March 22, 2009
Co-chairs: Phil Huckelberry, Jill Bussiere, Budd Dickinson, Jason Nabewaniec; Craig Thorsen for the latter 2/3 of the call.
Secretary: Holly Hart
Treasurer: Jody Grage
Staff: Brent McMillan, Tamar Yager
Sanda Everett and Cliff Thornton are not able to be on the call.
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. MERCHANDISE Jon Olsen (MerchCom) called in. Craig Thorsen has offered to loan MerchCom up to $2000, so they can order merchandise in time for the national meeting. Repayment could be flexible; he would expect to be paid in or by August.
Discussion: Jody stated that the SC can accept up to $2000 in loans, and this may be considered a loan to GPUS. If there are any further loans needed, we will need to bring that to the GNC; approval would take about 3 weeks. She confirmed that the only way for Craig to be repaid would be for MerchCom to make enough profit to repay him. Jon stated that he and Craig were unaware that this loan could affect future loans. Jon suggested a lesser amount could be possible. Phil felt that, as some of the SC were just learning about this, it wasn’t clear what policy applies.
There is no mention of cumulative loans. Tamar said she was uncomfortable borrowing money for merchandise when staff hasn’t been paid.
Jon was sympathetic, also reminded the SC that Merchandise purpose is to raise money for the party. Budd said the original dollar amount he had heard was $300- $600 for buttons; he is also uncomfortable with the larger amount. Budd suggested we accept up to $600 and take this item back up on the next call. Jody stated that this had come up on a FinCom call, but FinCom had not recommended it [?$2000?]. She would agree to a $600 loan now.
TABLED until the next call, to give time for SC to learn more about the proposal and policy. Jody asked for the supplier, how much MerchCom wished to order, and how soon they would get the merchandise. Phil wanted more information about the terms of repayment.
II. EXECUTIVE SESSION – 8:25 – 8:45 EDT p.m.
Potential Legal Matter
III. STAFF REPORTS
a. ACCOUNTANT – Doug Malkan
Brent asked GPUS accountant Doug Malkan to explain what he does during a typical month. Doug receives information for financial statements and FEC work, plus files a couple of returns during the year. He sends out monthly financial statements and provides other information. FEC reports are done electronically monthly. Information comes from the office, treasurer, online (bank statements and payroll information) and database: income report (deposit report), bank statement, database provides donor information; imports and exports into various software programs.
The highest priority for informational needs is that we have a “best efforts” report in our database. This should be an export, but in the new database, we have not been able to get it to work, and in the old database it did not work at all. Doug believes it should be easy to address, and has asked that this be done.
It is also difficult to get a sharing report dating back several months or a year, and Doug has also asked about this. Also, the database is not reconciled to the bank statement; the deposit report is reproduced by hand; close, but not exact. Doug would like database to have an export that will show deposit reports and breakdowns.
There is a weakness in our online donations. Doug is concerned about getting needed donor information.
Holly asked if there is software that provides the needed reports. Brent believes that Salsa (DiA) that he and Tamar are learning is likely to provide what we need. Tamar said that our income statement is produced from something different than the database.
Jason asked for clarification on what work is done by the accountant and what by office staff; how much time it takes, and how much it should take.
Jill asked that Doug email this information to the SC, so it could be more easily grasped. Jody asked Doug also to send a list of what he does and the time involved.
b. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – Brent
ii. Commercial lease application for new office space has been approved. Brent and Dave Bosserman checked out the venue. Brent is expecting a draft of the lease. He sent out a notice of intent to vacate the premises to the current landlady and expects to get the deposit back.
Brent attended the Center for American Progress event on the Middle-East: Two-State Solution. Attended oral argument for the Nader vs. Democratic national Committee ballot access case, and posted comments on the ballot access news site (URL sent to the NC list).
Our current number of candidates is 102, 4 more added this week. There is a new Green Mayor for Victory, NY – 26 years old. Next elections coming up are March 31 in Amherst, MA.
Fundraising – Brent put in a lot of time this week. He got 4 pledges for a total of $720, a $36 credit card donation, signed up a renewal of old sustainer at $50/mo. Talked with another past large donor this week.
b. FUNDRAISING MANAGER – Tamar
i. Tamar sent a report to the SC list.
ii. Database – Tamar recommends exporting everything from CivicCRM to something else. It looks like DiA/Salsa will fit our needs, but that is not completely certain. When we’ve asked whether we can export from CivicCRM to DiA, they have said No, but DiA says it is possible for at least part of the information. They would need to check the database; for that, they would need back-door access to estimate how much it would cost.
Tamar recommended not using CivicCRM until it functions; and to give DiA backdoor access to the database for them to be able to make an estimate on what they can do at what cost. Brent advised we not use Access as a way to generate reports. We cannot rely on this for FEC data. If someone from DiA/Salsa can figure out that they can tag information in CivicCRM.
PROPOSAL, Jill – the SC will give authority to DiA/Salsa for back door access to the database. AGREED by consensus.
iii. Tamar has sent some suggestions for the Green Card program. TABLED until the next call, to give SC time to review.
IV. Office Lease Application
Brent is expecting a draft lease. One clause he will investigate stipulates that if property taxes increase, this will be passed on to the lessee. He would like to know what the norm is. Jill asked what happens if the property taxes decrease? (General laughter.) Charlie informed the SC that this is a fairly common clause. Brent will continue to look into this.
V. TREASURER’S REPORT – Jody
We have paid two staff, Brian and Emily. We have not yet paid Tamar and Brent. We have $709 in account. We need to pay salaries, rent, insurance and utilities, plus Empower. This = just under $9000. Total of our accounts payable is $41.4K, which does not include an expected large Red Sun printing bill. Direct mail postage has been paid. We brought in $8763 this month. This includes a few hundred $ from some SC members, and about $900 we may have to return. Because we are now having SunTrust process credit cards, Jody can now identify particular batches of when credit card income comes in, and can now keep up with that, as with checking account deposits.
Concerns were raised about our ability to pay staff on time. Tamar stated she would rather be laid off, so that at least she could apply for unemployment.
Brent said we are meeting our income projections overall on a month-by-month basis. However, staff are in a bind, living by large donations and extraordinary fundraising, a lot of pressure. He asked if we are paying off debt too quickly. Jason asked Jody to explain how she prioritizes payments. Jody stated that paying staff is not a low priority; the problem is that income has been low. Budd stated we have been depending on big donors. Holly stated GPUS could cancel reimbursement of her travel expenses for January’s travel.
Phil pointed out a large check recently came in, the SC was solicited on what to pay down first, and responded. Soon after, we could not meet payroll. The SC didn’t find out until Brent’s Executive Director report to the NC this week. When we get a big check, we should reserve a nominal amount in order to cover subsequent one or two payroll cycles. Brent noted that we are not seeing a lot of net income. Our online presence has been weak over the last few months; they are trying to get more online presence going.
Jill suggested we have a layoff date if we aren’t able to meet payroll by a certain time. She said that the Wisconsin GP will no longer continue to send monthly donations, but forgave their 2008 state sharing.
VI. Legal Advisor – questions on personnel issues, other questions Phil spoke to Andy Finko last weekend. Andy is reviewing case law regarding the questions we gave him, and is about 2/3 of the way through.
Phil asked for a written report of where he was at.
Jody will send job descriptions for office manager, operations director and media coordinator to NC list.
VII. VOTING QUEUE – Holly
a. Currently under discussion, voting… –
Eco-Action – water statement; has reached quorum and passing with strong support.
GPCO – SC elections online; under discussion
GPCA – death penalty; under discussion
b. i. GPUS endorsement of EU “Peace Cycle”
AGREED by CONSENSUS, Craig standing aside (he has not yet seen documentation that EU Greens are supporting this), to send to NC list for individual sign-ons, and endorse as GPUS. Jill has forwarded information from EU Greens to the SC.
ii. GPUS endorsement requested for April 26 International Seeds Day AGREED by CONSENSUS, Craig abstaining (not sure he has all sides of the issue), to endorse this effort to get the Obama administration to overturn Iraq Rule #81, which forces Iraq to buy terminator seeds from Monsanto.
c. Question of GSCC & GHCC votes, which failed due to lack of quorum. Phil recommended we put this up for a vote, asap. Keep on regular rotation. There was discussion about voting to declare about three state parties “inactive,” which would require NC passage. This would make it slightly easier to reach quorum.
d. TO CONSIDER FOR VOTING QUEUE
GPCA Proposal concerning the IC; requested to be sent out the following day (3/23/09)
Sanda has sent multiple versions of the proposal. Jason pointed out that our rules stipulate that backgrounds be brief, and this contains 2,588 words. He would like to ask that GPCA revise and shorten the background. Budd agreed. Phil did not. Budd also felt this is an inappropriate proposal. Phil stated that other proposals have had long backgrounds, and not to send this to the voting queue would be a politically poor decision. Holly stated that past proposals have been returned to sponsors to request better clarity. There was a question about whether accuracy in the background section should be required.
AGREED to send the proposal to the voting queue, following the regular timeline (next Monday, not expedited); and ask GPCA to move much of the background to a references section and put a link to that.
AGREED that Craig will request GPCA come up with a shorter background.
Vote on whether to approve Sanda’s request to expedite the timeline:
Craig – Yes
Phil – Abstain
Jill – No
Jody – No
Budd – No
Holly – No
Jason – No
— We will not expedite the timeline.
Phil believes that the 2/3 threshold is required, as this is a proposal concerning rules, and the practice has been in recent years to set the threshold at 2/3. This proposal would prevent the IC from submitting its own P&P’s, and since it’s been submitting proposals up to this point and there has been no rule to the contrary.
Vote on setting a 2/3 threshold:
Phil – Yes
Craig – No
Jason – Yes
Holly – Yes
Budd – Yes
Jody – Yes
Jill – Yes
— AGREED to set a 2/3 threshold for passage
2 weeks discussion, 1 week vote
Floor Manager: Holly
VIII. SC Statement to NC – Jill
Jill clarified that this was not in reference to the GPCA proposal, but about BRPP’s writing P&P’s for other committees; and to relate the SC’s directives to various standing committees. Craig stated he was under the impression that the SC’s intent was that BRPP was to work on their P&P’s but could also work on other things at the same time. Other SC members disagreed, stating they believed the intent was to ask BRPP to do nothing else before finishing work on their P&P’s.
Vote on whether to send statement to NC as the SC’s position:
Jill – Yes
Jason – Yes
Budd – Yes
Craig – No
Jody – Yes
Holly – Yes
–Statement is approved and will be sent to the NC.
IX. EXECUTIVE SESSION – 11:03p.m. 11:28 p.m. (3/23/09) EST
NEXT CALL – Sunday, April 5, 2009; 8:00 p.m. EDT
Minimally edited and HTML formatted by Charlie Green