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November 24, 2013

Present: Z, Beth, Burgess, Cynthia, Donny, Eric, Elaine, Gatlin, Hannah, Leslie, Mary, Meghan, Mike, Molly, Peter, Rashad, Travis

Meet and greet

Peter here for his first meeting. Interested in a room. No pets or allergies. CPA; been in business from 1992. In a doctoral program in educational finance. I like the model of your community. I'd like to be a part of it.

How do you see yourself being involved in the coop? Could work on getting federal grants. Not mechanically inclined, but can do what others are doing.

What gives you meaning? Helping somebody get from point A to point B in any way I can. Being a mentor.

Officer reports


Upcoming announcements: * SNAP is back! Now every other week, run tonight (thanks, Meghan) * We have a big run on deck (we think) for the day after Thanksgiving. McAllen, Andy, Andy and I will be going down to Trader Joe's on Fri. Seneca will help put away food but we will need more hands on deck to put away/inventory Friday during the day. Time uncertain, my guess is starting around 10:30-11 we will be back from Trader Joe's * Cynthia is coordinating a thanksgiving day meal for anyone who will be around at the coop. She will be making turkey for sure and will make other sides if there is consensus I will go and do a bit of shopping. * Is there consensus towards a Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday from all the recovered food or will people not be here? Please let me know * Shout outs to Elaine and Seneca for helping with the run this week! * Need to have a conversation with the house re: future of food program. Need another officer to run the kitchen! * Will be switching to tracking my labor on Trello after this week. Will be split between kitchen and maintenance. * Am looking forward to pantry app!!! * Cooks/eaters: please cook onions in the bucket in the pantry! Also tofu, green onions, kale, green beans, sweet potato, and a lot of frozen bananas need to be cooked off.

Labor needs: * Fridge clean position * recovery cook x 2 * More receiving/inventory * Reinstate kitchen manager

Labor expenditure: * Sunday: receiving KAF: 10:30-1:30pm (inventory, putting away, taking across the street, cleaning out fridge) * Coordinating runs/volunteers: 30 minutes * refrigerator purchase coordination: 15 minutes * Donny/Trello: 15 minutes (will be on Trello next week)

Total: 4 hrs


This week marks the start of a new push by the Co-op to encourage new forms of internal communication within the membership. In short order, we have set up this new forum, as well as the @LaReCoop announcements cell. These efforts were undertaken in an effort to expand co-op communication beyond email, for both accessibility as well as convenience-related reasons. So far, participation is limited, but I am leading the push as Steward to get everyone able to sign up for these new systems and begin utilizing them to do so. I hope to have this task accomplished in the next week or two, mainly through word of mouth. If anyone else wants to be a nag with me, feel free.

The coordinator meeting last Friday went very well, and has led to both this forum's creation as well as a stronger push for coordinators to reach out to their peers in the co-op to organize more formal groupings, to act on their own volition in whatever ways work best for them. Maintenance has successfully migrated their main organizational systems onto a corkboard-esque forum called Trello. This technology was also identified at the meeting as having potential benefits for other areas of the co-op bureaucracy. Finally, we decided to move officer reports out of the weekly meeting agenda and onto this forum and into the meeting minutes, in an effort to shorten meeting times. This effort paid off on Sunday, when the meeting—with no less than SIX agenda items—was over in just one hour! Hooray!

Finally, some changes have been occurring in the food program coordinator structure that the Co-op should be aware of. I'll save the details for Z and Leslie to report, but the long and short of it is that Leslie will be limiting her food program responsibilities to helping with the Keep Austin Fed program and in turn will be planning weekly social events for members to bond and hang. Ideas on the board so far are movie nights, game nights, possibly some sort of storytelling event, and many more. Keep an eye on the socialization station for more.

That about does it for now. More news as it comes. :)

*Last minute news* Looks like La Reunion did not get picked by the city for free google fiber. Booo. Girlstart down the road did get selected though, so maybe they'll offer some similar programs for the neighborhood. Guess we'll see what happens, but the door to that free internet hookup has unfortunately closed. :cry:


 Jessica and Diana signed contracts and paid deposits and other moneys to move into 211 come December 1. Elaine will move out on November 30.
 Eric M. signed a non-food program associate contract today. I will be signing another associate contract with Virgess on Sunday. Erin relinquished her associateship officially this week.
 We had our Membership Committee meeting yesterday. Went well, stay tuned for meeting minutes soon. Mike, Mary, and Andy are willing to work with me on an ongoing basis. Marilyn has also
 expressed interest although she was not able to make it last night.
 I would still like to buy a vinyl banner for the outside of the house. Travis sent Jess the file for the LaRe logo, I e-mailed Jess earlier this week and will e-mail him again if I don't hear
 back soon to check in. I would really like to do this soon before I take a pay cut to work part-time.

(Travis) Propose new deadlines for agenda changes and public posting.

  • Deadline for agenda changes: 9:00 pm Friday.
  • Deadline for public posting: 12:00 pm Saturday.

Travis: Propose setting deadline for agenda items at 9pm on Friday. Will have it translated into Spanish and posted at noon on Saturday.

Donny: What will happen if you ever leave? Can we make it part of an officer position?

Travis: In the steward job description, they're responsible for making sure meetings happen. I'm pretty sure I wrote in that they're responsible for agendas.

Travis moves to vote. Donny seconds.

Passes by consensus.

===== (Travis) Quiet hours? Travis: Made it a goal to create a new member orientation program. We have no set official quiet hours. Do we feel that this is necessary?

Leslie: I don't think it's necessary. People work opposite schedules; I think it's inherently unfair. I don't think noise is a problem here. You can't hear the noise in the back of your apartment. I don't think it's a problem, and I'm sensitive to noise.

Beth: We have very noisy incidents. When an incident happens, would be grounds to tell someone that they're being uncooperative. If we wanted to use it to address these sorts of issues, we'd have grounds.

Cynthia: I turn my music down.

Travis: There's a list of things that we can deny people membership for, and I assume evict people for. One is disturbance of quiet enjoyment. I don't think we need to have quiet hours in order to say that you're disturbing my quiet enjoyment of the space.

Molly: As one of the people with opposite schedules, I'd prefer for there never to be extremely loud noise at any time. If it's 3pm and it's really loud, then that wakes me up. I think that having a set quiet hour time privileges one schedule over another; would feel a little unfair.

Travis: Maybe I'll title that part of the orientation “quiet enjoyment” instead of “quiet hours.”

(Travis) Clarifying communication methods. Email vs Forum vs Celly vs Etc

Travis: In the past week, we have rolled out two more forms of communication: an online forum which we're trying to get everyone signed up for, an announcements list through celly that doesn't need an internet connection. Only needs a phone that can accept text messages. I want us to clarify what particular types of communication we engage in in these different venues. Prior to having other things, email was basically the only way we communicated outside of meetings. Was frustrating a lot of people because there would be dozens of emails every day, to the point where nobody read them. At the officer coordinators meeting, we talked about using the forum as the venue for most non-emergency discussion. There has been some debate about what we use email for. I've heard some people say it should only be used for emergencies. Or day-of announcements (like the birthday party, to send an email the morning of, but discussion would happen on the forum). I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts and come to consensus, and for everyone to get on the forum and the celly. Text @larecoop to 23559.

Hannah: How do we send things to celly?

Travis: Right now, the list is moderated. You can send anything to 23559 after you send @larecoop. Won't go out until I or another moderator approves it.

Hannah: I think the forum is great. People are lazy and take the path of least resistance often. I don't have faith that people will read the forum all the time. If I want to make sure everybody sees something, I'll probably want to send it to the email list. I think the forum is great for long discussions. I think it's a good tool for some things, but don't think it obliterates the purpose of the email list.

Gatlin: A forum is a really good organizational tool. Email clients are all different. The way I see a conversation is different from the way someone else might see it. Is Nolan working on this?

Travis: Jess and Beth created it.

Gatlin: I personally wouldn't check a forum. Would be difficult to make it part of my routine. I'd probably have it send me alerts. I'm wondering how we could merge things, for people to be alerted to some conversations but not every single message. With celly, I don't like the idea that there's a moderator that we didn't vote on. Sounds like moderation is a technical solution to a social problem. There might be something really urgent, and moderation might not be good for that. Could some policy be crafted, so that the moderator is voted on?

Travis: I feel like it should be something that not just one person is responsible for.

Donny: I really like the forums as a way to have in-depth discussions. I find myself writing longer posts than I ever did on email because I'm not worried about bothering everybody who might not care. With the forum, I know that people went through the thread and they're interested. The celly is interesting. Might want to see how it evolves. Could be really good for things like, maybe every Sunday at 6, we send out something saying it's potluck and meeting time. Labor holiday, coop-wide stuff. I'm happy to see the email list trickle down to a small stream.

Mike: Should we have a separate that isn't moderated? If I'm at Wheatsville, I might want to check if anyone wants me to pick something up, etc. Doesn't seem appropriate to send that as an email.

Molly: I like the idea of the cell phone alerts. A lot of listserves have a primary listserve for internal communication and an announcement listserve. Seems like it would solve the problem of letting people know what they need to know but in a condensed bulletin.

Cynthia: I can only get text on my phone. I don't use computers. Text is better for me.

Travis: You can set the forum to email you if updates come in. Somebody (Andy Peterson?) has offered to take on the role of summarizing conversations on the forum every week and putting headlines on the cork board, sending out an email. If people see a subject that they're interested in, they can go on the forum. Having a forum does not mean that people aren't going to participate. I think people will read emails more if we send less. Important announcements should be sent by email, maybe even through celly, but, because there's so much email, people aren't reading the important ones. I think that having a separate place for discussions and back-and-forths will help.

Beth: Jess is working on instructions. Next to each title, there's an rss that you can click to subscribe to it. Can also set it to send email updates if your name is mentioned.

Hannah: I'm glad that we're talking about alternatives to computer-based communication. We need to be careful not to exclude people who don't have regular access to a computer. Thanks to everyone who worked on this; seems like a huge amount of work. I think it's a little weird that it was brought up in a coordinator's meeting. I didn't see an agenda item. Whenever something affects the entire community, I think it should be brought up at a meeting.

Beth: We weren't trying to say, “hey, everybody go forth with our idea.” If people don't like it, we don't have to use it. Just wanted to present an option for people to see if people liked it as an alternative, since it seemed like people didn't get it when we described the idea.

Hannah: Whenever possible, I think that decisions like how we communicate should be discussed with the group as a whole, rather than as a smaller group and then part of the larger group.

Mary: I have a computer and a primitive phone. I see several things I'm supposed to be on, and it's rather confusing. If it's moderated, what's the reason if we have to wait for messages to get through?

Travis: I don't feel like I'm getting any good direction here, other than “you didn't do it right.” I'm hearing people saying things that we shouldn't be doing. Not making me feel like we're getting anywhere. I want to hear constructive responses.

Donny: Coop-wide stuff on celly, in-depth discussions on the forum, just see how the email list evolves.

Hannah: We can make a decision about how we want to use things, but, with anything decentralized, people will use it the way they want to use it. However, I agree with setting broad guidelines. Long discussions good for the forum. I think it's already self-selecting with less important stuff not being emailed.

Gatlin: I'd like to help set up some sort of email notification system, say, when there's a new topic.

Donny: I doubt that we'll be able to decide how the coop will use these things. We've built a new commons. People will use it how they find it most convenient on any given day. I think that some of it will have to be evolution. We'll gravitate towards what's useful.

Hannah: You'll get more negative feedback by trying to do anything than by not doing anything at all.

Travis: Everyone has different preferences on how they want to receive information. The forum and celly can be set up to receive things as email, or a text message.

(Gatlin) Is there a document rigorously defining labor positions; if not, may I help create such a thing?

Gatlin: Is there a canonical document with current labor descriptions? If there needs to be maintenance, could I help with the production of that?

Beth: I put the labor chart on a Google doc. I think it would be good to put the descriptions, too. The only reason they're not prominently hosted is that they're constantly changing. We've got more labor, so we've been able to relax things a little bit. We'd need to ask people doing each job what they think is important.

Gatlin: I'd like to volunteer to do that and print it out, make sure it's up-to-date.

Donny: Make sure we get the descriptions in the manual, so that it's accurate.

(Gatlin) Why was there no agenda sheet as of Thursday?

Travis: It's good for people to be able to add things to the agenda without using electronics. If you want to add something and don't see an agenda posted, post one.

Hannah: Gatlin, I'd suggest writing what Travis just said on a card.

(Gatlin) Creation of a fridge clean position

Gatlin: Should we have a fridge clean position?

Beth: I originally was going to create a fridge clean position. There are two people cleaning the kitchen twice a week. A few weeks ago, that included a fridge clean, but now we've been getting a lot of donated food. I'm happy to add that to the schedule.

Gatlin interested in being fridge cleaner.

Mary: I clean a lot. Have to do different things because it's boring.

Z: We primarily have Keep Austin Fed food coming on the weekends right now. Having a fridge clean that would happen by, say, noon on Saturday would be very helpful. Right now, when donations come in, I have to start by cleaning out the fridge. We need to be doing a better job of labeling leftovers and having a better idea of when leftovers spoil. I don't care if it's split among the kitchen clean, but it hasn't been getting done and needs to get done.

Donny: Was going to propose to create a position, but we need to decide details, like when it should be done.

Gatlin: It's the purview of the labor czar.

Leslie: Perfect kind of labor for me. it's finite. I need a deadline since otherwise I won't do it. I love to clean fridges.

(Z) Leslie, did you resign?

Z: We need another kitchen manager. Since she has stepped down, does that mean that we need another election, or to appoint another person? I cannot run the kitchen by myself. We need somebody to communicate with the cooks regarding what food we have. The idea of just giving me four hours has been raised. I'm really leery about having four hours of kitchen labor given to me. Everybody will expect me to run the entire kitchen.

Leslie: Position was originally potluck coordinator; 1 hour. That's what we created. As the food program evolved, other things took precedent. Then I started working. Potluck coordinator was not so necessary. We moved it to two hours before I started working. Was going to be a helper position for Z, but was done informally. I apologize to the house for not handling it well. Would be helpful to sit down with you in a committee and figure out what you need for help. I think it'll take a longer and more directed discussion.

Travis: The proposal we passed did have Leslie's position as an elected officer position. If Leslie is no longer occupying the position, we'd need to elect another one. Do we need that to be an officer position, or could we just make it regular assigned labor? I'd like to see a food committee meeting to talk about how you envision this going forward. After that, we can have a clear decision to bring to the house.

Cynthia: I think it should be a non-elected position. I'm here, and I can help. We all have to pitch in.

Z: I agree that we need a food team. This is precisely why we need a coordinator to take on these tasks. I'm just treading water getting these donations in. I cannot add onto my plate getting a committee together. Maybe elect an interim kitchen coordinator to serve until the end of Leslie's term. Please don't leave me as the only officer in the kitchen, or I'll burn out and quit the position.

Meghan: I think it should be an elected position. There's a lot of important things involved. There's money, hourly shifts, peoples' dietary considerations that a lot of times are being ignored. It's a lot to have to consider.

Travis: In the restructuring, we placed the responsibility of dietary restrictions on the cooks.

Leslie: I'll be glad to plan a meeting and sit there, but that's all I can say.

Gatlin: An officer is supposed to hold the election. I think we should hold an election soon.

Leslie: We don't even know what the position is.

Travis: We have a position that we voted on.

Travis: I'll put it on the agenda for the next meeting. Will put a nomination sheet on the cork board. If anyone wants an election sooner or doesn't think we need an election, let me know.

Gatlin: It is the labor czar's responsibility to run elections.

Beth: The original description was to create a labor job for two hours as Keep Austin Fed donations coordinator. Z, you're currently doing the job of doing the Keep Austin Fed coordinator. My proposal was to give you that labor and nullify the officer description, but was rejected.

Z: I need to rewrite the food buyer description. Somewhere back, it was in the food buyer's description to take in donated food. I think that having one person handling buying and one person handling donations does not make sense. Donations should remain under the purview of the food buyer. We need more labor hours to inventory.

Meghan: Suggest for Z and all of the cooks and anyone directly involved to sit down and figure out exactly what they need. If they can narrow that down into a two-hour position, could be the definition of whatever role we're trying to elect.

Beth: In addition to giving Z the opportunity to give her credit for the labor she's doing. In the email I sent to Z, I said I'd be willing to give her any amount of labor that she wants. Delegation doesn't seem to be something you want to do, but you don't want extra hours. If you need more people helping you, I'll try my best to find people to fill them.

Leslie: I'll schedule a meeting the week after Thanksgiving.

Z: I think I've been doing a pretty good job of delegating a lot of the work. In terms of it being a strict labor position, part of our problem is that the schedule for Keep Austin Fed changes from day to day. A lot of what I do is to keep in touch with Joseph and mobilize a team of people when they move our schedule yet again. I would like a fridge clean position. I would like two recovery cooks; instead of cooking for a meal, they would cook whatever surplus comes in. I think that two hours of recovery cook plus a fridge clean would be helpful. It's a scheduling nightmare since we don't know from week to week when the runs will be.

Eric: I like to cook, but I live on Woodrow. If people tell me what's needed, I can make something and bus it over here.

Beth: Give me in writing what you need.

Z: I sent it in the food buyer's report, but can send it as a separate email.

(Z) Beth - can we talk about labor?

Z: I'd like to know what the expectations are in terms of when labor schedules can be changed, if they can be changed without the house member being told, and under what conditions. It's very distressing to me to get a message saying that my labor has been changed. I'm already overwhelmed. There was the implication that anybody's labor schedule could be changed at any time, and I'm not sure we want that as a house.

Travis: I don't think anyone's labor should change without them knowing about it. Whether or not they should know about it before it changes, I'm more ambiguous on. It's important that everybody give their availability to the labor czar. If labor does change for an individual, should be communicated to them.

Beth: I was subtracting labor; didn't see how you could be upset. I'm happy with any policy that we want. If you want me to talk to people in person before a change, then I can, but things won't get done in a timely manner. I was having a lot of trouble getting schedules from people, and people yelling that labor wasn't getting done. I don't care about how much power I have, but please don't yell at me if things don't get done within a timely manner if you add these limitations.

Gatlin: I can see how people might be upset if they were putting off fun things on a certain night. I would propose that we move to a weekly period–changes can go live on a certain day of the week. If changes can't go live until next Wednesday, you have time to track someone down.

Beth: No one has been no-showed for any labor that I didn't explicitly talk to them about. Everyone has been informed individually. Sometimes I've had to put someone on the chart and then get the okay and move them around. You don't need to check the Google doc every single day.

Z: Would be helpful to have the schedule printed and on the board. Sometimes I need to know who's on DCU because the kitchen is a mess. What I got from you is that you felt like you could change anyone's labor schedule at any time, and that is not conducive to me feeling secure in this coop.

Donny: Important for the power structure of the coop to be accessible to everybody. The agenda and labor should be posted in the commons.

(Z) Whose job is it to update the board

Z: I'd like it to be somebody's labor position. Sounds like Gatlin has agreed to do it.

Gatlin: The steward is responsible for meetings happening.

Travis: I'll post the agenda and election thing. Other than that, we don't have anyone organizing, and I'm not going to do that.

Beth: Can be a labor position. Want a volunteer–don't want to force anyone to do it. If you want to put posting the labor description in my job description, then I can do that.

Hannah: Is there anything else that needs to be updated?

Travis: Meals, menus on the whiteboard, announcements. The thing about institute is still on the board, and it's nobody's job to take it down.

Gatlin: Labor description says to post the schedule, but doesn't say where. Do you think it should be more specific?

Beth: If it's important to post here, then I'm happy to do that. One place needs to be seen as more definitive than the other one. Was hoping that the Google doc could be that, but, if people would prefer the in-person one to be the word of the law, then that's fine.

Donny: I think the official schedule is the official schedule. We're leaving people out by putting things up in a way that people can't access it. Would support changing job description to post in the commons.

Mary: I have access to a computer, but, when it's right there in your face, you'll read it.

Gatlin: Not everybody uses the common space. Having paper in here might promote more people coming to the commons. There are ways to manage the paper system so that there's no confusion. I'd like to help with that.

Cynthia: I want us all to come together as a coop.

New business

Z: Cynthia has volunteered to make Thanksgiving food on the commons on Thursday. I'll step up and cook on Sunday.

Hannah: Eric and Burgess signed associate contracts. Eric is non-food plan, Burgess is food plan. Neither have access to email. I have a friend Adrian(sp?), who was here last night. Used to run a preschool. Interested in collaborating with Casandra to do more childrens' programs. Will come to a meeting in a couple of weeks and talk more about it. We agreed that, if the coop can't use it, he and I will find a place for it.

Eric: Could be good for the neighborhood for Christmas.

meetings/2013-11-24.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/28 18:06 (external edit)