Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, January 14, 2016
4:00 p.m. at Stow Senior Center
Directors Present: Linda Barber, Don Emhardt, Pierre Chagnon, David Shepherd, Ken Shearer, Sally Carlson, David Wesp & David Spann
Absent: Vince Horrigan
Others in Attendance: Erin Brickley, Alliance Executive Director. Doug Champ, City Riverfront Management Council & interested citizen.
Founding Member Representatives in Attendance: Doug Conroe – Chautauqua Lake Association, Tom Ennis – NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Allegany Region, Cassie Pinkoski – Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District, John Jablonski & Lyle Hajdu – Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, and Rick McMahon – Chautauqua – Cattaraugus Board of Realtors
Scientific Review & Advisory Committee Members in Attendance: Dave McCoy, Courtney Wigdahl-Perry & Joe Galati
I. Call to Order:
Chair Linda Barber called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance (Alliance) to order at 4:02 pm. It was noted for the record that there was a quorum (8 of 9) present.
II. Approval of Minutes:
Mr. Shepherd made a motion to accept the minutes of the 12/10/15 Board Meeting as written, seconded by Mr. Shearer. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Review of Executive Summary:
The Executive Director sent out an Executive Summary for review on 1/12/16 via email to all Board Members and Founding Member representatives. Brickley noted that this summary was more of a year in review. 2015 goals written by Ms. Brickley in 3/2015 were listed, noting the majority being accomplished as written. Several goals were noted as works in progress. Mr. Shepherd noted that assessment of stated goals in 2015 will be a major metric in a performance appraisal for Ms. Brickley, to be completed in March after her one year anniversary.
IV. Audit Committee:
Mr. Chagnon advised that the Audit Committee is scheduled to meet next week. In order to avoid delay, Mr. Chagnon made a motion that the Audit Committee review all proposals and make the final service provider determination for both Audit & Tax services and Bookkeeping services. The final decisions of the Audit Committee could then be ratified at the February Board meeting. Mr. Shepherd seconded the motion and the motion was approved unanimously.
V. Confidentiality Policy:
Mr. Chagnon drafted a Confidentiality Policy that was vetted by the Executive/Governance Committee and sent to the full Board for review. Mr. Chagnon motioned to accept the Policy as written, seconded by Mr. Shepherd. The motion passed unanimously.
VI. Financial Policy:
Mr. Chagnon drafted a Financial Policy that was vetted by the Executive/Governance Committee and sent to the full Board for review. Mr. Chagnon motioned to accept the Policy as written, seconded by Mr. Wesp. The motion passed unanimously.
VII. Record Retention Policy:
Mr. Chagnon drafted a Record Retention Policy that was vetted by the Executive/Governance Committee and sent to the full Board for review. Mr. Chagnon motioned to accept the Policy as written, seconded by Ms. Carlson. The motion passed unanimously.
VIII. Discussion of Staff Capacity:
Ms. Brickley drafted a New Hire Justification Request and presented it to the Executive/Governance Committee for discussion the first week of January. The new hire would act as a project manager with their primary duties focused on management of funded projects. The Executive Committee requested more information on the expected timeline of events for the recent Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP) grant awards but still wanted the topic discussed at the full Board meeting as well. Additional information will be gathered and disseminated to the Board based on the discussions, in anticipation of a Board decision on the request at the February meeting.
Ms. Brickley expressed her thoughts as to the need to hire a second staff person, advised the group that making this request was done so only after assessing the relatively quick progress made this first year in relation to number of founding members and the upcoming grant administration needs for the six WQIP awards with total project costs of approximately $1.4 million. The faster than anticipated forward momentum has accelerated the increase in work load. It was noted a grant administration fee of approximately 5% was built into the WQIP project budgets and this funding is sufficient to cover the costs of a second staff member. This being our first years of operation, it is critical that we properly manage these grant awards. Ms. Brickley stated that she was bringing this up for discussion now so that we have proper time to advertise, interview, and train prior to very busy summer months that encompass our annual membership drive and the NY state Consolidated Funding Application deadlines.
Discussion continued and based on feedback, it was agreed that the level of detail needed to properly administrate these large grants as well as the critical importance of doing it properly is high. Mr. Shepherd noted that it’s best to get ahead of capacity needs and will be interested to gain more clarity on the expected process and timeline for these grant awards. Mr. Conroe noted that hiring a part time consultant may well cover our needs but would like to see more details. Mr. Spann noted the typical process that Soil & Water deals with for awarded grants and suggested that if this is a full time position that we may want to expand on the expected job duties. Mr. Hajdu noted that the Alliance was modeled after the Chagrin River Partnership and that it might be beneficial to reach out to them for insights. He also noted that when the CLMC was in place prior to the Alliance that the county managed and administered any CLCM grants and that it seemed these efforts were fairly significant. Mr. Chagnon had reviewed files from 2014 when the Interim Board had just been formed and made references to the 5 year budget projections for the Alliance that the Planning Department had developed which recognized the need to grow staff over time. This five year projection however, showed zero expected for grant dollars in the first year, growing incrementally to $1.5 million by year five and that this first year has definitely shown an acceleration of previously anticipated metrics for grants. Mr. McCoy noted that the state recently announced that the state Environmental Protection Fund, a main source of state grant award funding, will almost double in 2016 to $300 million which increases the likelihood that this level of grant work will continue going forward. He also noted that grant administration is not a discreet function and to effectively do the work, you need good working relations with fellow project partners to gather all needed information and report properly.
IX. 2016 Goal Setting:
Ms. Barber welcomed input on setting our 2016 goals and noted that it is important to hear from our members when setting our goals for this year. The following list resulted from the brainstorming session. Ms. Brickley will work on drafting a full set of goals to be reviewed in February.
- Successfully manage the six WQIP grant awards / projects.
- Continue to look forward when developing new projects and applying for new grants.
- Review target member list and assess for additions or deletions prior to our next Membership Drive. Maintain participation by the founding member organizations.
- Determine how best to communicate with the public. A newsletter or detailed annual report was noted as good options.
- In person meetings with member organizations at regular intervals.
- Attend already scheduled member meetings such as Town Board meetings to give in person updates.
- Utilize some type of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to help track interactions with members.
X. Open Floor / Member Updates:
Ms. Barber opened the floor to any Member updates or upcoming events and/or comments from the general public in attendance.
- Mr. Spann advised the group that Joe Galati, a member of the Scientific Review & Advisory Committee, was in attendance this month and asked he give a brief summary of his background. Mr. Galati spent decades with the DEC, specializing in aquatic ecosystems followed by some years spent doing private environmental consulting work.
- Mr. McCoy spoke of recent contact with a local business owner located on the shores of the south basin who stated he was unaware of any efforts related to improving the health of the lake. It was noted that we may never reach every person but that we should all be focused on continuing efforts for public outreach and education on lake initiatives any time we have the opportunity.
- Mr. Champ advised the group that Ms. Brickley had recently attended a meeting of the Jamestown City Riverfront Council to present on the Alliance. There is an ongoing effort to highlight the intrinsic link between the city and the lake.
- Mr. Champ, Mr. Shearer, Mr. Jablonski, Mr. McMahon and Mrs. Wigdahl-Perry participated in discussions related to education and outreach. Mr. Champ spoke about the need to bridge the gap in outreach between year round residents and the seasonal residents and reiterated his thoughts on a special event with break out work sessions to detail topics of interest. Mr. Shearer noted that after working on the lake for decades that the seasonal demographics have changed significantly. He now sees many more short-term visitors rather than full summer residents. Mr. Jablonski noted that this was a focus for CWC and they are always trying to think outside the box with outreach efforts. Mr. Wesp noted word of mouth was important. Mr. McMahon suggested for efficiency that education efforts be focused on business and community leaders, such as area realtors, marina owners, etc. who would then naturally share lake information with their clients and the public. A suggestion was made organize a day on the lake whereby the attendees could be local lake related business leaders and have multiple organizations such as the county, the Alliance, CLA, and CWC present on current lake initiatives.
- Mr. Jablonski announced that the CWC is currently seeking to fill two positions, a Conservationist and a Lands Manager.
Ms. Barber adjourned the meeting at 5:20 pm.