May 2021 Board Meeting Highlights
By John Jennings, Board President
Attendees: Board members John Jennings, Doug Dunlap, Sandy Pollock, Linda Besant, Phil Wallin, JoeBertagnolli, Ryan Fitz, Linda Logan, and Rosemarie Sweet. Executive Director Linda Grove. Guest Cynthia Irvine.
Children’s Program Safety Policy: Work continues on this effort (thanks to Mary Woods, Zopa, and Linda B for the hard work). One section remains which requires legal advice from our lawyer. And we will also ask other sanghas with Children’s Programs to share their policies.
Executive Director Report: Linda Grove reported on two items that she has been involved with this past month.
- Reorganization Proposal revision process: The Board is working to reshape KCC’s organizational structure based on a proposal by Cliff Lenton. A team of Linda B, Rosemarie, Ryan, and Linda G is planning a meeting of Subject Matter Experts—staff and volunteers presently carrying major responsibilities for key KCC functions. Participants will be Linda G, Board members Linda B, Rosemarie and Ryan, Lama Eric, SCOL Staff Chehale and Sarah, Willa for the Facilities Team, Cynthia I for the Finance and Accounting Team, Sally Mead for HR and Volunteer Support Team, and Melissa H for Communications Team The group will report back to the Board with proposed revisions to the first draft and how to inform and involve the sangha.
- Dialogue training proposal: Linda G submitted a proposal seeking funding for a six-week Dialogue Process training for her professional development. After lengthy discussion and comments by current members of the group, the Board supported it. A request was made that future proposals be submitted in a more timely manner and be pre-approved by the HR and Finance Teams.
PC Meeting Report: The meeting was the first gathering of the newly constituted PC. Members include: Lama Eric, Chimey, Tim Campbell, Ash Masset, and Mary Woods. There was not a lot of discussion on topics since it was mostly a get acquainted meeting. The group talked some about the children’s program. There was some consideration of the approach to the Children’s Program and prospects for it becoming more of a family endeavor. THE PC also reviewed feedback from the first Chenrezig study group and discussed mostly logistical and procedural changes. The meeting touched on a larger discussion of how KCC might introduce more fundamental dharma concepts and what other, existing resources are available.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement: As a reminder, awhile back the Board decided to have a statement for KCC similar to the BLM signs around town and on many organizations’ websites. Lama Eric assembled a significant amount of potential content from PC members and other organizations but boiling it down to the essential need requires careful consideration. The Board will ask the Equanimity and Inclusion Study Group to craft a statement from the content Lama Eric assembled.
Sangha Meeting: Engaged Buddhism: Board members Phil, Doug, Linda B as well as Lama Eric attended this month’s Sangha Meeting. The focus of the meeting was on doing Engaged Buddhist action, compassion in action. The idea is to help in the broader community – KCC and beyond. There was wide ranging and rich discussion. Would these be KCC run and supported activities? A decision this big needs to be part of the Strategic Planning process so the sangha at large can be involved.
Meanwhile, a group of interested sangha members was suggested, to pursue their commitment to Engaged Buddhism, in the same way that KCC has groups like the Equanimity and Inclusion Study Group. There is a hope among those who are interested that the Board or the organization officially endorses the group or its actions. The question arose whether expenses could be reimbursed by KCC? What are the legal implications, liability? There needs to be some guidance from the organization.
Of course Lama Eric supports compassionate action, but he also asked that we not lose sight of the fact that we still need volunteers to sustain the essential activities of KCC. Linda B, Phil and Linda G will work on simple guidelines for the group until we have a more direct decision on whether it is a formal KCC activity. Linda G will be the Board liaison to the group and report back.
SCOL update: Chehale mentioned that Retreat occupancy in April was 32 person-retreat days and May was 44. The Creekside house renovation will begin in late May. They are still looking for a freestanding stove and hood. The staff finished with slash burning on May 15th, just before a burn ban went into effect in Klickitat County. The Department of Natural Resources fire fuel reduction project for 2021 is done and will get a final inspection. And a bobcat was caught on film by the trail cam!
Policy Defining Use of Executive Sessions: For a number of years and recently there have been concerns about the Board’s use of confidential Executive Sessions, and the criteria used as rationale. However, open meetings are not always an appropriate forum for discussing matters that are personal, private, or legally sensitive, among other things. A task force of Sandy, Phil, and John met and reviewed KCC’s By-Laws and other reference sources. They also reviewed KCC’s prior use of Executive Sessions. The task group proposed criteria starting with the basic policy preference to have open meetings. Key rationale include, but are not limited to: 1) personnel performance, contracts and compensation; 2) legal issues and attorney consultation; and 3) intellectual property discussions. Sandy, Phil, and John, with Rosemarie added to the task force, will prepare a second draft.
Financial Report: The reserve in the General Fund at the end of April was 4.7 months, about the same as the prior month. We also have Board Designated funds for Maintenance and Operations. Sustaining member funds and class/retreat revenue are higher than in prior years, but individual unrestricted contributions are very low. We are holding steady but must keep in mind the on-going expenses of staffing, IT and utilities, and insuring SCOL and Skidmore.
New Board Orientation and Mentoring: Mentoring is a key part of the process for onboarding new Board members. Mentoring will occur over 2 cycles, one for 4 months and the other for 3 months, so each new Board member will get the benefit of 2 perspectives before older members retire from the Board at the end of the year. John reached out to the new Board members to ask them to pick which of the longer term Board members they would like to start with as Mentors. The starting arrangement for the next 4 months will be: Ryan-Sandy; Rosemarie – Linda B; Linda L – Phil; Joe – Doug. We still plan to hold an orientation meeting with new members.