October 2004 Board Meeting

GPA Board meeting
October 12, 2004

Fran: We are at a critical juncture in our organization. Change is an inevitable part of life. If you refuse to adapt you will become extinct. You can let it happen as it will or you can manage change and determine your own course. GPA has changed. The neighborhood has changed. We have an opportunity to shape our own course or we can go out of business. We can spend a lot of time talking about the past or we can talk about the future. In our conversations this evening I ask that you be respectful and avoid negative body language. Be objective.

Pat Miller: Change can be positive, negative or neutral.

Pat Segel: I talked to fifteen people about being on the board. I didn’t ask you – Dan or Pat, because I knew you would say yes. I talked to some peripherals – people that are not currently involved. I asked them why they’re not active. They said that the leadership is too constrictive. They feel the organization addresses certain things but not the big picture like crime litter etc… We need to get younger people to help us more in a global way. People I talked to feel it is very difficult to work in an environment that is not flexible or adaptable. “People will not serve if Dan and Pat are in leadership roles.”

Paul Durrenberger: We have had the same people on the board. We need someone to carry out the vision of others. Dan, you bring skills to this organization, you’ve helped me with my house. You’ve helped others. In exchange, you tend to dominate the direction of the group.

Betty Sanders: Things that should be said in private you say in e-mail. You do things without committee consent. All you care about is old house restoration.

Pat Segel: I do want to protect the confidentiality of those that I spoke to. I spoke to Bednar’s, Becerra’s, and Kate Darling. I did not talk to Starks or to Gately’s.

Fran: I have begged Brian Stark. He needs to see some changes first.

Deborah Allan: Anyone that can step up can get things done. A lot of neighbors say, “Why can’t they take care of that.”

Fran: I don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water. In two years I’ve seen young people come and go in the organization. I’m hoping the neighborhood planning process will bring in people.

Paul Durrenberger: I think we should just coast for a year. Still exist but cut way back. When people get a common knowledge that nothing is getting done they would see it and come up with the ideas to change. We need to abandon our format. Make it just social.

Pat Segel: We need to infuse young people into the group. They are developing the neighborhood. They have energy. They can help apply for grants and resources.

Paul D: It would be fun to have a weekend restoration party where ten people might get together and help change a room for someone or do a project.

Julie: Instead of reporting people, we should go up to them and say, “Can I help you fix your code violation.”

Bill Briska: Paul, wouldn’t you need some infrastructure?

Pat Segel: We need to look at the by-laws to see what we can change to make us more effective. We need a retreat to get input from the neighborhood. We need to find out what is working and what isn’t. Who are we as an organization?

Fran: The role of the committee needs to be delineated so they can go do their thing.

Paul Durrenberger: Yes, like when I was Historic District Chairman and wanted to buy a house to deconvert, I was told I need board approval.

Pat Miller: The budget of the Historic Committee is maybe $500. Buying a house is a big expense and should have member’s approval.

Pat Segel: The perception of the people that I have talked to is “I don’t feel I can come to this board and have a fair chance of getting things done.” Several people feel the board is a dictatorship.

Pat Miller: We have become closed. We do not have a Gazette. There has been no “other “category on the agenda to give people a   chance to bring things up. We don’t have brainstorming sessions at meetings like we used to. Agendas are often closed. Meeting dates and locations are not announced. Board meeting dates and locations are not announced at all.

Pat Segel: Meetings are listed on the web. People want to get something out of a meeting.

Julie: Our communication sucks. What has happened to the members that we have lost? We should do a survey. Why were you involved? Why aren’t you involved now? Where should we be going?

Deborah: I go to a lot of neighborhood meetings. Every neighborhood group that I go to is a group of friends.

Pat Segel: A lot of the people I see on the list I don’t even know. “I’ve asked people face to face to join.”

Betty: People have heard things so they do not want to join.

Deborah: At other meetings the feeling is that “GPA is mighty. Everything they ask for from the city they get.”

Pat Segel: We do a lot of good things. There is a perception problem out there.

Fran Cella: Could we do some general membership things like speakers, let’s go places, let’s have social events. Let’s decrease the frequency of board meetings. Committees can update us through reports.

Pat Segel: We need to work with other groups on things.

Pat Miller: Entertaining is a great idea. It has been with us since day one. It is too much work, and not sustainable to do it month after month.

Dan Miller:   ABODE has a very short business meeting with the rest being a huge eating and drinking session.

Julie S: We do want to get something done. Look at issues.

Fran Cella: Nothing works forever. It constantly needs to be tweaked.

Pat Segel: Darren Daniels came to me very discouraged about problems in his neighborhood at Gifford and North. I took him down to talk to the Chief of Police. Police followed up on problems. For instance North St. should be considered to be one way.

Mark Billings: I went to the Leadership Institute. Others are organizing around blocks. These block groups are then loosely tied to a neighborhood organization. The groups tend to be very social. I do not plan to be on the board. I am going to concentrate on the Elgin Community Network. We need strong neighborhood groups. I have had many conversations regarding how to get people involved. The highlight of my presidency was the bus tour we took of the neighborhood. I saw division coming two years ago. I think we should have a structure but focus on social things. Connections form a basis for relationships.

Pat Segel: People view working on GPA as a chore. After parties are important. We need to finish meetings earlier.

Pat Miller: People are intimidated by having to work. It scares people off. We shouldn’t stop doing projects.

Julie: A lot of people don’t like confrontation. That’s why they don’t come.

Fran Cella: “I think we need to restructure the board before the election.” We need to demonstrate to people that we’re making a change.

Pat Segel: We don’t need such a big board. We are a small group.

Fran Cella: We need to look for people with particular expertise. We need to be more attractive to people.

Mark Billings: I think we should delay the election until next year.

Pat Segel: “No one in this room is interested in being on this board if Dan and Pat are here.” New ideas are not welcome with them.

Pat Segel: I talked to twelve people.

Bill Briska: I will serve as asked. I do not want to be president.

Paul Durrenberger: We need to say to neighbors that we are trying to revitalize.

Deborah: “We need to say to people, we think you have a strength her – would you serve?”

Pat Miller: We need to tap into people’s gifts. That makes the organization go. Some people simply are not comfortable in a leadership role. It is not their gift – no matter how long they are involved.

Fran: I think you both have terrific talents. “I don’t think you are good in your current role.”

Dan Miller: I take exception to that comment. I think I do a terrific job as treasurer keeping people abreast of our financial situation. I send out all kinds of reports.

Fran: You are right. I didn’t mean that.

Pat Segel: Your style of leadership is not conducive to leadership. You have a hard time leading people.

Pat Miller: Dan is the easiest going, outgoing people person that I know of.

Pat Segel: You would obviously say that about your husband. I do not like his reactive ness to situations. He has a knee jerk reaction. It frightens people. It puts people off.

Betty Sanders: I have an example where Dan made it difficult for me with the membership meeting notes.

Pat Miller: We are giant stakeholders in this neighborhood. We have barely missed a meeting. If we see that we are going the wrong way, we try to correct it.

Dan Miller: We have put our entire lives into our house.

Paul Durrenberger: I have heard lots of people say this is the Miller Club.

Fran: You two are only two votes.

Dan: That’s right. We have lost on several issues lately that we lobbied for.

Pat Miller: In a conversation several years ago with John McKevitt he gave us many accolades and asked, “How do you do it?” I replied,” It is simply our way of life.” You are attacking our basis of social life, our way of life. We have made a conscience decision to make our goal to be involved in our neighborhood and be active.

Fran Cella: It is behavioral. You could change but you won’t.

Pat Segel: We want to do the right thing. This is a hard conversation that we don’t want. You aren’t perceived as a good leader.

Betty Sanders: My bosses once sat me down and   told me that I was too negative etc. at work. It helped me be a better person.

Pat Miller: This is very dangerous – all of this criticism. We could criticize everyone here. We are all volunteers.

Fran: The greatest form of loyalty is honesty.

Pat: I would like to read a quote here. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strive valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, do that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt

Pat Segel and Fran Cella interrupted Pat Miller twice saying the quote does not apply here.

Pat Segel: The easiest thing to do would be to walk away – harder to come to a consensus.

Fran: Pat always says, “We did that before.” That is oppression—not being allowed to do things. This is a great opportunity to have an exchange.   Dan, why aren’t you responding to the things we are saying?

Dan Miller: This entire thing is beyond my comprehension. You reminded me before to listen. I am tying to do that.

Paul Durrenberger: “You two are the dog and pony show.

Julie:   You come across as the authority.

Pat Segel: An example is when you send out e-mails to the Dream Committee regarding 132 N. Channing. You diminish Mark’s authority.

Dan Miller: I thoroughly believe that communication is important. The more knowledge people have the better decisions people can make. Mark does not communicate enough with the committee. Every time he meets with Josh he should tell us what is going on but he does not.

Bill Briska: What should our strategy be here? Should we form a new nominating committee? Do you think you could come up with a board?

Pat Segel: Not with Dan and Pat. Dave Berkey is resigning. He is too busy at work.

Julie: We need to market the jobs. Give a job description.

Bill: Which course of action should we take? I’m willing to serve. If the situation is not retrievable – I don’t want to serve. I do not want to be President.

Fran: We have a few choices. We can continue searching. We can send out an e-mail to all members to see if anyone is interested. We need to bring a slate to the meeting in October. We could coast for a period making no changes while we restructure. Nominations can be taken from the floor.

Bill: Coasting would be unfair to the new administration as they would have less time to act.

Betty Sanders: I would be social events chair. I refuse to do minutes.

Mark Billings: I will remain chairman of the Dream Team until completion.

Pat Segel: I would be president without Dan and Pat. I can’t work with Dan and Pat with restructuring the group because they don’t want to change. Being president is not crucial in my life. Some changes need to be made. Paul Bednar e-mailed me saying that he wanted to be off the board list.

Julie: I would not have moved here if I’d known about the historic district regulation.

Dan Miller: All it asks is that the changes you do to your house are appropriate. What do you want to do to your house that is inappropriate?

Deborah Allan: We should have Jean Bednar mentor the new Gazette writer.

Julie: We need a cohesive board with a vision. We need to tell people you’re empowered and then have them go do it.

Deborah: I would do a board position.

Paul Durrenberger: I would take an at large position. General membership meetings need to be turned in more of a social event.

Dan Miller made a motion to include Pat Segel’s report and Dan’s reaction to it included in the minutes. Everyone agreed.