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February 15, 2015

Meet and greet

Z, John, Donny facilitating, Andy, Hannah, Paul, Richard, Carey, Molly, Cynthia, Corey, Jack, Don, Gatlin, Marilyn taking minutes. Guest: Sita (accepted for prospective membership approx Dec 2014, Donny's former yoga instructor, currently living in Germany)

Agenda item 1

(Richard) Allow dinner and brunch cooks to use diet/nutrition abbreviations in lieu of an exhaustive list of ingredients. Abbreviations can include:

  • M (Meat)
  • VGT (Vegetarian)
  • VGN (Vegan)
  • GF (Gluten free)
  • DF (Dairy free)

Whether a cook lists diet abbreviations or all ingredients in a dish, labels must include names of ingredients, written out in full (no abbreviations), that are either common allergens or found on a list of allergens compiled and maintained by the Kitchen Manager. Common allergens (covering 90% of all food-triggered allergic reactions) are:

  • Peanut
  • Tree nuts
  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

Richard: the point is to alert members to the most important concerns. He included “M” for meat so prevent dishes not being labeled at all. Point of information Z: this does not include any of her dietary restrictions. Richard: he understand that this is not a comprehensive list. Molly: does this include Z's restrictions? Richard says that would be covered by the kitchen manager list. Z – a meaningful list would include all the items that our members have. Richard – the list would include individual members' problems and the common allergens. Corey – clarifying question – is this a basic, bare minimum list of what we need, but we an expand on that? Richard – yes. Concerns – Z - e should no-show people who don't put every ingredient on there. Marilyn: it is inhibiting if there is too much work involved in being a cook. Carey – concerned that his severe allergen is not on the list, and he is afraid that important allergens will be omitted. Paul – that is already addressed in the proposal. Cynthia _. Z – friendly amendment, instead of list of common allergens could we include the specifics allergens we know about. Accepted by Richard, adding banana, mango, avocado, and black pepper. Proposal accepted with friendly amendment from Marilyn, accepted by consensus, “a list of allergens compiled, maintained, and distributed to cooks by the Kitchen Manager,” and friendly amendment by Z accepted the AZ symbol will be included to reflect Z's allergies.

Agenda item 2

(Paul) 15% of house members (currently, 6 people) must be present for a meeting to proceed. Meeting start time can be delayed up to 15 minutes if not enough people are present. Quorum must be met at the outset of each agenda item. If quorum is not reached at the beginning of an agenda item, the meeting is adjourned and all remaining items are tabled. Paul's presentation: To prevent 1-2 people “hijacking the process.” Clarifying quesions: who would enforce it, what's the fewest we've had here (answer 4). Point of information: anything passed by a small group could be overturned at the next meeting. No consensus to move forward.

Agenda item 3

(Paul) Unless they are required for the proceedings, non-members should not be at membership reviews or contract breaks. Clarifying questions: Who are members? Answer: Associates and Residents? Concerns and friendly amendments: Z –Prospective members would move in if there were an opening, so they should not be excluded from membership reviews. Andy – those who have signed contracts are putting in more effort than those who have not. Direct response from Z – not everyone has the time and money to participate as Associates. Molly – she thinks that some prospective members have been scared off by witnessing a 3 hour membership meeting. Donny – supports this because people who have signed contracts have a fiduciary and legal relationship with the house, and these same items may come up in a membership review. Corey – These can be very personal, and without the context of close involvement in the community prospective members may have trouble understanding the context. Response from Z: we've had good input from one non-member recently, and she's afraid of a caste system in which some people have few ways to become involved. Showing our bad side early is good. Paul – should certain benefits accrue to members vs non -members. Response from Z – prospective members are a type of member. Molly – It was uncomfortable to be in a job in which her failings were discussed in front of people who didn't know her or the context, and she thinks that those under review might be very uncomfortable with non-members present. Hannah – non-members sometimes contributing in irrelevant ways or need a lot of background information. Sita agrees with that. Z – Feels her concerns are not being met. Richard – By definition prospective members are not members. Cynthia – Some people are accepted as prospective members but don't come back, don't do labor. Molly – friendly amendment – perhaps there can be a designated “friend of the community prospective member” whom we know well to be allowed to participate. Marilyn – from point of view of MemCo there are a lot of people who come to two meetings to become prospective members and don't return, so should not be part of the discussion. Paul and Z accept this friendly amendment: Unless required for the proceedings or accepted by consensus non-members should not be present at membership reviews or contract breaks. Amended proposal accepted by consensus.

Agenda item 4

(Paul) The current tech coordinator description: To build, implement and maintain useful and sustainable technological infrastructure that enhances efficiency, increases community participation and improves individual empowerment.

Instead, I propose:

1) Build, implement, and maintain the network, including the Internet connection, the house computers, and the wireless network.

2) Build, implement, and maintain house software and services, including the website, wiki, inventory and labor tracking software, and so forth.

3) Increase community participation and individual empowerment by using open, transparent development processes. (Clarification: open-source solutions).

4) Seek efficient use of house technologies.

5) Maintain an inventory of house technology.

6) Document common setup and maintenance procedures.

7) Work with financial officers to ensure continuity of necessary services.

8) Listen to house concerns and communicate clearly about any issues raised.

9) Work with other officers as necessary.

Questions and points of information: Carey - Would Paul consider a tech team with administrative responsibilities. Paul – Yes. Gatlin – He has gotten a hour credit for tech work. Paul agrees that this is a good idea. Concerns and friendly amendments: None. Passes by consensus.

Agenda item 5

(Gatlin) Update the Food Procurer officer description on the wiki to say the following or something like it:“

“Food Procurer:

1. Keeps fiduciary records of all cooperative food activities.
2. Maintains a stock of coop's food, spices, condiments, and other appropriate items
for member consumption.
3. Works with Kitchen Coordinator and other kitchen labor to make sure required
ingredients are available for meals.
4. Accepts requests until the end of the day (on Fridays) weekly and attempts to satisfy
them as allowed by cost, necessity, or other reasonable constraints.
5. Maintains communication with the house regarding any relevant issues.
6. Works with other officers as necessary.”

Clarifying questions: In the past food buyer was also responsible for managing donations; Gatlin says this is included under number 2, would be open to changing #2 to include addition of “regardless of the source.” Andy: suggests changing to “Maintains the co-op's stock of food,” and Gatlin. Accepted by consensus. Molly request friendly amendment.– wants the position called “The Scrounger.” Gatlin doesn't care and would accept that as a friendly amendment. Richard – doesn't think this is a germane amendment. Amendment is rejected by consensus. Carey suggests changing “Friday” to “weekly.” Gatlin accepts the proposal and it is accepted by consensus. Final proposal accepted with change to #2 and change #4 from Friday to weekly (see above in bold).

Agenda item 6

(Carey) Adopt policy to restrict the use of highly allergenic foods. Carey: has had long-lasting reactions mangos, and our food buyer can't be exposed to bananas. He proposes that they not be stored, prepared, or served in common spaces. We could also have a “hazardous foods storage area,” either in sealed containers or someone's apt. Z asks if ziplock storage in a freezer is acceptable. Carey – too risky. Molly – should donations of those foods remain in the courtyard while awaiting removal by members to their apts. Richard – could the food receiver take those foods to his apt and notify the membership. John says he could do that. Carey – He thinks that storing these foods outside or in John's apt would be acceptable. Z – thinks outside storage may still be hazardous. Several comments that storage outside is not optimal. Corey suggests wording that “Foods known to cause an immediate allergic reaction will no longer be stored, prepared, or served in the Commons.” Z asks if frying bananas for dinner is no longer acceptable. Normally she just warns Robbie when she is doing that. Carey doesn't think such dishes should be served at common meals. Corey recommends that the Kitchen manager's list should include these items. Accepted by consensus. Molly asks if we can't cook something elsewhere but bring it into the Commons. Carey says yes but only if everything else is kept away from the allergenic foods, including knives, etc. Andy's concern is that we will have very restricted meals. Z thinks cooks can be innovative. She is concerned that we will end up wasting more bananas, so thinks they should get peeled and frozen and not used in smoothies. Friendly amendment from Marilyn, add to proposal “unless cleared by the person with the severe allergy.” Friendly amendment to include the ingredient when the allergic person is out of town rejected. Proposal accepted by consensus as amended; Foods known to cause an immediate allergic reaction will no longer be stored, prepared, or served in the Commons unless cleared by the person with the severe allergy.

Agenda writer's note: Could possibly be collapsed with item 1.

Agenda item 7

(Z) Adopt policy so all members can reliably eat during meals or reduce labor of those whose needs will not be met. Z: Does not want to do less labor, suggests instead that one dish at each meal be Z-friendly. Molly would support reducing labor hours rather than changing her style of cooking, and this would give 5 hours of house labored specifically tailored to Z. (Corrected to 4 hours.) Clarifying question: Are we legally able to reduce hours based on dietary needs? Richard: from a labor perspective he tries to distribute hours to people who are likely to cook vegetarian meals, but other needs are harder to staff. Point of information from Marilyn – a special diets manager might help plan a dish for each night that will meet multiple needs. Z asks if at least one dish a night could be designated for her and others' dietary needs. Cynthia: Z doesn't always come to meals. Z replies she would come on nights when she knows there is food for her, but is not there on Thursdays. Donny agrees that certain people never prepare food he can eat. Molly – for a year she has been unable to eat 4/5 meals because of her work schedule. She thinks this would be a lot of work just to meet one person's needs. Corey points out that the proposal does not specifically mean dietary restrictions. Marilyn proposes we can table this until we can confer with kitchen manager and food procurer to see how to facilitate these changes. Z does not accept. Z proposes that one of the four hours of cooking labor every night be designated as AZ/gluten free cook and one as vegan/vegetarian cook. Donny – supports this. Richard is concerned that is a lot of labor to dedicate to “one person,” which Z disputes. Richard – a lot of this impacts cooks and he has had one cook drop out already and doesn't want to lose more. Z says this is not an increase, but a restriction on cooks. Molly suggests that Z find four cooks who are willing to cook special meals each week. Z responds that there is no accountabiity as things stand now. Marilyn phrases Molly's suggestion as a friendly amendment, which Hannah supports. Corey says there are unknowns, e.g., if there are cooks willing to sign up for special diets each night. This would be a modification of current cooking labor descriptions and find people to fill the positions, plus organization required by food buyer and kitchen manager. Z is willing to accept a grace period before this is adopted and she will accept the job of cook four nights/week starting March 1. Richard as labor czar says he can work with this, but thinks it will be a nightmare. Corey clarifies there will be two unrestricted cooks (vegan/vegetarian and Z-friendly/gluten free) and two restricted cooks each night. Proposal: Every meal will be staffed by one cook for AZ and gluten free meals, and one cook for vegetarian/vegan meals starting March 1. Marilyn blocks, Richard blocks. Hannah blocks. Molly blocks. Andy blocks. Most of the blocks have to do with the administrative issues involved. Continued discussion supports the end but not the means (organizing, staffing, providing recipes).

Agenda item 8

(Jessica) Allow Jessica to sign another 3 month contract. Jessica: still looking for a place closer to work. She doesn't want to leave but it would be more economical for her to move south. Molly (Jessica's roommate) is fine with her staying. No concerns or amendments, accepted by consensus.

Agenda item 9

(Andy) Reduce labor hours from 4 to 2. Andy: there are many no-show hours, a lot of labor is going undone, so he thinks it's more humane and will cause less finger-pointing and still have essential labor accomplished. Gatlin – could members have 4 hour requirement but be able to petition the house to reduce them? Andy thinks there may be legal issues; the requirement needs to be consistent. Hannah agrees with Gatlin that this is a worthwhile idea but we don't have enough information from careful accounting of hours, so perhaps people just aren't yet used to taking this seriously. Clarifying question: are half the hours not being done? Richard: No. Clarifying question: which labor could be eliminated? Richard could arbitrarily cut all meals and Commons clean. Andy says there are better ways. There is not consensus to carry this forward.

New business

Cynthia – Non-members are bringing in their laundry, trashing the laundry room, and she thinks we should lock the laundry room at night. She thinks we should do something more about this situation. Richard suggests a time-set lock if we do decide to lock it. Donny says we can make a decision as a house and could key to laundry room as we do the Commons. One of the complexes has gotten new machines, so perhaps there won't be so much demand on ours.

Richard – Labor Holiday, Yay. Having our feast where we are supposed to deep clean didn't work well. It was a modest labor holiday, in terms of ambitiousness. Next time – “Let's knock down some walls.” Other comments: Not everyone got beer. Suggestion: clear designation of who is in charge of certain projects. It was enjoyable and got things done, well run.

Richard – 60 no-shows (not yet mitigated by surplus hours).

Hannah – There was one yellow card this week for noise after Tim agreed to restrict noise after 11. He is not refuting it.

Donny – Current office is being re-configured to allow ask for everyone in the co-op. More to be done, so that everyone can access equipment but not files or keys.

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