BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, October 15, 2018 – 7:00 p.m., Fuller Park
Board members present: Joy Gottschalk, Dan Williams, Kellie Hanson, Erik Brenna, Pat Collins, Steve Wohlford, Dick Fiala, Valerie Hurst, Brian McDonald, Ryan Fisher, Briana Daymont, Dirk Nicholson
Board members absent: Gabe Moreno, John Dukich, Carl Arrell
Also present: Chriss Joyce (TNA Interim Coordinator), Sally Bauer (TNA Executive Director), 4 community members, Stacy Sorenson (City of Minneapolis NCR representative)
Called to order: 7:01pm
At the request of the Executive Committee, Joy filled in as president as Carl was unable to attend and this was Bri’s first meeting back after an absence.
Secretary – Steve made a motion to approve the August minutes, Dick seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved. Bri moved to approve the September minutes, Ryan seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Treasurer – All the bills are paid on time”
Fuller Park Update
The park building is open again after construction and improvements over the summer.
Council Member Schroeder Update
Jeremy was unable to attend but emailed an update to say that the Interstate 35W construction project is now in phase 3 and will only get better from here.
Committee Initiative Presentations
Innovative Environmental Leadership: Joy presented the committee’s initiatives with a budget of approximately $48,235 over three years. There were no questions from the attendees.
Beautiful, Purposeful Spaces: Steve presented the committee’s initiatives with a budget of approximately $134,901 over three years, which includes $90,000 for housing as required by the city’s NCR program. In response to the signage initiative, Tom (a community member) asked where signs would be located. Steve replied that banners were currently planned for major business nodes and streets.
Engaged, Welcoming Community: Dick presented the committee’s initiatives with a budget of approximately $42,709 over three years. There were no questions from attendees.
Program implementation (eg TNA staff time) for all of the initiatives was estimated at $87,200 for an overall program budget of $313,045 over 3 years.
Steve moved to vote on the plan as a package, Valerie seconded. Voice vote from both board and community attendees. All in favor, motion approved.
Initiative Plan Next Steps
Joy and Sally proposed that the board spend the majority of the November meeting reviewing the entire program item-by-item. Steve was concerned that while the program was being developed there was communication on what each initiative included and the board approved of the overall plan, the full board hadn’t had an opportunity to dig into the entire package and balance cost and benefit for each initiative. Steve was comfortable with leaving minor spending responsibility in the hands of each committee but not necessarily comfortable with letting committees spend larger amounts without full board approval. He proposed agreeing on a spending threshold after which board approval would required.
Stacey commended the board and committees on the detailed plan. She noted that the City enters into contracts with other bodies to enable initiatives and sometimes those will require full board approval regardless of spending.
Joy encouraged the committees to use the full board as a sounding board for concepts and ideas. She personally wants to test ideas and brainstorm with everyone on the board, in part to prevent surprises and prevent highly visible items from having negative feedback later.
Bryan asked how we intend to track and monitor progress for our initiatives. He wondered if that was something that the Executive Director would do and how committees would be involved in tracking. He noted that transparency makes everyone more comfortable.
Dick said that before we even talk about money, TNA should develop an operational calendar to make sure that committees don’t step on each other with events, postcards, and other activities. Sally said she already has a work plan and envisioned that all these initiatives would be added to the plan with quarterly updates to the board. She can help coordinate schedules and make sure committee initiatives don’t overlap and said that monthly committee updates would also be important for feedback and cross-committee partnership opportunities. She will also add the initiatives to our FY19 budget so that expenditures will be tracked. Sally also keeps a higher-level calendar with 5-6 bullets per month to help track major events and activities.
Bri asked what kind of detail committee updates should have. She suggested committees answer questions like “how are we doing on timing?”, “is there a budget discrepancy?”, “is there anything that’s blocking our work?” and “is there anything coming up that the board should be aware of?” She suggested that the board come up with a few questions that each monthly committee report answers.
Ryan noted that we’re really just talking about bringing more autonomy to committees. Historically TNA would bring $50 spending to the full board for approval but we can’t do that anymore with all the initiatives. He thought it was more important to make sure the committees are moving forward with their initiatives and expects that Sally will act as the hub for committee needs and communication. TNA has used spending request forms in the past but Ryan suggested that now TNA could have the treasurer’s report summarize everything and if the board has questions they can bring them up at a meeting. But hopefully things would have been vetted through the committees and run past Sally already.
Dirk asked if there having checkpoints before we approve spending for bigger initiatives was worthwhile..
Steve noted that during the strategic planning process the board talked about having a decision matrix for helping determine spending through a cost/benefit analysis. He had no problem with general budgets for initiatives (e.g. $27,000 for energy goals) but did question the specifics of how the committee decided to break down the per-house rebates. While the committee chose a $500 rebate for each of 40 houses, Steve prefered it to be $100 for 200 houses to reach a broader audience. After these kinds of discussions and once the board approves initiative specifics in the November meeting then he would be in complete agreement that committees and Sally have autonomy to execute their plans, with the exception of large or impactful expenditures which he felt should still have full board approval. Steve also wanted to see metrics for success; if TNA spends $2000 this year for an event and sees low participation, then the board should re-evaluate whether to do that event next year. He felt that some proposals would benefit from definable metrics and thought that many of the tracking and monitoring ideas from strategic planning haven’t really been baked into our process yet.