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meetings:2013-06-23

June 23, 2013

Facilitator: Greg
Minutes-taker: Mike

Present: Andy, Barbara, Beth, Cynthia, David, Don, Donny, Erin, Gatlin, Gina, Greg, Meghan, Mike, Nolan, Ryan, Victor

Meet and greet

David, Barbara, Andy, and Don's first meeting. Erin's second meeting.

David: I'm tagging along with Barbara. I'll just visit a lot and fix everything. I have a lot of tools, but I'm out of that world.

Erin accepted for membership; interested in becoming an associate.

Officer reports

Maintenance

Donny: Me and Jess tightened up all of the railing upstairs yesterday. A few places where the wood it's screwed into is cracked. They feel a lot more solid and a lot less wiggly.

Victor: The most important thing the plumber said that what the city red tagged was just the stove. Hoping to have a maintenance meeting later tonight. Looks like we will not have the huge expense we were fearing. We won't have to get the building inspected and risk losing hot water.

Ryan: No pressure test that needs to be done?

Victor: Correct. What he pointed out about our clogged drain in the washroom was that we could either spend whatever it would take to saw, dig, and all that to replace the drain, or, since it's right by the exterior door, just put a little concrete cap in there and have everything slope out. I've done a lot of concrete work. Probably the way we'll want to go. I think we've got two viable ways to get the laundry back. A number of people have problematic shower valves. One of the problems with fixing is that you have to cut some of the wall and braze in the appropriate parts. Greg was saying that we could put access doors when we cut the wall out. Will do any of that labor for us for $91/hour. I think we need to get a good list of things we need a master plumber for, so he can just make one trip out here.

Greg: he's been here before.

Victor: 15-20 years ago, he had the maintenance contract on this building for 2.5 years. He personally did a lot of the plumbing that's in here right now. Only drawback about him is that he lives about 60 miles away. I think we really need to schedule a Saturday where he came in once, knocked out about eight hours of work, and went home.

Greg: he also talked about the boiler. We have the option of replacing with an on-demand system.

Victor: If something goes wrong with that boiler and we had to get any sort of permit or repair, would be an absolute nightmare to bring it up to code. A lot of the pipe would have to be cut out and redone. He said that, when it goes out, he was recommending that we get a continuous hot water heater for each building. A big burner on a coil of water. Will supply hot water for a long time. Doesn't hold any water. Need to be installed properly. Have a lot of heat. If we ever get red-tagged on this, I don't think it makes sense to bring that up to code.

Greg: Remainder of the electrical work is Tuesday, the 25th.

Victor: If you ever want to turn off the power to your apartment, do use the disconnects. Breakers wear out every time they're moved. The disconnect is made for an infinite number of uses.

Hannah: What is our plan for the laundry room? Many of us have cars. A lot of people here don't. Makes life a lot more difficult to go off-site.

Victor: We're going to have a meeting. The ball just started rolling Saturday.

Tech

Nolan: We now have a printer. It's available on the “LAN of the Free” wireless network. It's in the office; you need to have an office key, or come find me, and I'll let you have your document. Now that we have a printer, I'd like to get rid of the other ones here. There's an Imac over there. It's almost ten years old. I think it should go by next weekend. If you want to donate a computer, talk to me. If they're like the Imac, they're more trouble to maintain; not going to benefit us. Let's manage it so we don't have a million computers. Charles could not be here tonight; we can take him off the agenda.

Labor

Gatlin: I realized that my schedule/circumstances mean that I probably should not be labor czar. Got a schedule out.

Greg: Are you going to run the elections tonight?

Gatlin: I plan to. Was hoping to find a way to do elections fairly, but might just have to do them unsatisfactorily. Also, my laptop was hosed.

Nolan: We do not have black ink from the printer. If anyone could buy hp60(/) ink, that would be cool.

Greg: I would prefer that we not have a printer that requires printer ink and get a laser printer. Much cheaper to operate.

Nolan: requires toner.

Greg: I have a brother who has a printer. Gets 2500-3500 pages before you need another cartridge. You just don't get colors other than black, which is fine by me.

Nolan: Does it have a scanner?

Greg: No.

Hannah: The copier has a scanner function.

Ryan: I can't get it to work, fyi.

Mike: Might be able to donate a scanner.

Food

Meghan: Since we're going to have re-elections, I need to get the first week in July concrete. I'm not going to be in town. The schedule isn't going to work. Have people scheduled who are going to be out of town. I need three volunteers for Mon, Wed, and Fri to cook that can definitely be there. I need people to tell me what the menu is going to be. Z going to be out of town. Hannah, you said you're gone Wednesday. Jesse said he can do Monday but can't do Friday where he's scheduled for. I need someone for Wednesday and Friday. I need your shopping lists soon.

Gatlin: I didn't know exactly when Z would be leaving. She said that, when she gets back, Friday works.

Meghan: I'm not going to be here. Need three people who have done this before to talk to me. I can assign you people to work with. I need shopping lists to make sure I have the groceries you need before I leave town. Jesse said that he will manage everything while I'm out of town, but I want to make sure that the three people who are going to be the chefs know what they're doing and can work with another person. It'll be our first week. Mistakes will be made.

Erin: I'm a seasoned Sasooni. I could totally do one of those nights.

Meghan: I think someone in the food program here should probably do it. We're learning as we go.

Hannah: If Beth could still do Wednesday night, I could do some prep work Tuesday or Wednesday to make a cold salad or something.

Beth: We can figure out how to split it up.

Meghan: You guys all have a $40 spending amount. Haven't been able to talk to the menu planner. There are some recipes online that we can use. We also need to pay attention to peoples' dietary restrictions. Jesse says he has those all. If you have any questions about your menu planning, you can talk to Jesse. I get back into town Friday. That's plenty of time to do the shopping for the next Monday. I'm not sure I like the same person every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Wanted to mix it up a bunch. If we have 2-3 people in the kitchen and assigned a different person each time, will help people get to know each other. People have different levels of culinary skills. This is not like a normal coop where we all live in the same building.

Nolan: Will you make allowances for those of us who would like to have regular schedules? I'd feel frustrated if it changed up every week.

Meghan: If it's a necessity for you to have a certain day.

Nolan: I'd like to be able to make plans to do things.

Meghan: You only have two days each month where you'd have to be in the kitchen. Could also trade if you let someone know ahead of time. If you don't show up and the other person doesn't show up, will create an argument.

Victor: I have to be Mondays.

Meghan: Are we going to have the kitchen schedule separate from the work schedule?

Hannah: Typically the labor czar takes care of all the labor. It's something they're already doing.

Meghan: Some people don't like to cook. Would rather wash dishes. Molly sometimes can't get here until midnight; would rather do dishes. Preferences will definitely be accounted for.

Beth: At 21st st, we had a big grid of your week saying when you can do labor, when you can't, and when you'd prefer to do labor.

Meghan: To start out, I think we should get everyone's preferred labor and put it on a calendar. We just need the first week concrete before I leave town. I've got diets for approximately 60-70% of the people. I did send out an email to everyone to get it to me. Some glutin-free, some atkins, some other ones that are pretty easy to deal with. Jesse said he wanted to do assigned menus, but I'm just the food buyer, and I don't have assigned menus for anyone.

Greg: Sounds like something you can work out with the people in the food program.

Cynthia: I've been hard to catch up with. We can do the menu tonight, so we can set it up and get it ready for your shopping.

Meghan: We're going to have a re-vote. By the time I get back it'll be all new people anyway. The people assigned Mon-Wed-Fri, make sure you get with Cynthia and Jesse and me for your shopping list and your menu planning.

Membership

Hannah: Leslie and Travis have found out that Travis's brother, Eric, is getting married. Going to Michigan and will be here on the 9th. Will stay a couple days before moving into 201. Talked with HACA.

Mike: Have you talked with Adam and Diego lately?

Hannah: Last time I talked to them was a month ago. Were saying the 13th.

Treasurer

Ryan: I sent out a small report for the first two months. Plan to do something more complete. We're over budget on stuff because there's a lot of stuff to do. We don't have a budget for an ink expense. Will have to come out of a surplus that we may or may not have at the end of the year. Trying to collect money from HACA for one tenant. They said that they'd give us money for three months but haven't. Going to have to go to court on Friday. We were hoping we'd get a payment by now, but it hasn't happened. Will have to evict them.

Greg: What happened to the eviction in 203?

Ryan: They moved out.

Greg: Were trying to pursue the money.

Hannah: They paid us everything but $50. They wrote us a promissory note. It cost more to pursue the eviction than $50.

Don: It's a lot better here than it was a few years back.

Hannah: We need people who are living here to tell us about maintenance / the history of the place. Thanks for coming.

Don: I don't have a problem participating in the maintenance.

Hannah: Jesse expressed a desire to table the committee restructuring.

Greg: Mesh networking tabled.

Server (Nolan)

Nolan: We need a server for the web site, mailing list, etc. Our stuff is being served by Gatlin, but we wouldn't have access if he were hit by a bus or went to the hospital. We need to go to Trip to set up email addresses, which cuts me out of the loop. I can't fix issues with the wiki or add email addresses. I'd like a $10 server. There's a $5 option, but I think it would be too meager for our needs. It would let me do a whole lot of stuff as tech person.

Donny: What specifically would it let us do?

Nolan: I want to move the wiki over. He owns that server. If he ever burns out and leaves, I've seen several organizations lose their tech infrastructure because the one person who took it on goes away. We also need to be able to set up email addresses. We don't have access to our domain name. Afaik that was purchased by somebody, too. It's basically all stuff that's being done now by other people, but needs to be done by an organization. We can't have an organization where some people are paying personally for these resources.

Greg: You're going to put up a mail server?

Nolan: I've got one that I'm playing with.

Proposal passes.

Mike: McAllen wants to withdraw from outreach.

Hannah: For people who don't have online access, if you want to add something to the agenda, can pin it on the bulletin board, and add your name. We're working on being less email-centric.

Approve membership coordinator labor description

Hannah: A lot of our description applies to Sasona, which is why I've rewritten it. Added a blurb about talking to people where there are a lot of community concerns, and delegating if I can't. Changed some details about not having the waiting list on the wiki. It's people we hardly even know's first and last names. I always forget to update anyway.

Ryan: Every other coop I've been in has conflict mediation as its own position. Usually a meeting facilitator, house trustee-type position.

Hannah: What I see as ideal is that we get these positions instituted. The mem co might be the point person to ensure that someone is doing it. Doesn't need to do it every time.

Proposal passes.

New membership officer description

- Keep the cooperative as close to full occupancy as humanly possible. - Advertise! Update our ads on Craigslist every week—even when the house is

  full. Never stop advertising.  Regularly reach out in other ways to ensure a
  diverse membership:  this can include flyers, Facebook posts, events,
  contact social services that work with affordable housing etc.  It’s always
  a good thing for more people to know about us

- Answer emails/questions from prospective members and give them tours when

  you’re around. Answer e-mails to the “info” address in a timely manner.
   Learn to recognize scam emails (bad grammar/punctuation, usually from a
  foreign country, says “advert,” claims to be a model or working for some
  altruistic cause, attaches a picture of a beautiful girl, weird email
  addresses, obviously didn’t read the ad, immediately starts asking about how
  much rent and deposit to pay, etc). Don’t be a sucker. If you aren’t sure if
  an email is a scam, send it to the house for advice.

- Keep the information sent to prospective members updated and thorough. - Serve as primary liaison with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin.

   Answer their correspondence promptly.  Handle the renewal process for
  tenants' receiving HCV (Section 8) vouchers. If communication from HACA
  concerns other coordinators’ areas of oversight promptly inform them and the
  committees working with them.  

- Keep the originals of all signed contracts. Under no circumstance should

  the Membership Coordinator let a member borrow the original contract if
  there are no copies onhand, or the final copy if for some reason the
  original is not onhand.

- Keep the Member Roster updated on the wiki. Be aware of whose contract is

  ending soon, and make sure they renew their contract. If, 6 weeks before
  their contract ends, they will not guarantee that they will renew their
  contract, start advertising that their room will open up soon. They can
  renew their contract at any time then, but if someone signs a contract for
  the room before they do, then they must either move out or, if other rooms
  are available, switch rooms. If their contract is not renewed a month before
  the end of the contract period, then advertise their room and let someone
  else sign for their room (after first giving them a chance).

- Jack’s Law: Make sure that new members pay their deposit, membership fee,

  and any pet deposit needed when they sign their contract. If they do not pay
  their deposit, then they cannot sign a contract. DO NOT let people move in
  if they haven’t paid these.

- Make sure that people with no money and no job don’t move in. It is easier

  to stop them from moving in than it is to evict them once they’re here.
  People without jobs should pay both the deposit and first month’s rent
  before moving in. If they cannot do so, then that is firsthand knowledge of
  a reason that they would be evicted – and therefore a good reason to deny
  them membership.

- Keep track of who attended two meetings and when. Keep the waiting list

  updated in the drafts folder of the "info" e-mail. After a prospective
  member has been accepted, make sure they are added to the email list for
  when a room opens up. Keep track of what prospective members have pets, pet
  allergies, and if their preference is for a room or a whole unit.

- If several people are interested in the same room or unit, decide who gets

  it. Be very familiar with the Member Acceptance Policy, and follow it
  faithfully. Update the Member Acceptance Policy, with the house’s help, if
  you encounter situations that the policy does not adequately handle.

- Keep extra copies of all of the room keys. Keep them organized. With the

  maintenance coordinator’s help, make sure that everyone has a key and a
  functional lock on their door.

- Find hostelers to fill vacant rooms until a long-term member can move in.

  Ask prospective hostelers for more information about themselves (such as a
  Facebook page) and ask them to explain why they would be a good fit for the
  house. Accept or reject potential hostelers based on who can take the room
  when it is available, who will stay the longest (in order to bring in the
  most money with the least turnover), and who will be the best fit for the
  house. Do not accept hostelers who won’t be a good fit for the house. If
  there is any question whether someone will be a good fit for the house,
  contact the house and ask the house’s opinion. Hostelers should be civil,
  friendly, able to pay in advance, and able to move out when their hosteling
  stay is completed.

- Determine how much a member’s deposit will be charged upon move-out. - Act as House Mediator to try to solve conflicts. Encourage everyone to play

  nice.

- Address widespread concerns members may have about specific behavior of

  another member that is worrisome, inappropriate, or that causes them to feel
  unsafe.  Act as ambassador to a member when there are unvoiced concerns that
  their behavior is negatively and inappropriately affecting the community.
   If unable to fulfill this role due to personal circumstances, recruit
  another mediator who can.

Elections

Gatlin: My laptop dried out and turned on. Can be used in the common space. If I work really hard tonight, people can use it, and we can vote electronically. Nobody sees your result but you. We now have a common computer. If I'm not mistaken, all of the positions that we voted on in April are up now.

??: Are there mediators?

Gatlin: No.

Meghan: Jesse wants to be menu planner. Z wants to be food buyer.

Gatlin: If the people in the positions want to resign, that is their call.

Cynthia: Want to resign. I'm never here.

Gatlin: Rather than having nominations, was thinking about having a grid. I want to make sure we can get every single person's nominations, but we need to vote soon. We have about eight days to get the election done.

Greg: We have eight(?) positions to fill: treasurer, labor, membership, outreach, food coordinator, food buyer, maintenance coordinator.

Gatlin: I could run the election Wednesday, count on Fri-Sat, and announce the results on Sunday.

Hannah: Should post a sign saying that nominations are in the commons.

Gatlin: Does everybody have a key?

Hannah: Everybody who's a coop member.

Nolan: What about the associates who don't carry commons room keys? How would they vote?

Gatlin: Do we have any?

Gina: I can sneak in; no big deal.

New business

Erin: I'm the events coordinator for Sasona. I see so much potential for collaboration between the two houses. Jessica and I have been doing our parts to collaborate. I think it would be great to have a party to get Sasona people out here to see the amazing stuff that you guys are doing. I'd like to have a second party at Sasona. The reason I'm proposing that we have the party here first is that I don't think Sasoonis have as good of an idea as me and Jessica of the amazing stuff going on here. I think that, if they did, they would be a lot more involved. Thinking July 20, close to Claude's birthday. Would be really simple. Somebody in charge of Music, somebody in charge of drinks. Have one non-alcoholic drink for everybody. If other people want to add liquor, they totally can. That way, nobody's spending a bunch of money setting up the party.

Victor: A lot of us have College Houses backgrounds also. Inviting the staff from CH here?

Erin: Sure.

Hannah: Can we make this a coop community house-warming party?

Erin: I want any reason to get them over here.

Hannah: Let's invite White Hall, Sasona, Sunflower? The College coops? A lot of them probably won't come. They get rowdy at their own houses where they know it's appropriate. They'll understand what the boundaries are. We're not giving them free liquor.

Erin: I'm volunteering to be the major coordinator for the party. Details can go through me. I wanted to see what you guys thought.

Hannah: I talked to a number of people about this. We really need some love in the common space. I'd love to have a couple of “triumph of the commons” shifts next weekend. If things are not labeled by then, out they go. We clean, organize, label, throw stuff out. I'd also really like to paint. I think it'll be really worth it when the room has a little bit of liveliness to it. I'll bring a couple of pallet choices to Wednesday. If you have suggestions, bring them Wednesday. I'm looking at two tones. THink two complementary colors.

Donny: We can now play DVDs on that tv. Will soon have blue ray and thumb drive access on the blue ray player. Might be able to do Netflix straight through that.

Gatlin?: Speakers were on the shelf over there.

Ryan: I was tasked to ask Daniel about money for renovations. We did set aside money for renovations. We just used it to do the electrical replacement and get rid of the bed bugs. He said “do it out of your house funds, and, if you don't have enough money at the end of the year, ask for more.” If they come up with drastic problems, they'll probably give us more money, but doesn't sound like something we can bank on.

??: Do we have any sort of general projection of when we'll be recovered from replacing the electrical panels and air conditioning and be able to do other various updates?

Ryan: If there aren't pressing maintenance problems, we can start talking about a long-term plan. Maybe without the big gas project coming up, we might be able to talk about long-term planning, but right now it's a moot point. Things need to be fixed immediately.

Greg: The money that we spent on the bed bugs and electric was budgeted. We don't have to worry about it in our local budget.

Ryan: To remodel the common room, will need to do it out of our own budget.

Mike: Does the capital improvement budget reset every year, like minor maintenance?

Ryan: Yes. Our maintenance budget is actually the CHEA maintenance budget. There's potential for shifting things.

Meghan: Z running for food buyer, but she's not going to be here for July. I told her that I'd stay on as food buyer for July.

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