Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance
Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting
Friday, December 5, 2014 3:30 p.m. at CCIDA Conference Room
Directors present: Mark Geise, Pierre Chagnon, Lyle Hajdu, Don Emhardt, Randy Sweeney, Edward Wright, Cecil Miller
Absent: Linda Barber, Marty Bova
Others in Attendance: Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan, Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator Dave McCoy, Don McCord, Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development
I. Call to Order
Interim Chair Pierre Chagnon called the meeting of the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Alliance to order at 2:00 pm. He noted for the record that a quorum (7 of 9) was present and asked for a motion for the approval of the minutes from the November 18, 2014 meeting. A motion for approval was made by Randy Sweeney and seconded by Lyle Hajdu. The motion was approved unanimously.
II. Approve HSE letter response to IRA information request dated 11/22/14
Mark Geise discussed the November 22, 2014 letter from the IRS that requested more information concerning the Alliance’s filing for tax exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3) and the draft response prepared by Harter Secrest & Emery LLP (HSE). The Board reviewed the HSE response and generally agreed that the response was appropriate.
Motion: Chairman Chagnon called for a motion to approve. The motion for approval was made by Lyle Hajdu and seconded by Edward Wright. The motion was approved unanimously.
III. Discussion/Action regarding HSE Engagement of Services Proposal for legal services for organizational startup
Mark Geise noted that the terms of Alliance’s agreement with Harter Secrest & Emery LLP (HSE) to assist with incorporation and filing for not-for-profit status with the IRS had been fulfilled; however, assistance with responding to additional requests for information by the IRS and any future services were not included in the original contractual agreement with HSE. The Board discussed HSE’s Engagement of Services Proposal and agreed to continue their services in connection with the IRS request for additional information.
Chairman Chagnon suggested that once the IRS related tasks have been completed by HSE, the Alliance should look to a local firm for general legal counsel. The Board discussed the merits of this approach and agreed to seek the services of a local firm once the IRS approval was in hand. Edward Wright suggested that the HSE engagement letter should be revised to include HSE’s post filing and pre-approval activities and the estimated fees for those tasks. The Board suggested that Lyle Hajdu and Edward Wright would assist Mark Geise with edits to the HSE Proposal and development of a Request for Proposals for local firms once the Alliance has its 501(c)(3) status.
IV. Discussion/Action of CWC and CLA requests for funding from the Sheldon Foundation
Chairman Chagnon communicated that the Sheldon Foundation had received funding requests from the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy (CWC) and the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) for their 2015 activities. He explained that the Sheldon Foundation had responded to both organizations indicating their intention to give appropriate consideration to the Alliance’s priorities by having the Alliance review these requests and respond to the Sheldon Foundation in writing that the Board reviewed the requests. In the future, these requests should be reviewed by the Alliance before the request is submitted to the Sheldon Foundation. The Board then reviewed and discussed the CWC and CLA requests.
Motion: Chairman Chagnon requested a motion that the Board respond to the Sheldon Foundation’s request with a letter indicating that “pursuant to your request we have received and reviewed the CWC and CLA funding requests, and are in turn, forwarding the requests to you”. The motion was made by Don Emhardt and seconded by Randy Sweeney. The motion was approved unanimously.
V. Chautauqua Lake Macrophyte Management Strategy – Status Update
Mark Geise provided an update concerning the progress of the Macrophyte Management Strategy (MMS). He said that the review committee last met on November 19, 2014 for the purpose of discussing the final chapter of the document. The review committee indicated that they had additional comments on the preceding chapters and were uncomfortable with having a public meeting until their comments had been addressed. As a result, the review committee agreed to provide any additional comments in writing by mid-December. Although the schedule was acceptable to most members of the Committee at that time, one of the members recently indicated that they would prefer additional time to complete their review. Geise provided a tentative schedule that outlined the time frames required for the public meetings and the New York State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process, based on a January 9, 2015 milestone for the review committee to submit their written comments. The Board concluded that the extended schedule was not detrimental to the MMS and the extra time would assist the stakeholders to build a consensus of support for the strategy.
VI. Feedback from the CRCF Luncheon
Chairman Chagnon said that the luncheon was a good opportunity to demonstrate to the Foundation members the progress that had been made with the many Chautauqua Lake related initiatives. Randy Sweeny extended his gratitude for the presentations and stated how well done and informative it was for the foundation decision makers. Mark Geise summarized the presentations that were given during the event and noted that he too thought the event was beneficial. A discussion ensued among the Board members about the many positive things that were happening with the recent grant awards, projects and lake-related activities. The Board agreed to have the presentations scanned and made available for Foundation members that were unable to attend and thanked Randy Sweeney for his work in organizing the annual event.
VII. Review of Resumes for the Executive Director’s Position
Chairman Chagnon opened the discussion with noting that 25 resumes had been received and the Board was tasked with selecting the best qualified candidates for further consideration. As requested, each Board member developed a “shortlist” based upon their review of the resumes, writing samples and other relevant information in advance. Each Board member then presented their shortlist of candidates to the group and explained the reasons for their selection. The Board then collectively discussed the qualifications of the most frequently shortlisted candidates and came to a consensus regarding the candidates who should be contacted for further review and consideration.
A discussion ensued regarding the interview process and the number of candidates that should be interviewed. The Board suggested that a Screening Committee, consisting of Linda Barber, Pierre Chagnon and Lyle Hajdu would work with Mark Geise to coordinate telephone interviews of the shortlisted candidates and would select the top three candidates for in-person interviews by the entire Board.
Motion: Chairman Chagnon called for a motion to establish the Committee. The motion was offered by Don Emhardt and seconded by Cecil Miller. The motion was approved unanimously.
Upon motion by Cecil Miller and second by Don Emhardt, the Board adjourned the meeting at 4:05 pm.