Minneapolis Telecommunications Network
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Board Members Present: Floyd Child, Marido Huber, Andrew Hedden, Joan Higinbotham, Tamir Nolley, Robert Vose, Joel Rainville
Board Members Absent: Kevin Jenkins, Tom Cassidy,
Ex-Officio Present: Lance Leupold, C. John Harrison
Others Present: Pamela Colby, Beth Peloff, John Akre
Child called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. Turn off cell phones.
I. Opening Business
Comments from public, staff and board none.
Approval of the agenda. Approve Agenda. MSP Rainville, Vose. Make long range planning part A of new business. Hedden's friendly amendment accepted.
Approval of Minutes from the November meeting. Amend slate of new board officers to be Rainville VP, Higginbotham Secretary. MSP with amendment, Nolley Hedden.
A. City of Minneapolis presented by C. John Harrison.
The MTN board seats held by Vose and Rainville will expire in January. Both are eligible for another term. Both members are interested in continuing to serve. Harrision said he will see if the openings still need to be posted. The FCC is having a hearing on federal legislation to institute a 90-day franchise shot clock for approving franchises. This regulation could be harmful to cities? rights to manage cable franchises. John, Pam, Gail and a designated MTN board member have been meeting almost monthly. The city is hoping to have the MTN board approve the MTN contract with city in January. The city is negotiating the franchise renewal with Comcast. There will not be a public hearing before the franchise is renewed. It will go to the Ways and Means Committee and then to the whole council. Vose asked if the franchise ordinance will go through an ordinance process after the Ways and Means Committee? Harrison did not believe so. Vose commented that this process will not allow for input from public or MTN because the document will be first made public at the Ways and Means Committee. Colby asked if the reduction in the access fee as stated in the current Comcast bill was due to the Comcast/City settlement. Harrison stated that it was. Vose said he would like for the board to talk about what MTN is going to do about MTN's lack of input in the franchise renewal. Child said he thinks we should let the new board leadership handle it once they take charge in January. Child made a recommendation that this be a priority for the new MTN executive committee.
B. Minneapolis Public Schools Edie French not present
C. Comcast Report Lance Leupold presented
The subscriber count is 79,073. Comcast is sponsoring a concert by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. MTN should have received channel change notifications. MTN's channels are not impacted. Comcast has a new monthly newsletter. The PEG fee has changed as a result of the settlement.
D. Executive Director's Report Pam Colby presented
Collaboration with Intermedia Arts. New talk show about the arts.
Media Smart Youth: 8 9-11 yr old Somali girls. Teacher is Fareen Hakim.
Colby was invited to be a panelist at Media Reform conference in Tennessee.
MTN has signed contract with Rogers and Company to do our financial audit again this year.
MTN is hiring a Director of Programming to replace Martin Hallanger. What has response been? Not a lot, but those who applied seemed qualified and excited. More outreach is planned.
On Friday Dec 1 Colby received a certificate and proclamation from the city for her 20-years at MTN.
The MTN Appreciation Party went well.
Questions: Vose asked if Colby has asked for franchise document. Yes, she asked Ways and Means chair Paul Ostrow who asked Gail Plewacki. Plewacki said it was protected under attorney client privilege. Vose said that attorney-client privilege is between the city and the city's attorney. If document has been passed to Comcast, attorney client privilege has already been broken. Vose said that he believes it's bad form for the city to not ask for MTN?s input on this and he wants MTN to find some way to get input. Child said that everyone seems to agree on this point, but the board has to decide what to do about it. Vose suggested that now is the time is to go to the press and to the policy makers. Higginbotham asked Harrison why MTN isn't allowed to see the franchise agreement and why would the city not want to work with MTN. Harrison said he couldn't answer those questions, but he said that MTN does know its budgetary outcome for the rest of the franchise, because the money has been already decided. Child asked what the next step should be. Huber said she will talk as an individual to council members. Child suggested the new executive committee meet and prepare a plan of action to use what capital MTN might have with the city council. Motion: That the executive committee meet as soon as possible to develop a strategy to have input into the franchise agreement. Vose made the friendly amendment to add "and implement" after "develop." MSP with amendment. Higginbotham, Nolley.
E. Treasurer's ReportMarido Huber presented:
P & L handed out. Over $40,000 less than budget has been expended. Colby said that she was recently notified by the city that the equipment money was included in the operating funds she received at the start of the year, even though she had been told earlier that it did not. Colby explained that traditionally the equipment money came separately. Colby did not grow into these extra funds, which she had assumed were the annual CPI increase, so the surplus funds in Expenses reflect that equipment money. Vose asked if the equipment fund was indeed part of the Access fee prior to renegotiation. Harrison confirmed that it was. Huber suggested exploring the past few years' budgets to compare CPI and equipment numbers. Motion to approve report. MSP Vose, Rainville
III. New Business
A. Proposal from Borrup - Colby presented
Colby spoke of Tom Borrup's strong reputation in the community. He has two proposals. A more expensive one includes extensive public process to see what the community would like to see from MTN in the future. This includes televised meetings and other outreach. In light of the recent financial picture, Colby recommends the less expensive aproach, option B, which is more the traditional strategic planning process. Higinbotham asked if there were possibilities of grant funding to support the more expensive option A. Huber recommended starting in Option B and looking for alternative funding to pay for A. Child recommended option A, the public process. Several other board members spoke in favor of option A. Colby asked if reserve funds could be used to fund this rather than cutting staff or programs. Colby has $10,000 budgeted for this. Colby suggested putting this decision on the January agenda and getting more information from Borrup about his flexibility on changing options mid-process as funding is raised. Higinbotham suggested that he might know where to get funding to pay for the more public process. Motion to table discussion until next meeting. MSP Huber, Rainville
B. Nominations Committee Report
Huber - Chair, Rainville - Vice Chair, Higinbotham - Secretary, Hedden - Treasurer. Nolley asked candidates to state their vision.
Huber said that her vision was to get the funding to carry out the mission, and to work more with public schools.
Rainville said that he would continue to serve as Vice Chair and support Huber, and to be active with the strategic planning process.
Higinbotham would like to see that MTN implements the strategic plan and diversifies revenue stream. She would like to expand work with public schools and expand technology.
Hedden said that he would like MTN to get as involved in the renewal as possible.
Motion for slate MSP. Vose, Huber
Motion to move next meeting date to January 18, 2007. MSP Huber, Vose
Colby thanked Akre for adding Program Director to his other duties.
Rainville asked for clarification about board terms. Harrison affirmed that Vose and Rainville will serve until new board members are appointed.
Higinbotham and board thanked Child for his two years of service as chair.
Meeting adjourned at 6:54 p.m. MSP Rainville, Hedden