GPA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Date: November 4, 2005

Location: Decatur, Georgia

Members In Attendance:
Dan Reuter
Jerry Weitz
Stan Harvey (arrived 2:37 p.m.)
Rob LeBeau
Ellen Heath
Gary Cornell
Kathleen Field 
Glenn Coyne (arrived 2:38 p.m.)
Larry Vandenbosch
Kip Padgett
David Kirk
Adam Hazell (arrived 2:50 p.m.)
Phil Clark
Patti Cullen
Eric Clarkson (left 2:47 p.m.)
Fred Boykin (note)

Attendance by Proxy:
Tracy Dunnavant to David Kirk
Diana Wheeler to Kathleen Field
David Sutton to Jerry Weitz
Pamela Thompson to Jerry Weitz
Sharon Caton to Jerry Weitz

Attendance by Teleconference:
Mark Wilkes

Note: Fred Boykin was nominated and elected as planning official and attended the meeting. It was subsequently determined that Mr. Boykin was not a member at the time of his election and was ineligible to participate on the board. His vote and participation are not further reflected in the meeting minutes.

President Dan Reuter called the meeting to order at 2:30 p.m. at the temporary City Hall of the City of Decatur, Georgia. Proxies were announced.

Approval of Meeting Minutes
The minutes of the September 30, 2005, Board of Directors meeting in Columbus were unanimously approved with no corrections.

Confirmation of Appointments to the Board of Directors
A motion to approve Kellie McDonough Brownlow as Planning Officials Development Officer (PODO) passed 11-10.

A motion to approve Steve Cover as Chair of the Legislative Committee was unanimously approved, 21-0.

Eric Clarkson announced that he was in the midst of a political campaign and left the meeting at 2:47 p.m.

Confirmation of Appointments to Committeess
There was discussion about the appointments to committees and representatives as per the published agenda. Paul Forgey asked about the diversity committee and noted that he had sent an e-mail previously on that topic. Weitz noted that there were two standing appointments to Blueprints Partners. Ellen Heath volunteered to serve as the second Blueprints Partners representative.

A motion to confirm the following appointments by the President was unanimously approved, 21-0:

Livable Communities Coalition (GPA Representative):  Kalanos Johnson
Fulton County Development Advisory Committee:  Maureen Gresham (primary), Catherine Mercier (alternate)
Diversity Committee:  Adelee Le Grand
Blueprints Partners:  Deborah Miness & Ellen Heath

Glenn Coyne asked that the Diversity Committee Chair come to the next Board meeting. Dan Reuter indicated that maybe at some point all committee chairs could attend.

2006 Budget

The proposed 2006 budget submitted by Dan Reuter was discussed. It was determined that the Georgia Conservancy has requested $2,000, and $1,000 was shown in the proposed budget. Reuter explained that GPA challenged other Blueprint Partners to contribute, and that it appears some or all had responded to the Georgia Conservancy’s request. Jerry Weitz indicated that there were other organizations that had requested money before, such as the Sierra Club, and that during the January 2005 retreat of the Board in Savannah the recommendation had been made to comprehensively consider all funding requests and policies for gifts or grants to other organizations. Paul Forgey indicated that the idea of a diversity scholarship was discussed during the January 2005 retreat of the Board in Savannah and was part of a vote at the retreat but placed in line for funding. Ellen Heath noted that the $3,000 budgeted for Georgia Tech endowment (GRA) in 2005 was a one-time approval and that the regular amount was $1,500, and she indicated that the GRA Endowment budget line item should be changed to $1,500.

Dan Reuter noted that Jerry Weitz suggested completing the work program first prior to the budget, but also indicated it was important to get the 2006 budget approved by the first of the year. Rob LeBeau suggested that the retreat items be put on the next board of directors meeting agenda, and that amendments to the budget could come later.

Ellen Heath indicated that revenues from the American Planning Association were $17,000, maybe $18,000.

It was noted that the newsletter was the largest expense and that it cost approximately $2,500 per issue. Some income was received from consultant ads in the newsletter and jobs postings and consultant ads on GPA’s web site. The fall conference netted $5,000 or more in revenues. 

Regional Events
Money devoted to district events was not spent during 2005. It was noted that the district events budget was increased in the proposed 2006 budget to inspire additional regional events.  Rob LeBeau suggested that district events should break even as to revenues and expenditures. Adam Hazell (who joined the meeting at 2:50 p.m.) indicated he was planning one regional event. Larry Vandenbosh announced his region was holding four organized functions this year (roundtables). Stan Harvey indicated that he would plan to manipulate the member list data base to list members by district every six months. It was suggested that non-GPA members also be invited to regional events.

Newsletter and E-Newsletter
Stan Harvey, VP of Chapter Services, provided remarks about the website and newsletter in relation to 2006 budget needs.  He noted that a chapter services committee meeting had been held October 21, 2005, and that minutes were available. The plan for the newsletter is to publish one per quarter and supplement with an e-newsletter at other times.  Rob LeBeau indicated the e-newsletter would be published in the off-months (8 other months when the printed newsletter is not distributed). Jerry Weitz indicated he would like to see the printed and e-newsletters coordinated under one editor.  Glenn Coyne indicated that with four issues only of the printed newsletter, the organization would have to be very careful and flexible with its timing to accommodate election requirements. It was noted that a mail out of election ballot and information was budgeted separately.

Stan Harvey indicated the e-newsletter should be a scrolling page with 6-8 items. Dan Reuter asked others for content. Adam Hazell suggested that each committee choose a topic and provide a story as investigative reporter. It was noted that 168 out of 929 members do not have e-mail addresses. Rob LeBeau reported that distribution by e-mail results in 75-100 return e-mails (e-mail addresses invalid) and that he was in the continuous process of correcting and changing e-mail addresses based on the quarterly list of members supplied by APA.

Website Upgrade and Website Services
Stan Harvey provided a handout that further articulated issues for chapter services. He noted that job ad postings on the website were free to all in Georgia. He noted that many job ad requests were received on a regular basis. Dan Reuter suggested that GPA figure a way to allow job postings directly to the website like the Georgia Municipal Association does. There was a suggestion or question whether a GPA “store” could be established on the web page (i.e., for sale of shirts, etc.).

Dan Reuter suggested having the new website reviewed before going live with it. There was a question whether the membership directory should be provided on the webpage. Gary Cornell noted that the members of GPA had been polled previously at an annual meeting, and they preferred that membership information not be so readily available.

There was discussion about the website budget. It was determined that website budget money was available including a one-time $5,000 upgrade (2005 budget) and other funds for ongoing expenditures. It was determined that the VP of Chapter Services had approximately $3,000 in unspent funds in the 2005 budget for website upgrade, plus the 2006 budgeted amount.

Vendor for Newsletter Production and Website
Stan Harvey noted that Bill Ross was not happy with the current vendor for newsletter production and that he wanted to see a replacement. Phil Clark indicated that Middle Georgia Regional Development Center had proposed to serve as the newsletter producer. Stan Harvey indicated there was a search for a new newsletter production firm and webmaster. Jerry Weitz said selection of a new vendor for the newsletter production was overdue, and that given the need to act promptly, he suggested that approval of the vendor be delegated to the VP of Chapter Services. After discussion, it was determined that the selection of vendor for website and newsletter production would be delegated to the VP of Chapter Services but that, for purposes of comments only, any bids or proposals on services would be summarized and disseminated to the Board.

Newsletter Editor
Stan Harvey indicated that Bill Ross would continue to serve as newsletter editor.

Membership DuesThere was a question about the membership dues for APA members and Georgia Chapter-only members. Weitz indicated that APA had strongly suggested that chapter-only member dues be $35, and that decision went into effect January 1, 2005.  This differs from the Georgia chapter portion of APA membership dues.

Dan Reuter suggested that raising the Georgia chapter portion of APA membership dues to $35 should be placed on the January 2006 board agenda. It was also noted that a dues increase may be difficult to justify when GPA has a significant surplus of funds.

Growth Symposium
It was noted that a growth symposium was proposed for funding in the 2006 budget. This would be in partnership with other organizations such as the American Institute of Architects and the Institution of Transportation Engineers. It would be statewide with national speakers. Gary Cornell suggested the event be tied in with Georgia Tech. Adam Hazell asked if there was a way to tie it into Blueprint Partners. Kathleen Field raised concern whether the growth symposium could be scheduled given all other GPA-related events. Jerry Weitz also raised the concern that scheduling may become difficult given many events already sponsored by GPA and other conferences and seminars regularly scheduled, such as those by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Dan Reuter suggested that other special committee events be considered, such as a reception at the Georgia Municipal Association. It was also suggested that District Directors survey planning officials and planners on their day-to-day issues (e.g., growth, conservation, etc.) and that that information feed into event planning. Dan Reuter indicated that he would get a write-up of the new program events for the January 2006 board meeting.

Community Planning Institute (CPI)
There was discussion whether the Community Planning Institute (CPI) should be included in the budget and whether it should be a revenue-neutral operation or a money-maker. Ellen Heath indicated she did not agree on the position that CPI should not make a profit.

Adam Hazell left the meeting at 4:20 p.m.

Further Discussion and Approval of Budget
It was noted that the proposed 2006 budget would run a $20,000 deficit (approximately $105,000 in expenditures versus a projected $85,000 in revenues). Ellen Heath indicated that some of the idle funds of GPA should be invested in a Certificate of Deposit (CD). Jerry Weitz indicated he thought the Treasurer had already been approved to accomplish that investment.  It was determined that the investment of funds should be placed on the January 2006 Board agenda.  Dan Reuter indicated that the work program would be revisited during the next board meeting.

A motion was approved to approve the 2006 budget with the following changes:

Expenditure amount of GRA (Georgia Tech) changed from $3,000 to $1,500.

Change Community Planning Institute (CPI) to $0 in expenditures and revenues (given that accounting is currently handled by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs through an agreement approved in 2005).

Increase expenditure to Georgia Conservancy from $1,000 (proposed in original 2006 budget) to $2,000.

The motion to approve the budget carried with 15 voting for, none against, and one abstention by Jerry Weitz, who indicated he would not vote for the budget (or cast proxies) since it involved a gift to Georgia Conservancy and that was a client of his firm.

Legislative Priorities
Dan Reuter explained that inverse condemnation (especially the stream buffer issue in North Georgia) was a key upcoming issue. A motion to approve the proposed legislative priorities submitted by Dan Reuter was unanimously carried.  Rob LeBeau indicated he thought the chapter should seek the assistance of APA in legislative matters. Dan Reuter indicated that he was in touch with APA about possible assistance.

Correspondence by the President
The board consented to Dan Reuter’s request to send the letter he drafted to the Georgia Association of Realtors which had been previously circulated for comment.

Community Planning InstituteJerry Weitz indicated that there was a meeting of training/education partners on November 29th. He indicated the fourth CPI session this year was being held November 15 and 16 in Rome, and that 150 persons had become certified under the new certification program.

Hurricane Katrina Assistance
Dan Reuter indicated he had received several e-mails regarding how APA and its chapters were responding to Hurricane Katrina and Rita. He had spoken to Mike Welch at APA, and Atlanta was selected as 1 of 5 cities for events for Katrina victims. He noted that APA asks that donations go to the APA foundation.

David Kirk suggested that the newsletter of GPA include a request to donate to the APA foundation, which would be used to support planning activities. Ellen Heath suggested that the chapter could propose to match any amount pledged by GPA members. Gary Cornell suggested a limit of $2,500 and reconsideration in January of any pledge to match funds donated by members. Stan Harvey asked what GPA should be doing as a leader in the state’s emergency management activities. It was determined that APA could provide GPA with data on GPA-member contributions to the APA foundation.

A motion to approve GPA funds to match GPA member contributions to the APA foundation carried unanimously.

Future Board Meetings
Dan Reuter asked whether a Friday morning board meeting should be held at future conferences. There was discussion, but the Board did not take any firm action on this question. The next meeting of the Board is scheduled for January 20, 2006, and is proposed to be in Macon.

Upcoming Conferences
Rob LeBeau indicated there was contracts approved for the spring and fall 2006 conferences, but that no proposals had been received yet for 2007. He indicated there was a need to receive formal requests for 2007 conference locations.

The board adjourned at 4:57 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jerry Weitz, Past President

Tracy S. Dunnavant, AICP