Greenbelt Internet Access Cooperative

Monthly Board Meeting - May 19, 1997

GATE Office, Greenbelt Community Center

 

M E E T I N G M I N U T E S

 

DIRECTORS:   Anne Andersen, Matt Elliott, Ed James, Doug Love, Dan Macy, Neil McLeod (Absent: Clement Lau, Laila Zaghal)

MEMBERS:     Jim Bates, Peggy Bates, Jim Heagy, Patty Merryman, Greg Meyer, Chris Morris, Dorian Winterfeld

GUESTS:       Sally Chaupiz, Donna DiToto, Melissa McDowell (Coyote Consulting), Keith Wiley

 

=== PRELIMINARIES ===

 

1.      The meeting was called to order at ~7:00pm, with Dan Macy presiding.

 

2.      Introductions

         Dan introduced Chris Morris of Stemmy, Tidler & Morris (Greenbelt CPAs), who prepared GIAC's 1996 tax returns. Chris has expressed an interest in serving as Treasurer.

 

=== OLD BUSINESS ===

 

3.      Classes

         The next class is scheduled for June 18 and will be "Internet Basics". A class outline will be posted on the website. Volunteers are needed to teach this class. Topics will include:

-         History of the Internet

-         How to Connect

-         Domain Sites

-         Search Engines

         Anne Anderson volunteered to teach basic terms for 1/2 hour, if someone else would help. Doug, and possibly Greg, agreed to help and Matt made his online outline available.

         Matt also reminded that the Library is still looking for a computer tutor for a few hours a week.

         Doug Love demonstrated the ability to project computer screen displays on the wall of the meeting room, using his new PC encoder box and a video projector borrowed from his church. GIAC hopes to use this setup to conduct many of its classes.

 

4.      Annual Meeting

         A discussion was held about whether Officers must be members of the Board of Directors. The bylaws were checked and it was found that they must be. A suggestion was offered that this should possibly be changed, as they could eventually regulate themselves, creating a close corporation.

         Another general discussion took place on the subject of where the Annual Meeting should be held. Dan was tasked with getting the arrangements made.

         Nominations:

-         Chris Morris was nominated and seconded for Director and recommended for Treasurer.

-         Jim Heagy was nominated and seconded for Director and expressed interest in being Secretary.

-         Greg Meyer was nominated and seconded for Director and was recommended for Vice President.

-         Dorian Winterfeld was nominated and seconded for Director.

-         Melissa McDowell was nominated and seconded for Director and was recommended for Site Manager.

-         Bill Dupree was nominated in absentia for Director.

Nominations for Director will remain open until the Annual Meeting on June 10.

 

5.      Website Development

         Matt Elliott attended a recent meeting of the Greenbelt Photo Club and reported to GIAC the club's interest in displaying some of their photographs in the GREENBELT.COM website Community Gallery. Matt volunteered to assist the Photo Club by scanning the first batch of photos. Other arrangements need to be made for subsequent batches. Neil explained that our intention was to periodically rotate the photos from our growing collection to the online gallery a few at a time to avoid overconsumption of webspace.

 

6.      Internet Service Provider

         Dan noted that MSNBC rated the Microsoft Network (MSN) Internet Service Provider as offering poor support.

         Anne Andersen noted that new Internet domain names are opening up and suggested possible upgrade paths that GIAC may want to consider.

         Dan reiterated last meeting's conclusion that GIAC will continue to consider alternate Internet providers and services (depending on available people resources).

         Matt mentioned that some newsgroup services are available via HTTP (browser) access. Examples given included zippo.com and dejanews.com. Some newsgroups are free, some require a subscription fee, and some are accompanied by advertisements.

         In response to Jim Heagy's questions and concerns about the connection reliability of GIAC's service, a lengthy discussion ensued comparing experiences with different ISP's.

[Comment from Neil to be inserted into the record: This same discussion occurs periodically as new Members come on board and expect perfect service. We have all had to learn, in turn, what level of service reliability can be realistically expected in consideration of our costs, the availability of paid and volunteer resources, the variability of Member computer configurations and the problems reported with other ISP services. All things considered, we find out repeatedly that we're not doing so badly. Any Member who wishes to discuss the ISP issue in more detail should contact Neil McLeod at MACRO.]

 

=== NEW BUSINESS ===

 

7.      Publicity / Promotions

         GREENBELT.COM polo shirts are available for sale to Members and guests. If you would like to order one, please call Dan Macy at 301-982-7896.

 

8.      Service Policy

         Mrs. Andersen expressed a concern about the possible appearance of pornography on GREENBELT.COM and what action could or should be taken if that should occur. The discussion consensus was that GIAC policies on acceptable content and bandwidth restrictions are needed to help regulate these potential areas of concern (business usage, in general, and pornography, in particular). Anyone who is aware of similar policies at other provider sites is requested to forward the information for review.

 

9.      Public Access

         Neil explained that we represented to Mrs. Andersen that she could access her e-mail accounts on the Library computer but, in fact, she can't. GIAC needs first to arrange with the Library to install a multi-user e-mail client for the use of Library patrons, then to document the procedures required for patrons to configure that software to access their e-mail accounts. The Library will probably need ongoing GIAC support in this area.

 

10.  Organizational Structure

         The Officers (Dan, Matt and Neil) distributed an outline of a new GIAC organizational structure that they recently developed and will propose for use by the new Board of Directors during the upcoming year. The current GIAC organizational structure was also distributed for comparison.

         The intent of the proposed structure, which is based on GIAC's experience during the past year, is to equitably distribute the management workload across the four Officer positions and to establish a clear hierarchy of accountability for each job and responsibility.

         The proposed structure will be enhanced to show which jobs and responsibilities are essential to the ongoing operation of GIAC and which are optional. The outline will be published on the GIAC website with spaces provided to indicate which individuals have been assigned to which jobs as well as which jobs or tasks are still open for volunteers.

         An expanded Membership Committee is proposed to include at least the Secretary, Treasurer and Webmaster roles (whose duties overlap into this functional area and therefore require close coordination), with optional participation by the President, Vice President and support volunteers as needed. The duties of this committee will be detailed in the online proposal outline.

         The proposed Webmaster role was seen by the Officers as being too large for one individual to handle and was therefore divided into two job titles:  Webmaster and Site Manager. The duties of these two positions will also be detailed in the online proposal outline.

         A general discussion was conducted by the Officers to clarify the rationale and intended benefits of the proposed structure.

         Dan Macy read the outline of the proposed structure line by line, explaining each item and monitoring the discussions that ensued in response to questions from the group.

         The Officers explained their plans to notify the Membership regarding the proposed organizational structure.

 

11.  Volunteers

         Jim Bates recommended that available jobs and tasks be posted for review by potential volunteers. This will be implemented on the GIAC website.

         Sally Chaupiz volunteered to help but does not need GIAC service. Dan and Neil explained that COOP-only membership is an available option.

 

12.  Financial Report

         Patty Merryman suggested that we include here the discussion of GIAC income and overhead ... [Dan?]

 

=== CONCLUSION ===

 

13.  Scheduled Meetings

         The 1997 Annual Meeting will be held at 7:00pm on Tuesday, June 10, in the conference room at the Greenbelt Police Station. At least five new Directors will be elected at that time, and they will elect the new Officers.

-         Minutes of the Annual Membership Meeting - June 10, 1997

-         Minutes of the Annual Board Meeting - June 10, 1997

         There will be no monthly meeting on Thursday, June 5.

         The next regular meeting will be held at 7:00pm on Thursday, July 10, at a location to be announced.

-         Minutes of the Annual Board Meeting - July 10, 1997

 

14.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:54pm, but informal business kept most of the Members around until after 9:30pm.

 

 

- 05/__/97 Posted by Doug Love
- 05/15/00 Edited by Neil McLeod

- 09/01/05 Reformatted by Neil McLeod