Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

September 19, 2007

The September meeting was held on the Island, following another happy picnic courtesy of our President Jeff Komarow and caretaker Joe Hage at the grill. The evening sky was exquisite, the river clear and cool, and several of us took what may be our last swim of the season. After a brief performance in the Clubhouse by some of Joe's musical friends, the meeting was called to order at 8:00 p.m.

Cecily Abram, Bob Beauchamp, Jim Drew, Bill Eichbaum, Bruce Gaber, Lee Gravatte, Larry Heilman, David Holdridge, Jeff Komarow, Alison Levine, Louise Meyer, Hester Ohbi, Sherry Pettie, Harvey Resnik, Marianne Ross, Paul Stanton, Betsy Stephens, Peggy Thomson, Tryon Wells, and Jane Winer

As there was no quorum in August, the July minutes were presented and approved. Several members commented on their extreme brevity and did not appear to do so admiringly; your secretary will attempt more elaboration this month.

Treasurer's Report
Alan Gelb, via Jeff Komarow, reported that "everything is normal."

Canoe Supervisor's Report
Jim Drew reported that Frank Daspit taught another of his popular canoe classes last weekend, and that Joe Hage has painted the canoe shed roof. Jeff added that those of us who have not attended Frank's class are really missing something good.

With no more committee reports, Jeff announced that the meeting would move on to the important business at hand:

A Proposed Change to the Standing Rules
Jeff elaborated on his proposal for widening the voting opportunity in the case of important Club decisions, which was first announced at the July meeting and later published in the September newsletter. The situation prompting this change is the decision facing the Club on how to finance and whether to go forward with the building project.

The floor was opened for comments. Among them, the question of why not mail out ballots to all members if the desire is for the widest possible participation. Jeff replied that his strong feeling was that members should be willing to make the effort to get to the Club and participate. Another question was why widen the vote at all? Why not leave it to the regular group of 10-15 members who customarily show up and make all other Club decisions? Jeff responded that since the construction project is somewhat controversial, broadening the participation would better legitimize the vote.

At the end of the discussion, Jeff read his proposal aloud [see text below], and the question was called. The vote was 11 in favor, 7 opposed, and 2 abstaining.

The motion carried to add a new standing rule on Special Voting Procedures.

Rule 20 [existing Rule 20 becomes Rule 21]: Special Voting Procedures

    These special voting procedures shall be used where a proposed action of the Club involves (a) a commitment of $20,000 or more for capital projects on the Island; (b) entering into a loan agreement, whether with a commercial lending institution or with members or other individuals; (c) the imposition of a building fund assessment or other special assessment over and above the annual dues, or (d) an increase in dues other than an increase approved at the December meeting.

    Voting on the proposed action shall take place at the regular meeting and on one or more additional dates and times prior to the next regular meeting, which dates and time shall be established by the President with a view to providing members with a convenient opportunity to vote. If possible, the Island shall be the place at which additional voting will be held. The dates, times, and places of additional voting opportunities shall be published in the Islander. Voting shall be conducted by paper ballot with appropriate procedures to ensure that members do not vote more than once. The ballots shall remain sealed and shall not be counted until the voting has been completed.
Construction Bids Are In
Club Captain and Building Committee member Tryon Wells reported that two of the three contractors invited to tour the Island and submit bids had done so, and that the size of the bids "put the Building Committee back on their heels." Tryon passed copies of the bids around: one for $250,000, and one for $270,000.

Financing Scheme
Jeff said that the Building Finance Committee had met earlier in the week to review the scheme it first developed a couple of years ago when this latest effort to upgrade the caretaker quarters began. The plan includes four sources of funds: (1) A drawdown on the Club reserves, which is to be paid off by a dues increase; (2) a pre-paid dues plan offered to waitlisters; (3) a one-time assessment on members; and (4) a loan, either commercial or in-house, to be paid off by another dues increase.

A too-lengthy-to-report-in-detail member discussion followed. Various opinions were expressed, among them that (1) it's time for this generation to make a similar capital improvement to that made by Club members in 1936 when all the buildings were swept away by flood; (2) perhaps we should approach the project incrementally; (3) we must take care to protect the Club's culture; and, (4) this is a lot of money to spend and not accomplish the original objective.

Stay Tuned for This Important Vote Process
Jeff's plan is that the financing proposal will be published in the October Islander, discussed at the October meeting, re-published in the November Islander, and voted in November.

Additional Club Business
A motion carried to allow honorary member status to Martha Holdridge, a member for 30 or 40 years, who had recently given notice that she can no longer make it down to the Island.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30.

-- Sherry Pettie, Recording Secretary