LWVNM Board Meeting Minutes, 5/21/2017
State Board Meeting, 2017-05-21
The meeting was called to order at 11:04.
Introductions were made. Present at the meeting:
- Kim Sorensen, LWVGLC President
- Meredith Machen, looking forward to her new role as special projects director
- Dick Mason, Action and Health Care
- Suzanne Ronneau, LWVSFC, Treasurer
- Barbara Calef, LWVLA co-president, leading the Public Lands study
- Diane Goldfarb, LWVCNM; chaired the Reproductive Rights project, now taking on Voter Services.
- Karen Douglas, director at large, from LWVCNM, was VP of Program for LWVCNM, will be leading the Nuclear Waste Storage study
- Janet Blair, Communications Director and new La Palabra publisher
- Akkana Peck, Webmaster and Secretary, from LWVLA, leading the Health Care study
- Laura Atkins, LWVSFC
- Judith Binder (Judy), LWVCNM Co-President
- Judy Williams, President, also on Health Committee
REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Meredith moved to approve the agenda. Seconded and approved.
The minutes from the last board meeting were approved with no corrections (which doesn't require a vote). Review and adopt Nonpartisan Policy and Board Responsibilities.
There were questions about the term "Conflict of Interest" in the title: does partisan involvement constitute a conflict of interest? Barbara Calef said that Kathy Taylor was looking at the state requirements for a 501c3, which requires a conflict of interest statement. The discussion was postponed to next meeting when we can find out what Kathy learned about what the state requires, even though LWVNM isn't a 501c3. Conflict of Interest will be removed from the nonpartisan policy title.
There was some discussion of whether the board position should be called Voter Guide or Voter Services. It was agreed to amend the position's title to "Voter Services and Voter Guide Editor".
Approve the Member Responsibility Document
The calendar for upcoming events was discussed: see the updated calendar on the website or in La Palabra.
There was some discussion about League Day. It's hard to plan for topics this early, since we don't know what bills will come up, so nothing definite was decided.
LWVNM Convention Wrap-up
The board discussed some ideas from the convention. Do we need an observer corps in addition to a lobby corps? We can monitor a lot of meetings from home by video, but it's important to have people sitting there taking notes and wearing LWV buttons.
Dick Mason thought maybe we should rename the Action committee "Advocacy", or maybe "Lobbying". Akkana Peck commented that "Lobbying" sounds negative to people who aren't involved with government. Meredith Machen said it sounds like you're paid. Laura Atkins suggested "Citizen Lobbying". Meredith didn't like "Citizen" because it sounds like non-citizens are excluded, and suggested "Public Lobbying". Mason and Atkins argued that having "Citizen" in the name doesn't actually exclude non-citizens. No decision was made.
There was discussion of putting dates of preparation and/or last modification on all documents we put out, as suggested at the convention. Everybody liked that idea.
The other Directions to the Board were postponed until the next board meeting, after there's been time to collate the member interest forms. Akkana Peck will collate the forms into a spreadsheet.
Judy Williams investigated interest rates at several banks (which someone had requested in Directions to the Board at the convention). They're all very low, and all nearly the same. There's also been some discussion about changing banks; we've stuck with Wells Fargo hoping they'd help with the fraud investigation, but they haven't helped at all.
Akkana Peck wondered whether there's any point to keeping $1 in a WF account in case there's any ongoing investigation. Machen and Williams said it's clear will be no ongoing investigation. No one seems to have any interest in helping us investigate the fraud.
Most people agreed we should look for a bank that has branches convenient to all four LWV Leagues. We should also try to get a deposit-only ATM card, like we had from Wells Fargo.
Mason wanted our policies to specify no electronic transfers, ever. Peck thought if the whole board votes for a transfer, it should be okay. Janet Blair said it was an overreaction to forbid all transfers, closing the door after the horse is out of the barn.
Policy on Studies and Positions Document
Barbara Calef wants "Policy on Studies and Positions" on the agenda for the next board meeting. Specifically, we have a document (originally written by Calef) on how to do a study, which has been changed and watered down since it was written in 2006. There was agreement that we should fix this.
Janet Blair said she had searched online but hadn't found a communication plan for either the state or CNM, or a clear statement of how news releases get put together, who does them, who needs to approve them ... we need a clearer procedure. We also need to keep track of who our media contacts are and which ones are useful.
Blair said she wants to raise the profile of the league, so the news media will use us as a resource and call us for comments on important issues. She shared some ideas on how we could do that, and offered to train board members on how to respond effectively on newsworthy items, how to write a 10-second sound bite or an effective tweet. Everyone was enthusiastic about learning more.
Blair also mentioned that she's and Karen Wentworth have talked about making video presentations on our positions or calls to action: that might energize prospective younger members.
Williams commented that we shouldn't send any news releases out without someone else reading it first, even herself as the president. Blair strongly agreed.
Judy brought a stack of old La Palabras for archiving. Blair is looking into getting them scanned and OCRed (read with Optical Character Recognition) so we can archive them electronically. She's still looking into costs for that, and we may need to discuss it at the next meeting as a budget item.
Dick Mason suggested the UNM Southwest Library might help. We already have archives there, and they're in the process of digitizing a lot of their collections; they might be willing to digitize ours for free.
Becky Shankland and Barbara Goedecke are our official archivists, so they should be in the loop.
Akkana Peck talked with LWVUS Liaison Henrietta Saunders at the convention about linking to and duplicating some of what's on the national website, making it more available. It was suggested she look at what CNM has done, and also LWVCO.
Peck also brought up archiving of documents. Should we use the website to store old documents like scanned La Palabras, and as an archive for Word documents like our positions? How about press releases? In the past we've linked to external stories, in papers like the New Mexican, but maybe we should keep our own press releases archived. Blair agreed with that. Someone said they should be called "News Releases" rather than "Press Releases". They should be organized by year.
News releases should also include testimony: if you speak publicly on something, write it up so it can be published as news on the website.
We should also have a search box on the website. Peck said she'd work on that.
Barbara Calef had made some edits to the Special Projects job description Machen sent out earlier. Everyone agreed with her edits, and that the title should be "Special Projects Director." Calef will send out the corrections. She moved to adopt the job description as amended; it was seconded and approved.
Common Cause Judicial Reform Grant and Budget
The informal executive committee is recommending we focus on problem-solving, or treatment courts. There was discussion of where we could focus our efforts so we could get something done. A committee will discuss it after the board meeting and develop a scope of work, which the board can approve at the next meeting. Machen said she'd also write up a proposal to send to the local leagues to try to find committee members.
Barbara Calef moved to define the scope for now as focusing on the problem-solving courts. Seconded and approved.
Diane Goldfarb described how a group of organizations working together received a $150k grant for proactive work on reproductive rights. A portion of that grant, called "boost stipends", was distributed among the 11 organizations. Diane distributed copies of her plan to use our boost stipend. There was discussion with some ideas for how we could work on this outside of a legislative session. Local leagues can run programs on reproductive rights: the boost grant can pay for travel for people coming from remote parts of NM, or can help with organizing a presentation with a reception at League Day. Keep track of the time you spend organizing these events: we can pay ourselves for organizing, and certainly should reimburse ourselves for mileage and other expenses.
Dick pointed out that it would be good to have a mailing list for "local leaders" where things like this can be discussed.
The meeting adjourned at 1:30.