Annual Membership Meeting a chance to celebrate and set priorities
In the same month that the Marquette Neighborhood was honored for being one of the greatest places to live in America, partly due to the strong engagement by its residents, a key meeting this week by its association may play a role in the shape of the neighborhood for years to come. The Marquette Neighborhood Association will hold its annual Membership Meeting Thursday October 17, 6 p.m. in the Marquette Elementary School cafeteria.
Most years this meeting is a time for the MNA Board to present an overview of the past year and the one ahead, elect new officers, consider initiatives, collect membership dues, and approve the budget. This year seems to carry special weight as several contentious issues in the areas of development, festivals, and how the Board itself conducts business and fills vacancies have bubbled up among the members.
The jammed packed agenda was deemed so critical that guest speaker Wisconsin State Representative Chris Taylor was asked to move her appearance to the November meeting to accommodate the proceedings.
In the past year alone the Marquette Neighborhood has grappled with several challenging issues from Madison Police policies in the wake of the Paul Heenan shooting, noise from neighborhood businesses such as Plan B Nightclub, new developments both on East Washington (Block 800) and Willy Street (722 Williamson), and the value of neighborhood festivals such as the Orton Park Festival versus its impact on the park.
In the case of Orton Park there is already talk of moving it to Central Park which is seeing its first construction progress after many years of delay. 722 Williamson awakened passions over how ironclad our neighborhood planning documents should be. All politics is local and having a say in what appears outside your front window starts with the MNA as it wields considerable influence with City regulatory entities. We saw it here in Wisconsin in 2011 and again during this government shutdown, even though some refuse to accept it, elections have consequences.
The MNA Board consists of four officers and eight at-large board members. All positions are two year terms with half of all positions up for election each year. This year eight Board seats are available against six incumbents. This includes Treasurer Cheryl Solaris and Secretary Mike Soref. The incumbent at-large Board members are: John Coleman, Anne Walker, Bill Scanlon and Karyn Chacon. Current Board member Joan Frost is resigning at Thursday’s meeting.
Because of a cascade of resignations at different times throughout the year, Bill Scanlon and Karyn Chacon were appointed to serve-out terms of Nicole Craig and Micheal Jacob who was appointed President after the mid-year resignation of Todd Jensen.
It will get a little complicated with the voting but whoever finishes in the top eight of the votes cast will win either a one-year or a full two-year term.
In addition to the incumbents there are several new candidates that hope to challenge for a seat on the board. You can read all the candidate statements here
Interpreting the Founding Mothers and Fathers
Also under consideration will be six changes to the MNA bylaws. Some of these changes are to cover up old warts, others are to give more flexibility to the Board to schedule meetings and appoint new members fairly. Bylaws amendments 1 and 3 cover how new board members are appointed if a vacancy occurs. Amendment 3 proposes to modify and define the powers of the President to appoint in the case of a vacancy.
Amendment 2 further defines the power of succession from the President on down in any case upon which the President or subsequent officer cannot act on behalf of the Association. Amendment 4 allows the board some flexibility in setting the Annual Member’s Meeting, however it must be determined by September 1 of each year.
Amendment 5 designates Robert’s Rules of Order apply to Annual Member’s meetings, Board meetings, Special meetings, and at the direction of the Board, committees and sub-committees. Amendment 6 clarifies that official MNA documents must be signed by an officer since currently no Corporate Seal has been designated.
And then there is everything else
The MNA is no simple knitting circle or model train club, (with apologies to these venerable hobbies) it is a multifaceted dynamic organization with many projects in diverse areas. MNA’s $60,000 proposed budget, funded by festivals, is the force behind arts initiatives like the Williamson Gateway Sculpture which will be holding a fundraiser tonight.
Committees like Parks and Gardens, Traffic, and Preservation and Development ( a key committee in both Block 800 and 722 Williamson) are doing important work in both making our neighborhood look nice but also far above just “liveable”. A key is example is the 722 Williamson Subcommittee formed last month to work with the developer after major concerns arose about the proposed development. Volunteers are needed on these bodies to provide comprehensive input before changes are made to the neighborhood.
Reports from these areas as well as approval of the budget are all part of the 2013 Membership Meeting of the Marquette Neighborhood Association.
7:40 Budget Approval (45 min.)