Saturday, July 2, 2005

EPIC Board Meeting - July 2005

CDBG = Community Development Block Grant
EBM = EPIC Board Meeting
EPC 17th Ave. Garden Committee = East Phillips 17th Avenue Community Garden Steering Committee
EPIC = East Phillips Improvement Coalition
GMM = General Membership Meeting
GI = Green Institute
NRP = Neighborhood Revitalization Program
SWMCB = Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board


Mary Gonsior (MG), Hannah Lieder (HL), Linda Leonard (LL), Carol Pass (CP), Albin Dittli (AD), Cynthia Aquirre (CA)

Directors not Present: Andy Engebretson (out of town), Rosie Cruz (out of town) and Earl Sims (unknown reason)

Observers: Laverne Turner (LT) was present during discussion of first item.

Meeting was called to order at 10:15 by CP. Agenda was distributed. MG was designated as recording secretary. Quorum was established (6 directors present.)

MG reported that she hasn’t completed the draft letter to introduce board Directors to community organizations.

The minutes from the last Board Meeting (6/18/2005) were not completed yet.

The agenda was approved with the following changes: Response to Robert Thompson’s email (added.) Issues surrounding the letters Lynn handed out (moved to top of the agenda.) Garden Policy item (moved to #2 on agenda.)


Issues surrounding the letters in Lynne Mayo’s handout at the June GMM
HL asked why we were addressing these issues again when we already discussed this and made policies about this. CP responded that we need to request a response from NRP (Robert Miller,) apologizing for telling community members that the process that was followed by the community from the October GMM until the Annual Meeting in 2005 was “illegal” and to address other related gossip and hearsay that is being spread through the EPIC community and other neighborhoods.

CP proposed requesting a 2-3 hour meeting with Robert Miller to present the legitimacy of the process followed by the community. (Robert Miller has already agreed to grant such a request.) At this meeting, CP will present all the minutes from all the meetings from October 2004 through the Annual Meeting, EPIC Bylaws, letters from the community, letters from attorneys, etc. EPIC will formally request that NRP correct the misunderstandings and rumors that abound regarding the following four points.

Robert Miller and Barb Lickness need to apologize for telling community members and the former Board Directors that the process followed by the community between the October 2004 GMM and the 2005 Annual Meeting was not legitimate and was not legal. Both need to confirm that they conducted no investigation of the claims made by the former Board Directors regarding their accusations against community members.
Robert Miller and Barb Lickness need to confirm that they released information to the public regarding accusations towards community members that EPIC staffer, Rebekah Cross, was abused and confirm that her claim of harassment, and/or hostile work environment was never established. Both need to apologize to the community for releasing information about Rebekah’s claim to the public, and confirm that the information was hearsay only and that NRP made no investigation regarding Rebekah’s claim.
Robert Miller needs to confirm that the MN Legislature requires neighborhoods to spend 52% of NRP Phase I funds on housing. In addition, because POP wrote only 18% in the original plan, he needs to confirm that it was responsible for EPIC to spend as much remaining NRP funds as possible on housing.
Robert Miller needs to confirm that all neighborhoods will be required to spend 70% of Phase II NRP funds on housing and that NRP won’t even consider plans spending less than 70% on housing.

Motion (MG, LL)
CP will meet with Robert Miller as soon as possible and present the aforementioned information. EPIC will request (in writing) that the four points listed above be addressed publicly, in writing, by Robert Miller and Barb Lickness. If EPIC does not receive a satisfactory response by August 1, 2005, EPIC will file a grievance against NRP. Motion passed.

Garden Policy: Response to Corrie Zoll’s email.
A group of gardeners asked the EPIC Board to resolve concerns brought about by discovery of an advertisement for “A Composter in Every Back Yard” youth composting and waste awareness program. Responding to EPIC’s inquiry, Corrie Zoll of the Green Institute (GI,) responded by email. Corrie referenced a Use Agreement between GI and the East Phillips 17th Avenue Community Garden dated August 9, 2004 that was signed by Christine Rangen, Daniel Thomas, Lynne Mayo, Judith Schwartzbacker and Aden Awil. Corrie worked with Lynne Mayo to secure a grant from the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB) in 2004 because he understood that “Lynne Mayo is the representative appointed by [the East Phillips 17th Avenue Community Garden Steering Committee] to represent the East Phillips 17th Avenue Community Garden.”

CP drafted a response to Corrie Zoll’s email concerning the following points.

The committee called EPC 17th Ave. Garden Committee is the same committee known as East Phillips 17th Avenue Community Garden Steering Committee. The name was abbreviated for convenience.
According to GI and EPIC records, the garden steering committee is to be composed of two EPIC Board Directors, two active gardeners and one at-large individual from EPIC neighborhood (approved by both groups.)
EPIC has never appointed a “representative” from the steering committee to the GI. Instead, our relationship with GI is governed by the motions of an official garden committee with oversight from EPIC, with decisions conveyed to the GI in the form of motions.
EPIC has determined that the signers of the August 9, 2004 “Use Agreement” do not meet the criteria for the official “garden committee,” having no EPIC Directors present on the committee. In addition, the “Use Agreement” was not signed by an EPIC Director.
A garden steering committee was not formed in the spring of 2004 due to remediation issues in the garden.
AD and CA (EPIC Directors and active gardeners in 2005) attempted to investigate the 2004 “Use Agreement” by a “garden steering committee.” They requested documentation from Lynne Mayo who failed to provide any records.
There are no sign-in sheets of meetings, minutes, or financial records of dues/expenses for the garden in 2004. There are no records of any process followed to select a steering committee, sign the “Use Agreement” or designate Lynne Mayo as an official “representative” of the committee.
Irrespective of providing a monthly garden report to EPIC since last September, Lynne Mayo never reported to the garden group or EPIC that she submitted a proposal for the “A Composter in Every Back Yard” program, or that she received a grant from SWMCB. Nor did she report to the garden group or EPIC that the GI agreed to act as fiscal agent for the EPC 17th Ave. Garden Committee.
AD and CA could find no active gardeners (2005) who had been informed of or invited to participate in the “A Composter in Every Back Yard” program prior to public advertisement in June 2005.
The “A Composter in Every Back Yard” program represents a departure from the EPIC policy describing the beneficiaries of the garden, namely the residents of East Phillips neighborhood. The program advertisement is addressed to all Minneapolis students, college students and parents.
EPIC’s has additional concerns about the program including safety and liability issues, community notification, financial oversight and program evaluation.
By providing fiscal agency to this unrecognized garden committee, the GI has endangered the credibility, reputation and financial future of the 17th Avenue Community Garden, EPC 17th Ave. Garden Committee, EPIC and itself.

Motion (LL, AD)
Send the draft letter to committee to be reworked into a shorter version, if possible. Submit the final draft to CA and HL before sending to GI. Motion passed.

Garden Policy: Proposal for Garden Agreement and Proposal for Garden Policies
CA reported that the 2005 garden steering committee is not functional. The current committee has an even number of representatives: three gardeners and one EPIC rep. CA will propose that the next garden group meeting elect a new, expanded steering committee and adopt garden policies. AD has prepared a set of policies governing operation of the garden that will be submitted to the garden committee for adoption at their next meeting (in the garden at 10 AM on Saturday, July 9, 2005.) The proposal was written by several members of the garden group. In addition, AD prepared a Garden Use Agreement that adheres to the requirements of the GI. Both of these documents were designed to clarify the operations of the garden, the steering committee, the relationship to GI and to ensure that EPIC is informed about and participates in the operations and decisions made regarding the garden. These proposals will be presented for adoption by the garden group on Saturday. Anyone with comments or suggestions should submit them to AD before next Saturday.

Garden Policy: “A Composter in Every Back Yard” program
17th Avenue Garden members requested that EPIC respond to the program that Lynne Mayo advertised in the garden. HL asked if we could discuss next steps as they relate to requesting a response from Lynne Mayo and Corrie Zoll. CP recommended that we wait until we find out how those individuals respond to correspondence already sent to them. LL pointed out that EPIC is not responsible for the money that was acquired by Lynne, instead, EPIC can act as a fact-finding committee. The gardeners may choose to remove Lynne Mayo from leadership in the garden group. CP disagreed about EPIC’s liability regarding the grant and program, since it affects the credibility of EPIC and possible liability. CP reported that a letter was sent to SWMCB Waste Management Coordinating Board but no response has been received to date. HL pointed out that CA is the official representative of EPIC to the garden steering committee and recommended that CA be a point person for reporting on the progress of these issues.

Garden Report
A garden report will be placed on the agenda for the July GMM to report on the “A Composter in Every Back Yard” youth composting and waste awareness program and on the results of the July 9th garden meeting including any policies or other business that result from that meeting.

The Twin Cities Training Program for Neighborhood Organizers is offering in-depth training for neighborhood volunteers. The training will take place once a week on Wednesdays for two hours for five weeks. The first meeting will be on Wednesday, July 13, 7:00 PM at racket Park, 2728 39th Ave. S. in Minneapolis.

501(c)(3) Application
Everything is completed with the exception of the budget. CP reported that the budget cannot be completed until we review four previous years of financial statements.

Carol, everyone was talking at once here… please add any relevant facts that are missing about the budget. There was something about Charlie Ravine and David Rubidor – couldn’t hear it on the tape.

Filing 2004 990 Annual Return
CP believes that we don’t need to file a 990 for 2004. This appears to be the responsibility of PPNA, as the fiscal agent for EPIC in 2004. EPIC appears as a line item in the PPNA budget.

Treasurer’s Report
The old checking account is closed and a new account has been opened. AE still needs to be added as a signer on the account. The current balance is $2,175.06. Checks have been ordered.

CP asked Bob Cooper about the CDBG funds. Cooper said that we can use the funds once we have confirmed to him that EPIC financial policies are in compliance with NRP financial policies. CP requested a copy of the NRP financial policies from Robert Thompson.

CP will give the insurance refund to CA for deposit.

Motion (MG, LL)
Motion to extend EPIC’s liability insurance using the insurance refund. Motion passed.

Community Survey
The revisions made by the Board at the previous meeting have been incorporated into the survey. The survey committee will continue to work out how to conduct the survey.

Terms of Board Directors
The following terms were assigned to Board Directors by acclamation.
One year terms: AE, AD, CP, HL
Two year terms: CA, MG, RC, LL, ES

Agenda for GMM
Submit agenda items to the chair.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:06 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Mary Gonsior, Secretary
July 2, 2005 FINAL
2435 Bloomington Ave. S.

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