Saturday, November 19, 2005

LNC Meeting Report - Executive Director Search and Staffing Issues

Colley, as Chair of the Employment and Personnel Compensation Committee (EPCC), reported that eight applications have been received for the open position of Executive Director (ED). He said in them he has still not seen the right person for this job. He has ceased employing a professional search service because our current financial position makes it difficult to pay them, not to mention paying a new ED.

Our current staff is smaller, but according to Dixon operating more efficiently. Cory is serving as Acting Chief of Staff until a new ED is named. Under our policies, technically Dixon is also serving as ED. Dixon said that we are being very well served by having Colley on site throughout most of the fall. Nelson said he has spent more time on office matters including some responsibilities which normally belong to the ED. Nelson strongly urged the committee to hire a new ED as soon as possible, claiming that the position more than pays for itself and provides essential leadership. Colley showed sympathy for Nelson’s view but said it is true only when we identify the right person for the job.

Colley offered a new quarterly ED bonus structure. He said that some metrics have changed, such as membership numbers, while others are hard to measure or difficult to attribute directly to staff activity, such as the number of election victories or amount of media coverage.

Colley suggested a new formula. The ED bonus would be a maximum of $6,000 per quarter, which would be two parts staff management (containing costs and turnover, response to tasks assigned by the LNC, reporting and conforming to the budget), two parts fundraising, one part representing the party in the DC area, and one part being a “team player” (support of the LNC and our affiliates, and partnership with the Chair).

No action was taken on this proposal. While the choice of metrics is more realistic, they still appear to contain many of the same subjective elements as the previous bonus structure.

Sam New has been shifted from Special Projects Coordinator to Director of Communications on an interim basis. Besides issuing press releases and fielding media inquiries, New has been active in cold calling media outlets to book interviews. Dixon said this resulted in him doing many more interviews than he had in any previous quarter. He related an amusing tale of an interview with the Washington Times, asking if support of gay marriage naturally led also to support of polygamy. Apparently the reporter had done extensive research into our position, including looking up the Arizona LP platform which directly addresses this issue.

Member Services Specialist Chris Thorman has been tasked with learning our database program and working with Robert Kraus to finish hammering out the bugs in it, which is meant to give him an opportunity to show if he can fulfill the duties of a renewed Development Director position. Kraus reported that negotiations with Blackbaud regarding servicing their database product continue apace, although more staff training will be needed to take advantage of some of the features still available to us.

Starr asked what the plan was for the next 90 days. Dixon replied the major tasks are implementation of affiliate and vendor agreements, finishing the transition to zero dues and convention planning.

Colley also reported on the move of the office upstairs to Suite 200 in the Watergate building, which has been stalled. Just before we were to complete the new lease agreement as reported last meeting, the building was sold to an owner who harbors the illusion that the Watergate is an A-list property. While is does have a delicious place in history and an excellent location, honestly it has never been a top quality structure in terms of maintenance and amenities. This has resulted in a reopening of our lease negotiations.

Meanwhile, we have determined that our space needs are a bit less than we had originally envisioned. Fortunately our prospective next door neighbor on the second floor wants to expand, which should result in a happy compromise. Our current lease ends on 12/31/05.

Colley was asked if there is a Plan B in case our negotiations with the new landlord fail. He replied that we are hoping to avoid moving away from the Watergate, especially considering the great value we receive from interns supplied by nearby George Washington University.


Post a Comment

<< Home