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July 2, 2017


  • Richard
  • Cynthia
  • Kevin
  • Paul
  • Burgess
  • Joshua
  • Ryan
  • Robbie
  • Victor
  • Serene
  • Eden
  • Corey
  • Kerry

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

(Ryan Nill) Remove Fixer from the Wiki.

Purpose: The fixer position needs to be rewritten to acknowledge that it must be a a 1099 contractor or W2 employee and not a House Officer.

Also, the fixer position requires money be allocated to it in the budget process and my budget proposals do not have fixer budget.

  • Ryan says there are a lot of issues with the language of the “fixer” description, particularly that it describes on-site residency requirements, which may carry tax implications
  • Board has advised a change to rules
  • Consider taking opportunity to reconfigure the entire role
  • Remove fixer position from Wiki
  • Victor: would eliminating the “fixer” role simplify what's currently in-place?
  • Joshua: POI if we have to do this as a W-2 or W-4 position, then this increases our payroll costs; we'd have to pay FICA, medicare, etc. We'd prefer to re-word to a 1099 contractor position to eliminate these costs. As a resident, it's easier and faster to work with contractors.
  • Burgess: the city of Austin maintains that the property managing identity is expected to fix things within a short period, or else contract to external service provider.
  • Corey: if something's too big (complex, involving, etc.) for the fixer, then we have to pay for a contractor anyway, and then we're paying double.
  • Ryan: we spent very little maintenance money this year. we need to find ways to claim certain monies. the fixer would cost considerably more to operate going forward than it has historically, in several ways.
  • Proposal carries.

Agenda Item 2

(Ryan Nill) Review and approve a 2017-2018 Budget. Steward: Please print this budget when you post agenda.

  • Ryan review 2017/2018 budgets.
  • The “no increase” budget proposal seems popular in the room. This would basically mean nothing changing significantly - just some changes at the margins.
  • Paul: how much was lease payment to NASCO? Ryan: discussion of relationship between CHEA, NASCO, and house. E.g., lease payment is a CHEA expense.
  • Kerry: POI: tech officer position has been “roped-into under-maintenance”
  • Ryan: the tech budget has been under-funded “forever”; the vast majority of that budget is to pay for the internet connection
  • Victor: what are the risks of proposal #1?
  • Ryan: the major difference is this maintenance savings project. You get none of that under proposal #1. We want a 5% cushion. That surplus is decreased by 1% every year (more or less)
  • Joshua: those surpluses have been going into savings, right? Ryan: yes. we make between $50 and $100 in interest on our savings each year.
  • Joshua: POI: on top of monies in this year's surplus and past years', we do have a vacancy reserve fund w/ $21k. Questions about whether this fund is “on the books”
  • Ryan: lots of coops have failed for poor financial management. Let's make it so even “if we fuck up, we don't lose a house.”
  • Kerry: should we have a larger maintenance savings?
  • Molly: expresses reservations about raising rents if we're not efficiently using maintenance funds
  • Richard: friendly amendment to drop the no-show fine increase from consideration, as not relevant to budget
  • Some minor changes to bottom-lines would fall-out of this change
  • friendly amendment carries
  • Joshua: $10/bedroom increase is a large increase. There's no option to hold rent steady.
  • Molly: proposal as thought experiment: How nice would it be if everyone's rent were 1/3 of individual income? Could we just increase rent for those who make a certain amount?
  • Burgess: that means everyone has a different lease? If someone's job situation changes, that means the budget is impacted immediately.
  • Joshua: POI - addressing Molly, my gut reaction is that we accept housing-choice vouchers, and we work with people who are paying an undue portion of their earnings as rent.
  • Molly: we have options for lower income, but not for charging those with more income.
  • Joshua: expresses reservations about legality of proposal under current regulatory environment
  • Corey: this would require verifying income
  • Richard: we can leave-aside discussion of income-graduated rent schedules for a future time.
  • Paul: I'd be interested in increasing the grocery budget. E.g., add $1000.
  • Ryan: I think that's a lot. Do we have the labor to support more meals / more food at meals?
  • Victor: Potentially
  • Kerry: expresses concerns about food spoilage
  • Burgess: even though rent is increasing, I've made up the difference by having access to more food. We're getting more food benefit than we were 3 or 4 years ago.
  • Victor: I favor proposal 2
  • Molly: I want to discuss how people benefit from the food policy generally.
  • Molly: We should make more of an effort to purchase healthier food. Notes that undue attention has been paid to dietary restrictions (e.g., gluten-free) over general healthfulness (e.g., availability of standard produce food staples.)
  • Joshua: curious about some implications of a hypothetical $5-a-month rent increase
  • Hannah: interested in the $450 option, based on consensus; also open to $455, although recognizes that that's more. Doesn't see coop realizing much benefit from increased food budget without kitchen improvements.
  • Hannah: Central kitchen allows for economies-of-scale.
  • Hannah: Describes certain ancillary benefits to having a central kitchen that humble transcriber didn't really follow.
  • Joshua: We run out of food, especially towards end-of-week. So holding food budget fixed is inadequate.
  • Hannah: direct-response to Joshua - I'm not opposed to a “mild” food-budget increase
  • Ryan: proposes framing such discussions in terms of a “percent increase” in food budget, rather than an absolute dollar amount.
  • Burgess: takes partial issue with Hannah re: “beauties of a central kitchen.” We already have 1 kitchen for every 2 residents, which is a lot.
  • Molly: agrees with Hannah that residents having their own kitchens encourages food hoarding. Doesn't wish to sound “Stalinist.” But we shouldn't increase budget before we've established that substantial populations are able to participate meaningfully.
  • Joshua: Process concerns. Straw polls should be used when looking at several options.
  • Paul: we could discuss moving money into groceries from large maintenance project savings. Let's postpone for broader budget discussion.
  • Kerry: I'll be holding a kitchen meeting on July 10 to talk about some of these issues, and other topics.
  • Richard: straw poll.
    • $0 - 5
    • $5 - 7
    • $10 - 6
    • $15 - 1
  • $5 increase carries
  • Richard: we'll consider the $5 increase as “chosen,” enter into an amending phase
  • Ryan: 3% increase in food budget to keep pace with inflation.
  • Proposal #2 on Google Doc carries
  • Paul: expresses concern at the prospect of issuing new contracts

Agenda Item 3

(Ryan Nill) If we choose one of the budget proposals with Large Maintenance Project Savings, I would like to invest that money in a 3 year, 2.5% investment at Shared Capital Equity, a cooperative investment fund that lends to cooperatives. I've reviewed the documents in this folder and had a 1 hour due diligence call with their Executive Director.

  • Ryan: two of the budget proposals have large maintenance savings components
  • we can have a few years of savings, then undertake a large project. For example: kitchen remodel
  • We should get 2.5% return on 3-year CD-like investment vehicle with some organization with mission in-line with that of LaRe.
  • Idea here is to support a good cause with investment, not about maximizing ROI
  • somewhere in the ballpark of $300 interest total
  • Friendly Amendments / concerns
    • Paul: seems premature as we don't have a budget yet
    • others: this could be the camel's nose under the tent for a budget that involves a savings component
  • Passes

Agenda Item 4

(Victor) Automatic member review for Robbie from January, March, and April 2017 no-shows while under labor plan.

  • Robby membership review
  • Per Victor: in May, Robby was given an extension of labor plan to clear January no-shows
    • that member-review should've occurred last Sunday
    • wanted to see what the June numbers were
    • By May 17, the date given by the April 16 mtng, Robby was supposed to have cleared his no-shows; he was granted a 1-month extension to do that; he has not been in compliance.
    • 8 hours of no-shows accum'd in Jan.
    • 13 hours & 12 hours no-shows accum'd in March & April - this is likely to trigger another member review absent some other proposal
    • as of today, Robbie has not shown a labor surplus for any month this year.
  • Paul clarifies the number of no-shows
    • 8 no-shows in January
    • granted an extension
    • Victor maintains review should have occurred on June 25
  • Richard POI - automatic member review never happened, because an extension had been requested (and possibly granted) prior; but March and April numbers should have triggered automatic membership reviews
  • Burgess observes that Victor and Robbie have discussed the matter
  • Robbie says:
    • he was afraid he was a bit behind
    • he wasn't able to acquire clarification over the exact figures
    • he recognizes that he “failed to pursue making up the exorbitant number of no-shows [he] had acquired in the last 3 months”
    • but then he realized that this had been converted to fines that he'd paid off (mostly)
    • discussed everything in April
    • May & June, he's been more active in involving himself in the labor
    • Now he's a “recovering no-show-aholic”
    • feels he can maintain these new habits moving forward
    • expresses interest in committing self to a stricter-than-strictly-required agreement moving forward, to demonstrate his “gusto” and intention to move forward with a “positive mentality” vis-a-vis labor duties
  • Cynthia asks what Robbie expects; Robbie says he doesn't expect anything. Robbie notes that his job is time-consuming. Robbie notes that a time-consuming job is not an excuse for falling behind in labor.
  • Robbie leaves room; deliberations proceed in his absence
  • Victor says: Robbie's correct that he hasn't accumulated a *large* deficit in the previous months; but he's still accumulated a deficit. there's been *no* month in which he's accumulated a surplus. Yes, the trend is towards breaking-even, but there's no trend towards entering positive territory. So whatever we decide today, I'd like for him to prove that he can enter positive territory, rather than simply continuing to tread water.
  • Joshua says: I see a trend towards a positive balance. Discusses semantics of term “trend” with digression to discussion of best-fit curves in statistical modeling.
  • Paul: notes a lot of members are regularly negative (carry negative labor balances)
  • Ryan: we can't compel anyone to do more labor than they have to. The standard should be: will Robbie perform his labor in a way that won't lead to a membership review in the future? And I believe he's hitting that standard of not being in a position where he'd be member-reviewed going forward.
  • Kerry: notes that it's tough overcoming no-shows that have accumulated over a long period of time.
  • Ryan: Notes that labor fines aren't connected to membership reviews. In principle, one can pay a fine every month, and never be member-reviewed for no-shows
  • Straw poll:
    • do nothing - 5
    • terminate membership - 0
    • behavior contract / eviction hold-off agreement - many
  • eviction hold-off agreement carries
  • Richard describes terms of hold-off agreement.
    • no more than 5 gross per month for next 3 months
    • waive all automatic reviews in the interim period
  • Robbie re-introduced to room; terms of eviction hold-off agreement described to him
  • Robbie feels that terms are more lenient that he'd have granted to himself, notes that he's grateful

Agenda Item 5

(Scarlett) Discussion/Request to have details reviewed by La Reunion Legal Council: Change the Fixer Position from one of officer-ship to one of employment. Proposed documentation available at: Feedback requested and appreciated.


Agenda Item 6

(Scarlett) Vote: Remove or replace fake shutters on building facing Gault.

  • Scarlett shutters thing
    • Paul: we don't need to vote, as it's been discussed for labor holiday
    • Scarlett wants (per Richard) some kind of closure here
    • Paul: it doesn't sound necessary
    • Joshua: POI the wall is grey
    • Burgess: POI they're [shutters?] installed in different (inconsistent) ways
  • Victor: Remove or replace fake shutters
  • Corey: describes shutter situation.
  • Dispute over how much of the wall would need to be painted.
  • Victor: received an email from Anne, she feels that shutters are a safety hazard, not simply an aesthetic hazard.
  • Joshua: discussion of process for choosing a paint color
  • Joshua: discussion of location of a possibly-affected flower bed
  • Joshua: describes wooden “batten” (sp?) shutters he's seen
  • Joshua: reservations about changes to aesthetics of front view
  • Joshua: expresses preference for wooden fake shutters
  • Corey: what we're trying to figure out is what we'll do after the labor holiday
  • Corey: “shitty plastic ones” are more susceptible to blowing off, and won't last in the sun
  • Richard: can we paint shutters?
  • Corey: maybe
  • Hannah: wary of LaRe assuming responsibility for significant new labor projects
  • Corey: thinks aesthetics (of painting?) would be okay
  • Paul: Notes that aesthetics are already quite poor
  • Hannah: Notes that we can improve aesthetics in various ways
  • Corey: Notes that we should paint, or not paint. For consistency. (Transcriber didn't follow.)
  • Hannah: try that, and reserve carpentry project for backup plan.
  • Joshua: suggests green?
  • Hannah: more discussion of colors.
  • Richard closes discussion without resolution

New business

  • Molly
    • Not allowed to vote without being present. Molly's “schedule” doesn't allow her to attend. Temperature check for various resolutions.
  • Paul: but proposals evolve across discussions held in meeting
  • Paul: blocking shouldn't be allowed outside of meeting
  • Molly: I've been told that I cannot block outside of meetings
  • Richard: vaguely remembers precedent
  • Paul: agrees that there may have been some precedent
  • Corey: distinguishes current situation from possible precedent
  • Molly: idea of quorum. potentially a quorum of women. concerns about [gender?] inclusivity.
  • Corey: that doesn't seem really very fair, to have people who don't have the facts casting judgements on (e.g.) an eviction
  • Molly: Recommends policy changes to address Corey's concern
  • Corey: suggests tabling for a separate discussion
  • Corey: suggests calling-in to meetings as an option.
  • Molly: what kind of accommodations for those with schedule conflicts?
  • Corey: logistical challenges to implementation
  • Hannah: suggests that temperature check indicates a cold temperature
  • Joshua: recommends technological resolutions
  • Molly: moves to reframe the issue: what can we do to increase participation in the LaRe decision-making process?
  • Corey: a lot is apathy
  • Victor: apathy may play a part. so might fatigue. Sunday nights are bad for some people.
  • Molly: direct response. her position is that most people who don't participate in meetings are simply unavailable. Decision-making is limited to those with particular schedules; service-industry workers are burdened disproportionately. This dynamic compromises efforts at outreach to low-income populations.
  • Hannah: some places provide labor credit for house meetings. this would require labor burdens to be increased. Suggests that Molly find others who share Molly's concern.
  • Molly: wants to do this outreach work as recognized labor.
  • Hannah: could you do that at Kerry's meeting, since there will already be a critical mass?
  • Molly: would prefer to do it more formally.
  • Hannah: reservations about issuing ongoing labor credit.
  • Robby: I walked in late, but I'm interested. What have you been talking about?
  • Molly: provides recap for Robby.
  • Robby: I feel very strongly about service-industry-can't-make-Sunday-night dynamic.
  • Corey: Points out there were times that Molly and Robby were available, chose not to attend, and later expressed displeasure over outcomes.
  • Molly: takes issue with Corey's characterization of facts, questions relevance
  • Joshua: likes idea of doing a survey. His old coop did something similar.
  • Paul: there is precedent for performing a survey.
  • Joshua: expresses curiosity over details of Robby/Molly schedules
  • Robby: it's more about the general idea of a schedule.
  • Robby: agrees with making a priority of getting people involved.
  • Robby: he's mostly free on Monday, but has day openings during the week
  • Joshua: would like to say that he “loathes” the concept of mandatory meeting attendance, or providing labor credits for meeting attendance
  • Hannah: not looking for mandatory meeting attendance.
  • 9 pm arrives. Note-taker leaves with meeting presumably carrying-forward long into the night.
meetings/2017-07-02.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/04 21:39 by ehochbaum