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Present: Burgess, Hannah, Anne, Ryan (facilitating), Robbie, Corey, Marilyn (minutes), Madeline Russ, Richard, Donny, Jessica
Reviewed and accepted
(Hannah) Resolve policy of how to handle members' no-show backlog from July-December 2016.
Hannah: She wants to see a resolution to the 2016 backlog; this came up in the last coordinators' meeting; current Labor Czar doesn't want it to be her problem. One solution is to cap fines at $100, another to hold people accountable for everything they missed. She doesn't know how this would affect labor plans. Anne: Meg asked if Anne knew who had paid, but Anne didn't know if they'd been assessed. Are the labor fines from the past or current? Hannah: There's been some hesitancy about paying or making up labor because there's no clear plan. Ryan: There are also issues from January. There are multiple periods that are being dealt with. five people have more than 10 hours, 12-56 hours; seven people owe more than 5 hours. Anne: What is the usual plan? Ryan: Usually if you have 8 no-shows in a month or 12 in two months there is an automatic member review. Anne: So would your item skip the reviews and go to fines? Hannah: Automatic member reviews are a different issues. Ryan: Not for this period. Hannah: As far as she's concerned we could skip them. Previously the house decided to cap at $100 for various reasons. Anne: Are there people who are still not doing their labor this year? Corey + Madeline: If they're still not doing their labor they will get member reviewed. Corey: Has the 30 day make-up period after the report expired? If so then we can talk about fines. Richard: The report was made March 9. Corey: Iff they are already on a make-up plan they are exempted from reviews and fines. Richard: I have made a proposal for this – by applying make-up labor for the missed hours in increments over several months it minimizes the number of member reviews, dropping the number from 7 to 2.
Concerns and friendly amendments: Hannah to Richard – is that proposal what you think we should go with? Richard: Yes. Hannah: Proposes that we should not do automatic member reviews, but cap fines. (Further discussion about fines and/or make-up labor in a way that won't interfere with existing labor plans.) Corey proposes an amendment: The window has closed for make-up labor, but for those receiving fines we can subtract any surplus hours they have on the March no-show report. Hannah accepts the amendment.
The proposal passes as amended.
(Ryan) Create a $200/month budget to outsource bookkeeper duties to our CHEA staff and/or CHEA bookkeeper so that La Reunion's bookkeeper won't have to do 4-6 hours per work for a 3 hour week position.
[Minutes note: CHEA bookkeeper and accountant are interchangeable terms in the notes below.]
Ryan: He used to do both bookkeeper and Treasurer jobs and they took 10 hours a week. With the duties split up the Treasurer hours are 1-3/ week. Anne has been doing well over 4 hours, and all previous bookkeepers burned out. He does not think this is a sustainable position. What is the best set-up to have financial accountability? Having 3 people to have a view of it. If one of the people doing the job is a staff person it would be easier to maintain continuity because this is not an easy job to learn. Anne: The rest of the job is doable within the allotted hours, but the week of reconciliation is what takes up all the time, and at a certain point she gives up. Burgess: With this proposal will the job show up on our weekly labor schedule? Ryan: No. Madeline: Natalie has expressed an interested in getting involved in bookkeeping, possibly increasing her hours from 15 to 18 hours a week. This could be arranged, and less expensive than hiring a bookkeeper. We could talk about this at the Board meeting next week. Ryan: It is an important function. If Natalie does a lot of the work the quarterly meetings would be streamlined as a lot of time at those meetings is devoted to reviewing and defending the bookkeeping. Madeline: Would you like this to be done right away or wait until the next budget is written? Ryan: Right away, and before the next officer election. Anne: I won't run again if the job is not restructured; it's an impossible job. Ryan: Recommends the reconciliation be done by the staff person and the bookkeeper continue the data entry. Madeline: How many hours a week? Ryan: It is a task that occurs one week a month for about 4 hours. Corey: Our treasurer and bookkeeper are not accurately defined, their descriptions are not clear, things that have to get done aren't in the descriptions and there are things in them that we don't do. We could also throw more labor at the problem, and train our officers to be better at reconciliations. Anne: The labor descriptions aren't correct, but her bigger issue is that there isn't time to go in and fix problems that exist. The three hours a week aren't enough to do all the functions of the job. If things were entered correctly it wouldn't take that long. Corey: I was able to do it in 12 hours/week, and officers do sometimes have to go over their assigned hours. Ryan: We could have two bookkeepers plus a treasurer, but it might be hard to find the time to train new people. A professional could probably do a better job of training. Corey: If we hire someone we won't learn and improve what we are doing. Anne: I was not sure that things are correct and asked Ryan if I could meet with the accountant, which is how this proposal came about. Corey: That's the point of the quarterly meeting with the accountant, to go over the problem areas. Anne: Is that what you did; it looks like you were fixing problems. Corey: We were also talking about how to fix problems in the system. Ryan: alters the proposal to read $100 and eliminate CHEA bookkeeper [note – this is later rescinded]. Paul: Can the Labor Czar or MemCo or others get paid for extra work? Ryan: Yes, in larger co-ops some officers do get paid and have office assistants. Corey: I think we could pass reconciliations off to Treasurer; it is hard to make the decisions without knowing exactly how many hours are being spent. With the Treasurer doing the reconciliations we can keep everything in house. Richard: Are there specific tasks that this proposal would move to staff. Ryan: Reconciliation expenses, and we could add data entry expenses. The bookkeeper would still be the primary person to handle rent and rent questions. Hannah: Is this a time-sensitive part of the job? Ryan: No, it is the time-consuming part of the job. Hannah: Maybe Labor Czar could try to recruit someone as bookkeeping assistant for this job before hiring someone. Ryan: This would take several hours in one week once a month. Hannah proposes an amendment: Labor Czar will attempt to recruit someone to do this job within the next two weeks. If she cannot find someone then we could hire someone. Anne: She thinks it is necessary for someone more experience and knowledge to find out what is right or not right during reconciliation, so training someone new will not solve the problem. Ryan: He told Anne that she can't go directly to the CHEA bookkeeper for her questions because we do not have a contract for using her time. Corey: The scenario is the same whether we train staff or train a member; either way there will be learning time. Donny: It seems like Anne is asking for one-time help, but the proposal looks for a long-time fix. Anne: I have thought that getting answers from the CHEA bookkeeper could help fix the sytem and avoid problems in the future. Ryan: The original proposal was to pay for the bookkeeping consultant. Paul: This seems like a different proposal. Hannah: We should add the bookkeeper back in and keep the budget discretionary to ask for bookkeeper help or hand it off to paid staff. Anne: If I have to reconcile I don't have to learn the fixes for reconciliation, which is a different skill set from data entry. Corey: explains the reconciliations as a way to fact check numbers, looking at the monthly bank statement and comparing it with the monthly book entries. Therefore if we hand the reconciliation to someone who wasn't involved in the original entries there will be back and forth between the bookkeeper here and the outside bookkeeper. It is hard to figure out someone else's errors. This is a benefit of having the accountant and quarterly meetings with the CHEA bookkeeper because she has been working with us for a year. Anne: Sometimes things are put in the wrong account, but that is something the outside bookkeeper can see. Ryan: I set up the amendment because even if Anne gets her question this will be more than a 4 hour job. Anne: I would like to have the option to contact the accountant, which now I don't. Ryan: The proposal is written to allow $$ to go to either Natalie or the accountant. [Paul raises various questions which reiterate some of the information above.] Corey: If there is a lot of work for reconciliation that means there are a lot of errors. Can Ryan answer the questions to clear those up and can we not use the already existing quarterly meetings to take care of the problems? Anne: Every week she is running out of time to complete things and needs extra help. Ryan: He would like to work with the Board to give her permission to contact the CHEA bookkeeper more (it would be a conflict of interest for him recommend this as he works for the bookkeepr). He thinks he has done what he can to answer Anne's questions. We need a more long-term fix because he will not always be Treasurer and therefore will not always be able to answer questions. Anne: She suggests that we get more information – from Natalie about her willingness to do the work for us, if there is permission to call the CHEA bookkeeper – and then bring back the proposal. Hannah: And those interested in bringing in the Labor Czar to create a new position can do that before the item is brought back.
Agenda Item tabled.
((Labor Czar Meg ) ) Automatic member review of Jessica for accumulation of no-shows. Jessica was no-showed for 11.5 hours in January, 11 no-shows in February, and 16 no-shows in March. The only communication from Jessica regarding her labor was a mass email sent to the house requesting a labor plan after I posted this automatic member review to last week's meeting's on-line agenda.
Richard: Only the January hours would have triggered the review, given that the review applies to labor that is still outstanding 30 days after a report. Corey: The fact that the member asked for labor plans last week means that the February and March no-shows can be included on a labor plan. Jessica: “I know that Labor is necessary for the co-op.” She apologizes and asks for large projects to allow her to make up labor in large chunks weekly. Robbie: She went through a major job change and had an unoccupyable apartment during that time, which might cause one to lose track of her responsibilities. Hannah: What kinds of projects would you want? Jessica: Gardening, organizing, detailed cleaning. Robbie: She has done a lot of extra work in 103 without claiming credit. Jessica: probably 5-10 hours, and there are lots of tasks remaining. Robbie: if we record those hours that would reduce her labor debt. Donny: Objects on principle to someone retroactively claiming Labor. Hannah: Agrees, and we all tend to overestimate how many hours. If there is a labor plan that is granted we won't have to have this conversation again next month? Corey: We could vote to re-open the deadline for making a labor plan for January. If the labor plan is not followed the hours are converted to fines, and that also can result in another member review. Corey: HOw long do you think it would take you to make up your hours? Jessica: I would like to have a plan for a 5 hour block of work once a week to make up the hours (total of 38.5 hours). Richard: The convention is that one can ask for a labor plan over 3 months. Paul: And if that is not met there is another member review and behavior contract. Clarification: Fines are suspended during a labor plan but can be charged but if there is failure to complete the plan, all remaining hours are turned into fines. Standard contract per Richard: The contract asks the member not to exceed 5 no-show hours for regularly-assigned labor for the next three months, and the no-shows can be assessed as fines or make-up labor. Per Corey and Ryan: If the member can afford the fine for January hours, it will be the safest option to pay and make a labor plan for Feb and Mar instead of for all three months. Jessica agrees. Richard: And affirm that she has another week to establish the labor plan for February. Next step: Steward has to write this up and bring it back to next house meeting for approval.
(Madeline - Paul presenting and asking for straw poll on the recommendations below) Pet Policy
Hi everybody! Depending on how traffic is on I-35 I might not be here in time for this, but after meeting with the Community Development Clinic I've been told we need to hammer out a few things about our current pet policy, as follows from the contract:
22. PETS: No pets are allowed on the premises at any time without approval of CHEA. A security deposit of will be required for each pet.
Some issues we need to hammer out:
- Is this deposit refundable or non-refundable?
- It should be clarified whether or not additional funds from the security deposit may be used to deal with pet damages over .
- “Pet” itself needs to be more clearly defined to avoid liability. An example of how this can be a problem: Member A has 3 cats, and has paid 0 in security deposits. Member B has two rats in a cage, but has only paid in security deposits. Member C has a large aquarium with 20 goldfish, and the co-op has not required them to pay 00 in security deposits. All members now have the ability to claim that this policy is enforced arbitrarily and capriciously.
- “House approval” needs to be more clearly defined. Is this with the approval of the Membership Coordinator, or does every house member need to seek approval at a meeting before acquiring a new pet? If a member is moving in with pets, are their pets considered automatically approved?
- We need to consider how many pets we're willing to allow per unit, and what kinds. If Member C is allowed to have 20 goldfish in an aquarium, there's nothing to say that Member A can't acquire 17 more cats. There's also nothing stating that Member A's roommate can't acquire a large, aggressive dog or what remedies Member A has if said dog eats all 20 cats.
- It is strongly advised that we elect to have a provision indemnifying CHEA from any harm done by animals on the property. If Member A's 20 cats chew off Member B's arm while Member B is sleeping, CHEA could currently be held liable for this.
Final note: Our buddies at the clinic will draft the bulk of this for us, so we don't have to spend a lot of meeting time coming up with the specific language on this, we just have to give them some clear decisions and they'll do the heavy lifting.
Straw poll: 1) keep the deposit as a deposit not a fee. 2) Yes, funds from the rental deposit should be applied to pet damages. 3) The precedent has been to ask for a deposit for each enclosure, and there is general agreement. 4, 5, 6) How is “house approval” defined and how do we decide about numbers of pets added? General agreement: informal approval at the Meet & Greet meetings and add to MemCo officer description a line to give the office the authority to act on behalf of the house for both new members' pets and new pets, and the MemCo has to ask for the roommates' opinion.
(Richard) Hide meeting minutes from search engines with a robots.txt file.
Richard: He thinks this helps limit the amount of extraneous information on the wiki, e.g., someone finding some random discussion instead of house policy on an issue of concern. Paul: Would this go into the Tech Coordinator officer description? Richard: Yes. Passes by consensus.
Spring fling 4/22/17. No birthday party currently planned – anyone is free to pick this up for extra labor.