UUCGN Annual Meeting, March 28, 2021
This page is devoted to the second online UUCGN Annual Meeting, with subsequent online voting.
This web page contains information about the logistics of the Annual Meeting as well as supplemental information as described below. New this year is a Questions/Comments section, at the bottom of this page. This section was active until the voting closed on March 31, 2021.
At the end of this page is a list of links to supporting documents, including the FY 2021-22 budget, proposed bylaw amendments, and slates for Board of Trustees, Endowment Board, and Nominating Committee members, also reports from Finance, Stewardship, Endowment, the Minister, and the Board President.
What took place at the Annual Meeting?
The main business of the Annual Meeting is to present the issues that will be voted on, to allow for a period of questions and discussion, and then to vote on them. In our virtual meeting, this took place in several steps spanning six days:
On Sunday March 28 starting at 11:00AM, the livestream portion part of the Annual Meeting took place to introduce the topics to be voted on and provide an opportunity for questions and comments on them This livestream was immediately followed by an emailed link to the online ballot for members to place their votes.
Online voting was open until 10:00PM on Wednesday March 31.
After the votes were tallied, a report was sent to the Board of Trustees for approval, after which the Board certified the vote and on Thursday, April 1 the Board President adjourned the 2021 Annual Meeting. Those on the email list from the office were informed of the results in an e-blast sent on April 1, 2021.
In pre-Covid years, the annual reports from Finance, Stewardship, Endowment, the Minister, and the Board President were provided verbally, but this year they are available in written form, linked to from this web page. They were also sent in a compiled PDF with the e-blast sent on April 2.
Agenda for UUCGN Annual Meeting, March 28, 2021 at 11:00AM
1. Call to order and Introduction of Parliamentarian for Approval of Special Rules, Bill McCormick (Board President)
and Tom Menaker (Parliamentarian)
2. 2021-22 Budget Proposal and Finance Report, Susan Musick (VP of Finance)
3. Presentation of 2021-22 Budget, Tom Menaker and Susan Musick
4. Presentation of Bylaws Amendments, Tom Menaker
5. Presentation of Board of Trustees Candidates, Tom Menaker
6. Presentation of Endowment Board Candidates, Tom Menaker
7. Presentation of Nominating Committee Candidates, Bill McCormick
8-11. Reports, Robin Petty (Stewardship), Ken Notturno (Endowment Board), Rev. Tony Fisher (Minister), and
Bill McCormick (Board President) have provided written reports, linked to below.
12. Acknowledgements, Bill McCormick
13. Adjournment, Bill McCormick
What was voted on?
There were eight topics up for vote. Links are included to the relevant supporting materials.
1. Special Rule: Per our congregational bylaws, a Special Rule allows us under to modify the normal flow of the Annual Meeting. The proposed Special Rule for Conduct of Meetings, Section V F states that “In order to facilitate this annual meeting in the midst of the ongoing COVID‐19 pandemic, and for purposes of this meeting only, an exception to compliance with Article V of the Congregation's Bylaws, and with Roberts Rules of Order, is hereby made to allow the following: (1) All written notice requirements for this meeting may be issued digitally by email, approved retroactively. (2) Membership participation is permitted electronically, including Zoom meeting structure and SurveyMonkey voting procedures and tabulation. (3) This meeting will be held open until the designated voting period ends, at which time it will be adjourned.
2. Voting on FY22 budget
3 thru 5: Proposed amendments to three bylaws
6 thru 8: Voting on the slates for the new Board of Trustees members, Endowment Board members, and Nominating Committee members.
How did we allow for questions and comments to be made prior to voting?
See the section at the end of this page for members to ask questions and offer comments. There were no questions posed, and all comments related to the proposed bylaws amendment relating to expansion of the Nominating Committee.
What was the mechanism of voting?
Voting took place using the link to SurveyMonkey sent out by the office to all members, shortly before the livestream portion of the Annual Meeting concluded. The voting ballot was quite short and took only a few minutes to complete. Members were encouraged to click on the link to the ballot after they reviewed all materials relevant to making your decisions, and click Submit only at the conclusion of your voting. Please do not submit more than one ballot per member. If you do, the last one that is submitted will be used to count your votes.
For those without email, paper ballots were sent out via the U.S. Postal Service on March 12; they should be returned using the enclosed addressed and stamped envelope, postmarked no later than March 31.
What were the results from the voting?
One hundred sixty members voted. All eight motions passed, seven of them handily (greater than 95% of the votes in the affirmative). The vote on the bylaws amendment proposing expansion of the Nominating Committee to five members garnered 76.25% in the affirmative, the vote against came in at 21.25%, and abstentions at 2.5%. The results of the voting have been certified by the Board, and the Annual Meeting was adjourned on April 1.
See the table below for results by numbers of votes and by percentages.
Links to supporting documents
To submit a question or comment relating to the Annual Meeting, email your submission to email@example.com. The info in the box will include the date received in the office, whether it is a question or a comment, the name of the person submitting the question/comment, the topic (e.g., budget, amendment on Amendment 1, etc.) and the text being submitted. There is a word limit for the text of 200 words. We’ll just grow the box as new submissions come in. To view individual questions or comments, scroll within the box to their submission. Thus far we have submissions from:
Cliff Welles (two), Frank Burgeson, Bill Nicholsonon, Harriet Lancaster, Lena Neal, Missy Cowan, and Adrianne Cady, all on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee
March 22, 2021, comment from Cliff Welles on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee. Rationale: Proposal to broaden and qualify Congregational participation on the Nominating Committee.
"The Board of Trustees appoints the Nominating Committee each year, and the Nominating Committee effectively appoints the incoming Board members (as well as members of the Endowment Board). Despite there being an option in our bylaws for on-floor nominations, this very rarely occurs and thus no alternatives are presented. The congregation simply approves the slate as presented, with little input, discussion, or dissent.
A year ago, I became aware that only two Nominating Committee members had actually prepared the slate for the current 2021 Board of Trustees due to an un-filled slot on the committee. It seemed ludicrous that our 330-member congregation allows only 2-3 members to effectively appoint the UUCGN executive leadership with no congregational input.
My goal in offering this proposal is to expand the Nominating Committee from 3 to 5 members to allow for more diversity of thought and greater representation of the membership. In a congregation of 330 members, having more members in the role of recruiting new leaders will benefit all of us.
At the December 2021 Board meeting, positive experience with larger nominating committees in smaller congregations elsewhere, was discussed. The Board voted 5-2 to approve this bylaw proposal for congregational ratification."
March 25, 2021, comment from Frank Burgeson on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee. Rationale: Proposal to broaden and qualify Congregational participation on the Nominating Committee.
"As chair of the current Nominating Committee, I was asked a few months ago by president Bill McCormick for an evaluation of suggested changes to the bylaws submitted by Cliff Welles. In order to provide a broad and experienced opinion, a survey was sent to past presidents of the congregation and members of previous Nominating Committees. 12 out of 16 respondents favored keeping the size at three and not changing the bylaws. Many thought that a larger committee would be less efficient and make the task more difficult. Other suggestions include a 3 year minimum congregational membership, and a maximum of three consecutive terms. For many years, those suggestions have been followed without the necessity of specifying such in the bylaws."
March 25, 2021, comment from Bill Nicholson on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee. Rationale: Proposal to broaden and qualify Congregational participation on the Nominating Committee.
"Bylaws are important governance documents, and should only be changed to solve a real problem. My opinion is that there is no problem to solve, and that Amendment #3 should NOT BE APPROVED. I will vote NO for this Amendment because I believe the change is unnecessary.
Some BoT Members think that we have had three members for a long time, and we should “try” something different. Bylaws should not be a governance “experiment” in as much as we might “try on a new pair of shoes to see if they fit”. Bylaw changes should only be undertaken after serious analysis of a problem, and clear insight into the solution. “Trying” a Bylaw change is not giving the Bylaws the respect and gravity they deserve.
I have also heard it argued that there are not enough positions for people to engage and feel part of things. I believe this is a miss representation of the facts. We have many committee member and chair openings TODAY and simply the lack of people willing to engage. We have no shortage of opportunities for interested members to participate. We do not need to change the Bylaws to address this non problem."
March 27, 2021, comment from Harriet Lancaster on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee. Rationale: Proposal to broaden and qualify Congregational participation on the Nominating Committee.
"I think it is important to expand the BY-LAWS committee to five people. We need to broaden the people we are tapping for our Board of Trustees. The UUA report on Widening the Circle finished in February of 2020 had a lot of emphasis on diversifying the Board of Trustees. This included younger members, newer members, members of different backgrounds, both ethnicity and economic backgrounds, and parents. They were quite clear that if our UU congregations are to survive they have to become more inclusive. Making sure our leadership is more inclusive is key to making others feel welcome and willing not only to visit but to join and be active. I don’t think our RE families necessarily feel included and we haven’t attracted a lot of younger members. Expanding the Board of Trustees and making it more representative of the congregation we have and the congregation we say we want would be a first step. Five members working on this effort rather than three, I believe, would help."
March 28, 2021, comment from Cliff Welles on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee. Rationale: Proposal to broaden and qualify Congregational participation on the Nominating Committee.
"This reply is to previous posts of hard-working, dedicated, longtime volunteer leaders of UUCGN. Their posts accurately reflect their arguments at the December Board meeting. several virtual attendees, the Board did vote 5-2 in favor of this bylaw proposal. The survey mentioned only included the handful of legacy UUCGN members that regularly rotate through the Board, the officer positions, Nominating, Finance, and Facilities Committees. The result, mostly in favor of ‘no change’, was therefore expected. These members are content with their own leadership and generally don’t welcome diversity of thought. We all appreciate the many members who work incredibly hard to keep this active congregation financially sound and growing. The facility and the grounds are wonderful. But to survive in our evolving community, UUCGN also needs broader diversity, attractive youth programs, and an effective social justice program. We need new ideas and goals to attract new members; new programs to train future leaders for the Nominating Committee to consider. We will soon require a new generation of leaders, but that takes time. This bylaw change will not solve our dilemma, but it is a step toward more congregational input to our evolution."
March 28, 2021, comment from Lena Neal on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee. Rationale: Proposal to broaden and qualify Congregational participation on the Nominating Committee.
"I concur with Cliff and Harriett.... To grow we need to reach out and include others. Being insular does not promote diversity and growth. Up north we have 5 members on nominating and other committees. Yes, we sometimes have to reach out hard to get needed participation but it gets done. What do we have to fear from reaching out and expanding membership on our committees?"
March 28, 2021, comment from Missy Cowan on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee. Rationale: Proposal to broaden and qualify Congregational participation on the Nominating Committee.
It seems to me it makes sense to increase the number of members on the nominating committee because five people would be acquainted with more members than three people. The five will work together to identify a diverse roster of prospective leaders willing to serve which are now in short supply. I will wholeheartedly vote in favor of this amendment.
March 29, 2021, comment from Adrianne Cady on Amendment #3: Bylaws change for the composition of the Nominating Committee. Rationale: Proposal to broaden and qualify Congregational participation on the Nominating Committee.
"Well, I missed the meeting as I thought it started at noon as in previous years. But I already voted to increase the Nominating Committee which would give more opportunity for diversity in gender, age, ideas and racial identity. With our increasing membership, which was only 90 members when I joined in 1998, an increased number of Nominating Committee members would have greater outreach to members that they may know and who may continue to enhance the leadership of our beloved congregation."