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The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Admin Committee met on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, at 9:00 a.m., in the Cobble Hill Community Room at 250 Baltic Street.

Committee Members attending:

Jerry Armer
Ben Jones
Katia Kelly
Rita Miller
Maryann Young (CORD alternate)

Non-Committee/CAG Members present:

Rafael Gomez
Louis Kleinman


Owen Foote

Admin discussed some of the problems facing the CAG in regard to procedures that were apparently either never voted upon/ratified but put into effect, and procedures voted upon/ratified and ignored.

Problem #1

An At-Large member, trying to draft a proposal/resolution regarding a change to the Founding Member status, which permitted only organizations that joined the CAG at its inception to maintain their seats and return to the CAG at any time even though they were not in compliance with our attendance expectations/requirements.

The At-Large member contacted Rita Miller because she wanted to refer to the passage in the Charter in order to propose a change to the rule, but she could not find the rule anywhere in the Charter.

Since this omission had been noted and discussed at a general meeting before, yet the passage had still not been incorporated into the Charter, an Admin member went back to trace as to when the Founding Member rule was actually voted upon.

Although a timeline using all of the available minutes (and not all minutes were available) was reviewed, it did appear as though this particular proposal was never ratified by the general CAG. Meeting minutes discuss it from November 2011 and various months throughout 2012. On January 17, 2013, meeting notes which at some point were reworded and became part of the Charter Addendum, noted that “NYCHA representatives retain their Founding Member seats for as long as the CAG exists,” as if the Founding Member addition had been voted upon at some point.

However, when the Addendum was adopted sometime later, there was no mention of Founding Members at all.

Admin began discussing how we should proceed now that, officially, there is no such thing as a Founding Member and under the current attendance rules, all of the so-called “Founding Members,” who we now list as inactive Members, should be removed. Or should we attempt to revive the rule and perhaps remove the cap on the membership, or change or remove the attendance requirements. More discussion must follow. No real proposal or solution was reached.

Owen Foote, a guest at the Admin meeting, pointed out that in his opinion, our attendance “requirements” are not listed as requirements, only as “expectations,” and the process for removal is not clearly laid out in the Charter.

The CAG has, in the past, removed members for lack of attendance compliance, although there have been exceptions made on many occasions when members appealed to the CAG.

There was discussion that the Charter could be amended to include, along with the attendance expectations, that the CAG reserves the right to remove any member based upon non-compliance with attendance expectations, just to make it clear that if attendance expectations are not met, removal can be expected as a result (could be added to section 5.2 of the Charter). This was not formally voted upon.

Problem #2

The Addendum says to eliminate email voting for time-sensitive issues. There has been email voting at committee level going on for some time now, whether time sensitive or not.

It was suggested that email voting at committee level only be permitted for time-sensitive issues, and that the term “time sensitive” be clearly defined within the Charter. Conference calling was also suggested as a possible way to deal with time-sensitive issues. No recommendations or proposals were made. Further discussion is needed.

Admin discussed that if email voting at committee level was to be permitted, then there should be some protocol when using email for drafting proposals/resolutions so that no confusion arises when different versions are being discussed, and to insure that everyone is aware of which version they are voting upon and all are participating in the vote.

Again, more discussion is needed, as well as the proposal re-instituting the ability to vote via email. Admin is in agreement that no email voting be permitted for general CAG votes.

There was more discussion about committees being more attentive to quorum levels, as well as producing minutes from each meeting for distribution to the entire CAG.

Approved minutes of all committee meetings should be posted to the website (before the CAG website, meeting minutes used to be circulated by the Facilitator and posted on the EPA website).

Suggested but no formal proposal drawn up as of yet:

When a resolution is presented to the CAG via committee, the committee must have the minutes to support that resolution posted. No committee minutes showing support for the resolution presented should result in no resolution being presented to the CAG for a vote.

Finally, Kelsey Butterworth’s application was discussed, and recommended for approval. Will forward this information to Doug and Kelsey so that she may be introduced in January.

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