Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
April 15, 2020
Present: Heather Clark, Anna Crissman, Eric Danielsen, Blair Deffenbaugh, Justin Deffenbaugh, Bruce Dover, Nikki Edwards, Jeff Eng, Sam Fouse, Al Heatwole, Frank and Libby Killian, Stephen Miller, Heather Powers, Mark Senior, Chuck Stanley, James Shanks, Ben Tyler, and Kit Williams, all attended via video conference, due to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 virus.
- The NCR BoD meeting was called to order by RE Anna Crissman at 7:36 PM, on Wednesday, April 15th
- Eric Danielsen, Jeff Eng, Frank and Libby Killian, Chuck Stanley, and Ben Tyler, attended as guests.
- Motion to approve the March minutes, as posted on the Google drive (Shanks / J. Deffenbaugh and other). Passed.
- Motion to approve the minutes of the Special Meeting, held on April 8th, as posted on the Google drive (Shanks / Williams and others). Passed.
Order of items below reflects the order of discussion, as nearly as possible; not necessarily as they appeared on the published agenda.
Chapter and Committee Reports:
Nikki Edwards submitted a West Chapter Report for the April meeting on the Google drive. Al Heatwole, Triangle Chapter Coordinator, had submitted a report of his Chapter as well. In his dual roles as Secretary and unofficial Region historian, James asked that in the future that such reports be signed and dated. He pointed out that in the future no one would remember who wrote them otherwise.
Treasurer Heather Powers provided a summary of our current financial position. She also said that she hoped to be able to present a year-to-date summary in the near future.
As the details of our finances are confidential, NCR members who wish more information should contact either the Office Manager or any member of the Board of Directors. They are also invited to attend a Chapter Meeting, where such matters are discussed in detail.
- Update on Website Improvements. Jeff Eng gave the Board an update on the website improvements he had been working on. He was able to share with the Board over the video conference tool, some pages from the development server that he had created. In general, the new website looks more contemporary and livelier than the old one. It featured a big banner that read “Start Your Motorsports Journey with Us” as a clear invitation to prospective new members. The main pages, Jeff said, have been developed, and he is working on the others, but he would like some help with the content. It was suggested that he make a list of the pages, and the particular areas, that he wanted help with, and submit that list to the Board, so that they might assign various people to help. Jeff said that this newer platform offered more features than the old one, and in particular, had a much better look and feel when displayed on a mobile device such as a phone or tablet. He displayed an image which demonstrated this feature. Justin Deffenbaugh suggested some changes to the way our events are shown. He wanted all the events for the year shown on one page, not just those coming up, so that he could have “one-stop shopping” for both the results from past events as well as notice of what was coming. More linking is always better, he declared, and Jeff agreed to do that. It was also suggested that Jeff make a proposal to the Board to have his company take over the web hosting of our site. As far as going live with this new server, that would depend on getting the content updated, which requires a lot of time. Some date in May was the best estimate Jeff could give for the switchover.
- Posting of Minutes on the Website. During the discussion of content on the new website, it was mentioned that one thing located there were copies of the Board meeting minutes. These are not posted until after the Board formally adopts them, so they are always at least over a month old when posted. In addition, they are edited by the Secretary to remove anything sensitive, such as personnel issues and the details of our financial position. They usually include, however, statements of our bank balances. Stephen Miller spoke up and asserted that he didn’t see any reason to post any financial information on our website, including our account balances. It should all be confidential from the general public. Others agreed. It was felt that members who wanted more information could contact someone who could verify their membership, and thus their right to the information, if they wanted to know more. Motion to remove the financial information in its entirety from the minutes, and replace it with a statement that members might contact either the Membership Chair or the Office Manager for more specific information (Miller / Fouse). Sam offered as an amendment that it should also say that Chapter Meetings were the place where such things were normally discussed with the membership. Amended motion passed.
- August Time Trial. It is time to start planning the August Time Trial, since Treasurer Heather Powers confirmed that NCCAR already has our deposit. Sam had already done a projection and determined that at 40 cars, we would need to charge $391 per car just to break even. If we can get between 40 and 60 cars, then we could charge $295 per car or $275 plus $20 for a transponder. As TT Chair, Stephen said he’d like to keep it simple and charge a flat $295. There was discussion and it was decided that we should have entrants pay at time of registration and it should be made known that there would be no refunds unless the event were canceled by us. It would go off rain or shine. Stephen also said that the National Office had shown that a Time Trial could be much more successful if it were to incorporate some kind of untimed, non-competition session, similar to a “Track Night in America” experience, for beginners who just wanted to sample what driving at speed on a closed course was like. He promised to put together a full event proposal to present at the next meeting.
- Details of the Goblins Go. Mark Senior, who is Race Chair for the Goblins Go in October, indicated that we needed to let VIR know what kind of an event this was to be, especially if we wanted to make it more like NASA’s Hyperfest event and include that Friday, as well as the Saturday and Sunday which we already had reserved. Mark said he thought we would probably have no trouble booking a three-day event, provided we did it early, as VIR was going to have lots of people clamoring for dates once restrictions for the COVID-19 virus were lifted. Mark also pointed out that along with the track, caterers and entertainment often need to be booked in advance as their calendars fill up and they may not be available.After discussion, it was decided that the decision on whether to book Friday would depend a lot on whether Washington DC Region was willing to partner with us and make it a joint SARRC / MARRS event, to replace the one we lost in May. Anna said she would contact WDCR and see what their interest was so that we could move forward.
- Constant Contact. Anna said that she thought it was time to replace Constant Contact as our mass mailing e-mail tool. She was particularly irked that people could opt-out of getting our e-mail, and then we could never send to them again, and thus they would miss important communications. She also complained that some mail systems treated our e-mails as promotional items and relegated them to alternate or spam folders, rather than to the main one. Anna said she was sure there were better and cheaper alternatives out there. She felt that the $100 to $130 per month that we were paying was way too high. James objected that the cost of CC was spread over many users, that it was being used to contact new members, to announce Triangle Chapter meetings, and to send volunteer newsletters by F&C to all specialties. In these cases, opting out was either not a problem or very much less of one. Sam indicated that the price we were paying for CC, which is based on the number of contacts we have, was a result of a prior business decision to reach all the drivers east of the Mississippi with our advertising, and that this was not just successful, it was paying our bills. James further added that he had to use something to reach out to new members the first of every month, which was only a little over two weeks away, and that this was way too short a time frame in which to adopt a new system. He wasn’t interested in being a guinea pig for a new system without a clear process. Mark chimed in that this was going to have to be a long-term project and that we would have to stay on CC for the time being despite its limitations. No resolution was arrived at, but Anna said that as RE she was determined that we find and adopt a replacement.
- Merchant Fees for Scholarship Donations. Heather Powers brought up the fact that the recently-added $5 scholarship donation box on our MSR registrations for volunteers were costing us money. If a volunteer checks the box, but has no other fees, and pays by credit card, we are charged a flat $1 merchant fee, instead of the usual small percentage. Over time, this was going to add up, and it seemed silly to be paying this much on a charity donation. No one wanted to remove the donation option from the MSR registration form, but after discussion it was clear that no one had a resolution to propose either, so this matter was tabled.
Motion to adjourn at 9:12 PM (Clark / Senior). Passed.
Submitted by Secretary, James Shanks.
Please note that all NCR members are welcome to attend NCR Board of Directors meetings.
If any member should have a question about the Region or its activities, please contact the Office Manager or any member of the Board.