Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – Summer Retreat 2022

Board of Directors Summer Retreat Meeting Minutes

Macon, GA
July 7, 2022

Members in Attendance: Allison Duncan, Allison Slocum, Amanda Hatton, Brittany Griffin, Caroline Evans, Cristina Pastore, Daniel Studdard, Ebony Simpson, Elizabeth Backe, Erin Thorenson, Julianne Meadows, Karl Smith Davids, Marc Beechuk, Marilyn Hall, Mary Huffstetler, Megha Young, Regina Pyles, Sidney E. Douse, III, Whitney Shephard

Attendance by Proxy: Matt Martin (Elizabeth Backe as proxy)

Not in Attendance: Chad Jacobs, Jon West, Rebecca Keefer, Robert Herrig, Stephen Ramos


President Whitney Shephard called the meeting to order at 11:05 AM

Secretary’s Report, Marilyn Hall

Introductions served as Roll Call, Marilyn Hall determined a quorum was present.

Marilyn Hall presented minutes from the February Board Meeting. Daniel and Karl moved to approve.  All voted in favor [Action]

Treasurer’s Report, Sidney Douse
  • Revenues shown ($97,880) are about $50,000 higher than actual because Fall Conference money is included.
  • Revenues are good so far. Cash Flows look good for the year so far.
  • Web Services expenditure is higher than usual. There has been more than the usual web activity.
  • Board Member Travel does not yet include the national conference.
  • Tax Returns
    • Applied for extension for 2021 – will file in the next week or so
    • 2020 on time and done, have not received confirmation from IRS yet
      2019 still unresolved
  • GPA credit card – Jim Summerbell has been the personal signatory on it

    • Credit card protects GPA funds.  Debit card opens up all our finances to the holder of debit card(s). Debit card vs credit card will be discussed at committee meeting.
    • Motion to remove Jim Summerbell as named borrower on credit card and change it to
    • Sidney made by Mary and Allison S. All voted in favor [Action]
Programs Committee Report, Amanda Hatton
  • 2022 Fall Conference – Columbus Sept 14-16 at convention center is back to traditional schedule
    • Late morning sign in on the 14th followed by afternoon session and welcome social after sessions.
    • Full day of sessions on Thursday the 15th with lunch membership meeting/awards meeting
    • Board meeting at the end of the day on the 15th
    • Half day on Friday the 16th. 
    • Session proposals due July 15
      • Need more session submittals
      • Ethics session has been submitted and is the only submittal so far
      • Can have up to 5 concurrent sessions. 
      • Sponsorship information is up on the website
    • Hotel information is on website and in newsletter
    • Michael Elliot is helping get students to participate
    • Registration will start later in July 
    • Host committee – Allison Slocum
      • Mobile workshops are already confirmed
      • Bike planning session – (black community resources sites)
      • Local food planning + regular session panel.
      • City mills, second avenue
      • Midtown
      • Sports competition planning (international Kayak competitions)
    • Keynote – still looking for keynote speaker – Please send ideas to Amanda
    • Haven’t increased conference cost in a long time – anticipates increasing registration costs in 2023.
    • 2023 Spring Conference
      • Spring conference format – last year it was hybrid and got good reviews – about 120 attendees for virtual – ~75 for mobile sessions
      • Plan is to have a multiyear conference contract with one location in the Atlanta area
      • Discussion concluded that in 2023 conference should be one day and ITP, (inside the perimeter) like in the pre-covid past.
      • 2022 Spring Conference Mobile Workshop Feedback
      • District 5 – Mary – the mobile session was not worth the effort in such a small district. There was not a lot of participation in mobile workshop.
      • District 9 – Ebony – Happy hour was a success
      • District 2 – Marc – Mobile session was paired with a brewery that helped with costs, good turnout, ~20 people
      • District 6 – Regina – 6 participants plus presenters – small district – no out of towners came, some non-gpa people came – may open doors to increasing membership – small but good
      • District 3 Erin Thoresen
        • Sandy Springs – 15 people in addition to organizers – good networking
        • Duluth – 15 people in addition to organizers – downtown development – good mix of types of people
        • Norcross – 8-9 people – good conversations and well received
        • Sessions were not planned all at the same time to make it possible to attend all three.  Only one person attended more than one mobile workshop.
      • Some districts were unable to host workshops, for example, there was not enough interest in District 7
      • Lesson learned – less populated districts don’t have as good turnout – positive -> more district events than in any past year.  Probably should not replace spring conference.
      • Mentor program happy hour combined with mobile workshops worked out well.
      • 2023 Fall Conference options
        • Savannah
          • DeSoto Hotel – higher food and beverage minimum than usual – total venue expense $76K which is more than the usual ($60K) – not on the riverfront, but a good location in the historic district
          • Possible dates are September 13-15 and 20-23, and Oct 18-20
          • Savannah is usually better attended than Augusta
        • Augusta
          • would be $20k less
          • only one possible date, 10/11 – 10/13

Allison Duncan and Allison Slocum moved to have the 2023 Fall Conference in Savannah at the DeSoto.

All voted in favor [ACTION]

Amanda and Sidney moved to have the 2023 Fall Conference date first choice as September 20-23 and September 13-15 as second choice [ACTION]

President’s Report, Whitney Shephard
  • GPA/APA Items
    • Whitney showed structure of AICP Commission, APA Board of Directors, APA Divisions and student representatives
    • APA Planners’ Advocacy Network – develops policy guides
      Whitney reviewed the GPA Board structure and invited the board to review. Some districts have very low membership. Some board members take on significant responsibility. Should we realign tasks or combine some of the districts or hire staff?
  • Higher Ed Rep – UGA and Tech, Savannah State is no longer working toward accreditation.
  • Whitney submitted APA’s Performance Criteria checklist for the chapter.
  • Chapter Development Plan was adopted fall 2021. Check it out!
  • Strategic partnerships – We are finding success partnering with allied professions. How can we partner with other organizations? Erin could work on ASLA through a colleague; Amanda – Urban Land Institute in Atlanta; Cristine – Park Pride; Marilyn – GAWP, Trust for Public Land (GORTS), Parks for People; Encourage them to have CM credits.
    • Can use District Funds to support local allied organization events.
  • Leadership Awards (Local, state, or national officials)
    • For GPA to recognize a person outside the planning field. BOD should think about people to nominate for this.
    • Sidney mentioned Jeff Rader.
    • Whitney will follow with Adam Hazell about timeline for awards.
  • Committees – All board members are on a committee now. Thank you!
    • Board Structure
    • Are roles and responsibilities appropriate? How are you planning for succession?
    • Should we request proposals for an event planner?
    • Should we hire an administrator? They would do event planning and other administrative tasks.
  • Currently, ARC is our mailing address. PO box would make sense but distributing the mail to the appropriate person is a challenge. sidney will look into forwarding from a PO Box.
  • Welcome Brittany Griffin and Stephen Ramos for the 2022-2023 term.
Nominations Committee, Daniel Studdard
  • Elections open on July 19
  • Candidates on the ballot:
    • President: Kristen Wescott, Lauren Blaszyk
    • AICP Dir. at Large (two positions): Rebecca Keefer, Lauren Leary, Megan Weiss
    • District 2 Director: Marc Beechuk
    • District 4 Director: Allison Garrett, John Palm
    • District 6 Director: Regina Pyles
    • District 8 Director: Elizabeth Backe
Chapter Services Committee, Megha Young
  • Annual sponsorship drive – 12 sponsors this year and we should have $14.9K from sponsors
  • Outreach and Communication
    • published 12 newsletters so far this year. – Megha has strong committee.
    • Will make an announcement to membership about GPA social media. Use # for conferences
Professional Development, Cristina Pastore
  • AICP exam
    • Experience is no longer needed to sit for exam. AICP Candidate is an official title now. 
    • Exam content has changed.   
    • 5 AICP sessions at Spring conference. 
    • Cristina will confirm deadline for the AICP scholarship.
    • Coordinated study group
    • Revamped AICP website
    • Opportunity for chapter diversity scholarship – one per year is available.
    • Fall conference – going to have a separate AICP review track – overview, topical areas, panel of recent exam takers
    • Spring review session. In person or virtual? PDO will decide.
  • FAICP nomination
    • 2021 we submitted 2 people, neither was awarded.  Nominations happen every other year.  Christina is trying to figure out why they didn’t win it. We have not had good feedback.
    • 6 people are interested for 2023- $95 each, and a lot paperwork. (long application)
      • Laura Beall
      • Eric Bosman
      • Tracy Dunnavant
      • Ken Patton
      • Liz Sanford
      • Jim Summerbell
    • Allison Duncan and Daniel agreed to help with FAICP nominations.
    • Christine needs more people to volunteer to present AICP training content at Fall conference.
Planning Officials, Allison Duncan
  • Community Planning Academy – role of planning commissioner
  • Planning Official Development Officer, Allison Duncan, needs guidance from board on how to implement the Community Planning Academy
  • Does the board structure really serve constituents?
President’s Report and Board Feedback, Whitney Shephard
  • Critical policy and planning issues were discussed.
  • District Directors need more guidance
    • Suggestion – District directors aren’t very connected to each other, could meet together to get ideas.  Zoom meeting for district directors would be good – Whitney will send out a doodle poll.
    • District directors could help with membership development and retention. District directors need guidance on other responsibilities.
    • Whitney is going to try to get APA to update the contact information on the roster.
  • GAZA – should we be more involved with them to engage officials in professional development?
    • Different membership base – Many rural communities have zoning and not planning. 
      GAZA does use GPA for CM credits.  GAZA base is not AICP focused. 
    • Lisa Jackson is new president of GAZA – opens opportunity for more collaboration –
    • Sidney to contact GAZA
    • Surrounding states requirements – NC State law mandates training for planning commission members
  • By-Laws review (EDI and Higher Ed)
    • EDI in bylaws – defines committee and duties – will go to membership vote at Fall conference.
    • Higher Ed Rep – added “appointment” to “election” and added that they coordinate with EDI Chair. 
    • By-law changes need to go up onto internet and be announced to membership so they can look at it when they consider voting on it.
  • Ga Planning Memorial Foundation – Memorial foundation has not met in a couple years. Whitney will reach out to Bill Ross about the foundation.  It needs new life.
EDI Committee, Erin Thoresen
  • Met three times this year so far, have a good distribution list and 12 active members
  • Created a new landing page on website – contact info, outreach to schools info, etc.
  • GPA newsletter write ups for Black History Month and Women’s History Month
  • Sidney created a College and university list of programs with planning-related classes
  • Presented to 45 6&7 graders in MLK middle school in atlanta
  • Committee members show lots of interest with not a lot of follow through
  • Virtual symposium – Brittany is setting it up. In the works
  • Coordinating getting a group together for fall conference session
Mentor Program, Caroline Evans
  • Need another member on the committee –
  • 8 new career planners participated
  • Hosted monthly sessions, (public speaking/leadership/other panels) 
PlanFirst, Ebony Simpson
  • Looking for reviewers to review PlanFirst applications and ARC needs a GPA rep for ARC developments of regional excellence application review.
  • There are 8 PlanFirst applications that need gpa bod review
  • Regina, Elizabeth, Allison Slocum, Marilyn, and Karl volunteered to review
Districts and At-Large Members
  • District 6 – Regina Piles – little change in membership, workshop went well, not much activity
  • District 7 – Allison Slocum – getting ready for conference, City of Columbus planning director has retired, hiring for new planning director, shows webinars on big screen for interested planners in district
  • -Elizabeth – model ordinance workshop on August 30 7 model ordinances in 2 hours
  • District 1 – Julianne Meadows – Hopes to put together a survey for her district members.  
  • How can gpa help local governments.
  • District 9 – Ebony Simpson – hosted lunch and learn, but not well attended, planner from
  • Dayton Ohio did the presentation, planning for a social networking event when the weather cools off. 
  • District 2 – Marc Bechuk – There has been a lot of turnover in district 2, hosted a workshop with Derrick Avery from Dallas, local planning cookout on Saturday
  • District 5 – Mary Huffstettler– redesign interstate through Macon, recovering from these interstate changes.  Macon civic center Marriott will be renovated in the next few years, Mary is having a happy hour for BOD after meeting, Suggested thanking the staff here before we leave.
  • District 3 – Erin Thoresen – needs updated roster. Lots of positions changing. Hosted joint event with ITE – focused on bike/ped safety, propel ATL, city of Atlanta, Gadot, 100+ people attended.
  • Brittany Griffin – monthly planner thirsty Thursdays
    • planning officials training – Rome requires planning officials to get training – they get zoning training through GAZA, Carl Vinson, and more – regular training for them. 
  • Karl Smith Davids– Issue of people not coming back to work in offices.  What does that mean for housing and transportation?  How does this affect downtown? How does this affect things moving forward?
Other Business
  • GPA structure discussion
    • Membership is small in some districts and maybe should be combined with another district.
    • Some board positions are not defined well and work needs to be distributed better.
    • Workload could be handled by a staff person potentially.
    • Previous program committees would divide up tasks by track.  Housing, land use, etc.
Action Items
  • Help to identify candidates for event planner/administrative support and (re)define needs of organization
  • Award nominations. Places and people.
  • Session proposals for Fall Conference
  • Register for fall conference
  • Put Sept 15 board meeting on your calendar – after last conference session
  • Reach out to allied organizations to connect with GPA
  • Questions can be posed in newsletter
  • Roster – will be sent to the board and can be used for GPA business

President Whitney Shephard adjourned the meeting at 4:00 pm.