GPA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Date: October 2, 2008

Location: Augusta Marriott Hotel and Suites, Augusta, GA

Members In Attendance:
Ellen Heath
Paul DeCamp
Laura Beall
Kristi Harpst
Eric Bosman
Tracy Dunnavant
Rob LeBeau
David Kirk
Jonathan Lynn
Beth Reiter
Andrea Lytle
Gary Cornell
James Shelby
Laura Keyes
Adam Hazell
Eric Clarkson
Kellie Brownlow
Rob LeBeau
Tim Preece
Dan Reuter
Frederick Gardiner
Larry Vandenbosch
Kathleen Field
Diana Wheeler
Jonathan Lynn

Attendance by Proxy:

Additional Participants:

Jessica Gibson, Executive Director
Bill Ross
Jim Frederick

President Ellen Heath called the meeting to order at 12:20 p.m. There were no proxies offered and it was determined that a quorum was present.


The minutes of the April 18, 2008, Board of Directors’ meeting were unanimously approved as drafted.


Bosman provided financial statements to the Board. He gave information on what was currently outstanding and indicated that the Chapter was in very good shape financially. He added that GPA was $16,000 ahead of where they were this time last year.

Heath discussed the possibility of granting the President the power to expend a certain amount of money without full Board approval for small expenditures that periodically arise. Kirk felt the President should be given some latitude after consultation with the Treasurer. He asked Heath if she had a certain figure in mind. Heath said roughly $1,000 to $1,500. Kirk made motion to authorize, with consultation with the Treasurer, the expenditure of up to $1,500 by the President with an accounting of the expense being presented to the Board at a later date. Seconded by Clarkson. All in favor. Hazell asked if sponsorship had been discussed in the past. The Board discussed what types of sponsorships would be acceptable to the Chapter.


Heath reminded the Board that there was a non-AICP vacancy due to Cheryl Contant taking a position in another state. She advised the Directors that national was looking at getting more young planners involved in the organization and felt this might be a good goal for GPA as well. Reuter said he agreed with this concept. Keyes mentioned possibly adding an environmental planner such as Maya Davis. Brownlow suggested Amanda Thompson. Gardiner suggested Cheri Hobson Matthews to build on the GPA goal of creating a more diverse Board. Kirk said he felt they should look at individuals outside of the metro Atlanta area. Hazell mentioned Steve Holder from Dawsonville. Heath said each nominee would need to submit a biography and candidacy statement. Ross asked if the Board wanted him to run something in the newsletter about seeking candidates for the vacancy. The consensus of the Board was that there were enough nominees without additional solicitation. Heath asked those Directors with nominees to contact their potential candidates and have them provide their bios and statements to Gibson by October 15th.


Beall said the spring conference had been a success. She said there were capacity issues, which served as a lesson for planning future events. Beall added that the fall conference was also doing well so far. She said there were 275 attendees with roughly 10% no-shows probably due to the economy. Beall anticipated raising roughly $5,000 off the event in excess of expenses.

Beall informed the Directors that a new administration facility had been built in Canton and that they were interested in hosting the spring conference. She added that the hotels would not be at the facility. LeBeau asked how far the hotels would be from the conference site. Beall said less than one-half mile, but added that there were not any sidewalks between the hotel and the facility. She mentioned that she was planning on exploring carpool options for communities near each other. Hazell asked if there were any other sites that had been considered. Beall said yes, but added that they were not as strong as Canton. Gardiner asked about the City of East Point. Keyes said she felt that if a group sought out GPA, then they should be given pretty good consideration. Hazell made motion to hold the 2009 spring conference in Canton, Georgia. Seconded by Brownlow. Gardiner asked about possible programs. The Board discussed how these could be improved. Lynn asked about participation from people outside of metro-Atlanta. He was advised that the spring conference had always been located near metro-Atlanta since that was where the majority of the membership is based. Twenty-one in favor. Four opposed (Reuter, Preece, Lynn, and Gardiner)

Hazell leaves the meeting and gives his proxy to Jonathan Lynn.

The Board discussed possible locations for the Fall Conference. Beall said she would more than likely try to find something on the south side of Atlanta.

Beall mentioned that GPA had been borrowing equipment for the conferences. She said they had looked at renting the equipment, but the rate would end up costing the chapter more than purchasing it outright. Beall said if GPA bought their own equipment, it could be used at district events.

Wheeler leaves the meeting and gives her proxy to Kathy Field.


Kirk said that a formal policy was needed to ensure that conference sessions remained non-promotional. He added that he would be happy to work with Beall on drafting such a policy. Shelby asked about the session format. He said he had received complaints from some of the members that the same speakers were used every year. Shelby suggested using moderators and panelist. Gibson said that several speakers had backed out of their commitment. She also added that it was difficult for moderators to find good speakers. Beall said she would take the issue back to her committee for discussion. Bosman said he felt it was important to have different forms of presentation. Ross added that the format would be dictated by the topic being discussed. Cornell advocated audience participation. Keyes said she felt the Board needed to be more involved in the sessions. Gardiner suggested more topics from other planning related disciplines. Kirk mentioned announcing at the annual meeting that the Board was looking for future conference sessions.


Heath mentioned that Lytle and the new Georgia Tech Planning Department Chair, Dr. Bruce Stiftel, had indicated a desire to make the University’s relationship with GPA more robust. Lytle discussed the department’s growth and the issues that they were currently facing. She gave details on the speaker that the Student Planning Association (SPA) would be sponsoring for World Planning Day. She added that the SPA planned to approach GPA about a possible sponsorship. Keyes said the student page on the website needed to be updated. The Board discussed linking the students’ website to GPA’s.


Brownlow said there were 31 registrants for the conference planning commissioner’s tract. She added that she had met with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to discuss how to strengthen GPA’s sponsorship of the Community Planning Institute (CPI). She mentioned the changes to the curriculum that were being suggested.

Jim Frederick, Department of Community Affairs, echoed Brownlow’s desire to strengthen the relationship. He added that DCA was trying to develop a training program on how to write a comprehensive plan. Frederick also said that DCA planned on broadening the umbrella of CPI to cover a variety of trainings. He distributed the tentative agenda for the comprehensive plan training. Heath said that DCA wants to continue the partnership with GPA even though they plan to expand the offerings. The Board discussed who the trainings would be geared toward. Heath said she felt the additional trainings would help further GPA’s mission to promote good planning in Georgia. Brownlow made motion to support expanding CPI with the additional trainings. Kirk seconded. All in favor.


Cornell said he appreciated all the work that was done by Gibson and the other Board members who had helped secure CM credits for the sessions. He also recognized those individuals who had presented during the AICP sessions. Cornell informed the Board that the AICP test had changed again, so they would have to re-tool. He added that Dana Johnson would be heading up the project. Cornell said a new training session would be held in January or February.

Cornell said the PDO Committee had been meeting regarding ways to make CM credits more readily available. They discussed the possibility of using tapes and having satellite sessions. Cornell added that they were going to be using a survey to determine what the members’ needs were. Cornell said AICP is reviewing the costs associated with CM credits. He discussed the possibility of a rebate for this year and a one time fee. Bosman informed the Board that the Chapter’s costs for providing the credits were taken out of the AICP dues that come from APA. Cornell added that there would be a blackout period for CM providers from October 1st until the middle of November to allow for site work.


Keyes said she would like feedback on GPA’s website. She wanted the Board to let her know how it could be improved. Keyes also reminded the Board that she was getting ready to have a sponsorship campaign again. She discussed some of the feedback she had received on the sponsorship level e-mail that she had sent the Board. LeBeau asked if she was still going to give the vendors the option of just sponsoring the conferences. Keyes said yes. Heath said GPA needed to continue to build a tiered option for sponsorships.

Keyes informed the Board that she was going to be creating a membership committee. She asked for suggestions on possible members that would be willing to serve.


Shelby said he planned to continue sending out any legislative acts that were planning related and also create an e-mail channel for the membership. Reuter said he would be happy to assist Shelby in any way possible.


Ross said the auction raised roughly $4,500. He added that the foundation had been incorporated and an application had been filed with the IRS for 501-C3 status. Ross said the Foundation would continue to rely on GPA’s status until the process was completed. He added that there was one vacancy on the Board.

The Directors discussed how the funds would be spent. Ross said they would be used to provide scholarships to rural and poorer communities who could not afford to send their planning staffs to the conferences. He added that the Foundation Board had adopted eligibility criteria. Heath asked how the Foundation planned to solicit applications. Ross suggested possibly creating another page on GPA’s website. He also advocated using the newsletter as well as e-mail blasts. Heath asked if the applicants had to be members of GPA. Ross said no. Harpst suggested also making an announcement at CPI.


Heath reminded the Board that this was Dan Reuter’s last meeting. She thanked him for all of his hard work. The Board applauded his efforts and gave him great accolades for his accomplishments during his tenure.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Tracy S. Dunnavant, AICP