GAC Membership Meeting

 

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Meeting Notes 11.20.2020

 

11.30.2020

Dear Fellow Members,

Well we are starting December. Unlike Richard the third, I hope it is not our “winter of discontent” nor will it be the “times that try men’s souls” as described by Thomas Paine. I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel for all of us. In the meantime we have to put our heads down and power on through.

As you may know, our November Membership Meeting was held outside in the side yard on the Sunday afternoon following the second Friday of the month. We plan to do that again; weather permitting. We also lowered the quorum requirement to five because the Governor’s Executive Order restricted the amount of people that could attend an event which would have made it impossible to have at least 40 members present and voting. A video of the meeting is on our website; or should I say a partial video as the first nine minutes were not filmed due to a technical glitch. This was a real tragedy as I gave an inspirational oration to open the meeting. There have been rumors to the effect that there wasn’t a glitch and my oration ended up on the cutting room floor by design, but that’s fake news.

In any event, a copy of the minutes is attached and they give an excellent account of what took place at the Club since the October meeting. I would normally supplement the information contained in the minutes but I want to concentrate on the upcoming elections.

As you know, the annual elections will be held the first Sunday in December from noon to 6 PM as required by the by-laws. This year however is different from every other year in our history and we knew early on that the election couldn’t be held in the usual manner. We had to come up with a procedure that complied with the  State COVID Regulations, protected the safety of our members while at the same time,  did not operate to disenfranchise a major segment of our membership by presenting a stark binary choice of “vote and put your health at risk” or “don’t vote, stay at home and stay safe”. Such a choice would be particularly egregious when most of our longest admitted members, who are passionate in their support of the Club and who fill the volunteer positions required to keep the Clun operating year in and year out and turn out to vote year in and year out, are also in the “at risk” category for COVID.

We considered remote voting by mail or electronic voting by email. As much as I would have enjoyed getting together a team of lawyers to argue over the “fairness” of such a procedure, issues related to privacy, personnel, system capabilities, resources and distribution made it impractical to go down that route.

We knew the number of people who could be indoors voting at any one time was limited by State COVID Regulations. That could mean a line out the door in inclement weather with six feet spacing which would discourage members from coming out to vote; something we were trying to avoid.

As such it was decided to hold the vote outdoors. This presented other problems. We still had the issue of an outdoor line, but in addition found the voting machines were impractical as they were too heavy for the lawn and would have to be cleaned after each voter.

THE DRIVE-BY VOTING SYSTEM

The Election Committee then turned to the concept of some type of drive-by system which would eliminate the need for outdoor lines and be as contactless as possible reducing the cleaning protocols after each vote. They came up with the solution that permitted members to vote without ever getting out of their cars using paper ballots and a lock box. Members will drive in the regular driveway and proceed to the back section of the parking lot. On their way, they will pass a table staffed by members of the Election Committee who will check the IDs of voters in the car and give the driver the appropriate amount of ballots. The car will then proceed to the back section where there will be about 30 parking spaces for members to pull in and mark their ballots. Although the Club will have pencils available to mark the ballot if you need one and they can be dropped in a box on the way out, it would be greatly appreciated if you brought your own writing materials as it would be safer and avoid their having to be cleaned for reuse. They will then continue around the parking lot to the other side where there will be a lockbox into which members will slip their ballots. The driver will then exit the way he or she came in or park in one of the parking spaces in the front section and go into the Club for breakfast lunch or dinner.

Incidentally, I want to thank Tom Walsh for the original drive-by voting thought. Tom has been the source of many great ideas for which I have taken credit over the years.

I would like to say something about the candidates. If in the past, running for office has been an ego trip or a popularity contest; it ain’t any more. Managing a Club of six thousand members with assets and revenues in excess of several million dollars requires skill, dedication and long hours of work. This was never more so than it is now. Every candidate for next year’s Executive Committee has demonstrated that commitment and is worthy of our thanks for agreeing to serve. Normally all the candidates would have been presented to the membership at the November meeting. That couldn’t be done. Normally you would see them pressing the flesh and kissing babies at the Club; no could do this year. As such Frank Byrne asked them to resubmit their statements, updated if they so chose, so that the membership, particularly  those members who did not know one or more of the candidates, could review the statements and make an informed vote. The statements are attached and I would take it as a personal favor if you took the time to read each statement and come out to vote.

I also want to give a shout-out to the members of the Election Committee. In order to make it possible for you to remain in your cars, they will have to be out in the weather from noon to 6PM. They don’t have a choice of taking a pass or sitting out the election if the weather is stormy or snowy.

So, here’s to Frank Byrne, Peggy O’Connor, Jude Fitzgerald, Dave and Ann Marie Curtin, Ralph and Eleanor Burke, Art and Connie Beagan and Ray Holian.

God bless and see you on the 6th.

Gerry Reidy

GAC Executive Committee President