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AIR Board *Special* Meeting 24 January 2000

Minutes of the AIR Board Special Meeting
1/24/00 5:00 PM ET

Keith Brickhouse Co-Chair
Steve Rowland Co-Chair
Kathy Gronau (Treasurer)
Dolores Brandon (Secretary)
Flavia Potenza
Dmae Roberts
Steve Robinson
Steve Spencer
Sue Schardt
Spencer Weisbroth
Guest: Larry Josephson


Steve Rathe
Rebecca Rumsey

N.B. - As of 1-21-00, Ken Mills officially resigned from the AIR Board


1. AIR Conference Director appointment

The AIR Board engaged Larry Josephson in a Q&A re: a proposal presented to the Board earlier in the week, a proposal in which he offered to serve AIR in a leadership capacity to organize an AIR conference tentatively scheduled for the year 2001.

As part of his proposal Josephson had presented the AIR Board with a Phase 1 plan of action, and asked for a fee of $1K plus $6 hundred for expenses he expected to incur travelling to Washington D.C and Chicago as part of this Phase 1 activity.

Larry left the meeting afer about forty minutes of very positive discussion.

The AIR Board then unanimously agreed to accept Josephson's proposal and to pay him the fee + expenses requested.

Josephson will begin work immediately. He will travel to Washington, where he will initiate discussions with NEA, CPB and others. In the near future he will travel to Chicago to meet with Torey Malatia, GM WBEZ . AIR was approached by Johanna Zorn (an assistant to Malatia) late last year (1999) : Zorn informed AIR that WBEZ was in the early stages of planning a radio documentary festival in mid- to late 2001; she suggested it might be in AIR's interests to hold a conference in tandem with that festival. Mr. Josephson will further discuss this proposal with WBEZ, do site research etc.

As part of the Phase 1 activity Josephson will also prepare a paper in which he will describe various conference models. He will come back to the Board with his findings and a more fully evolved plan. Phase 1 will lay the groundwork for Phase 2 which will entail serious fund raising.

2. Governance and Leadership

a) AIR Officers:

Discussion centered on how AIR might reorganize its officer rostrum to conform more strictly to the structure as outlined in AIR by-laws.

Article Three of the AIR by-laws requires Board Officers as follows:
Vice President (one or more)

Presently AIR does not use the titles president or vice president: AIR does have two co-chairs. (Steve Rowland, and Keith Brickhouse)

Article Three also requires that officers be elected every year at the AIR Annual Membership Meeting.

There was general agreement that we should retitle our officers as per the by laws. However, it was decided that we need to clarify what the duties of the office of President ought to be before we actually make the new title designation.

Steve Rowland indicated he would be willing to serve as President.

Keith Brickhouse said outside demands make it difficult for him to contribute as time as is required to be an effective AIR officer, he offered to step down saying he cannot continue in the position of co-chair and would not be interested in taking on the title of vice-president.

It was agreed that each of us would issue a description of what we think the duties of the officers ought to be.

There was general agreement that while we want to reestablish the titles as per the by-laws, the by-laws may need to be changed in some instances to better reflect the practical needs of AIR as it is functions today.

There was general agreement that we should hold an election.

We agreed to continue our discussion via email.

b) Ops Manager vs Executive Director

About a year ago, Sue Schardt and a small committee of AIR Board members surveyed many past holders of this position: their findings were presented in a position paper which made several recommendations re the future of this position.

We agreed to revisit that paper, and to continue to discuss is merits.

Presently the day to day operations are being handled by Dolores Brandon who wears the hat "Acting Operations Manager". It is generally agreed she is functioning well in her position and is in fact doing the job of Executive Director, although current finances compromise what is possible.

The by-laws clearly distinguish but do not fully define the roles of President and Executive Director. What is clear is the Executive Director ( or Ops Manager) works for the Board. The Executive Director (or Ops Manager is hired by the Board) and is paid to take care of the day to day operations.

We agreed to continue this discussion via email.


Because this special meeting was called in part to address concerns raised by resigning member Ken Mills it is worth mentioning some of the discussion that occurred in response to his criticisms.

In raising the leadership/governance issue Ken Mills urged us to elect a President, someone with vision, someone who would lead AIR into a new era of activity. He stated rather unequivocally that he had no confidence in current leadership, and felt governance by committee was not working.

While everyone recognizes more could be done, almost no one agreed with Ken Mills position.

Various Board members expressed their frustration, not so much with the leadership, governance or committee approach as with their own inability to give as much time as they would like to making AIR work.

The majority of AIR Board members think AIR is working, is making progress, is serving the membership.

Everyone acknowledges it is difficult to do all that need to be done given the lack of money and the very high demands on the time of our Board members.

Meeting adjourned 6:25 ET
Minutes prepared by Dolores Brandon/AIR Board Secretary