The end of the first year of the “new” Braddock District Council was marked by the election of officers for the 2023-2024 operating year. At the June meeting, Susan Di Maina (Secretary) and I were re-elected and are joined by Marie Norman (North Springfield Civic Association) as the new Vice-chair, replacing Sarah Lennon. At the present time, there is no replacement for outgoing Treasurer, Kevin Morse, so I’ll renew my call for someone to volunteer for this essential position.
Last month’s “From the Chair” provided highlights of the accomplishments of the 2022-2023 Council year. This month, I would like to look ahead to areas where the Executive Committee will focus attention during the coming year:
Building Membership—we currently have 24 members and have set a target to get to 40 members. Various methods for outreach were discussed at the June meeting. By September, the Executive Committee will have an Outreach Plan to present to the members. A “critical mass” of member associations is necessary to provide for filling the Standing Committees specified in our Bylaws. These committees assist the elected officers in planning and executing necessary actions to carry out the Council’s community-serving purpose.
Braddock District “Aging in Place” Program—Founder Bruce Wallachy is stepping down as of 1 July after running the AIP program for 12 years. New Vice-chair Marie Norman is going to take the lead in senior issues for the Council. While the format of the AIP program might change somewhat, the essence of the program—dissemination of information about resources available to seniors—will continue under Marie’s guidance.
Strategic Communications—The Council uses a variety of means to get the word out about our activities. In the first year, responsibility was divided between the Vice-chair and the volunteer webmaster (Charlotte Hannagan). Going forward, Charlotte is going to take over coordination of all ‘messaging’ via our various channels of communication.
Revision of Bylaws—The current BDC Bylaws were approved 17 years ago on 13 June, 2006 and amended on 11 September, 2013 and 12 November, 2013. (Amendment 1 set the current dues; Amendment 2 listed all associations in good standing as of the date of the amendment.) It is past time to review and make appropriate changes to the Bylaws. At the September meeting, I will ask for volunteers to serve on a Special Committee to take on this important task.
Beyond these specific areas, I would like the member associations to drive the agenda by letting us know what specific issues, activities, and programs are important to you and your communities. One function of the Council is to serve as a forum for exchanging ideas and best practices among member associations. Another is to be an advocate on issues that affect more than one association. The June meeting began this kind of constructive dialogue among members and I would like to see it continue next year.
One question that came up at the June meeting had to do with how often the Council meets. The Bylaws specify an Annual Meeting in September, with “not less than four” other regular meetings as determined by the Executive Committee, thus five meetings per operating year. In 2022-2023, we held meetings in June, September, December, February, and June. This seemed appropriate for our first year back in operation after the long pandemic shutdown. Additionally, the Council sponsored or supported two “events” (i.e., not regular business meetings), namely, the “Best of Braddock Awards” in October and the Legislative Review in May. Since the Council does not meet in July or August when many people, including County employees, are out of town, that leaves us 10 months to hold five meetings plus two “events.” A tentative schedule for next year is:
Annual Meeting: 20 September
Best of Braddock: TBD, October
Regular Meeting #1: 15 November
Regular Meeting #2 17 January
Regular Meeting #3: 21 February
Legislative Review: TBD, April
Regular Meeting #4: 15 May
Regular Meeting #5 19 June (elections)
This leaves the option to delete one of the winter meetings or to add two more regular meetings in December (20th) and March (20th), either in addition to or in place of the listed meetings. I think it is important for member association representatives to weigh in on just how many meetings meet the “Goldilocks” test of being “just right.” We’ll take this up at the September meeting.
In closing, I would be remiss if I did not once again personally acknowledge all the hard work and good counsel provided by outgoing officers Kevin Morse and Sarah Lennon. Their efforts helped to relaunch the Council very quickly and placed it on a solid footing for the future. Furthermore, on behalf of the Executive Committee, I would like to thank each and every one of the 24 associations that joined the Council in 2022-2023. Your participation helped to make the “reboot” year a great success by any measure. I know we can accomplish even more in the coming year.
Have a good summer, everyone!