Saturday, August 24, 2019

Minutes, July 16, 2019

COTMD Board Minutes for Tuesday, July 18.

The meeting was held at Virginia's house.

People gathered and socialized starting at 7 pm.

Attending in person:

     Victor, Dianne, Virginia, Fred, John, Marguerite, Jonathan

Attending via phone:

     Natalie, Casey

John called the meeting to order at 7:32 pm.

The proposed agenda was reviewed and approved.

the minutes for the last meeting were approved.  it was noted that connie has since resigned from the board.


Virginia presented the treasure's report.

The the financial documents from the group's checking account were reviewed and approved.

The treasurer prepared a spreadsheet summarizing the operational results over the last year.  This recorded the data from the specific "dance sheets" that record the payments and attendance statistics for each event.  There was general discussion about the current run rate (loss) and it was noted that this is (on average) in the vicinity of $300/dance.  Attendance has been significantly off from past years. Other dance groups are facing similar problems.

Jonathan requested that the board accept his calling for two forthcoming future dances as payment in-kind for the outstanding balance on the speakers.  The board approved this.  The treasurer will make appropriate transactions in the general ledger to reflect this.

In view of the current run rate, it was proposed that an agenda item be added for the next meeting: Discussion of Exit Strategy for COTMD as an organization.

It was proposed that a Google Docs folder be made available for Board materials so that those attending by phone would have access to them during the call.  This was widely perceived as a good idea.  Concerns were raised over the possibility of unauthorized access; it is believed that these can be satisfactorily resolved.


Marguerite presented the booker's report.

We are booking for the 2019-2020 season assuming that we will continue to use the Quaker Church as the venue.

Compensation-wise, our pay scale for outside bands and callers is similar to that for other groups.

In view of the current run rate, the booking policy for outside talent is to book only duo's.

The booking policy is presently to give first preference for dates to local bands and callers.  The board generally agrees with this.

Victor has been working on his calling over that last interval by attending workshops and seeking a mentor.  He requested that the board consider allowing him to call a couple of dances supervised by the main caller in an evening so that he can better calibrate his progress. Jonathan volunteered to support this request; and it was also reported that Kenny had made a similar offer as well.

Natalie put together a spreadsheet to catalog the venues which have been investigated.  The secretary will adopt this as a starting point for future record keeping.


With the ascendancy of John to the position of COTMD president, the issue of IRS Forms required by CDSS was revisited.  In the interval the IRS has moved from paper forms to an on-line system for mandatory reporting.  The required data is similar it just needs to be put in a different place now.

It was noted that there has been a rather striking gender imbalance at the Quaker Church.  Too many larks and not enough ravens; or is it the other way around?  There was discussion about the topic of dancing one's opposite role and it was suggested that one of the local callers might offer a brief introduction during the break for those interested.  It was generally felt that attendance has taken a hit because of the change in venue and the number of dances that got canceled last season -- one by the weather, and another two because of hall availability.

There is concern that the scheduled date for the December 2019 dance (12/21/2019) is too close to Christmas and attendance will suffer even more.  There is a general question about the availability of the Quaker Church venue during the Advent season as well, so availability is still TBD.  Therefore the board voted to cancel the December 2019 dance and instead approved a Techno Dance for that date, to be hosted by Jonathan as caller and DJ, subject to availability of the hall.  A voluntary contribution will be requested.  COTMD will cover hall rental should there be a shortfall.


Dianne reported on the status of our application for use of the Ebeneezer Lutheran Church's gymnasium.  Some years ago -- possibly 15-20 -- COTMD did use this venue at a very favorable rate.  The following issues have been identified in the formal response to our application: (1) Concern over soles of shoes on the newly refinished floor; can we dance on special floor mats? (2) Can't guarantee 3rd Saturdays; (3) Church must approve all advertising; (4) Hall rental $400/evening; (5) Liability insurance $1M required; (6) Waiving $300/evening cleanup; (7) Significant additional costs if door keys are lost.  The board voted to decline the offer.

Marguerite reported on the Rosenwall Community Center in Lexington.  At this point there is no price.  The venue's calendar is synced to the public schools.  The police department opens and closes the building. It has a stage and wood floor.  The building is old; AC power outlets are fewer than we might expect.  Has air conditioning. Is 18 miles from Columbia; half-way to Devil's Backbone.  Currently available dates: Oct, Nov, Feb, Mar, Apr., May.  Still being investigated.

Virginia reported on the Laurie Senior Center.  Expensive $480. In Five Points.  Issues.

Mt. Hebron Methodist Church on Leaphart Road in West Columbia may be a possibility.   Marguerite offered to follow up with their senior pastor. Fred will provide contact info.


Over the last few weeks it has come to the attention of the Board that one of the regular dancers seems to be having issues with dance etiquette, viz. excessively powerful swings and twirls and seeming refusal to honor the requests of his dance partner.  This has been ongoing for some time.  Several ladies had noted this when asked; and some reported injuries as a consequence of dancing with the gentleman in question.  The Board is concerned first with the safety issues inherit in this situation, and also with the liability issues of not taking action.  The Board has formulated several drafts to the individual.  The specific content was discussed in the meeting, including issues of tone, and possible consequences for not changing the behavior, including being banned from dances.

The Board approved the following: that John and Natalie finalize the official letter from the Board and sent it to the individual in question; the letter will be sent under John's name in his official role as president.


The date Tuesday, September 17, 2019, was selected.  Dianne and Fred noted that they will quite probably be out of the country then.


A motion was made and seconded.  The meeting concluded at 9:30 pm