Steering Committee Meeting Minutes – 7/1/14

Clinton Community Garden Steering Committee
1 July 2014 @ 7:30 pm, Fountain House, West 47th St, New York, NY
We were joined by Anne Haas, regarding the by-laws committee
Attending:  Anyd, Mark, Stan, Kathy, Linda, Tom, Laura, Margaret, Yaeko, Bruce
Anne Haas’ bylaws suggestions were passed around.
The meeting was called to order.
There was a motion to accept the June minutes, seconded, passed.
Anne Haas was given the floor.
The by-laws committee explored the question of defining membership.  The committee also explored the question of including non-plot holders who are longstanding volunteers.  A non-plot holding volunteer can be nominated to the Steering Committee for membership in the Garden due to their service.  The committee also recommended revisiting the number of volunteer hours required.
One important issue is that we demand volunteer hours but keeping track of the volunteer hours has always been an issue, and noone know of any person who was kicked out due to lack of hours.
Regarding elections, with Proxy votes, there are three types of proxies, which not all the same.  With a Proxy, A acts on behalf of B.  (It was pointed out with a Proxy ballot it is not certain how the proxy obtained the ballot).  With an Absentee Ballot, the voter cannot attend and must mail in their vote.  A mail-in ballot is mailed, in which is different than an absentee ballot.  A Mail-in ballot discourages attendance at the annual meeting.  If membership rolls are not well kept it is difficult to mail everything out to all members.  Also envelopes take up additional paper.  An Election Committee can be set up well in advance to handle the election.  The election committee can be made up of members who are not on the Steering Committee, and part of their duties can be to inform the membership about the election.  The election committee would not be the same as the bylaw committee.
An additional purpose of the Garden can be to provide a model for environmentally concious gardening.
Anne proposed a change to the Volunteer Coordinator; that the position be changed to Membership coordinator.  A Membership Coordinator can keep track of hours and be a liason between the volunteers and the Steering Committee.
Andy suggested that once the proposed bylaw changes are finalized they be presented to the entire membership.  For the bylaws changes we can discuss, email and vote (including by email) as necessary.
Treasurer’s Report.  Everything is well.  We can put Sanitation and Pest Control all under Maintenance; Other.  We can put the bees, bees supply and honey jars all on one line.  For the New York Community Trust and Green Acre we must apply before the end of the calendar year.  The cost for Victoria for this Spring was $1,477.00.
Bruce is to send out the Final Proposed Budget, which will be considered a motion to approve the budget, and Laura is to second it.
For the 4th of July, Annie and Faser and a friend will be jumping in to organise and cook.  It was suggested we have an Events Committee to handle these events.  It was also pointed out people have asked to host and we should revitalise the hosting committee.
We have an issue with people interfering with gardens and other people’s plants.  The neighbor whose ivy was cut was invited to show us the damage done.  Andy will also get in tough with him.  There is one plotholder who has admitted to cutting the ivy, but we believe there is another plotholder also responsible.  There is was a second separate incident where one gardener cut another’s plant which they though was invasive, without consulting the gardener.  Andy will send out a reminder to all that we do not cut plants which are not ours, without first coming to an agreement with the plants’ owner.  One of the front gardeners had thier things moved while they were working in the garden, without being consulted.  It was pointed out that we have had incidents of people using the garden for thier commercial use without getting permission, and/or incidents of people coming into the garden with over ten people, sometimes well over ten people, without getting permission.  We have the code of conduct posted, Andy asked if we could take the code of conduct and harmonize it with the key agreement.  Andy reiterated that this is a garden, not a playground or park, and people should be able to have a nice quiet relaxing place.
One S/C member expressed concern that there are some understandings of how things work which may not be written or communicated, which was seconded.  It was pointed out the bylaws could stand to be straightened out but are not out of control.  It was pointed out that it is best if the bylaws are kept simple.
Stan was complimented on his online signups, and it was pointed out that the signups take up a lot of the work previously handled by the team leaders.  In addition, when the team leaders put together signups it could be a little ‘naggy’, which is reduced with the online signups.  Stan pointed out he can put together any kind of signup, he will just need to know the details for it.
It was suggested that before we change any further plots they be approved by the Steering Committee.  It was also suggested that the current front beds be defined and labeled, we can draw a map of the current front beds.  It was Moved – There shall be no new front garden plots or additions to existing to existing plots without Steering Committee approval.  This was seconded, and PASSED unanimously.  It was suggested that when a front gardener gives up thier plot the Steering Committee can review the front plot, and decide whether to change or possibly eliminate it.
For the upcoming Politician’s Reception in the garden, Debbie, Annie and Pat Berger are working together on this.
John had given Andy his plans for the shed and composting area.
We are looking into hiring arborists, Fountain House has agreed with tree pruning.  We will talk to Annie about the arborists, since she was in touch with them the last time.
Regarding the front iron gate, Andy will talk to the iron gate people to get them to take a look at our front gate.
The meeting was adjourned.