CEM Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 12/21

CEM Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Dec. 9, 2021  

Meeting held via Zoom 

Attendees: G. Beck, R Bardal, D. Miller, C. Lewis, L. Skrentner, , K. Peterson, D. Hage, and T. Otis, K. Janasz, R. Cain, J.C. Kiser, Allan Klein

Absent:  Z. Fizer.   Guests: none

I.    Attendance/call to order: Meeting called to order via Zoom by Vice-Chair Lonni Skrentner at 5:02 p.m.       

II.  Approval of minutes: Approved November 2021 minutes as distributed. 

III. Treasurer’s Report: Cash balance: $72,750.  Income: $18,007. Expenses: $81.16.  

IV. Old business:  

    1. Bookkeeper job description and post – David, George: Re: QuickBook software, David said he may be able to get it free with $75 renewal.  Reply from Dana DeZiel was “do whatever you need to do,” so it’s up to us to decide. Having a professional bookkeeper would help but don’t know how much. We need to be able to show others our finances are in order.  George ordered “Bookkeeping for Non-profits For Dummies.” He plans to get ideas from it to make a list of things we need to do. George will report next month. 
    2. Mission statement – George: Looked into it to ensure it addresses voting rights and it does.  
    3. Further discussion on thank you to election officials – Todd: The document thanking election officials for their work is well written.  It has some momentum.  David will put it on our website and FB. He will also send it to our associate members.  
    4. Any data pop up from greater MN newspaper articles? – Dave: Nothing has shown up.  Will stop tracking. Dave will circle back with a few bigger newspapers to see how many people clicked on it. We need to develop support in greater MN.  Outstate people no longer want to come to the Twin Cities – too dangerous and people there don’t look like them nor share their values.  They feel democracy has been hijacked by the wealthy.  However, some pockets of hope do remain. 
    5. Fundraising – any new meetings or approaches (JC and Alan)
      1. George/Ken – any reported contributions for Ex. Dir. salary?  We have $42,000 for 2022 and $106,000 total for 3 years, 81% of $126,000 goal. We are sending thank you notes to donors for each donation.  Lonnie – A letter in the mail has a nice cachet about it. 
      2. Identify CEM areas of emphasis to request donations to – Ron: People are more inclined to donate to causes they feel strong about. Discussion result: Don’t do it; leaves too little flexibility in the organization’s use of donated money. But, we should continue to let donors know what our mission and priorities are. 
    6. Posting of Executive Director Position – Connie, Todd, George: The posting describes our mission (democracy reform), points to our website, lists qualifications for the job – experience, especially in non-profit.  We will tell them where to send their applications.  Motion made to change “degree required” to “college degree preferred.”  Motion was seconded and passed.  Kathleen: emphasize that this is work that matters – too many people drop out when they don’t see value in what they do.  Will update and get it out to us to publicize and report back to the Board. 

V.  New Business             

    1. CEM representation on Alliance for Money in Politics – George: We belong to the Democracy Alliance founded by Common Cause to address money in politics.  This will be important work in campaign finance reform.  George feels we should have a formal liaison to Democracy Alliance.  Anyone interested?  Lonni – can we post it to our FB/website to see if one of our associates might be willing to get more involved?  Maybe get Tom Horner involved? His writings make a lot of sense. Todd is willing take part in approaching Tom once we know more about how Democracy Alliance works.  Dave is willing to team up with Todd to approach him.  The Board authorized Todd, Dave and George to approach Tom Horner to join CEM board (we have one opening), and indicate his possible involvement in Democracy Alliance. 
    2. Ken/Connie – January education event: Senator Klobuchar on voting rights.  Steve Simon already reached out to her; they want to jointly participate in a 45-minute event, with Dave Hage hosting. The Senator’s office wants to be in charge of the Zoom event.  They want to receive questions in advance, so we don’t get some crazies calling in.  Todd: we should spend money to publicize this event around the state via social media and the Newspaper Association.  Connie & Ken also hope to have an event in late-Feb/earl-March re: pending legislation.  
    3. Todd – Work Plan 2022: Todd encouraged CEM to consider Michelle Witte’s idea of helping create a Democracy Table which would regularly bring like-minded organizations; but do this after we hire an Exec. Dir.  The work plan describes who we are and what we want to do.  We need to add funding, timelines, etc.  The work plan should be on our regular agenda for at least the next six months. We need to determine specific work activities to flesh out the work plan.  Board Members Action: Read the plan and identify specific tasks to fulfill each element of the plan. Communicate your ideas to all Board members. 

Next meeting date: TBD – Lonnie will send out a Doodle alert to determine a date.   

Meeting adjourned at 6:33 p.m.  

Respectfully submitted, 

Ronald  Bardal, 

CEM Secretary