May 13, 2020

NOTE:  Meeting conducted online via Zoom.

Present:  John Besser, Lottie Bushmann, Laura Hillman, Greg Leonard, Bill Mees, Doug Miller, Jean Neely, Eric Reuter, Lisa Schenker, Eric Seaman, Eric Wood, Nancy Bedan

President John Besser called the meeting to order at 6 p.m.

Affirmation of Recent E-mail Votes:  Based on information about voting protocols provided by Eric R, John B called for a motion to affirm the board’s recent e-mail votes to ensure their validity. Lisa S moved (Eric W seconded) that the board affirm three previous e-mail votes. Motion approved without dissent. By roll call vote, the board affirmed—

1)  the Feb. 23-27 vote to donate $30,000 to the Boone County Nature School project (Yes—Besser, Bushmann, Hillman, Leonard, Mees, Miller, Neely, Schenker, Seaman, Wood, Bedan; No—Reuter), and

2)  the Dec. 21-Jan. 8 vote to send three teachers instead of two to the National Audubon Camp at Hog Island, Me., in 2020 (Yes—Besser, Bushmann, Hillman, Leonard, Miller, Neely, Schenker, Seaman, Wood, Bedan; No—Mees, Reuter).

By voice vote, the board re-approved minutes of the board’s Nov. 20, 2019; Dec. 18, 2019; and Jan. 15, 2020, meetings.

Minutes: Lisa S moved (Eric W seconded) approval of minutes from the April 15, 2020, board meeting. Motion approved without dissent.

Proposed 2020-21 Budget: Treasurer Eric S reviewed the revised budget proposal for 2020-21 (attached). He noted that the projected revenue from CoMoGives will be $5,000, and that the proposal shows a refund from National Audubon for the fees to send three teachers to the Hog Island program in July 2020, which has been cancelled because of the virus outbreak. The proposed budget also shows an expenditure to send the same three teachers plus two additional teachers to the program in 2021. Lottie B and Bill M reported that the three teachers who planned to attend the Hog Island program this year would like to go next year. Columbia Public School Science Coordinator Mike Szydlowski has confirmed that National Audubon is willing to hold spots for the three teachers for the 2021 program. Bill M suggested having National Audubon keep the CAS payment for the three teachers, and to include fees for two additional teachers in the budget. Eric S will revise the budget accordingly.

Eric S noted that insurance costs for 2019-20 will be $4,421 after the board’s decision to upgrade liability coverage and switch carriers. He may be able to get a refund for a portion of the premium for the previous policy. The 2020-21 budget shows insurance costs of $3,046 for the new policy.

Bill M said that he would like to see CAS consider increasing payments to the Unitarian Universalist Church for use of its facilities for our meetings and to the Community of Christ Church for use of the facility for the Christmas Bird Count tally and chili supper.

Nancy B noted that CAS has received a substantial increase in membership dues during 2019-20—$4,855 compared to the budgeted income of $2,300. Eric S and Membership Chair Doug M said that many members are joining at the$50 “donor” level instead of paying the basic $15 individual membership fee.

Eric S confirmed that CAS has not paid Columbia Public Schools for student scholarships for the now-cancelled special science-education trips. Lisa S will contact Mike Szydlowski to determine the need for student scholarships funds.

Bill M moved(Lottie B seconded) to approve the 2020-21 budget with the revisions discussed concerning teacher scholarships. Motion approved without dissent.

Nominating Committee Report:  Nancy B presented the report of the Nominating Committee (Jan Mees, Lori Hagglund, Nancy Bedan) and the proposed slate (attached). The board discussed how to hold the annual election since the regular meeting schedule has been disrupted by the virus outbreak. John B suggested a postal-mail ballot is not necessary. Doug M asked if national members (those who pay only national, not local, dues should be included), and noted that CAS does not have e-mail addresses for all national-only members. Bill M noted that CAS has a few local members who don’t have e-mail and receive information by postal mail. John B suggested sending postal-mail information and ballots to those individuals, and including all national members for whom we have e-mail addresses in the e-mail distribution.

The board also discussed how to accommodate nominations from members, or “nominations from the floor” under normal meeting circumstances. Laura H reviewed CAS’ standard election procedures. Eric R moved (Bill M seconded) that CAS send an initial notice to membership, announcing the proposed slate and asking for feedback and any additional nominations, before scheduling an official vote. Motion approved by roll call vote (Yes—Bushmann, Mees, Bedan, Schenker, Miller, Leonard, Reuter, Wood; No—Seaman, Hillman; Abstain—Besser, Neely). John B will draft the initial message, and Doug M will send the e-mail and postal messages. Replies will be directed to the CAS e-mail and postal addresses.

John B called for a motion to accept the report of the Nominating Committee and thank them for their work. Bill M moved (Laura H seconded) approval of the slate of officers and directors. Motion approved without dissent.

Participation in CoMoGives 2020:  Nancy B reported that CAS must let the Community Foundation of Central Missouri know by June 5 if we intend to participate in the 2020 CoMoGives community fund drive. The $350 participation fee is due June 26. Bill M moved (Doug M seconded) that CAS participate in the 2020 CoMoGives drive. Motion approved without dissent.

Committee Vacancies:  Board members discussed committee positions that will be open as of June 1. Chairs will be needed for the Membership, Field Trips, and Conservation standing committees. John B said he was interested in chairing, or co-chairing, the Field Trips Committee, if Bill M chairs the Natural Areas Committee. John B noted that the committee chairs are appointed by the president and approved by the board.

Teacher Scholarship Program:  Board members discussed Doug M’s suggestions for defining and standardizing the CAS teacher scholarship program. Doug said the board should consider a proposal that addresses the teacher application and selection process before the next scholarship cycle begins in September. Lisa S and Lottie B, Education Committee co-chairs, said that the committee is going to work on a proposal and report back to the board later this summer. They noted that Allison V and Jan Mees have volunteered to serve on the committee.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

Nominating Committee Report
May 1, 2020

The Columbia Audubon Society Nominating Committee (Jan Mees, Lori Hagglund, Nancy Bedan) proposes the following slate of officers and directors for consideration by the Board of Directors.

Because of the ongoing virus outbreak and the current stay-at-home order, the Nominating Committee also proposes amending the CAS bylaws to allow the membership to vote by e-mail if an in-person election can’t be held, or at a later date. The recommended addition to the bylaws appears in italics below.


Proposed Slate of Officers and Directors for 2020-22

President—Jim Gast

Vice President—Nancy Bedan

Secretary—Doug Miller

Treasurer—Eric Seaman

Director—Eric Wood (3-year term)


Proposed Bylaws Change

Article VI:  Board of Directors

Section 2. The elected directors should be chosen by majority vote of the members present at the April meeting and shall take office June 1.

  1. If an unexpected emergency prevents an in-person vote at the April meeting, a vote of the membership may be held by e-mail, mail or phone on the business of Columbia Audubon Society, or the April meeting may be rescheduled on the first available date, based on the decision of the Executive Committee as to the best option under the emergency circumstances.