The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Administrative Committee met via Zoom conference on Friday, March 3rd, at 11:00 a.m.
Committee members attending:
Non-CAG members in attendance:
Joan Salome Rodriguez (CAG Applicant)
Admin began by discussing a demographic chart based upon our survey results as reported at the January 2023 general meeting and as part of our responsibilities per our bylaws.
Margaret and Rita will work together to put together a simple graph or pie chart to give a visual breakdown on our membership demographic with emphasis being upon number of members represented by neighborhood (i.e. to indicate proximity to the canal and MGP sites), ratio of organizational to at-large members, etc. (see charts at bottom).
Admin, last week, took back the previously redirected membership-application review procedure.
Admin discussed the suggestion made by Celeste and Eric to hold back five new and not-so-new applications formerly in the possession of the Outreach Committee. Two of these applications were submitted as long ago as June, 2022 and December, 2021.
Admin agreed that the responsibility of our committee in regard to new applications had always been and continues to be to review and forward our review comments to the collective for approval or denial, as per Charter requirements. Some members expressed their feelings of great regret and embarrassment that concerned and interested residents’ applications were not handled in a more expeditious fashion.
Five applications were reviewed by the committee. We will ask Doug to distribute the applications along with the general meeting agenda and our comments on each will be presented at the end of March.
Possible additional sub-questions to the application were suggested in order to give Admin a clearer understanding of some of the applicants’ (often brief, sometimes ambiguous) answers to the existing questions.
Suggested questions agreed upon by the committee:
1) In the unlikely event that all CAG meetings return to an in-person-only format, would you still be able to participate in the required number of meetings to maintain your membership?
A slight change was suggested to the paragraph at the top of the application:
Should the words “and Government” be added to the beginning paragraph having it read:
“The mission of the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group is to be a forum for dialogue between representatives of all segments of the community and government about the federal Superfund clean-up of the Gowanus Canal and other related issues of concern to the community.”
And finally, questions that would apply should the CAG move forward with programs like these.
Also, in the spirit of being more welcoming, perhaps we can introduce these ideas:
If you become a CAG member:
– Would you like to join a CAG 101 session for new members to get you up to speed?
– Would you like to be partnered with a current CAG member to help you navigate the CAG until you are up to speed?
Admin also discussed the possibility of adding an FAQ page to the website. Some suggested questions forwarded to Doug and Eric in a separate email (Admin Email 3/3) for the Outreach Committee’s consideration.
Admin discussed the status of some of the original organizational members listed on the website that are holding seats.
When the CAG was originally formed, there was an oversight on the part of the formation entities and the Warren Street Houses were not contacted to participate. This was corrected at some point several years ago. As per Jerry’s great memory, Joanne Brown joined as the rep for that complex.
Warren Street Houses need to be added to the membership list. Jerry agreed to remind Joanne that her seat is waiting and ready for a rep at any time.
Admin reviewed the suggestions that Celeste LeCompte submitted as possible procedural and Charter revisions.
Admin agreed unanimously that the procedural changes suggested were too far from the stated mission of Admin and lie more within the Outreach Committee’s purview. The suggested Charter revisions were based on those procedural changes so they were not moved forward as a proposal for vote by the Admin committee.
With the above suggestions in mind, Admin did discuss the role of the EPA in communicating with the community outside of the CAG.
We wondered if EPA has a regular schedule for update meetings within the community specifically for those residents and assorted stakeholders who do not participate in or attend CAG meetings.