SUMMARY OF THE JULY 9, 2014

YEDIDYA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

 

Executive committee members present: Kobi Abelman, Yitzchak Avigad, Simon Caplan, David Gleicher, Adina Golombek, Linda Gradstein, Hana Levine, Vered Nuriel-Porat, Bruce Rosen

Audit committee members present: Josh Schoffman

Additional participants: Penina Arbit, Dov Cooper, Gary Ginsberg

 

1.       The new members of the executive committee introduced themselves and highlighted areas in which they are particularly interested in contributing

2.       Linda Gradstein stepped down from her position as chair of the executive committee and Bruce Rosen was elected as the new chair.

3.       A presentation was made about the current and planned use of various internet and other e-tools to make the work of the VM more efficient. These included:

a.       Google groups for VM discussions between face-to-face meetings

b.      Doodle for scheduling VM meetings and for e-votes between meetings

c.       The creation of an e-log of recent VM decisions, and a database consisting of all past VM summaries, to facilitate ready identification of past VM decisions and discussions relevant to current issues before the VM.

In the discussion that followed, the following points were made:

         It will be important to get input from information specialists regarding the emerging plans for establishing searchable files of decisions and summaries

         The takanon specifies that if two or more VM members request that a particular issue should be dealt with via a face-to-face meeting rather than an electronic or phone vote, then their request is to be honored.

         In the case of e-votes, the subject field should indicate that a vote is involved.

         VM members should be given ample time to respond to e-votes

The VM decided that, in the case of VM e-votes, VM members will be able to respond until the midnight of the day which is two days after the initiation of the voting.

 

4.       Signatories:

a.       The following were approved as the sole signatories on Kehillat Yedidya's U-Bank account, as well as other documents that require signatures on behalf of the amuta: Leah Korman, Haim Watzman, Gary Ginsberg, Jacob Mascetti and Bruce Rosen.

b.      The following were approved as the sole signatories on Kehillat Yedidya's Bank Hapoalim (kupat zedaka) account: Dorit Meyers, Eli Render, Mindy Schimmel and Yehudit Mekler

c.       The signatures of two of the signatories are required in order to bind the amuta.

 

5.       Building security issues

a.       Michi Mannheim has agreed to develop a rotation for locking up the building among the members of the morning minyan.

b.      The building use committee was asked to prepare a list of people who have keys to the building and to coordinate this with Michi Mannheim of the security committee.

6.       Membership recruitment

a.       Existing members: Bruce should send out a letter via e-mail, and for distribution on Shabbat, in consultation with Vered

b.      Outreach to potential members: Potential members include young adults, parents of children in JJ's group, participants in the early minyan, and participants in the daily minyan. Linda and Kobi were asked to develop an action plan and to share it with the full VM for input.

7.       Kabbalat Shabbat

a.       Penina Arbit summarized the report (see link) of the implementation team

b.      The VM expressed its appreciation for the team's important and highly professional work

8.       Initial discussion of Yedidya's system of committees

A draft paper was presented for discussion (see link). The paper noted the sheer breadth of activity undertaken by the community and the need to preserve and expand what is already being achieved. Nevertheless, and in order to further improve the service provided to the community, the paper argued that the time had come to review and perhaps revise the structure and/or other aspects of the system. This was argued to be potentially important both to address weaknesses in the current arrangements (and emphasize strengths), and to ensure that the system is as effective as possible in meeting key organizational objectives. Such objectives were defined as a need for:

a.       Maximum effectiveness in promoting the community's goals and programs,

b.      Effectiveness in responding to new opportunities

c.       A high degree of transparency and accountability, including defining the relationship between the committees and the Vaad Menahel

d.      A system for maximizing opportunities to recruit and retain volunteers to be active and to develop future community leadership

 

The discussion related to the above points and other concerns. No decisions were made by the VM at this stage. The points raised by one or more VM members included:

         Weight should be given to the organizational culture that has emerged naturally from community strengths and growth. It is a culture in which things happen not only as a result of top down leadership. Bottom-up activity needs to be encouraged while maintaining a reasonable level of accountability and transparency

         Not all committee are equal in scope, budgetary needs etc. A system needs to take into account the difference between committees that are dealing with substantial expenditures and/or sensitive issues, and those that do not

         Committees dealing with major expenditures and/or sensitive issues  should probably be more transparent and accountable than others. The Vaad Menahel does not need to control everything but it needs to be kept informed, and to be able to influence  decisions involving major expenditures and sensitive issues

         Transparency and accountability are important but are not the only considerations. Autonomy and empowerment at the committee level is also critical especially in the role of committees as a place for people to give of themselves voluntarily

         While striving for openness it is sometimes important to let a committee get on with things without excessive demands for sharing with the entire community

         The programmatic action should be at the committee level, but this means that a higher degree of reporting (e.g. written proposals) should be expected

         Establishing a clear and detailed mandate for each committee is important to avoid duplication and to allow maximum empowerment at the committee level. The "rules" for being appointed to serve as member of  committee need to be clarified

         The Finance committee needs to be proactive in discussing with other committees and establishing priorities for expenditure as part of the annual budgeting process

         Greater effort should be made to give positive recognition to those who volunteer.

         The system needs to encourage greater consultation (in both directions) between the VM and the committees and also have enough flexibility to welcome the voluntary contributions of individuals who want to help but do not want to sit on a committee.

         In addition to clarifying the relations between committees and the VM, it will also be important to clarify the relations between committees and the general membership. 

         More attention should be given to statistics and other forms of information gathering that can be used both in policy making and in marketing the achievements of the community

 

Overall, it appeared that there was a consensus among VM members about the need to strike some sort of balance between autonomy and accountability in our committee system, along with a fair amount of diversity among VM members about where and how to strike that balance.

A team of VM members will be appointed to serve as the VM's focal point on these issues. It will be asked to propose to the full VM a process for moving ahead, including suggestions on how to get broader community input. VM members interested in being part of this team were encouraged to notify Bruce of their interest.