Feb. 24, 2009  

Minutes of February 9, 2009

The meeting was called to order by Darcie Lunsford at 7:30 p.m. at Florida International University North Miami campus, . Members present; Neil Reisner, Jaime George Danielson, Ron Levitt, Bill Hirschman, Alana Roberts, Darcie Lunsford, Sergy Odiduro, John Hopkins, Student Affairs Chair Michael Koretzky and Administrsator Tim Dodson. President Julie Kay arrived 15 minutes later and took over the meeting.

The minutes of the previous board meeting (posted online) were approved, after several corrections (typos and John Hopkins’ suggestion that Sunshine State award “winners” might be linked to our chapter website).

Treasurers Report: Treasurer Hirschman reported that the Chapter had $ 28,247.68 in its checking account, $12,135.25 in its savings account and $32,151.71 in a CD. Levitt moved and Danielson seconded a motion to approve the report. Unanimous.

Dodson reminded the Board that the Chapter is currently on a calendar year for its fiscal responsibility while national By-Laws mandated all chapters be on the same fiscal year as National – ending July 31. He recommended a bylaw change to reflect an August 1 calendar year and that it should be taken up at the next meeting. It also was suggested that all by-laws should be looked at to see if there is a need to update or correct any items. Dodson reported our current tax return (which had been on an extension) had been filed.

Dodson presented the Board with a spreadsheet of income and expenses covering a six months period ending 31 January 2009. However, members were urged to use this for informational purposes only as it did not include income and expenses covering last year’s Sunshine State Awards.

There was a general discussion on SPJ Chapter finances and the general effect our income might be affected by the economic downturn. Several points were made:

Money in bank should be used for education, scholarships; scholarships could be set up in a local Foundation; sheltering of resources needs to be studied meticulously; we need to know the income generated from the 2009 contest before we spend any funds indiscriminately.

Lunsford suggested we need to work out a 2009 budget because we are currently working from an “imperfect document.” Koretzky and Levitt suggested that there needs to be a budget established with “priorities” before spending is approved and scholarships are awarded.

President Kay appointed a Budget Committee of herself, Hirschman, Tim Dodson and Koretzky to report on expected revenue ($38,000 in 2007) and expenses for the Sunshine State Awards, regional meeting, regular chapter events and scholarships.

Koretzky reported on the Aprl 3-4 regional event – a joint project of South Florida SPJ and FCPA. Cost is anticipated at $2,000, with $1,000 from a grant and the balance from the Chapter. The registration will include all meals including a dinner in a homeless shelter. Otherwise, plans are being made for a restaurant in Hollywood for those who prefer it (extra charge). Help is needed at a registration table Friday, April 3 – 4 to 6 p.m. and around 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 4. SUGGESTED INFO AVAILABLE ON http://www.spjchapters.org/southflorida/ LOOK UNDER UNCONVENTIONAL 2009.

Koretzky gave an upsate on the scholarship program, including the ability needed to apply online (He will work with Danielson on this program). A discussion was held on the program…we need to determine if awards can be made to both high school and college students; the explanation that recipients must live in South Florida; the subject of whether scholarships should be partly based on need, and how do we handle two existing “name” scholarships – the Jack Kassewitz Community College Scholarship and the Garth Reeves Scholarship. It was decided this subject needs furether discussion and members are asked to bring their ideas and thoughts to the next Board meeting. Koretzky was asked to form a committee to come up with some suggestions.

Program Ideas: Julie Kay will look into a possible program with J.B. Harris on the “Implosion of TV Mergers and Sales in South Florida.”

Reisner and Odiduro will look into a possible program for late March on “Trauma Reporting…How to talk to victims.” We may be able to piggyback with FIU which has a March 26 daytime event, with a victims advocate speaker. Reisner will look into this possibility.

Sunshine State Awards: Dodson reported that 4 out of the 5 chapters (Seattle, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Maryland) who judged our entries last year have confirmed to do it again in 2009. We also have 2 of judges confirmed for the Batten Awards.

We are looking into the Hollywood Arts Center as a possible venue for this year’s event. The location has both an area for a reception and a theatre for the awards ceremony.

A discussion on a possible media directory was tabled.

It was agreed to have Board meetings the second Monday of the month – April 13 June 8.

Koretzky requested $200 for a UF sponsored First Amendment Food Festival. After a discussion, John Hopkins moved and Bill Hirschman seconded a motion to provide half that amount – $100 – for the event. Lunsford said she might be able to make up the difference from her SPJ regional funds.

The meeting ended at 9:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Levitt, Secretary

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