Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – February 2, 2022

Board of Directors Online Meeting Minutes

February 2, 2022, 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

Members in Attendance: Whitney Shephard, Allison Slocum, Amanda Hatton, Caroline Evans, Chad Jacobs, Cristina Pastore, Daniel Studdard, Ebony Simpson. Karl Smith-Davids, Julianne Meadows, Marilyn Hall, Mary Huffstetler, Megha Young, Rebecca Keefer, Regina Pyles, Sidney E. Douse, III
Additional Participants: none
Not in Attendance: Allison Duncan, Jon West, Matt Martin, Marc Beechuk, Robert Herrig
Attendance By Proxy: None


President Whitney Shephard called the meeting to order at 11:50 a.m.

Secretary’s Report

Marilyn Hall conducted a Roll Call and determined a quorum was present.

Marilyn Hall presented minutes from the Board Meeting in Chattanooga on Thursday, October 7, 2021.  Daniel Studdard made the motion to approve the minutes and Sydney Douse seconded the motion.  All voted in favor. [ACTION]

Treasurer’s Report

Whitney stated that the National Planning Conference affects the proposed travel budget. The 2022 NPC is in San Diego in 2022, which is more expensive than usual.  The 2022 Budget reflects the increased travel costs.

Sidney Presented the Treasurer’s Report.

  • The 2021 Treasurer’s report is unusual for because profits from Fall conference didn’t come through until 2022
  • GPA broke even for Fall Conference, which is good
  • Last year web services were higher than in the past, Sidney will check their rates.
  • Our Event Coordinator, Beth Anne Trombetta, was a higher expense than usual, but she worked more hours due to covid and coordinating with the TN Chapter.
  • According to the reports, income was down last year by $46K, but after Fall conference money came in GPA netted $4.8K
  • It is expected that GPA will have more in person events in the future.
  • GPA expects to bring in $118K in 2022
  • Board member travel is set at $11k for 2022– GPA sends president, past president, and
  • Policy & Advocacy Committee Chair to NPC. GPA pays for what employers don’t pay.  This includes other travel expenses as well.
  • Budget for 2022 is $-1,089 for year
  • FAICP Application Fee– every other year application fee, so $0 in 2022.
  • Call Sidney if you want to know more about the taxes.  IRS had several errors regarding mailing, etc.  Accountant is handling it.  All taxes have been mailed and/or filed.  Previous year’s tax issues resolved.

Elizabeth and Cristina moved to approve.  All voted in favor [ACTION]

President’s Report
  • New committee, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, is not included in the bylaws yet. Updated bylaws will be reviewed and sent out to board.
  • EPG may not have been included in Bylaws.  Whitney will double check.
  • Whitney is looking at bylaws to confirm consistency throughout, especially relating to the Higher Ed Rep.
  • Full membership is supposed to vote to approve bylaws.  Whitney plans to send the revisions to membership and have a vote at the fall annual meeting.
  • Reminder – it is in bylaws for each board member to be active on a committee.  It is good for succession planning and leadership development.
  • Summer retreat plan. 
    • The retreat is usually in-person.  During an informal vote, the Board agreed to keep it in-person. 
    • Three Rivers RC has been good to the board, but the room is small.
    • Held it in Macon a long time ago.  May want a place with more space for social distancing. Mary said she’d help find a space in Macon. 
    • Chad offered remodeled City Hall in Griffin.  It is larger than the old meeting space.
Advocacy Report
  • The Policy and Advocacy Committee is more active than in the past and APA is promoting zoning reform nationally. 
  • Whitney summarized current activities and mentioned that national groups are seeking to undermine zoning and design guidelines with template legislation, undermining local control (e.g., ALEC and National Homebuilders Association).  The national campaigns may leave GPA scrambling to educate legislators.  The Board discussed our role as an organization.  Comments included:
    • If we get into the space of zoning advocacy, we need to look at statewide needs, not just reacting to hot button topics. Good guidepost in the past. 
    • Committee/Board might need a decision tree for the Policy and Advocacy Committee on when GPA will advocate outwardly.
Professional Development Officer Report  (Cristina Pastore)
  • Last year GPA submitted 2 FAICP applications – no news on how they are going, APA is still working on it.
  • One Path to AICP – take exam early, gain required experience once AICP candidate status is achieved.  Anyone can sit for the exam and then document the required experience. 
  • New CM requirements – updated, EPG will focus on some of them.
  • We are supposed to be providing a diversity scholarship.  PDO is working on an application process.  The DEI Committee could help with the diversity and AICP Scholarships.  Don’t know if APA provides money for this required scholarship.
  • CM Credits – Parks and Greenspace Conference offered a free GPA registration.  Open to a Board Member. March 28  8:30-4pm
  • AICP Review Session – In last year’s survey, the majority wanted to do a virtual review session.  Committee is updating content to match the new AICP exam, virtual review session, and revamping the website. Kristin Wescott is looking at the website to make sure relevant
  • AICP review materials are there to make the website a more robust resource. Looking for speakers to help with review sessions.
Programs Committee (Amanda Hatton)
  • Final 2021 fall conference update: Info has been archived and is on the website
  • Spring 2022 will be a hybrid conference, April 21 – all virtual sessions; April 22 – all mobile sessions
    • Submissions due Valentines Day
    • Board should help get the word out and consider presenting ourselves
    • 18 people on Programs Committee – delegation of tasks going well
    • “Voices Across Georgia” – theme of conference to encourage mobile sessions.
    • Adam Hazell and Erin Thoreson working on messaging to help encourage interest in presenting.
    • Committee is asking for a 2-3 minute blurb on each district to present on virtual day.
    • Sponsorship package is done – will get it up on the website next week.
    • Branding – Draft Voices across Georgia logos were presented.
  • Fall 2022 – Columbus, Sept 14-16 in Columbus.
  • 2023 Fall Conference – Vote on location is expected at summer retreat.
  • GPA does not plan to pair with another chapter in the next two years for a conference.  It takes a lot of additional work to collaborate with another chapter on a conference, and we already have people from Alabama and SC attend the conference when it is nearby.
Chapter Services Committee (Megha Young)
  • Annual Sponsorships
    • All existing sponsors have been emailed.  We’ve heard back from 7 of 12 existing sponsors and have $6,650 in sponsorships, which is about half of goal.  (1 premier, 2 supported, 4 friends)
    • Announcement went out in newsletter.
    • Email blast to possible sponsors is in the works. 
    • Annual sponsorship efforts are being coordinated with conference sponsorship promotions.
  • Communications
    • Julie at DCA is helping with social media and newsletter
    • Newsletter – Lauren Leary and Vishanya Forbes are leading the effort
    • Angela R – liaison to program committee mostly for newsletter
    • Board members should tell Megha when they need a spot saved in newsletter
    • Committee wants to work better with District Directors and Executive Committee to share information
PODO (Allison Duncan)

Reach out if you have planning officials that need training. 

Other Business/Announcements
  • 2022 Elections Committee (Daniel Studdard)
    • Positions opening up in 2022
    • Needs an Elections Committee – need volunteers who aren’t running this year.  Odd numbered districts and at-large board members.  Mary, Karl, and Julianne volunteered.
    • Website – there are some typos.  Megha will make sure it gets changed.
      • President
      • AICP Dir. at Large (two positions)
      • District 2 Director
      • District 4 Director
      • District 6 Director
      • District 8 Director
Mentor Program (Caroline Evans)
  • Whitney is still on committee, Caroline is the new Chair. 
  • January – June – hosting monthly events
  • There are 3 senior and 14 emerging and mid-level participants. This is a wider range of people than in the past, made possible by covid.  The committee may consider doing whole program virtually in the future to keep regional diversity of participants.
  • Challenge to District Directors – Can you create happy hours in your district so mentors/mentees can network?  Good for people in mentor program.
Round table
  • Elizabeth Backe – shout out to how well Caroline is doing as chair of Mentor Program.
  • Erin Thoresen – EDI committee – 1st meeting on Monday, a couple new members, one rolled off, encouraging submissions for conference, scholarship opportunities, EDI Award, more school outreach
  • EPG, Rebecca Keefer
  • EPG Calendar:
  • Walking tour happy hours (EPD) – working with other committees on this
  • AICP prep strategies – coordinating with PDO Committee


Daniel Studdard motioned to adjourn and Erin Thoreson seconded.

Passed unanimously.