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January 8, 2008, Conference Call [revised 1/23/08]
Attending: Bill Hutchinson, Frank Gado, Cheryl Bascomb, Tim Dreisbach, David Spalding,
Alex Mooney, Bert Boles, Marji Ross
Proxies: Kate Aiken to Bill Hutchinson; David Gale to Tim Dreisbach, then to Bert Boles;
Alex Mooney to Frank Gado
- Minutes: 11/6, 11/15, 12/4, 12/20;
- Letter/Survey expenses: Marji's estimate and Frank's expenditures;
- Meeting dates through April (Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. on 1/8, 2/5, 3/4 and 4/1; Thursdays at 12:00 p.m. on 1/24, 2/28, 3/20, and 4/17);
- Lawsuit update/answer from W & C re funders;
- Constitutional amendment re. all-media voting;
- Trustee Alumni Relations committee/communication strategy;
- New committees: Nominations and Balloting;
- Other business;
- Next meeting: Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 12:00 p.m.
The motion was made to approve the minutes of 11/6, 11/15, 12/4 and 12/20 as amended.Bill moved the motion. Tim seconded it. The motion was unanimously approved.
Last summer's mailing was discussed. Tim said we have $13,900 in the bank account. He said that we should be comfortable that when we establish "the reasonable expenses" for the mailing, they will be more than that. Frank stated that the itemized bills received for the mailing totalled $30,000. Tim proposed that Frank be reimbursed $13,500 from the bank in partial reimbursement.
Tim moved that Frank be paid $13,500 in partial reimbursement for the mailing done last summer. Bert seconded the motion. Voting yes: Bill Hutchinson, Frank Gado, Tim Dreisbach, Cheryl Bascomb, David Spalding, Bert Boles, Marji Ross, Alex Mooney, Kate Aiken, David Gale. [Alex Mooney dropped off the call at 5:25 p.m.]
Bert stated that unanimity on this vote showed we're all trying to do our best for Dartmouth and we have mutual respect. Bert said that Frank did this in good faith and support for Dartmouth. The survey has been cited by the Trustees. He stated that while all might not have agreed with how this was done, the College should be asked to reimburse Frank now.
Bert moved that the College be asked to reimburse Frank for the remaining cost of the mailing. Marji seconded the motion.
Bill stated that he appreciated Bert's sentiment. He stated that he bears Frank no ill will over doing this and he hopes Frank doesn't get burned too much on the money he spent for the mailing. That said, he doesn't believe the College should be asked a second time for funding. Cheryl suggested they solicit funds from alumni supportive of the mailing rather than ask the College now. Frank stated that the Association leadership voted for the mailing, so the real question here is the relationship of the College and the Association. This was a legitimate activity of the Association, and therefore the College should fund it. Tim will vote not to do this if we unanimously agreed to solicit alumni. Cheryl would go along if it was sent to a narrow group that would be inclined to support them to raise funds. Even if targeted, Marji thinks there is value in having the solicitation come from the Association. Tim thinks there's value in sending the solicitation with people from both sides of the issue signing on to the effort. David Spalding stated that he would not sign on to a solicitation of funds to reimburse Frank for the mailing due to his concerns about the original decision to do the mailing. He also stated that Frank made the decision in the summer with his eyes wide open, making the same sort of decision many of us have made in the past to financially back a decision. Frank again believes that the Association should have independent funding, and this solicitation should be for funds for the Association. Bert would like to keep his motion for reimbursement independent of any motion to raise funds for the Association. His motion is in part based on his regard for Frank and Frank's efforts here. Frank feels strongly about the decision he made in the summer, and he stands by it whether he gets reimbursed or not.
Bert withdrew his motion since it would not receive unanimous approval. Bill agreed to discuss ideas with Frank for reimbursement after the call. Bert stated that he has already made a pro rata contribution to the fund to help cover the mailing and he encouraged others on the call to do so.
Bill brought up the proposed meeting times. After some discussion, it was decided to meet at 7:00 p.m. for the Tuesday calls and at noon for the Thursday calls.
Frank reported on his discussion with Williams & Connolly about disclosing who is paying for the lawsuit. They do not have a problem with disclosure. Tim stated that he made two commitments to his constituents during the Alumni Council meeting: first, that he would obtain written confirmation of the fact that the executive committee would directs all actions related to the lawsuit and secondly that he would attempt to discover and, if possible, disclose who is paying for the lawsuit. He now knows who is writing the checks, and would like to inform alumni, but he does not feel the blog is the appropriate forum to do so. He will disclose it only if allowed to send an email to the College's list without censorship. David Spalding said that this was an absurd request under the circumstances. Bill suggested it could be done through a letter to the editor of The Dartmouth or other means. Tim wants the Alumni Relations office to prove their support for transparency by agreeing to send this communication. Bill made it clear he would advise the College not to support this request. Cheryl agreed it is an unreasonable request. Marji defended Tim's request, suggesting that there are ways this could be accomplished short of Tim's request by for example, having the answer sent out without any further comment. David Spalding said he would consider disclosing four or five words giving the name. Bill stated that those who want to know are on the blog and with the Alumni Council. They can get the information through means other than through an email. Tim stated this is a personal commitment to disclose the information and he will not disclose this unless given the right to communicate to his constituents. Frank stated that the uproar about who is writing the checks will not be settled down by alumni finding out who it is. He said that all know who it is and if people find out they will just say, "Ah, ha, you're just acting at their direction." Cheryl suggested the information would be distributed if it was given to Rick Silverman. Tim suggested that he provide four or five sentences to David Spalding, and then David could decide whether he would assist sending it. Frank stated that it needs to be made clear that this suit was not brought at the behest of the party writing the checks, and Tim said that was why he believed itimportant to provide a proper explanation of this context within the letter. Tim said he would send something to David Spalding who could then decide whether to send it out. Frank said that it has never been his position that the person writing the check to Williams & Connolly not be known. Frank has not cared to know who's writing the checks to that party because he doesn't want any false perception he is beholden to the funders. Tim stated that the information needs to be providedin context which has to do not with the merits of the case, but rather with making it clear that the Association is acting properly and independently of the funders. Tim wants to make sure his constituents are properly informed, and he will think about how best to do this.
A constitutional amendment for all media voting was the next item. Bill said that the Governance Committee, chaired by Frank, should turn to this.Bill suggested that the current guidelines, the amendment offered by John MacGovern last year, and the AGTF constitution provide possible wording for such an amendment. Tim said the Governance Committee should also consider other amendments. Frank is concerned about meeting the Board's requirements with regard to trustee elections. He suggested that we ask them for the amendment they want, and that could be put up for a vote, plus possible alternatives. David Spalding suggested the timing is tight for anyone to propose amendments. Frank is concerned that this is putting the Board in a position of doing something unconstitutional if they run the election. David Spalding pointed out that the court will decide if the Board move is unconstitutional, and there isn't time for the Board to pull together wording. Tim suggested that we finish amendments by January 30 and seek the Board's support for them. David Spalding said that the Council's support would have to be garnered as well. Tim suggested the Governance Committee meet as soon as possible. [Marji drops off the call at 6:30 p.m. and gives her proxy to Tim] Frank wondered if amendments to the trustee election process needed to meet the Board's precepts. Tim said they didn't necessarily need to. Frank suggested that we seek Board involvement in the discussion on these proposed amendments. Tim would like to put the alumni trustee second term up as an amendment.David Spalding indicated that the Board would not agree to such a change. [Cheryl drops off the call at 6:40 p.m. and gives her proxy to David Spalding and then to Bill Hutchinson]. Tim is confident that any changes that come out of the Governance Committee would be acceptable to the petition trustees. Bill stated this would be quite a change in position because the petition trustees were clear with the AGTF that they would not support any changes to the trustee election process. Tim said that he had not discussed any of this with the petition trustees. It was agreed that Frank would convene a meeting of the Governance Committee to discuss amendments.
There was a discussion of the Nominating Committee. Frank said that John MacGovern did circulate the petitions last time, but did not pick the slate. Tim indicated that at this point he is not planning to run due to family considerations. Frank is considering whether to run again.He has family concerns, but he also feels that he has a job to finish. Tim asked to join the Ballot Committee with an outside party as a fifth member to ensure balance here. Bert confirmed that he is going to run again. With Alex also having committed to run again, that means David Spalding, Cheryl Bascomb, Marji Ross, Bert Boles, and Alex Mooney will run again. Frank agreed to give his answer before the end of January.
Bill wanted to make sure that the petition form was set. It was agreed that copies of the petition form and the petitions used last time would be sent to all committee members. Tim feels there should be some more flexibility in how petitions are received. There was a discussion about how petitions should be signed. Tim feels that petitioning should be as easy as possible so faxed signatures or emails should be accepted for petitioners.
Tim confirmed that he would send David Spalding language about who's funding the lawsuit to be sent out by the College. He will also consider other ways to get that message out.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m.
Association of Alumni