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May 21, 2017

Present: Ryan, Russ, Anne, Corey, Paul, Joshua, Marilyn, Richard

Meet and Greet


Review of Minutes


Wiki Updates

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Note: $ must be escaped by preceding with a \. Example: \$100


Agenda Item 1

(Russ) Officers/Coordinators each give a 5 minute talk about their efforts this past month.

Tech coordinator sent an email report.

Board Representative: Natalie, our new hire, has been doing a great job supporting the board. She's interested in bookkeeping roles and other ways she can fill in labor at the houses. We had a community board representative election, and Natasha won! She's on the East 12th St Merchant's board, and might be running for city hall. Proposed settlement and counter-offer for a Fair Housing challenge made at Sasona. NASCO has also been helping us, since they're also named. Budget season: The board is voting on a draft budget tomorrow, which is an increase of 3.76% from last year. NP raised our rates by over 2% and payroll is a new expense.

CQ: Do we have to elect a new NP representative, since ours is moving out?

Board Representative: We're hoping to have someone by June - the end of June at least. The meetings are quarterly.

Treasurer: We came up with a proposal for divvying up the labor positions after a house conversation. I did some research on how we should interact with our bookkeeping contractor. Given that Sasona asks questions of them regularly, we should be able to do the same at La Re. I told Melissa that I would not authorize her to use co-op debit or credit cards, and to work with maintenance to purchase necessary things. Months ago she told me she was asking for a check from us for personal and illegal things, which I have evidence of. I don't know that this blocks her from being the Fixer; I just don't think she should be allowed to handle our money. My job is partially to avoid embezzlement. I'm not sure that anything else needs doing.

Bookkeeper: Things are up to date, but there's more to discuss in agenda item 4.

Kitchen Coordinator: Maintaining contact with the crew. The kitchen has been clean. I don't have grand plans for the kitchen at the moment, I'm just trying to ensure maintenance happens and we have a working cooperative kitchen, replacing things like weak oven door hinges. No news is good news. I'm still not sold that the kitchen crew is totally necessary - the labor pools are mostly for project-based labor (grounds and maintenance), while kitchen is more of a rolling labor requirement.

CQ: I do DCU and there's always water on the floor. Is that the fridges? The washer drains across the wall?

Kitchen Coordinator: I'll look into that.

Grounds Coordinator: Tidying up, chopping firewood. We'll have so much firewood soon I'm not sure what to do with it. Take some. My plan to restructure the courtyard - I've been behind but I've racked up some no-shows, so I'll be pushing that and making progress soon.

CQ: What will replace the photinia?

Grounds Coordinator: Trellised trees? Just an idea. Feel free to suggest others.

Food Buyer: I'm getting Kelsey trained up for my departure.

Steward: I worked with Maintenance to get the step fixed. We got that abandoned vehicle towed away. Kyle the welder evaluated our stair situation. Eight or nine stairs need replacement or repair, and Kyle is going to come back with several options. Labor will be the most expensive part.

CQ: I'll have movers moving furniture through the stairs this month. Can we replace them before that?

Steward: We're not sure.

POI: It's usually taken a week or so to schedule Kyle, and he can tackle a few a week.

CQ: What about the gutters?

POI: They seem to keep making excuses. We should probably never hire this company again. They have a custom set of gutters for us though.

MemCo: We currently have 34 members. We'll have 32 members after the end of the month.

Greg Caponigro, Arthur Hill & Addison Griffin are no longer associates, although they're all in good standing.

​Jamie and Serene have signed associate contracts up through the end of the month, and also have signed room contracts.
Kevin Weir and Brannon McGraw are new associates.

I will be gone for a little over two weeks. Hannah will be interim MemCo.

POI: Do we have any residents that aren't under a current contract?

MemCo: Jessica (at the end of the month) and Melissa, because of the #103 situation.

POI: We need to fix that situation. Everyone needs to have a contract.

Agenda Item 2

(Russ) The Fixer position must be a 1099 Contractor or a W2/W4 employee. The Board prefers the contractor due to added responsibility of an employee/employer relationship. Hiring of an employee requires board approval.

Proposal: The Fixer shall be a 1099 contractor position. Payment in the form of rent credits must be documented. For each hour of rent credit a corresponding invoice shall be submitted, from the Fixer which shall document the actual tasks accomplished and time spent.

Natalie (CHEA employee): We discussed this in the last CHEA meeting. If a 1099 contractor lived here, that would be fine, except for the residency requirement of Fixer.

POI: It seems more like a contractor position.

POI: Either way we have to rewrite the position so it's not a house officer, and set the appropriate employee standards.

CQ: When we actually start writing the contract, are we going to set up structures like: we purchase supplies and they use them (traditional employment), or they purchase supplies and we reimburse them (more the contractor system).

CQ (bookkeeper): How would I file an invoice the way you describe?

Board Representative: There are no perfect tests for whether to do contractor or permanent position structures. There's a large gray area. When you own the tools, when you require them to work certain times, etc. Note that we could still require that the Fixer be a member of the cooperative but not have to live on-site, because people can be members here without residency.

Concern: It would be hard to monitor those invoices. Could that be assigned to maintenance coordinator?

Russ: Yes, that makes sense.

CQ: How much is the rent credit?

POI: 1/36th of $440 (one month's rent) for each hour.

Concern: We should set up a basic payment system with a minimum and a maximum, and just do away with the whole rent credit thing.

Amendments: The fixer will be paid directly, rather than with rent credits.

Treasurer: It'll be easier for us to lose money if someone doesn't pay rent but is also pulling a Fixer payment. Could I pay their rent with their payments?

CQ: And perhaps delay the payments until they pay their rent?

Natalie: I'm not sure that's legal.

POI: A rent credit just won't work if Fixer isn't tied to residency.

Concern: Since this completely restructures the position, and there's lots of references to rent credits. I feel like we need a complete rewrite of the Fixer position.

Amendment tabled.

Amendments: The fixer will submit invoices to the maintenance coordinator for approval.

Amendment tabled.

Russ: All right, let's hear broader talk from the house about the issue, if we're going to rewrite the position.

Concern: The Fixer position is anachronistic. We've made a lot of progress in four years and I'm not entirely sure we still need a Fixer. Maintenance can be done by our crew or by contractors. I think time spent rewriting the Fixer position just isn't needed.

POI: We kind of created the original Fixer position to bail out a member.

POI: We could resolve issues of rent vs payments by divvying out the tasks for the month after the Fixer pays rent for the month.

CQ: I have the impression that we have a huge backlog of maintenance. How does that square up with “maintenance can be done by our crew or by contractors?”

POI: We hire contractors to do tasks for us all the time. Fixer is this weird middle ground of contract work.

CQ: That doesn't answer my question.

POI: I feel like the best solution to a labor backlog is contractors. We have more control over external contractors.

CQ: Why haven't we gotten any contractors to work on #103?

POI: Because we have no maintenance coordinating happening and only two people working on maintenance.

Concern: I think Fixer kind of turns into a general contractor, who determines when we should hire outside contractors.

CQ: How efficient were our previous fixers?

POI: Decent. It really depends on the maintenance coordinator too.

Concern: Either way, our current Fixer position is not functional. We could remove the position with an eye towards someone rewriting it with the feedback we've heard.

Amendment: Eliminate Fixer.

Concern: Not germane / substantially different to original item. We shouldn't make anyone the fixer currently, but we can't eliminate it in this discussion.

Amendment tabled.


Agenda Item 3

(Richard) Make the following changes to the consensus document:

  • Strike definition of “Minority” (“at least 1/4 of the members present at the meeting”).
  • Strike 2.i.III (“If not 2.i.II then, if there is at least a minority of down-tinkles the proposal is tabled”).
  • Change definition of “Simple majority” to read “At least 1/2 of the members present twinkling up or down.”
  • Change definition of “Supermajority” to read “At least 2/3 of members present twinkling up or down.”


Agenda Item 4

(Ryan Nill) Approve Finance team restructure. See listserve email for details.

Ryan: I split the bookkeeping work into two different halves - the income and expense sides. I imagine the treasurer and the incoming bookkeeper could be elected officer positions, while the expenses bookkeeper would be appointed. Expenses takes over three main things: collect expense receipts and enter them into QuickBooks, scan maintenance and grounds receipts and report to treasurer and NASCO, and reconcile bank accounts. They can also get the quarters from the laundry machine. I also deleted some stuff I thought was not important.

Amendment: Strike the requirement to send a reminder notice to pay rent or note the payment time in the commons.

Concern: I don't think this is necessary, since we have notice in the commons.

Amendment passes.

Amendment: Add the provision to all three positions: Within reason, they can talk to external bookkeepers.

Amendment passes.

Point of process: I don't think this agenda item is fully formed, since the whole text of what was being changed wasn't proposed as the agenda item.

POI: We post agenda items to the wiki and in paper form because some people only use one or the other. For accessibility, just posting it to the email list, which not everyone is on, is not enough.

POI: We can turn it into a discussion item.

POI: I feel like financial staff at College Houses was one of the most expensive staff items. What we're doing on the scale we're doing it, I feel like 9 hours for a house our size is reasonable. We also have half a dozen bank accounts and that can all be complicated. Ideally we can make our bookkeeping simpler. I think in the last year or so we've been trying to make finances more accurate, but that was at the cost of extra complexity, which maybe we can push back on.

Bookkeeper: It's hard to juggle the complexity of the finance system. We lack documentation and that's why I want to meet with the external bookkeepers.

CQ: Can we just contract with our bookkeeper to write a process document?

Bookkeeper: I'd like to ask for extra hours to talk to our external bookkeeper and write that documentation.

POI: From personal experience I don't know where 3 hours a week for bookkeeper expenses is coming from. It shouldn't take that long.

POI: Natalie could be picking up receipts and doing extra bookkeeper work.

POI: It would be great for CHEA financial people in general to take over more and more work as CHEA expands over time, so this might be a step in that direction.

POI: Maybe Natalie could do it. I think she'd be skilled at writing our bookkeeper processes.

Natalie: I love a good document.

POI: Daniel Miller at NASCO does QuickBooks Online training, for what it's worth.

POI: We need advanced help, not just “this is an expense.” We have things like payment plans, which nobody else does.

Ryan: Thanks for the feedback y'all.


Agenda Item 5

(Ryan Nill) Approve amended payment plan for Donald Marshall.

Ryan: He paid $1500 this month, and he's still behind his payment plan. He says he can get settlement money this month. We can get a new payment plan.

CQ: How much does he owe?

Ryan: $960. If he doesn't pay us back with the settlement money he'll only owe $200 on top of rent next month. He's gotten behind and paid us back before; he should this time as well.

Item passes.

Agenda Item 6

(Melissa) Requesting permissions to obtain supplies for 103 repairs.

Not taken up.

Agenda Item 7

(Melissa) Permission to begin as fixer starting 5/24/2017.

Not taken up.

New business

Treasurer: Do we want to ask Mike to step down from maintenance coordinator, since he's leaving and he's been doing a job where he didn't really understand what he was getting into?

Steward: I could do that.

Treasurer: I'm going to be out of town next week.

MemCo: I'm going to be out of town for two weeks.

meetings/2017-05-21.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/28 18:06 (external edit)