday, 11/29,