December 21, 2008
GPUS-SC Conference Call
December 21, 2008
8:00 p.m. EST
Jason Nabewaniec, Phil Huckelberry, Budd Dickinson, Sanda Everett, Jill Bussiere
Secretary: Holly Hart
Treasurer: Jody Grage
Tamar Yager, Emily Citkowski, Brent McMillan
Craig Thorsen and Cliff Thornton were not on the call.
Brian Bittner, part-time office staff
AC = Accreditation Committee
ANM, ANMC = Annual National Meeting Committee
BAWG = Ballot Access Working Group
BRPP = Bylaws, Rules, Policies and Procedures Committee
BC = Black Caucus
CC = Coordinating Committee
CCC = Coordinated Campaign Committee
CG SC = Campus Greens Steering Committee
ComCom = Communications Committee
DC = Diversity Committee
DIA = Democracy in Action internet service
DRC = Dispute Resolution Committee
FC = Fundraising Committee
FEC = Federal Election Commission
GP = Green Party
IC = International Committee
LC = Lavender Caucus
NPWG = Nominating Process Working Group
NWC = National Women’s Caucus
PEC = Presidential Exploratory Committee
PCSC = Presidential Campaign Support Committee
SC = Steering Committee
SPWG = Strategic Plan Working Group
[Brackets denote editor’s suggested corrections. Some punctuation corrections done with no content change. -ed.]
I. STAFF REPORTS, if any
a. Fundraising – mail, phone – Tamar Had a $1000 donation come in via the phone canvass.
b. Brent sent out a weekly report.
II. Office staff; hiring process and timeline. Brian Bittner will be calling in to address questions or concerns about staffing. Emily has requested some time to address this and has asked Brian Bittner also be on the call.
DISCUSSION – see **, below
III. VOTING PAGE – Holly
BRPP – Fiscal Policy – discussion period
SC – 2009 Budget – discussion period
Green Pages – still in progress
Jill noted a letter from the National Women’s Caucus that has just been sent to the national email list asking that SC pull BRPP’s fiscal policy proposal because they believe part of it is in violation of the bylaws. BRPP had tried for an expedited amendment process, which failed. Jody has been told by accountant Doug Malkan that in terms of funds, caucuses are part of the GPUS. Phil believes that at some point it was decided that the finances of the caucuses would be part of the finances of the national party. The problem with the fiscal policy proposal is taking existing language and treating caucuses the same way as committees. Holly clarified that, at the time caucuses were created, the FEC rule was not known, so was not a factor in how they were formed. Talk at the time indicates that caucuses were considered more separate entities from GPUS. She believes the BRPP proposals attempts to cover too much in once proposal, and that no intentional GNC determination of caucus status should be inferred from the proposal whether it passers or fails.
Jason pointed out that it is our policy that proposals be kept to ca. 100 words. This has been mentioned to BRPP with every proposal they have put out in the last couple of years. There is a problem with multiple-issue proposals when we allow things to come out in such large forms.
SC agreed to take no action on the NWC letter.
IV. PORTFOLIO REPORTS
Budd – FundCom does not have a co-chair. FundCom and FinCom have been having meetings
Jill and Sanda – International Committee is planning on electing co-chairs in January. Some people are questioning the leadership of the IC, becoming very confrontational. Sanda sent a report of the recent Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas conference in Brazil.
Jason reported that Merchandise had a good month in terms of sales.
V. OTHER BUSINESS
DC event – Scott McLarty sent a notice and suggested GPUS might want to have a table. DC Statehood Greens will have a table.
Tamar asked about process for job descriptions, staffing. Jody stated that she has sent out several job descriptions, working on finishing more. We will need to do more work on fundraising manager, maybe a transition meeting. Jason said we really need more clarification as changes are coming in January. The SC has never formalized where duties of Outreach are going – 56 hours of office time are up in the air as to who’s going to cover that, or if it’s not to be covered. Should assign a hiring committee if we decide to hire for this.
Process for job descriptions is unclear. Jason stated that he thought the personnel subcommittee was handling job descriptions. Jody had resigned from that committee; committee hasn’t met. Jody stated she had said she would get drafts out to SC and has continued to do that. Budd said he is still on the subcommittee, but there is no one convening calls. Jody picked up job descriptions, because she has been working on this all along.
Jason suggested that at the first of the year, the personnel subcommittee meet with Emily and Brian and decide upon job descriptions for one half-time office manager and office assistant, as well as one they would look like if it were moved to two 1/2-time office managers.
Phil stated that some delegates have asked to see job descriptions; this needs to be forthcoming soon, or it may affect the budget’s passage. Recommended that job descriptions could be less detailed than the executive director description, and more flexible; they can be sent out to GNC as soon as they’re finished.
Budd asked Holly to convene a meeting of the personnel subcommittee. Holly will send around some suggested times and see if this can be worked in within the next two weeks. SC will ask Emily and Brian to continue with their tasks during the transition to a new time frame. Some job descriptions can be finalized before the first of the year. Some will depend on financial conditions, more will be known later next month.
VI. TREASURER’S REPORT/CONTINUED DISCUSSION OF FINANCE/2009 BUDGET PROPOSAL
Phil mentioned some items to address. Some inadequacy in fundraising plan, we need something on messaging and merchandise plan. How can we respond to GNC questions when we may have the same questions? Jody pointed out several parts of the BRPP fiscal policy proposal which adds more reports.
Sunday, December 28, 2008; 8:00 p.m. EST
DISCUSSION on staff plan:
more consistent times
Brian has sent a letter to the SC, describing the work he does and regarding concerns about the need for sufficient office staffing. He believes it is important to maintain at least the level of office staff currently provided for in the budget.
Holly asked how he would respond to someone who suggests we don’t need an office, and more work could be done by volunteers. Brian stated he would want to see a detailed alternative. Legal requirements, such as FEC reports, require consistent work, something for which volunteers may not be reliable.
Jason asked Emily and Brian how the office might function if the GPUS were not able to hire an assistant right away. Emily replied that once she goes half-time, there will not be someone in the office consistently.
Brent comes in after 2 p.m. Tamar sometimes works from her home. Interns, who do a lot of time-intensive work, no one would be there to supervise, and some tasks would not get done.
Phil stated that we are running into is that we are on average, losing money every month. In such a situation, we have to go back and look at operations and ask questions about which of those are not bringing in money because we are losing money. He feels we need more information to ascertain what is most appropriate, at this point. Would like to know more about merchandise. Is time being put into things that aren’t necessary components of keeping the party running? Phone calls? Merchandise? We need an analysis of fundraising that factors in staff time. Brian stated that staff is responsible for all fundraising – either actual fundraising or processing donations.
Budd is co-chair of FinCom and finance portfolio. Concerned we have over $30,000 of December bills not being paid until January, including December paychecks, loans and a year behind in state sharing, plus restricted funds. He is concerned that we are deeply in debt. Regarding office and staff, he believes we should find things we don’t have to do. He believes we should cut back on merchandise program.
Sanda stated that she believes we need to hire the staff included in the budget, although it may be put off for a month; and make sure office is staffed enough hours to accommodate the West Coast.
Jody explained that we need $14,000 now, and will have to keep spending low in January. To hire someone else at this point would not be a fiscally prudent move. We cannot afford to pay the staff we have right now. Some things will have to be put off, and the same type of pitching in that took place when Emily took maternity leave will have to take place now.
Emily said that when she went on maternity leave, we paid Brian more and he took on more hours, which shows why we need a half-time office manager. Currently, Brian is paid for 8 hours a week, but he usually works twice that. The 2009 budget already drastically cuts the amount of money paid for staff, with the two half time positions included. The 2008 budget included 6k for an Online Fundraising Assistant and 6k for an Office Assistant and 48k for an Operations Director. The proposed 2009 budget cuts the Online Fundraising Assistant and the Office Assistant. It divides the Operations Director position with benefits into two half time positions without benefits, one at 24k and one at 18k (half of a starting salary). This already saves 18k in salary and 5k in benefits, or 23k in 2009. This is already a drastic cut and will mean that we will have to cut down on the amount of work we can do. If the second half-time position is not filled, there will be an even greater reduction in the amount of work we can expect to get done. The programs she has worked on have made more money this year than in previous years.
Phil said we are not simply talking about a deduction of hours. We need a better understanding of the time break-down, so we can know how to prioritize things. A job description for Operations Director was just sent to the SC list this afternoon, and he feels a lot of it includes things office staff don’t need to be doing, or that the operations director shouldn’t be doing.
He believes we have tasks that should be cut from office work, things office staff should not need to be doing. Brian stated they could provide a list of what hours are spent on what work.
Emily expressed frustration at not knowing what the process is for working out job descriptions, addressing things. She worked on the job description, sent to Jody and Cc’ed Jason last Sunday.
Jason has concerns about what cutting back in January will do to the office, what that will do to fundraising and what message that sends to donors. It’s been pointed out that merchandise takes a lot of staff time, but this is the only physical thing that GPUS provides for state and local parties; taking this away undermines our ability to be relevant, we need staff hours to keep things moving. He believes it is dangerous to cut back farther and we should be filling this position.
Tamar is already working 45-50 hours a week. Some of her work is done from home; she would be willing to be in the office more consistent times, to ensure someone is there.
Jill stated her appreciation for staff. Two theories – one, cut way back and start over again; the other, expand income.
Tamar also asked about process, how job descriptions are worked out.
Phil stated the real question is whether the office will be here in three months. Doesn’t think the political reality is the party is well enough understood. Some want the office closed, strong anti-SC sentiment, associating the SC with debt we have little to do with.
Emily said there has always been a contingent in the GNC that wants to close the office. Fundraising is cyclical, there is more we can do to expand to new donors.
Jill suggested we come up with a list of what national party does.
Sanda – sentiment against need for national party, when BRPP proposal was not sent out right away, her delegation lost respect Marnie Glickman (CA delegate) called her about cutting office, feels budget is irresponsible.
Holly said we should be careful to distinguish between staff and GNC. People may question need for national party, but a GP staff may be considered more valuable.
Tamar has formulated a response to questions Marnie raised on GNC email list. Too much static to get the rest of her comments.
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