Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church


Board members present:                                          

Doug MacCleery – Board Chair

Carolyn Dunlea – Board Vice Chair

Tony Barkume – Board Rep to Personnel Advisory

Bill Gleason – Board Liaison to Stewardship

Jeanne Tifft – Program Council Co-Convener

Pam Koger-Jessup – Former Board Chair

Helen Kitrosser– Youth Representative

John Henrehan – Board Liaison to Finance

Becky Brandt – New Board Member


Others Present:

Kate Walker – Minister

Alice King – Intern Minister

Carol Graves – Church Administrator

Al Robberts – Chair, Finance Committee

Eric Pourchot – Chair, Nominating Committee


Board members not present:

Amy Venzke – Secretary


Quorum present? Yes.


Meeting called to order at 7:31pm EST by Chair Doug MacCleery.


Rev. Kate opened the meeting with some opening words by David Rankin, “Listening to the Blues”.


Consent Agenda Review and Approval:



Appointment of Becky Brandt as MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH Board member to serve out the remainder of year

No discussion

John Henrehan moved

Pam Jessup seconded

Unanimous in favor



Nominating Committee Report

This was a challenging year, but now all the positions are filled.

There are 22 elected positions at church.

Recommend a look to see if structurally position quantity can be decreased.

Program Council in particular has historically been difficult


BOT Nominees:

Helen Kafka

Carl Lohmann

Marty Bredeck

Becky Brandt to take over Sarah Soulliere’s position – 1 year (in addition to 3 months voted on today)

Malcom Kerr – Youth representative (will need to recuse himself from any issues relating to his father, an employee of the church


Program Council: Bill Cassidy – 3rd term


Lifespan Spiritual Growth: Beth Peebles


Membership committee: Linda J Burke


Property committee: Wendy Burns


Nominating Committee:

Bill Alsmeyer-Johnson

Laurie Hayden


Officially, a person cannot share a position per the bylaws even though there has been interest in doing so


Bylaws are vague on the number of members of the program council.


Al: There are double positions sometimes. Economize on jobs vs everyone in the congregation have a job


Pam: Ask the committees. What is a good number of members for your committees?


Kate: Proposal: Ask someone in the board to examine governance next year. What is a good 21st century church governance structure?





We started off this year thinking it would be a year of austerity, but the budget currently has a  $13,000 surplus even after all austerity measures were returned (increased wedding rentals. And other rentals such as memorial services, and pledges).

Plan to address fair compensation issues, so this may eat into is.


Currently, Geothermal fundraiser has raised $14,968.


John: Thank you Al and Birgit Robbert

Last year two board members didn’t vote for the budget in objection to unstated concerns.

We should be putting at least $30,000 in property maintenance each year.

These grounds are a treasure and we are constantly insufficiently funding the Property Maintenance and Management fund (PMM).

Soon, we’ll have to pay a part time bookkeeper and that will eat up any surplus

Budget looks good because we are underfunding where we need to put money (property)

We play catch-up.


If we don’t start putting in 30k/ next year, he will move to decrease our contribution to national and regional organizations. Will put forth a symbolic no vote on the budget because of this.


Al: This FY putting in $15,000 into the Property Major Maintenance Fund (PMM).

$13,000 surplus will be put into PMM at the end of the year after compensation issues are resolved


Pam: Put surplus into PMM now and assess compensation issues separately and work from there. (Was this retracted upon discussion?) She did not formerly propose this.


John: Moved adoption of budget

Bill: Seconded

Approved by majority

Against: John Henrehan (we usually just say one person objected, and not name them)



Quarterly Financial Review

Two good months in a row. Wedding revenue and book sale.

Total surplus currently $36,000. Next month is a 3 payroll month so there may be a deficit.

Anticipate rolling $20,000 into PMM this year if trends continue.

Operating account is now positing $34,000.

Stock market has been good (affecting endowment fund).


111 pledges reported representing $291K

102 pledges not reported representing $192K

4 of these we are unsure.


484 pledged currently

480 budgeted currently



Follow-up actions on the Fiscal Review Task Force



Went through all tasks listed in Pillars and Foundations most were done or dropped.


Major one that we were not able to act one: Volunteer Coordinator. Not enough budget to do it.


Nominating and Membership committee do some of these responsibilities, but no one to coordinate throughout the year.


Pam: Would volunteer coordinator position pay for itself?

Kate: They help new members get integrated. Churches that have hired a volunteer or membership coordinator report they have quickly paid for themselves. Person with mix of personality skills and databases.


John: Our Membership volunteers to a great job. We don’t need one even though it would be great.

Doug: Missing is follow-up and outreach.


Pam: Also missing is database on people’s interests.


Al: $15-20k for a part time person. Membership 10 people x $2000 pledge, the person would pay for itself.


Kate: This would be great for task force that was recommended out of the workshop on year’s Board goal for 21st Century Membership and Stewardship.


Doug: Need to look further at recommendations from Al regarding these issues as well as resource council to make sure that we take advantage of all of the great work that the committee has done.



Planning for the Annual Meeting (May 7th)


Most of the reports are in. Currently 85 pages. Waiting on two more reports. Plan to edit down a bit.


Need to make congregational meeting announcement. Letter needs to go out in the hands of the member 2 weeks in advance.

Budget, nominating committee report, need to validate all needed proposals are in.

(Proxies limited to one per person)

Endowment committee needs a vote on sale of property from Kornfeld estate.


Votes on reauthorization of task force.

Green Sanctuary Task Force is not planning to be renewed.

Recognition of the Green Sanctuary will be done by Linda Doyle


Potluck at 5pm – bring dish for 6-8 people. $2 donation for costs.

Make sure childcare will be provided – Pam will find a sign up link from last year to re-pass around.

Meeting is from 6:30-8.


Possible agenda item: How do we put declaration of conscience into action?

Lightening round: 1 minute per person – manage the time.

Cards on table for everyone to write their ideas.  – Pam will make sure these cards and pens are on the table.


MISC Discussion:

Where will Carol’s fundraising ideas go?

Stewardship says they are at capacity with tasking and don’t want it. This brings discussion back to volunteer coordinator and fiscal review taskforce.


Proposed amendment to By-Laws (by Tom Griffin)


I propose that we amend MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH bylaw section 5.10, pertaining to majority votes at congregational meetings, by striking the current text:

A simple majority of all votes, including proxies and absentee ballots, shall decide all questions unless otherwise provided in these Bylaws.

and substituting the following:

A simple majority of votes cast, including proxies and (when authorized) absentee ballots, shall decide all questions unless otherwise provided in these Bylaws or Robert’s Rules of Order.”


Follow-up on living our Values — Putting action behind the Declaration of Conscience (what now?)


Add to agenda to discuss at Annual Meeting.

Chair would like to put something in place in response to the declaration after we hear from the congregation.


Status and progress on BoT goals

Evolve Leadership Development Process – Pam and Bill – Need to get people involved. Spread out volunteer burden. Leadership development and membership work is coming together.

Meeting in late April. Will report in May for further discussion.



Congregational Growth – (Kate and Membership presented February 11 & March 18)

Champions: John Henrehan and Doug MacCleery

John and Doug to meet to discuss, where do we go from here? What can we act on?




Linda Doyle

Carolyn Dunlea


John motion

Jeanne to second



There is space for additional delegates


Rev Kate is an automatic delegate and will be attending.


MISC AGENDA ITEM: Intern Minister Last Board Meeting

Alice thanked the board and stated that this is her last board meeting.




Language updated, “To be more inclusive add “gender identity or gender expression”


Holidays updated


Leave policy changed form hours to weeks.


Media inquiries changed from being referred to church admin to the minister and/or board member.


Changed language on Columbus Day to Indigenous people’s day


Already approved by the personnel committee.


Snowstorm closure language modified.


Supervisor appraisal form modified



Bill Moved

Jeanne Seconded






Pam reports work in progress pending discussion of what data is possible from ACS.


Status of Kornfeld legacy transfer


Options to sell property:

Should we get the estate in the churches name then sell (tax lawyer would need to get involved because there is perceived profit)?

Or ask estate to sell then just transfer the money (in this case there are no tax implications)?


Firm recommends that the estate sells the properties. Tenant issues, unknowns, less liability on the church.


What is the motivation of the estate to get maximum value?

What does the estate representative get out taking on the risk of the sale?



MISC AGENDA ITEM: Minister Discretionary Fund

Kate: Minister Discretionary Fund in the red for the first time. Request to be able to go to the church to request additional funds.


John moves to approve

Bill second




MISC AGENDA ITEM: UUA President Resignation, Discussion opened by Rev. Kate

Rev Kate expressed her feeling and information regarding the situation of system oppression.

There is still a systemic problem even within the UUA, even when all are committed with good intentions. This is an opportunity for real though painful work. This is about race and class and gender. Difficult time, but hope they will see this through.


Good news, will have a UUA president who is a woman for the first time, all 3 UUA Presidential Nominations are women.


MISC: Teen Service

4th and 5th graders loved it


MISC: Personnel Topic

Carol Graves will be retiring June 23. She has been with us for 6 years.

Need a search committee immediately.

Need someone in place no later than June 1.

Kate will put search committee together immediately.

Overlapping staff for training could eat up the surplus.


John moved to authorize search committee for church administration and give authority to amend the budget for second salary through transition and spend money for the search process.

Bill seconds.

No discussion



Fair compensation by UUA provides guidelines.


Carol: Thanks everyone for the wonderful time working at MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH.


Meeting was adjourned at 9:04pm


Respectfully submitted, Carolyn Dunlea, Vice Chair of the Board