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February 2015 Press Club board minutes

Feb. 11, 2015, 6:30 p.m., San Mateo Daily Journal, San Mateo

PRESENT: Aimee Strain, Antonia Ehlers, Jane Northrup, Dave Price, Jim Watson, Ed Remitz. ABSENT: Jon Mays, Peter Cleaveland, Marshall Wilson.

FINANCE REPORT: Aimee discussed a spreadsheet showing contest income and expenses from 2014 to 2004 that was prepared by Darryl Compton. Ed said the cost per plaque had risen in the past couple of years to $31. He related a conversation he had with the vendor. Antonia said a vendor she knows in Foster City can produce plaques at a cost of $11 to $20. They’ll do more research on the plaques and return to the board for a decision.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEARCH: The board conducted a conference call with John Ellis, a board member of the Bay Area Black Journalists Association, who with a colleague from that board, Sarah Allen, expressed an interest in the executive director position. Ellis discussed how he played a role in reviving the association and putting on successful luncheons. He also spoke about how he could assist with the IRS tax-exempt status of the Press Club, which has lapsed. Ellis indicated that he had experience with the issues currently challenging the Press Club.
After the conversation with Ellis, the board turned its attention to its bank accounts. The board has expressed a desire to require that all checks have two signatures, those of the president and treasurer. Price motioned and Antonia seconded a motion to move all funds in the Press Club’s current bank accounts to two accounts that Antonia and Ed would establish at a bank. Antonia, as president, and Ed, as treasurer, would sign the signature card. Going forward, checks would be signed at board meetings. The motion passed unanimously.

MEMBERSHIP: Jim made a presentation about how the club could increase membership. He proposed the club create mutual benefit groups for freelancers, retired journalists and public relations professionals, among others. A tool these circles could employ was Meetup.com. He also showed the board a list of talking points that can be used to recruit new members called a “value brochure.” The freelancer circle would be designed to connect writers with employers. Aimee will get the freelancer program started.

CONTEST: After discussing what other press clubs across the country charge for contests, the board voted unanimously to charge $25 for contest entries this year to club members (those who pay a $50 annual membership fee), and $55 per entry for non members. The cost of a “overall excellence” entry will be $100. The Press Club’s entry fees will be well below those charged in New York, Los Angeles and other large markets.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m. Minutes taken by Secretary Dave Price

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