Jubilation — Paid Staff

Note: portions added 2/25/07, 9/11/07

Jubilation — Paid Staff

At the January 8, 2006 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business (MWB), TCFM Friends participated in a worship sharing regarding utilizing paid staff at TCFM. The following was minuted:

Jubilation followup:

The Clerk summarized the discussions the Meeting held at its last meeting for business, and previously, with regard to the various concerns identified in the Jubilation committee’s work durng 2005.

Terry irish reported on how Minneapolis Friends Meeting uses its part-time administrative assistant to support the meeting, including the types of duties performed, hours worked and wages paid. The clerk then invited Friends into worship sharing to consider the skills, gifts, and responsibilities that would be important if the Meeting proceeds to employ a person in an administrative capacity. Afterwards, the Clerk asked for suggestions for how to proceed.

After discussion, it was clear that Friends have energy to continue discussing the question of paid staff, but also recognize that the concerns that gave rise to the idea of paid staff are complex and interrelated. Focusing discussion on the idea of paid staff is, therefore, to narrow. We also need to discuss the underlyng question, which is how this Meeting can best carry out its ministries. This may include discussion of, among other things, the overall size of our meeting and the special challenges and opportunities posed by having so many families with young children.

Friends agreed that the committee clerks will discuss this concern at their meeting on 29th First Month and will bring further input to the business meeting. Friends are encouraged, as individuals and as small groups, to continue to discuss, gather information, pray, and otherwise actively play a role in helping the meeting decide how to go forward.

 

At the February 12, 2006 MWB, minutes from the Committee Clerks meeting were included in the Consent Agenda. This included a discussion from committee clerks regarding potential benefit/effect of paid staff at TCFM.

JUBILATION: Out of the recommendation of Friends at January MWB, committees were asked to consider how size of TCFM and the possibility of paid staff might affect the work of their committee. Committee Clerks participated in a worship sharing on the following queries:

What helps us to be faithful to God’s call and carry out God’s work?

How might paid staff be helpful (or not) in helping your committee to carry on God’s work?

Does size of TCFM as a community impact the work of your committee? Is there an optimal size?

Paid Staff:

  • Community Service: can help with sign up lists and coordination of Loaves and Fishes and Project Home.
  • News Committee: maybe copies from Kinko’s, concern that production of the newsletter falls mostly into one volunteer’s hands — paid staff could help with this.
  • Stewardship: paid staff can help with coordination of volunteer efforts, so that we know what others are doing.
  • Adult Ed: not much need for paid staff
  • Advancement: paid staff could be very helpful with written and phone communication/outreach/coordination.
  • M&C: paid staff could help with organization to free up M&C’s time for nurturing, etc.
  • Gardens and Grounds: help organize volunteers, and (for example) individuals for snow shoveling.
  • Fellowship: not much need for paid staff
  • Meetinghouse: has difficulty attracting younger members. There is a need to pass on institutional knowledge (Meetinghouse upkeep, etc. etc. — huge amount of work). Paid staff could help with coordination, record keeping, and perhaps the actual upkeep.
  • Development: Fewer Friends volunteering have the administrative skills to do the finances/administration. We need to acknowledge and get paid staff to help.

(Diane Peterson from PSAC was unable to attend this meeting, but e-mailed her opinion that since we are a big congregation, paid staff would help assure that the work gets done. Steve Marchese from Nominating Committee also could not be here today. In a phone chat with Marianne, he echoes sentiments noted above, particularly mentioning building report keeping, book keeping, building management, and coordinating volunteer efforts like Loaves and Fishes and Project Home.)

Size of Meeting: Overall Friends noted that there were more advantages than disadvantages to having a large Meeting. Committee work is enhanced by having more Friends to draw from. First Day School is richer for having more people resources and organization. Listening to God is more important than size of Meeting. One disadvantage is that newcomers sometimes get lost in our large Meeting. Helping newcomers get settled in small worship circles and committee work helps them get grounded.

Jubilation next step: Marianne will publish these minutes in the Consent Agenda for February MWB. Committee clerks (and TCFM Friends in general) are asked to submit to Marianne concrete tasks they would like to see a paid staff do. These will be compiled and act as the focus of further discernment at March MWB.

At the April 9, 2006 MWB, a written Clerk’s report was presented as background for worship sharing regarding paid staff at TCFM.

CLERK’S REPORT

This report summarizes TCFM’s process thus far with respect to the recent Jubilation questions of whether or not to hire paid staff, as it interfaces with the notion of bud Meetings and what size our Meeting should be. We come back to the last query considered in our 2005 year of discernment — “What are the best structures to support our ministries at TCFM?”

At December 11, 2005, MWB, we minuted: “MWB approves budgeting $8000 in the budget for paid staff, but does not authorize spending that money until we decide whether to actually hire paid staff.”

Then, at January 8, 2006, MWB: Friends participated in worship sharing on the idea of hiring paid staff at TCFM, simply as a way to begin to address the Jubilation issues one by one, in manageable steps. We minuted, “After discussion, it was clear that Friends have energy to continue discussing the question of paid staff, but also recognize that the concerns that gave rise to the idea of paid staff are complex and interrelated. Focusing discussion on the idea of paid staff is, therefore, too narrow. We also need to discuss the underlying question, which is how this Meeting can best carry out its ministries. This may include discussion of, among other things, the overall size of our meeting and the special challenges and opportunities posed by having so many families with young children.”

“Friends agreed that the committee clerks will discuss this concern at their meeting on 29th First Month and will bring further input to the business meeting. Friends are encouraged, as individuals and as small groups, to continue to discuss, gather information, pray, and otherwise actively play a role in helping the Meeting decide how to go forward.”

At the Committee Clerks meeting, 1/29/06, Committee clerks discussed both paid staff and size of meeting, as requested by MWB. An initial “job duties” list for a potential paid staff was developed. Regarding size of meeting, overall Friends noted that there are more advantages than disadvantages to having a large Meeting. Committee work is enhanced by having more Friends to draw from. First Day School is richer for having more people resources and organization. Listening to God is more important than size of Meeting. One disadvantage is that newcomers sometimes get lost in our large Meeting. Helping newcomers get settled in small worship circles and committee work helps them get grounded.”

So Friends who attended that particular Committee Clerks Meeting, chose to focus on paid staff — since it seemed, at that time, to be a question of EITHER we remain a large Meeting and consider paid staff, OR we consider bud meetings, likely with less need for paid staff.

The minutes from the 1/29/05 Committee Clerks meeting were published in the Consent Agenda for February MWB. Committee clerks (and TCFM Friends in general) were asked to submit to the TCFM clerk concrete tasks they would like to see a paid staff do. This were to be compiled and act as the focus of further discernment at MWB. As a visual to describe the sense of the Committee Clerks at the 1/29/06 meeting, Richard Fuller described our Meeting as an amoeba at January MWB. “As an amoeba begins to move in a new direction, it may send out a couple areas of early stretched skin and start flowing into both, and it is not capable of moving in both of directions at once. Then, as its sense of direction develops, a choice is made of one pseudopod and the fluid is pulled back out of the other and its stretched skin is re-gathered.”

“I think TCFM will want to proceed in a similar fashion, further exploring the idea of part time help, while not making a final commitment to it at this point, but also extending ourselves in other directions which may turn out to be mutually incompatible in the end, such as setting off one or more bud meetings. I think it is only by putting ourselves into tentative motion that some people will say, ‘Oh my God! This will never do!’ or ‘Oh yes! We should have done this years ago!’ I think it is only by putting the community into motion in tentative directions that we can get the feedback we need to discern which way we really ought to go.”

(Clerk’s comment: I think that at the 1/29/06 Committee Clerks meeting, there was a sense of a little more fluid in the paid staff pseudopod, and thus the desire to focus on this a bit, or the amoeba wouldn’t move. It is critical to be mindful of the other pseudopods, like the bud meeting one, but it seemed like too much to take on in one bite.)

At the March 23, 2006 Committee Clerks meeting, we worked to develop a list of responsibilities for a paid staff person. It should be noted that the makeup of clerks at this meeting was not the same as at the 1/29 meeting. Concern arose as to how ready we were to consider a paid staff person. Would describing a job description lead to a “slippery slope” that presumes that this is what TCFM wants. However, as a springboard for discussion at MWB, we did suggest possibilities of job duties for paid staff person(s) at TCFM. It seemed that two arenas of job responsibilities emerged, which may or may not be performed by one individual.

The first arena revolved around upkeep of the Meetinghouse. John Martinson and the Meetinghouse Committee have worked on an updated Meetinghouse Maintenance Manual which describes in detail the needs for upkeep of our beloved Meetinghouse. Along with this was developed a job description for a “Maintenance Staff Person”. This would likely overlap with the “handyperson” duties which have already been budgeted. Friends expressed gratitude to John and the Meetinghouse Committee for their work.

Responsibilities of a “Maintenance Staff Person”:

  • to review the TCFM Maintenance Manual and become familiar with the layout and systems within Twin Cites Friends Meetinghouse
  • To do weekly, monthly, yearly checks of building and systems and correct as needed. (Coordinate with Friend in Residence to identify which tasks belong to which position.)
  • To contact professionals for annual check-ups and be there when they are scheduled so as to supervise and become more knowledgeable about the operation of TCFM mechanical systems.
  • To be on call for emergency needs and arrange professional help as needed.
  • To be on call for minor repairs, leaks, etc. and respond in a timely manner.
  • To update the TCFM Maintenance Manual as needed.
  • To work cooperatively with Friends in Residence (FIRs): i.e. check to see what is scheduled in building in area where you intend to do work. Work around building usage schedules.
  • To ready building for “certificate of Occupancy” inspection date and encourage their attendance at the inspections.
  • To do minor construction projects at the direction the Meetinghouse Committee within the limits of this person’s skills.
  • To care for flat membrane roof over Meeting Room by sweeping leaves in fall, and sweeping snow in winter. NO SHARP OBJECTS LIKE RAKES AND SHOVELS ARE USED ON THIS ROOF.

The second set of job duties belong to the “Administrative Staff Person”. These could include:

  • Aid archivist as needed in organization of files and archives of committees, clerk’s minutes, etc.
  • Maintain key list.
  • Maintain records of physical plant of Meetinghouse and property, with support of maintenance staff person and Meetinghouse Committee.
  • Coordination of some Meeting events?
  • Coordination of some purchasing and stocking work or other work for First Day School.
  • Support FIR in some tasks such as answering phone.
  • Should this role be tied in with professional treasurer position in the future? Accountant and computer skills were thought to be helpful or even a prerequisite.
  • Coordination of childcare for Meeting events/meetings.
  • Coordination of copying and distribution of announcement sheet.

Friends were asked to consider not “everything a paid staff might possibly do”, but rather, what would help us to do God’s work. We were asked to consider whether, considering the Quaker testimony of simplicity, a task might need to simply be eliminated from the “to do” list if there is inadequate time, rather than assume it would fall to a paid staff person.

Committee Clerks, at the January meeting, felt the need to start with some concrete step, rather than feel stuck within the dilemma of bud meetings vs. one large Meeting with paid staff.

At this time, we bring to MWB this report to spur further prayerful discernment as to next steps. We return to the query, “What are the structures that support the ministries at TCFM? The Committee Clerks did not see enough advantages of bud meetings (when discussed on 1/29) to warrant trying to send out fluid and energy into two different seedpods of our amoeba, and risk preventing any movement forward.

Is TCFM ready to take further steps to explore paid staff? If so, one possible next step would be to take the initial work of job descriptions, and continue work in an ad hoc committee to present at a future MWB.

If not, how do we move this amoeba?

Marianne Clinton-McCausland

Friends participated in a worship sharing to explore, “What are the structures to support the ministries at TCFM? Are Friends ready to explore paid staff at TCFM?”

The following was minuted:

“The sense of meeting was that we are ready to move forward in at least experimenting with paid staff. The clerk will put together an ad hoc committee representing a number of different concerns and sets of experience to address what next steps might be.”

At the May 14, 2006 MWB, Marianne Clinton-McCausland, TCFM Clerk, reported the following:

“The Clerk has appointed an ad hoc committee to look into next steps to consider having paid staff for TCFM. Those appointed and the groups they represent include: Jeremy McAdams, from Nominating Committee; John Martinson from Meetinghouse Committee; Laura Whitley Mott, Friend-in-residence; Jamie Buss, Treasurer; Bob Nechal, previously of Minneapolis Meeting, who brings small business experience; Bob Schmitt from First Day School.”

From the December 10, 2006 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business:

TCFM Paid Staff Ad Hoc Committee Meeting – Dec. MWB

As part of the period of jubilation in 2005, TCFM asked what we might do to further God’s work in the meeting. To this end, the April 2006 MWB recommended the formation of an ad hoc cmte “to move forward in at least experimenting with paid staff.” In the next month this cmte was formed, composed of Jeremy McAdams, from Nominating Committee; John Martinson, from Meetinghouse Committee; Laura Whitley Mott, Friend-in-residence; Jamie Buss, Treasurer; Bob Nechal, previously of Minneapolis Meeting, who brings small business experience; and Bob Schmitt, from First Day School.

The first milestone for the committee was to prepare a budget proposal for certain items to Development Committee and then the meeting. In the November 2006 MWB, the budget for 2007 was approved, which includes money for paid work for the administrative and maintenance work mentioned in this report. Some of this is a carryover from the 2006 budget.

Maintenance work: Currently we have two types of paid work being done for the meetinghouse. A handiperson, currently Jonetta Martinson, sees to the everyday maintenance of the meetinghouse. Also, there is also paid regular cleaning of the meetinghouse, currently done by a cleaning service. We would now like to pay for a third type of work. There is now provision in the 2007 budget for a meetinghouse building manager, to oversee maintenance and repair of the meetinghouse. In other words, this is the work formerly done by John Martinson. Our expectation is that this work can be done by an independent contractor, but that has not yet been tested. Paid work for maintenance and repair of the meetinghouse may be done by three different individuals, or fewer, up to the discretion of meetinghouse committee.

Administrative work: In 2005 MWB approved paid work in coordinating first day school. We would like to enlarge on this paid administrative work. There is now provision in the budget for bookkeeping duties to support the treasurer, administrative support for Meeting publications and recordkeeping, mail distribution, and maintenance of the keylist. Of course this is a preliminary list that may be revised in time. Also undetermined is whether this work can be done by a single individual, or if we will need to hire a second individual more versed in bookkeeping. As with the maintenance work, our expectation is that this work can be done by an independent contractor, but that has not yet been tested. We expect that most administrative work will be done by the administrative contractor in his or her own office, but we have made provision in the 2007 budget for purchase of a computer. This will aid in keeping the consistency of records, despite changes in paid administrators or in computer software.

To prepare this report, the Ad hoc cmte for paid staff met three times between June and October, 2006. Much of our efforts were in compiling job descriptions, as well as how much and when work could be done to support the meeting and its members. With that laid out before us, we were able to consider how much to ask for from the Meeting to compensate for this added paid work. Our work has been pragmatic and straightforward, because we understand that discernment during the Jubilation year led the meeting in this direction. It seems that paying for work to support the meeting will free us up to further God’s work in the meeting.

From minutes from December 2006 Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business

TCFM Paid Staff Ad Hoc Committee Meeting

In October 2005, a day of Jubilation identified several areas of focus including potentially hiring staff to assist in the both maintenance and the performance of several administrative and clerical tasks of the Meeting. An ad hoc committee was formed consisting of Jeremy McAdams from Nominating Committee; John Martinson from Meetinghouse Committee; Laura Whitley Mott, Friend-in-Residence; Jamie Buss, treasurer; Bob Nechal previously of Minneapolis Meeting who brings small business experience; and Bob Schmitt, previously from First Day School Committee. Jeremy read the committee’s report detailing work identified and a recommendation that the work be done by independent contractors as opposed to the Meeting becoming an employer.

MWB upholds and appreciates the word done by the ad hoc committee. MWB approved Meetinghouse Committee proceeding with contracting a person or persons to take on maintenance responsibilities as described. It is less clear that there is an obvious choice of one committee to oversee the person or persons performing administrative tasks. MWB acknowledges the advantage of centralizing oversight of both functions, yet is aware of the potential of stretching Meetinghouse Committee members beyond their time and knowledge of needs in requesting them to consider oversight of both work functions.

The clerk will communicate with clerks of Meetinghouse Committee to assess their potential interest and ability to do oversight for both maintenance and administrative functions. An agreement to take on this request would involve establishing clear lines of communication between the treasurer, First Day School Committee, and others for assistance in defining work expectations. The ad hoc committee remains available as a resource in defining next steps.

MWB expresses a strong preference for engaging individuals from within the life of the Meeting, although does not hold this as a requirement. In addition, we remain open to exploring whether an employment vs. a contractor model would best define our relationship with these individuals. MWB wishes to choose the model which best meets our needs, despite the learning curve the best model may demand of us.

We are aware this is uncharted territory with many unknowns and hold ourselves and particularly committee clerks in the light as they help us discern further steps.

At the 2/11/07 Meeting for Worship, the Meetinghouse Committee presented a report after considering Meeting’s request that they consider oversight of paid staff. The following was minuted:

Meetinghouse Committee. In December 2006, MWB felt clear to go forward with creating two paid staff positions, one to take responsibility for building management tasks and one for taking on responsibility for clerical and administrative tasks. Ceil Wirth read the report of the Meetinghouse Committee (included with MWB agenda materials.) The Committee does not feel that it can be responsible for recruiting or supervising either of these positions but believes that the Meeting as a whole should bear that responsibility.

In light of this report, MWB asked the clerk to appoint an ad hoc committee to work with the clerk’s team to build on the work already done by the previous ad hoc committee to identify the next steps necessary to move forward. The new committee should have representatives from committees directly involved in the work to be overseen as well as others with time and skill in management and personnel concerns. The committee’s work may include, but not be limited to, listing work responsibilities, publicizing the positions, identifying persons responsible for reviewing applications, and identifying those responsible for supervising the positions once they are engaged.

from minutes for Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, Feb. 11, 2007

As Friends are most likely aware, TCFM has been experiencing joyful and exuberant growth in the past five years. The Meeting House committee has shared in that joy and exuberance, as well as the growth, in welcoming new members to its structure. The Meeting House committee has also been acutely aware of the difficulty experienced by Nominating committee in finding members and attenders who are able and willing to serve on committees, the problem usually being lack of time due to personal, professional, and other Meeting-centered commitments. Two members of our commitee, John Martinson and Laura Whitley Mott, have represented Meeting House committee on the ad-hoc committee to consider creating paid staff positions, currently titled Building Manager and Administrative Person. The ad-hoc committee has presented their report to Meeting for Business, and from that has come the request to Meeting House committee to consider the possibilities of being responsible for recruiting, hiring, and management/oversight of these two positions.

Meeting House committee met on January 7, 2007 and considered this proposal as a main part of its agenda for that evening. Committee members present for that meeting were: Carol Bartoo, Ceil Wirth, John Martinson, Julie Borgerding-July, Laura Whitley Mott, and Ralph Hilgendorf (absent: Greg Whitley Mott and Gerry Skerbitz). Acutely aware that our committee feels overburdened already with tasks and oversight on a number of parts of keeping TCFM afloat, we were immediately agreed that we cannot take on this responsibility. We believe that the Meeting as a whole needs to “own” this responsibility, that Meeting House committee is only a small part of TCFM as a whole and should not and does not want the amount of power this responsibility would entail. Therefore, we cite and call upon the Meeting as a whole to take on this task.

Meeting House committee recommends the following: that Meeting for Business establish a committee that we have given the working title of “Personnel Committee”, with its membership comprised of representatives from the Meeting at large (both committee members and those not yet on any committee), especially the Trustees, Recorder, and Archivist. This committee would provide management and oversight of the two positions in the areas of recruiting, hiring, supervision, performance reviews, acquisition of needed equipment, etc. Consultation and/or direct help would be given by Meeting House committee for the Building Manager and the same is recommended to be given by First Day School committee for the Administrative Person (since their need appears to be the greatest for utilizing that person).

To that end, Meeting House committee is already studying the need for a securable office space and discussing various options. We have just begun this task.

Respectfully submitted in the Light,
Cecilia (Ceil) Wirth
Co-clerk of Meeting House Committee of Twin Cities Friends Meeting

January 30, 2007

from minutes for Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business, April 1, 2007

An ad hoc committee on paid staff has been formed. It consists of Jamie Buss — Treasurer, Harry Dilworth — News, Ceil Wirth — Meetinghouse, John Martinson — Meetinghouse, Elaine Martin — First Day School, David Shons — business person. A first meeting is being scheduled.

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