MINUTES OF SUBUD PNW REGIONAL BOARD MEETING
February 21, 2018
Members Present: Aaron Mann, Chairman PNW, Marius Hibbard, Vice Chairman PNW, Sherwin O’Bar, Treasurer, Isadora Roth, Oswald Norton, Regional Helper Liaison, Honora Hildreth, Subud Seattle, Michael DuBois, Skagit Valley, Lydia Tedrow, Recording Secretary.
Minutes of Last Meeting
The minutes of the last meeting, which had been received by all, were approved.
Sherwin reported the Treasurer’s report is done quarterly so the next one will come out in early April.
Camille was not present at the meeting; there was no report from Portland.
Honora reported she would mail out her report to everyone right after the meeting and would be including a financial report from Sherwin, a PDF. She would include the minutes of Seattle’s General Member Meeting which took place in January.
She noted that, in their last meeting, they worked on event planning for 2018 and talked about having parties, with music involved, and also having events that are open to Subud members but also other people, to open their doors, especially since they have a lot of non-Subud AIRBNB customers passing through the house and they thought it would be nice to have an event they could invite them to.
There was a discussion about what Subud members wanted to see in the Subud house; that made way for a conversation about child care and possibly finding a way to provide child care for parents in the latihan group on common latihan days. If they had a volunteer program for child care on Sundays, would the parents use it? They chose people to reach out to the families with children; they know the parents sometimes have to take turns or they can’t come to events because they can’t find a babysitter.
The childcare issue is also on the agenda for next month and they will keep talking about childcare and event planning.
The group carried on some old business as well. They talked about the Audit/Financial Report for the Region and some questions came from the membership that they are working on answering as a group. Some of them are going to be specifically posed to a CPA or a lawyer to make sure they are in line. So some of those questions are: “Does AIRBNB revenue generate a Federal Income Tax liability?” and “Does AIRBNB activity generate County Tax Liability?” So they are looking to answer those questions and they are also looking to make sure that all of their independent contractors are properly set up and they have all of the correct paperwork. So, in order to make sure that all of that is in line, they are taking their contracts to a CPA or a lawyer. That is still is process.
A lot of members asked if the group had to pay for the financial report to get done, whether or not that will come out of the SPNW budget or if it will come out of the Seattle budget.
Important dates: Committee Meeting in March, another General Member meeting on March 9th, a following Committee Meeting in April and a kejiwaan date for April 29th and the National Congress is coming up in May.
When asked if there were any questions, Marius asked about the AIRBNB tax liability – why would it not have a tax liability? Honora responded: “So the question is ‘if it generates a Federal Income Tax liability’ and then if the activity creates a property tax liability? I can’t tell you why those questions were posed because I didn’t ask those questions. But those were the questions that were sent by the membership in the General Meeting and that got transferred over to a Committee agenda item.”
Aaron asked Honora to repeat the question and she responded: “Is Subud Seattle going to be paying for the financial report/audit or is it going to be the Region? That’s the question.” Aaron stated he thought he had been told that the Audit was not going to happen. Honora said the membership had voted down specifically to have an audit taken by Ledger Pro. However they did vote and approved a financial review/financial report because we definitely want our finances to be transparent. People are just uncomfortable with the idea of a full blown audit. “I can’t tell you why”, she said. She repeated she was including the minutes from the General Meeting so the Regional Committee could see what people were talking about. Aaron asked if anyone had any comment about that. He then said he understood there would not be an official inspection of the organization’s accounts by any kind of body – he asked if that statement was correct.Honora said she thought a better question was – Seattle doesn’t know what is expected of them. The Committee got approval to take care of any kind of financial report or financial review. The membership did deny specifically an audit at this time with Ledger Pros. They didn’t deny an audit altogether. They denied an audit just with Ledger Pros. There is something about the contract people didn’t like. A lot of conversations happened before the meeting and people came, resolved pretty much and shared their opinions. It was a very long meeting and what came out of it was that no audit with Ledger Pro but an audit if we need one and we’re going to get a financial review if that’s something we need – from you guys. They don’t know what the Region expects or the National Committee. She would like some clarification on that.
Aaron stated he thought it should be paid for by Seattle’s AIRBNB and not by the Region. Honora responded by saying what he meant was it should be paid for by Seattle because the AIRBNB is Seattle’s enterprise. She asked if that was required by the Region. Aaron said it didn’t sound like an audit but like something else to him. Regardless, he thought it should be paid for by revenues of Seattle’s BNB. Honora asked if the Region required them to perform an audit – she stated that what the Region needs from Seattle hasn’t been clear. Aaron said he thought they all wanted transparency, they wanted to ensure that proper filing was being done, that the people under contract are licensed, have UBI numbers, and that filing with the IRS is done – that type of transparency.
Honora asked: “What would that look like, Aaron?” Aaron responded: “Originally, I thought it would be nice to have an independent body examine accounts, not just Seattle but the entire Region, and give us a report stating that the Corporate filings are being done, and I thought it should be done by an independent body, typically by an independent body. And . . . . I was willing to do that. But you told me that at your meeting it was discussed and everyone agreed not to allow it to happen. That’s what you told me and so you told me you were going to get a lawyer or something, a CPA, to review our contract. Am I right or not? Isn’t that what you said?”
Honora stated what she said was they would consult a CPA or a lawyer to examine the independent contractor agreement and to ensure they are doing everything correctly in their taxes and that at the General Meeting the membership voted to not have an audit with Ledger Pros. They then voted that we will have an audit if it is required by the Region or by National but, other than that, all they are willing to do is conduct a financial review of some kind. Aaron asked what the reasoning was, again. Honora stated that at lot of opinions were thrown around at the meeting. Some people didn’t want the audit, because there is a lot of information in the accounts and all these different things. So that’s what they voted on, that we were not to have an audit with Ledger Pros specifically but they were open to having an audit if it is required. At this time, what she really needed in order to be in compliance was for Aaron to tell her what specifically is required because she is hearing two different things. What she is hearing is that transparency . . . she wanted to know if an audit was required and by whom.
Michael responded that he believed an audit was a requirement for the type of organization that Subud is. Aaron responded that he didn’t know if it was required but thought it would be a wise things to do because nobody really knows if filings are being done and nobody knows if the contracts are legitimate, if the people under contract are actually licensed. The reason for the audit was to ensure that we are operating in compliance with L&I and the IRS, that the contracts are properly done, that the contractors are licensed and in compliance with labor and industry and whatever else. The 1099s should have gone out by the 20th – Sherwin stated they had to be out by the 31st and they did go out in January to the contractors.
Aaron stated there was another deadline this month, the 1096 to the IRS. Sherwin reported that was prepared and ready to go. Aaron said this was what he meant by transparency. Honora wanted to know how Aaron wanted them to report to show they were in compliance and Aaron replied they could put the information in their reports and everybody in the Region could do it. Honora wanted everything spelled out, a list of all she was to report on. Aaron agreed.
Michael said he had a solution – apparently Aaron is trying to keep us legal in the eyes of the law and, obviously, by Sherwin’s good work and our books is taking care of the Federal levels of that stuff. He’s making sure we’re in compliance with Federal and State laws, and local laws as well. The one thing we clearly need to do is let you guys know what exactly is required and we can remain in compliance with whatever rules or laws we need to obey. So, clearly, an audit would be an easy way to do that. That way we could see everything – this needs to be done by this date, and this needs to be done by then – is that what you’re asking for Aaron?
Aaron responded there are guidelines in the bylaws about reporting and he would check that out before the next meeting. They had talked about being in compliance with our own bylaws.
Oswald had a comment and a question. There are two enterprises in our Region, one in Portland and one in Seattle. Does he understand he is asking something from Seattle he is not asking Portland for? Aaron responded No. Aaron said that the audit would pull all that information out. That’s what he thought and that, if we did an audit, an independent review of the accounts, which was suggested by Lucas Baladian, National Chair. He thought all the Regions with enterprises should do that. He stated he is confused because he thought it wasn’t going to happen – judging by the last conversation he had with Honora, he thought it had been voted down and the audit wasn’t going to happen – so he hasn’t thought about it much and really didn’t want to talk about it tonight. Honora said she was reading the bylaws and there is nothing there about mandatory reporting that goes above what we are doing now. The requirements are very basic and we need to do them.
. . . Portland voted to send $2000 to help to send people to the World Congress.
Michael stated he would send his report out to the committee members but for the time being he would read the one in front of him. The group will be working on the windows sometime in the summer when the weather is better. Paul and Michael would be doing that themselves.
After the International Helpers visit, the group decided to have a mid-week latihan at 2:30 on Wednesdays. They will be doing a later latihan for people that require it. They have a visitor from out of town who likes to do the latihan with them and they accommodate her as well. They are still finalizing the weekend latihan but leaning towards a first and third Sunday at 11 o’clock and a second and fourth Saturday at 10 o’clock.
Michael reported their Bird Walk was a failure. Nobody signed up for it so it was cancelled. They will try again next year.
Roslyn Neel is the new Regional helper and she will be going to a weekend retreat in Boise with Oswald in March. A report will be sent out to the meeting and there will be a treasury report then. Aaron reported it was snowing so badly that weekend there was no way he could drive over.
Marius stated he had been talking to Paul about the Bird Walk and they thought maybe it was time to replace the Bird Walk with something else. People are getting tired of it.
Oswald reported that, in the absence of a report from Camille, he wanted to tell us Portland has a new chair, Michael Clems. He will start in April. Camille is also trying to get work done on the house before she steps away.
For the February Regional Helper report, the main visits this month were the International Helpers who visited our centers. He wondered if Honora and Michael, who were present at their centers with the IH visit, would talk about the impact of the visit. He was not here and did not attend.
Michael reported they had a great visit. They tested quite a bit. They didn’t do as much testing on the men’s side. They had conversations about this, that and the other, but the women did a lot of testing regarding latihan times and a few things of that nature. They had good food and good comradery.
Honora said the visit was nice. They had a basic potluck thing so everybody brought something. The men did pretty intense testing – not sure what they talked about. The women did lots of awareness testing as everybody thought they would benefit from that. They just hung out after that. Oswald reported that the IHs not only attended the Monday night latihan but also arranged to do a midday latihan on Tuesdays at 1 o’clock. Camille apparently organized that for them and for their accommodations. He reported that he had just talked with Halimah Brugger. She and Sofian will be hosting them in Boise. They will fly in on March 16th and stay through Sunday the 18th. They will meet with all the members there and have a Selamatan. This will be his second visit.
The RHs are having an organizing meeting this weekend in Centralia but they usually do some testing about some other groups and the impact of going to visit there. Then they take input from those groups as far as their desire to have a visit. They are seeking additional men and women to join the Regional Helper dewan right after the May time frame with the testing happening with the National Helpers at the National Congress. Oswald will include statistic about latihan attendance in the written report right after the meeting. Isidora agreed Oswald had covered everything.
Aaron wanted to know if the liability insurance for the Regional Board members was cancelled. Sherwin reported he had gone on the website and cancelled it. Oswald explained that, last term, he and Alexandra ter Horst were with the Committee. There was basic liability insurance for the buildings but they did not have liability insurance that would protect the board members, which meant all of the chairs that attend this meeting and the committee members, from someone in the Region, a member or non-member, suing the group.
Alexandra felt it was important that they have this liability insurance for everyone who comes to this meeting to protect them from being sued. It was the practice of every other non-profit she had been a part of to do this. They got an agent who not only included that insurance but reduced the amount of liability insurance they were having to pay for the Centers as well so it was a net increase but not as much as it would have been if they had just added it. They brought the information and research to the Board and a Board motion was passed and the liability insurance was purchased. Aaron was not aware of that background information. Oswald thought it important that we have that kind of coverage for anyone that is a part of that Board and he proposed it be reinstated and that it be paid for. Michael and Marius seconded and thirded this motion. All were in favor and the motion to reinstate the insurance was carried.
The next order of business, brought up by Aaron, was that a Chair was needed for the Regional Congress. According to the bylaws, it should have been done at the time Aaron was tested in but it didn’t happen so now we have to appoint someone. That person will coordinate with Amelia Williams on organizing the Regional Congress and how we are going to participate in the National Congress and how our portion of that event will happen.
Aaron asked if anybody knew anybody in their Center who would be willing to do that. Oswald said he thought they had a candidate and Aaron stated Paul Nelson would like to do that job but Aaron wanted to make sure that everybody who might want to do it had a chance to do it. He didn’t think it was correct to just let Paul do it without the information being passed around the Region.
The National Congress is May 25th through May 28th and the Regional Congress will take place on Friday, May 25th. Aaron thought there was plenty of time to choose a Chairperson so, if people could ask around their centers to see if anybody else would like to do it, ask Camille to ask around a bit and then report back at our next meeting with possible candidates.
The last sit-down Committee meeting had been cancelled because Aaron’s wife had had knee surgery and he had to be home. Aaron asked if the Committee still wanted to do that. Michael said if they had a sit-down meeting they could bring candidates forth at that time.
Oswald asked about the process: did they want to have all candidates by the meeting on March 14th – so that by April 11th a basic agenda can be put together? He also wanted to know when Amelia needs to know about what SPNW needs for the 25th? Aaron stated she already knows. A room has already been selected for our use. It’s going to cost $300.
Aaron then stated one of the things they needed to talk about was “What if members going to do if they just want to go to the Regional Congress and not the National?” and “What is the Region going to charge, if anything at all?” It’s $300 for the room and $40 for the AV equipment. Aaron thought the Region should just pay the $350 for the room and the sound system. We don’t have a registration fee at all but people have to buy their own food. We’ll have a break for lunch and people can go out and get lunch.
Oswald said what he liked about that is it would be more open for people to participate if they didn’t have to worry about the cost. Aaron asked for a motion for the Region to just pay the $350. It was moved and seconded and all were in favor so the motion was carried.
Since we overbooked last year, Aaron asked if there were any thoughts about what we should do about that. Dollar-wise, Sherwin reported, we were in the hole by about $1,000. Sherwin thought we could have gotten by with one less building because, in the past, we used Menucha to generate some income in the neighborhood of some $2000 plus. We were actually $3,000 negative. So that’s the equivalent of a building or two so he thought we ought to consider releasing one of the buildings – he didn’t know which one.
Oswald came in with a bit of data, in one of the emails during their discussion, Sherwin stated if they dropped Lindsay, which had 17 lodgers, Beam which has five to six lodgers and, instead, use Boyd and Wright for some extra lodgers that are left over, it could bring us even. We could just go with that as an idea. Sherwin wanted to know who the contact was for Menucha. He believed they are looking to hear from Alexandra. Michael wanted to know who signed the contract with Menucha. He thought that person should be the one to get in touch with them. Sherwin said he would get in touch with Menucha. They would send him the contract and he would run it by Alexandra to make sure it was what she spoke to them about and then Sherwin will typically sign it. Oswald said he would send Sherwin a draft he just put together, with the stipulations, and he could just forward it to Alexandra.
Oswald wanted to know if there was a way he could send out a description of the duties of the chair for the Congress – and he also put together a template for an agenda. He wanted to know if we wanted to publish it for the PNW website? Michael suggested Oswald send it to all the Center chairs and vice chairs and he didn’t see any problem with posting it on the website. He wanted to know who anybody who desired to become chair could send their response? “Send your desires to Lydia as our secretary?” Michael suggested that isolated members respond to the center closest to them. Lydia said she thought sending to the center chairs would be best.
Aaron brought up the fact that we need eight delegates – people who are willing to sit through the meeting and vote. Michael and Serena DuBois will go for the Skagit Valley center. Seattle is supposed to send four delegates. We still need delegates so maybe center chairs can report at the next meeting about delegates. Oswald thought, from last time, that it was three from Seattle, three from Portland, and two from Skagit Valley.
Michael wanted to know if there would be financial aid for people who are traveling to the National Congress as well as attending the Regional Congress. Aaron thought there was aid available for people who are delegates. A protocol on that was done two years ago and Aaron will see if he can find that. Oswald added that any delegate who is registering for the Congress, Alexandra and Amelia have set up a delegate price for attendance. He stated that the Subud USA will get back to members very quickly with anything they can do to help financially. Aaron stated that registration for delegates is a reduced amount.
Aaron asked if anyone had anything more to report or make any comments at this time. No one did.
Meeting was Adjourned:
There was nothing new to bring up so a motion to adjourn was made and seconded; all were in favor and the meeting was adjourned followed by goodbyes all around.
Signed by the Recording Secretary, Lydia Tedrow.