10/29/19 Selectboard Meeting Minutes

Selectboard Clerk Felix, October 30, 2019

 

29 October 2019

 

Minutes are taken by Selectboard Clerk Felix and reflect to the best of my ability what goes on during the meeting. Email selectboard@marlboro.edu with questions, comments, or concerns.

 

Present: Tanner, Charlie, Ariana, Stephanie, Izzy, Felix, Seth, Maggie

 

[CLOSED MEETING]

Ozzy Barnett has been appointed to the Environmental Advisory Committee

[OPEN MEETING]

 

[BOARD MEETING]

 

Charlie: who’s presenting?

 

Maggie: is it actually presenting or is it sitting and being available?

 

Tanner: being available, but they also get 5 minutes to talk

 

(Charlie wants students, Felix and Izzy, to present)

 

Charlie: I would love if both of you were going to present, I’m going to be at a dance conference but I think it’s important that this is presented from a student’s perspective

 

Maggie: do we know the timing of the meeting?

 

Tanner: Saturday midmorning, they haven’t finalized, or they did now, I’m just not sure if the Selectboard members would be named in the agenda, they were waiting to know who would be going

 

Stephanie: but the open meeting is 9-11:30

 

Charlie: I’d be happy to meet and talk more about things, but I have full confidence in both of you

 

Izzy: as a student who doesn’t experience burnout, I feel ill-equipped to talk about burnout… I feel like I can’t really speak to that, and I know many of my friends also can’t speak to that, so I can’t answer questions about it in a way that reflects what we want, which may be me just deferring

 

Felix: having two of us there is good, I do experience this and I can talk about it, we have the survey as well so we can talk about that

 

[DO WE WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE TO LOG IN TO SEE MINUTES]

 

(general yes)

 

Maggie: I kind of wanted to be in the room, just behind a Marlboro login

 

Felix: I do think that’s the right choice… so I’ll email back Matt

 

[BUDGET PROPOSAL DISCUSSION]

 

Tanner: budget balancing options… pretty much everything I highlighted I would recommend that we cut, that would remove $10,000+ from our budget, put us in the balance, then I put $1,000 to each resource center which doesn’t count spiritual life, something I didn’t do yet, but we would probably pull that from the rollover fund, that’s just because I think until we can make a new budget for a longer term, this is kind of a transition, cutting out $7,000… should the rollover fund just automatically get added to the washer/dryer fund… maybe that money should always just go to the reserve fund, those are the two things I thought of

 

Seth: it seems like the student activity fund is under a lot of stress… I don’t think it helps our cause to put anything into W/D, reserve fund is a destination

 

Tanner: that preserves who gets to make decisions about money, W/D fund, we’re down to $18,000, lower enrollment means it doesn’t get replenished as often, not too long ago it was up to $40,000

 

Seth: wasn’t there a thing last year about the need for a new contract with the washer/dryer folks

 

Tanner: we came to the conclusion that it was very cumbersome, we handled it administratively, negotiated into just keeping things as they were… decision about the rollover, maybe needs to be made by TM

 

Seth: have you heard complaints since the budget

 

Tanner: I only heard from Adeel who was concerned about whether he would still have employment and I said yes it would just be coming from different management

 

Maggie: and you heard from TMSF who were supportive of a $4000 cut from our budget

 

Tanner: I do expect there to still be a good amount of conversation in Town Meeting, I do think everyone’s opinions should be heard and for the sake of the process we prioritize the students because they’re the ones who will be voting

 

Maggie: are we presenting a proposed budget with notes of just the change, but not as possible amendments, just here’s a balanced budget, here’s what we did to balance it

 

Tanner: I’m open to that, I wouldn’t be opposed to doing that again if people wanted to come to Selectboard meeting… but I think sitting and debating, it’s not really efficient to play around, because the moment we change one thing something else has to be altered, TM isn’t obliged to balance the budget, they could just leave it not fixed

 

Izzy: what was the… doubling the resource center budget, was that something you were hearing from the centers

 

Tanner: I went to an LIC meeting that we were having other centers attend, for instance with LIC $500 allows them to get groceries for events, but when they wanted to bring a speaker, either way they’re going to have to ask for money, but we kind of take away some of their autonomy with that, it gives the students a lot more leeway to better support individuals wanting to go to events too, they just kind of do the same events they were doing but now the accessibility of it has greatly increased… it actually would be tripling it, any of the numbers I wrote in the other column is a change

 

Izzy: I was on WRC last year and maybe it would give WRC members the ability to do much grander things, but we ended up at the end of the year having a surplus of $200, we made the decision of donating that money to organizations that we got to research and that was great, so maybe having the extra funds would allow for greater and grander things, but also just being on the committee and having such a big surplus, it seems like a very large increase

 

Felix: resource centers don’t always use that but LIC and QRC have tried to do big things, haven’t had the money, gives them the opportunity even if they don’t use it

 

Tanner: it’s very reactionary, we had clubs that were being inactive, they try to save their money, when the time to spend it comes they don’t have time to do things, there’s some things student life has money for… this can be perceived as a start-up cost, with the intentionality that we can also encourage students to go to these groups

 

Maggie: is there any support that we can provide to groups… when we give a lot of money they don’t know what to do, guidance from us, liaison, talk to LIC folks to generate creative juices…

 

Tanner: pinpointing people who can do some of the labor… something student life has been trying to provide someone who, the labor of what they’re already doing mitigates the burden on the TM side of things… WRC from student life we’d probably push Megan towards that, sometimes there’s community members that are already heavily resourced in that regard

 

Charlie: I have been gunning this whole semester for HSP to get a stipend because this job is a lot of work, even with just being in meetings, it’s also the emotional labor of being the face of Selectboard, the person people come to, the person emails get sent to, it’s a lot of work to be in this position, it would be a lot more accessible if people also got paid

 

Tanner: I came from a model… I get understanding with my workload that this is part of me with my role in student life that I do this… students take this on, it’s a lot of labor, it’s nice for it to be intrinsically rewarded, but I think it should be compensated, which brings in a greater conversation, it’s one thing, to just budget to pay the HSP logistically it’s very simple, but this goes into approving the budget not in the spring but in the fall semester, but it would be good to pay any student on Selectboard…

 

Maggie: I’m in total favor of this but you did just make me think, how do you do that from year to year

 

Tanner: HSP is simple, but then the question of how do you compensate all the students for the labor… rollover money, but we can’t just keep pulling from that… general fund, reserve fund, technically money could be pulled from there, we start re-looking at other parts of the budget…

 

Seth: this was a subject of vigorous debate many years ago, and the people who were most strongly opposed to the idea are not with us any longer but I can hear their words in my head, I don’t think I agree but I’ll share them with you, you can probably anticipate a fair amount of it, which is yes it’s a tremendous amount of work but it’s work that you’re doing out of service to the community as opposed to the desire of being paid, there’s the you don’t want to encourage the wrong sorts of motivation argument, there’s the slippery slope argument, we hit that in five seconds today, personally I think I’m in favor of creating a stipend for HSP and not Selectpeople, the difference between HSP and Selectpeople is fairly remarkable, and I don’t think the difference between Selectperson and other committee members is… the accessibility argument, if the pool is people who don’t do other jobs, that’s not good

 

Charlie: I’m juggling three jobs and HSP

 

Seth: if you were being paid to be HSP could you drop a job?


Charlie: yes

 

Seth: I’ve heard from HSP that the argument that you don’t have to work is garbage, but it’s daunting… you’ve got to be a glutton for punishment and extremely well-organized, and it would be nice if that weren’t so true

 

Charlie: our previous HSP have been doing it for only a semester, it’s a position that, you can do this for a semester and you can have this much time taken up for a semester… it’s not like a ton of time, but I am in meetings for like 5-6 hours a week and then everything else, setting the agenda, the TM emails… the number Tanner floated was $500 a semester

 

Tanner: that was very modest, ideally what we’d do would be budget out a work-study equivalency

 

Charlie: it would make the position more coveted, it would encourage, I want to do so many things in this position that I’m not able to do because I don’t have time. there was this whole idea at the beginning of the semester about changing the TM timing model that is just not possible because none of us have the time to do that.

 

Stephanie: is there a way to get academic credit for this and is that happening and is that also a burden

 

Charlie: so, I’m a student of political theory, so it would make sense for me to get credit for being HSP because it would be related to my Plan, but the argument I’ve heard many times when I’ve said I should be etting credit is what if it doesn’t relate to your work here…

 

Felix: I’ve taken the community governance class, it took more time, I had to do more work…

 

Maggie: I think getting paid for a job makes sense, there’s precedents at other universities, towns pay their Selectboard, I appreciate Seth’s comment about paying just the HSP and not the students but I would be totally in favor of paying students on Selectboard, not committees

 

Felix: and we have TM every week, but it’s a different scale for sure

 

Izzy: I think there’s a very significant difference between the work for Selectboard and any other committee, it’s a very different commitment, it’s not very comparable, I’ve been on committees that are more or less active, it’s definitely different

 

Charlie: I think on other committees I put a lot of work on myself in those committees, which made me feel like there was less of a difference between being on Selectboard and being on those committees, but I can say absolutely the difference between being on those committees, serving on Selectboard, being HSP is absolutely a different experience

 

Izzy: HSP should absolutely get paid

 

Maggie: to hell with that terrible paradigm of being part of the community for community’s sake…

 

Charlie: experience doesn’t pay bills

 

Felix: we have students whose needs aren’t being met

 

Tanner: isn’t community part of tenure…

 

Seth: yes… service to community is one of the conditions

 

Tanner: I know I’m getting paid, that doesn’t quite stand as much for a lot of us

 

Izzy: there are other positions that are work for the community… that is a community service work, they’re doing it for their love of fire safety and dining hall chairs, but I’m sure the stipend also helps

 

Tanner: without the stipend we would not be filling those positions

 

Seth: I guess I would say on behalf of our dearly departed that all the examples you’ve raised notwithstanding… a lot of life does run on a volunteer basis, and some of it probably shouldn’t, but I don’t want to cultivate the idea that whatever you do you should get paid, and I’m not saying your job ought to be the shining example of that, but it stands… but I also appreciate this point, what kind of group have you got to work with, and can you say to that group, because the bills are being paid etc. let’s expand! … my wife is on the board of a housing trust and in some ways the board is who you expect, but it’s also made up by the residents of the properties, but the organization really works in part because those groups have to work together and talk to each other

 

Tanner: we need a greater expectation around accountability, there’s no language

 

Felix: we should be impeachable

 

Tanner: yeah, there’s no impeachment process

 

Maggie: we could bring that language after the fact… retroactively pay…

 

Tanner: it’s in part that conversation

 

Maggie: I think that’s important language that we add in

 

Tanner: some of these conversations around what is the motivation, it’s really about what makes the work more accessible… I was getting paid $8000 for what we’re looking to pay someone less than $3000… there was a bigger budget, others who made more than I did, we all pursued it not for the money, I do remember these conversations being raised, when we were making that food systems working group and I was trying to pay the person of that… so would we like to look at making it more around a set pay rate of work-study as a stipend? it might not be doable as a stipend then, it might be paid weekly/biweekly, that also includes who’s approving it… I can figure out logistics of it if we want to just set a pay rate

 

Izzy: Charlie what do you think about logging hours vs. a stipend

 

Tanner: you wouldn’t have to log hours, I can’t stipend the RA’s, why, I don’t know yet, but no one has given me freedom to do that…

 

(figuring out the rates… $3,584 at supervisor rate, except we figured out like ten minutes later that’s the wrong math and it’s actually $3,384)

 

Tanner: there’s the rollover, $13,000, was using $3,000 for resource centers, take out the $3,500, that leaves us with only about $4,000… events committee I gave them a little bump

 

Charlie: I feel like $3,500 is a lot of money, not that I don’t want that much money, but I don’t get paid at the supervisor rate at any of my jobs

 

Tanner: figuring it out, we could choose a stipend amount, we wouldn’t have to change one of their pay weeks, this just means put in 10 hours every week, 20 hours every pay period

 

Izzy: I think having a stipend like the RA position makes sense, not that these two positions are in the sense of leadership and being a point person, it seems like…

 

Tanner: it’s hard because RA it’s that and the room

 

Seth: it doesn’t have the idea of punching a clock, I’d be in favor of a stipend model

 

Maggie: but basing the stipend off the average, if someone asks why $3,000, we can say that’s based on a 10 hour a week work-study position…

 

Tanner: this is the bare minimum what I would be expecting

 

Stephanie: I have a comment that I really don’t want to say, but I guess I’ve never really heard of a situation in government where the current person is able to decide on a pay increase or start of payment for themselves, I’ve always heard it starts the next term

 

Tanner: it’s my budget, Charlie and I discussed this, I’ve been arguing for this since I was first on Selectboard, I think we’ll have to sell the community on the idea, but either way, it could be arguable that this doesn’t go into effect until next semester, it’s still possible to retroactively pay for it

 

Charlie: it would be great to get paid for this semester, I am absolutely not expecting to get paid for this semester

 

(discussion about the term, how long it goes, is Charlie finishing Nick’s term? the answer is yes but it’s been ages since any HSP has served two semesters so no one really remembers)

 

Seth: I think it’s the right thing to do to put it in the budget, it should be a different discussion because it may elicit some of the broader concerns that we were sharing earlier

(talking about building it into the budget, Tanner wants to bring a bylaw that says HSP gets paid)

 

Charlie: timing… so we want to read in the budget tomorrow with all of these changes but have a separate conversation about this

 

Tanner: do we read in the budget? I think we can just vote… can only students make that motion, only students can vote to approve it

 

Felix: this is student money but it’s the Town Meeting budget, so I think everyone should be allowed to have opinions even though only students can vote

 

Tanner: I’m open to reading in that language that we pay the HSP, if we push that I’d like the budget to reflect its plausibility… I think it’ll just get voted down… we need to come up with an amount

 

(we’ve voted on whether or not we want to pay the HSP, unanimously in favor)

 

(trying to decide how much)

 

Seth: I think I prefer stipend, and I would just toss out $3,200 for the year, somewhat random but somewhat related figure

 

Felix: and that would be cut in half for the semester if we had it choppy again

 

(Maggie moves that we put $3,200 into the budget)

 

Felix: are we going to have a bylaw?

 

Charlie: we should, along with an impeachment clause

 

(talking about precedent for impeachment, where the language for paying HSP would go, the difference between the Constitution and the Bylaws, other nitpicky stuff)

 

Charlie: so add an item after food committee, literary magazine, community newspaper?

 

Maggie: did we land on non-HSP student payments… good idea and, or good idea but

 

Izzy: we’re going to have everybody vote on this once they vote on the budget

 

Tanner: bylaw language everybody votes on, only students vote on the budget

 

Izzy: but we would need all of the community to decide whether Selectboard members should get paid… could we have a fund set aside that we don’t have to use all of?

 

Maggie: this year student representation is small, some years there are six or seven students, do we build out $7,000 a year? that’s a lot that we’re not using… or do we build this year’s budget to this year’s group and let future iterations of the budget be considered then

 

Tanner: it kind of undermined the rationale as to why I was making the other changes

 

Seth: I’m happy to be contradicted but in favor of a stipend for HSP I know entry into that position can be affected by other jobs whereas that’s not necessarily true for other positions

 

Felix: I don’t think you can say that’s not true, HSP is a lot more work but there are people who don’t do governance at all because they can’t afford it

 

Seth: but that’s not a Selectboard-specific thing

 

Tanner: I wanted to build in something where any student was getting compensation… (in my old governance system) none of the four executives to the 102 clubs were getting paid, but they had greater autonomy over their money, my board representatives got a $500 stipend, if we didn’t have those positions filled we didn’t function… I think having HSP now is important… maybe we do put in trying to compensate student Selectboard members later… we’re not always only going to have two

 

Charlie: so what I’m hearing is that for right now we just deal with HSP, and so for tomorrow, should there be bylaws language as well about this HSP payment thing

 

 

Tanner: (re: why it should be a bylaw) if it gets passed in the budget we can do it…

 

Charlie: there’s a Selectboard line item in the budget and there’s no information in the constitution and bylaws about the Selectboard budget

 

Maggie: so making sure it keeps happening is why?

 

Tanner: also every other paid position is in the bylaws

 

(Seth has proposed language)

 

Charlie: add something about impeachment?

 

Felix: I think that should be Constitution

 

Maggie: it’s related, but it’s not the same

 

Tanner: create a process for accountability, create a process for them to advocate those concerns, someone would have to meet a certain requirement to begin an impeachment and community court would have to make a decision

 

Maggie: impeachment wording should go in the constitution, so we can bring that up separately

 

[TOWN MEETING AGENDA]

 

proposed agenda:

President’s Address

HSP Language Read-In

Budget Read-In

Committee Reports

Announcements

 

(talking about who should present the language, we want to ask Eric and Nick since they’ve done the job before, otherwise Tanner will do it)

 

(vote on the agenda, pass)

 

[SENIOR TEAM MEETING]

 

Tanner: I have no problem going, I will sit on my computer, I will take skeleton minutes but also get work done

 

Charlie: do we have a message?

 

Felix: working on a budget

 

Maggie: tell them we want to pay the HSP

 

Tanner: so that’s a whole $3,200 we want to put in someplace, do we just say we’re pulling it from the rollover and let it be next treasurer’s problem? I think it’s okay with the argument that I was trying to make sure that the money TM was spending was money that was really impactful to students

 

Maggie: closed meeting business went smoothly

 

Tanner: when do we make announcements about elections?

 

Felix: I’ll work on it over Thanksgiving and we can vote in December

 

(plus moderator/HSP elections in TM)

 

Charlie: I am strongly in favor of adjourning ten minutes early

 

(otherwise we would be having a big conversation)

 

[MEETING ADJOURNED]


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