I copied from a pdf, so formatting is a bit off, but here are the minutes from the July 2011 AGA board meeting.
AGA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 – 8:00 PM EDT
Meeting called to order by: Andrew Okun at 8:07 PM EDT
Type of meeting: Regular Monthly Conference Call
Jie Li (At Large)
Paul Celmer (Eastern Region)
Lisa Scott (Central Region)
Laura Kolb (Central Region)
Andrew Okun (Western Region, Chairman)
Gordon Castanza (Western Region)
Allan Abramson (President)
Pauline Pohl (Secretary)
Chuck Robbins (Eastern Region)
1. Approval of May 22, 2011 minutes
Gordon Castanza made a motion to approve the minutes of the last
regular monthly Board meeting from May 22, 2011. Jie Li seconded
the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.
2. Call for additional agenda items and new business
a. Andy Okun asked to discuss formation of a committee to
select an Executive Vice President
b. Lisa Scott asked to talk about paying someone to attract
new members and do fundraising.
3. President’s Report
a. Discussion item: Database Demonstration
i. Allan Abramson asked the Board members to make
suggestions if they want any changes made to the
ii. Scott asked when it could be up and running and
asked if it could be working in time to help with
Congress registration. Abramson said he will try.
b. Discussion item: Recognition for retiring volunteers
i. Abramson suggested some options for recognizing
Sam and Karen Zimmerman’s contributions. One is
to pay their expenses to the Congress next year.
The second is to offer airfare to the European Go
Congress. Third is dinner at a fancy Philadelphia
restaurant, and fourth is go equipment from an
artisan wood shop in North Carolina.
ii. For Adam Bridges, Abramson suggested a plaque
along with a savings bond, an AGA membership
extension, or a laptop computer loaded with all of the
iii. Okun said he would choose the comps to the US Go
Congress or a go board and bowls for Sam and
iv. Scott said that she would like to send Sam and Karen
to the US Go Congress and an extension of Adam’s
AGA membership for five years, the same number he
served as Treasurer, would be appropriate for him.
v. Jie Li said he thinks a tangible item like a go board
would be more meaningful than a membership
vi. Celmer said he thinks Adam would appreciate a go
board made from someone in North Carolina. Okun
asked how much a custom made go board would
cost and Celmer said he would have to ask the artist.
Okun said he would like to do it but it would depend
on the cost.
vii. There was a consensus that it would be nice to send
Karen and Sam to the Congress, but Okun said
Chuck Robbins would have to find out if they would
want that or not. If they are not interested in such a
trip, a go board would be nice.
viii. The consensus was that as long as the go board is
affordable and available, that will be the gift for Adam.
If that falls through, we will offer a membership
extension of five years.
c. Action item: FY2012 Budget
i. Abramson said he sent out his latest budget and
hopes to get a vote of approval this evening.
ii. Okun asked if the prior year actual numbers are
updated. Abramson said they are actual end of fiscal
iii. Okun said it looks like we are budgeting slightly
under where we ended up this year.
iv. Abramson said the open question was whether or not
to add $1000 to the Redmond Cup budget.
v. Castanza said he is still having trouble accepting the
casual labor PO Box and telephone line item 60102.
vi. Castanza said we are paying $20 per hour for the
work which may be high considering the job is mainly
to ride a subway to pick up mail at a post office.
vii. Abramson said the rate was set by the president and
the Board several years ago and hasn’t been
questioned until now.
viii. Castanza said he would suggest offering the New
York state minimum wage for the hours. He also
noted that when he recently visited New York City, he
saw discounts available. For example, if you buy a
$10 ticket you get a bonus of $1.40. He wonders if
available discounts are reflected in the rate we are
paying for tokens.
ix. Abramson said the actual amount spent on tokens
(60100) last year was $112 which he thinks is
x. Abramson added that there is more to the job than
simply sitting on the subway. There is also
answering phone calls and letters which is higher
level work than a minimum wage job.
xi. The total charges are reasonable for the amount of
work done in Abramson’s opinion. The budgeted
amount has been cut approximately in half over the
past few years. It used to be about $8000 per year
and now it is about $4000 per year.
xii. Okun said that $20 per hour was reasonable for
office work in New York, but in this age of virtual
offices we should be able to organize ourselves so
that we don’t have to pay someone that much to ride
a subway to the post office.
xiii. Scott said that a physical address is necessary for
many reasons and a post office box is not good for
bank accounts and other official purposes.
xiv. Abramson said he has heard of a service where they
go to a post office box, scan the contents and
transmit it securely anywhere for a price of about
$1000 per year.
xv. Okun said if Chelsea Station was no longer there and
we had to start from scratch what would we do?
Abramson said we need an address in New York,
and he would want an address not connected to any
individual volunteer which would change over time.
xvi. Scott said we could forward mail from the post office.
Abramson said the limit on that is a year.
xvii. Okun said we could use a different service that could
provide both an address and the forwarding service.
We could leave the Post office box as our official
address, but change the website contact information
to the new, lower cost option.
xviii. Jie Li said he has done extensive research on virtual
offices, and it can be done quickly. They are getting
advanced so mail can be forwarded as often as we
want with only postage as the expense. It costs
about $100 per month for the address. Jie Li thinks it
is the best next step. Scott agreed. Okun said yes,
but not tonight.
xix. Jie Li said there are companies that help with the
transition. Abramson said he will look into the virtual
office. Jie Li said he would forward some options to
the Board and the president.
xx. Abramson said there is also the question of
answering the phone. Jie Li said the $100 also
includes a phone number that can be forwarded as
well. He will forward the information to Abramson.
xxi. Scott said she would like to have research done on
this issue between now and the Congress so a
decision might be made then.
xxii. Okun asked if there were any other line items that
need to be discussed. Castanza said he is not done
with that like item, because the spending keeps going
xxiii. Abramson said we started the year saying we were
going to reduce costs by automating the credit card
processing, but since we had webmaster problems,
that transition was delayed and the costs stayed high.
xxiv. Scott said it is unacceptable to go over a budget by
so much without any notification. Abramson said
focusing on one line item when we had others that
were below budget is unfair.
xxv. Okun said the budget is a goal and we try to meet the
budget, but it is only a guess and we need to be
xxvi. Jie Li suggested reducing the hourly rate until we get
the virtual office to keep the costs down. Tournament
prizes and other expenses have been cut, so why
should this be different? Abramson said he predicts
Mary would quit if that decision was made. Okun
said if that is the expected outcome, a reduction in
rate would be counterproductive in the short term.
xxvii. Scott said the sooner we move to a virtual office the
lower those expenses will be. There was general
xxviii. Celmer made a motion to approve the budget.
xxix. Kolb seconded the motion.
xxx. Okun asked if there was any further discussion
xxxi. Celmer said he thinks Allan did a good job of working
to drive down costs and he anticipates more
improvement in the future.
xxxii. There was a vote of 4 in favor (Okun, Celmer, Scott,
Kolb), 1 opposed (Castanza), and 1 abstention (Jie
Li). The motion passed and the budget was
4. Discussion of Castanza’s proposal
a. Castanza had circulated a proposal for amendments to
the by-laws. Castanza said he thinks the president is out
of control, and that the Board needs to have more control
over the president.
b. Castanza said we need to hold the president accountable
for his actions and performance.
c. Castanza said his proposals also spell out the
expectations of conduct the Board members will adhere
to during meetings, provide for mechanisms for budget
revisions and transfers, and provide clearer delineation of
the job descriptions for both the president and for the
d. There needs to be accountability and specific job
descriptions and periodic performance appraisals for all
e. Okun asked who controls our bylaws? It looks like the
Assembly votes on the bylaws, so if we want to consider
changes, we need to do so at the Congress.
f. Okun said there’s a lot in the text Castanza wrote that is
too detailed to be added to an official document. Less
detail is generally better, because conditions can change
and you don’t want to have to change the document each
g. Okun said job descriptions of volunteer positions are a
good idea but they don’t have to be a part of the bylaws.
h. Scott said she agrees with all that Okun said about
i. Celmer said he likes the idea of cataloging the rulings of
the Board, but changing the bylaws should be discussed
at the Congress.
j. Jie Li said we should implement the easy ones first and
the hard ones later.
k. Okun said since amending the bylaws is not a Board
prerogative, what would Castanza like to do about it?
l. Castanza said he wouldn’t mind discussing it at the
Assembly, but it may be hard for the members to read it
all in time to make a decision.
m. Abramson said the possibility of raising the life
membership rates has been brought up several years in a
row and the members were always against it.
n. Castanza said that rather than submitting the proposals to
the Assembly for approval, the Board could just adopt
them by resolution to use as an operating principle of the
o. Okun said he needs more time to think about what parts
he is in favor of and which he is opposed to before acting.
p. Scott said she would like to make changes to our policy
which would probably be less formal than a resolution.
q. Castanza said he would like to have action before too
much longer. Okun agreed to discuss it at the next Board
5. Discussion of SAMG question
a. Abramson said Thomas Hsiang has asked that the
requirement to reside in the US for six months of the year
be waived to allow Michael Redmond to compete for the
US in the Sport Accord Mind Games. This was done for
the first Mind Games, and there were protests from
Koreans that Abramson would like to avoid happening
again. He thinks if there is a policy it should be applied
the same way to all people.
b. Okun asked if when the waiver was done last time it
would be automatic the next time. Abramson said it is not,
because we didn’t even know if there would be another
c. Celmer said he defers to Abramson’s judgment on this
even though he respects Thomas Hsiang and Michael
Redmond it seems like making an exception would cause
d. Scott said it’s too political of an issue for her to have an
opinion on it.
e. Okun said he is not inclined to take action to overturn the
f. Jie Li suggested we recognize Michael Redmond by
naming him the coach for the US team instead.
g. Okun suggested recognizing Redmond at this year’s Go
Congress in some way to thank him for all of his
contributions. He suggested sharing ideas by e-mail to
come up with some ideas.
6. New Business
a. Executive Vice President Position
i. Okun said the position of EVP is described in the
bylaws and the position is vacant.
ii. Abramson said Chris Kirschner was in that position
for a time, but it is currently vacant.
iii. Okun asked if the position would normally be a
training position for the president’s job and the
person would normally be the next president.
iv. Abramson said it can happen that way and it would
v. Okun suggested forming a committee to select an
Executive Vice President. Scott agreed that is a
vi. Abramson said Okun and the Board should select the
committee to choose the next EVP. Okun suggested
having Board members on the committee and asked
vii. Scott, Celmer, and Jie Li volunteered to be on the
committee. Okun suggested asking Chuck Robbins
to serve since he knows so many AGA members.
viii. Okun said the volunteers will work to fill the position
b. Fundraising and Membership Proposal
i. Scott said she would like to discuss a proposal to
offer a fundraiser a percentage of money raised by
recruiting new members.
ii. Okun suggested consulting Peter Freedman,
because he has experience in the area.
iii. Scott asked if we can take some action at the next
meeting and Okun said yes.
7. Establish time and date of next meeting
The next monthly Board meeting will be at the Go Congress on
August 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm PDT.
Castanza made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Scott seconded
the motion. The motion was approved unanimously. The meeting
adjourned at 9:25 PM EDT.