The February meeting of the Garrett County Commission for Women was called to order at 5:03 P.M. by Chair Lisa Thayer Welch. Due to COVID-19, teleconference through Google Meet utilized. Also present were Sadie Liller, Erin-Ruth Natividad, Linda Carr, Caroline Blizzard, Juliet Sanders, Maureen Sheaffer, Amanda Mattingly, Melita Friend, and Michelle Harman. Ten members were present and a quorum was present. Members not present were Kristal Huber, Rachel Bruch, and Rose Gordy. A guest was present, Luanne Ruddell, Garrett County representative to the Maryland Commission for Women.
A moment of silence was recognized, and the Pledge of Allegiance had been recited.
Secretary’s Report: No report other than the presentation of Minutes from the December 1, 2020 Meeting as prepared by Erin-Ruth Natividad. Erin-Ruth Natividad advised the adjournment has a typo of February 2, 2020 for the next meeting, but should read February 2, 2021. She reported she would update.
Treasurer’s Report: Linda Carr reported a beginning balance of $4,757.24. No deposits or disbursements were made since last report. A final balance was reported of $4,757.24. Unanimous approval of the Treasurer’s Report
1. Hall of Fame- Lisa Thayer Welch said we still do not have a HOF Committee Head. Erin-Ruth Natividad reminded the Commission that Caroline Blizzard agreed at the 12/1/20 meeting to head this committee with strong help from Sadie Liller.
2. Scholarship- Lisa Thayer Welch forwarded bio information for the scholarship winners to Erin-Ruth Natividad for public relations and Social Media. A public post was made 2/2/21 on the GCCW FB page. Lisa Thayer identified Brenda Ruggiero from The Republican will be writing an article regarding the 2020 MRS scholarship on Sydney Friend. Once that is posted, she plans to include the request for applicants for the 2021 Scholarship.
3. Legislation- Linda Carr reported they are in session. Linda Carr has been sending updates from MLAW as she receives them. Juliet Sanders said she attended the meeting last Thursday and found it informative.
4. Public Relations- Erin-Ruth Natividad advised she had gained full access to the Facebook page and had also given Juliet Sanders admin rights to post. Erin-Ruth Natividad said she plans to meet with Juliet to go over tips and tricks. As usual, Erin-Ruth asks members send her events and opportunities be sent to her regularly. She also requested content ideas as she can make any graphic. Website will be updated next week.
5. Membership- Linda Carr had sent an updated Membership Roster on 1/22/21, identifying the re-addition to the GCCW membership of Michelle Harman. Erin-Ruth Natividad reported her name is inaccurate as it says “Erin O. Natividad”. Juliet Sanders name was also spelled incorrectly. There is one vacancy, and Erin-Ruth Natividad claims Jessica Dijak is interested. She will send resume through the Commission. Erin-Ruth Natividad reported she reviewed several minutes and that Rachel Bruch and Kristal Huber were not attending in accordance with the GCCW Bylaws. Maureen Sheaffer said she spoke with Rachel Bruch, and it was implied she may not continue with her GCCW membership. Lisa Thayer Welch will call both Rachel and Kristal to discuss their plans.
6. Historian- Rose Gordy was not in attendance.
7. By-Laws- Maureen Sheaffer reported no change.
8. Community Projects- Erin-Ruth Natividad said she went through all of 2020 Minutes and made a master list of tabled projects due to Covid-19. She reported she would re-present these projects at a more stable time.
Strategic Plan Guiding Principles:
- Promotion of Services/Issues/Activities-This will be achieved through our Public Relations and Community Projects this month and next.
- Political Participation/Leadership Roles- Erin-Ruth Natividad reported we need to get more women in local government roles. Erin-Ruth Natividad identified the Commission should be proactive on a non-partisan level at encouraging political participation. Erin-Ruth Natividad suggested women may be more apt to run for local office with encouragement, and once they hold a position, may be comfortable running for higher elected seats. It was also requested that while the Commission is non-partisan, any members part of local political groups and committees reach out to see what those groups are also able to do to encourage women candidates. Erin-Ruth Natividad suggested we do another radio spot encouraging female candidates. Sadie Liller reported she was concerned not enough time for candidates to get campaigns organized for the upcoming municipal election. Erin-Ruth Natividad advised the Oakland Town Council election only recently allowed prospects to announce, already limiting campaign time. Lisa Thayer Welch said we may not need to pay for an advertisement, and that this type of air time may be considered a PSA. Maureen Sheaffer said minimally the announcements should encourage people to vote in the municipal elections as there is typically a low turn-out. Pam Trickett said we could get an endorsement by former elected official, such as Peggy Jamison, and first quarter is typically open with air. Pam Trickett said we should look beyond to WFRB. Pam said we could a business owner underwrite the message if it does require payment. Linda Carr suggested to be responsible with the GCCW funds and to table for “purchases” such as radio ads until after the 2021 HOF overhead and Scholarships had been disbursed. Pam Trickett suggested we hold a webinar to support women candidates’ enthusiasm and provide training on running. It was suggested to support women candidates financially; however, Lisa Thayer Welch identified this would be difficult in order to maintain our non-partisan status. Sadie Liller said we could put out an announcement to see interest regarding a webinar. Erin-Ruth will create Facebook graphics and share regularly on certain days, and said another affordable option would to “boost posts” which allows GCCW to target certain audiences. It was suggested to have previous women public officials record videos. Erin-Ruth Natividad said she can record videos, while adhering to guidelines, so we get the content we want and could edit accordingly. Sadie Liller identified Nancy Brady as a potential and will reach out. Lisa Thayer Welch will reach out to Peggy Jamison and Carolyn Corley. Sadie Liller asked about a release form, Erin-Ruth said she would create it once we get back willing participants.
- Pressing Issues affecting GC Women. Erin-Ruth Natividad said she had been hearing teachers are concerned to return to school, especially those with children. Lisa Thayer Welch advised educators got first round last of vaccine last Friday, and she had heard the opposite opinion as teachers are wanting in-person instruction vs. virtual. Erin-Ruth Natividad advised Chamber of Commerce sent email on 2/1/2021 HB 581, Employment Standards During an Emergency (Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act), encouraging people to vote no for essential employee raise during emergency. Erin-Ruth Natividad said this concerned her on behalf of essential workers. Linda Carr, as a Chamber Board Member, explained “emergency”, nor “essential worker” was not defined clearly, and as such, the vague language would hurt local small business owners. Lisa Thayer Welch and Linda Carr both identified the Chamber’s statement on this matter just today via their Facebook page. Erin-Ruth Natividad said this cleared up her concerns as the email was not as explanatory.
- Hall of Fame- 2020 Discussed Above. 2021 Discussed in New Business.
- Higher Education/Scholarship-Discussed Above.
- 2020Hall of Fame awardees and Scholarship Recognition- See Committee Report 3
- Hall of Fame Plaque- Maureen Sheaffer wants specifics from Lisa Thayer Welch regarding design. Erin-Ruth Natividad, daughter of inductee Susan Athey-Oxford, requested that her mother’s name be updated to “Susan Athey”, as prior to her death, this was the name Ms. Athey utilized.
- Potential Commission Vacancies- See Committee Report 5
- Use of Commissioner Tax Exempt Status-It was previously identified GCCW was using the Commissioner’s Tax-Exempt Number, and identified GCCW is no longer to do so. Lisa Thayer Welch said we will work with Mike Getty, attorney for county, to get this matter corrected and do the necessary filings. In the meantime, we will pay tax for goods.
- New Member Welcome (Amanda Mattingly)
- Purchasing of Dove Center Room- Lisa Thayer Welch said GCCW received acknowledgement of the donation. Lisa scanned it and will email to both Erin-Ruth Natividad and Linda Carr. Pam Trickett asked if we wanted to do a promotional pic for the press/ PR. Linda Carr suggested said once it’s furnished, we get a photo, and Lisa Thayer Welch will email Heather Hanline, Director, to request a notification once the GCCW sponsored room is complete.
1. Returning Member Welcome (Michelle Harman)
2. 2021 Hall of Fame and Scholarships-Caroline Blizzard said April may too soon. Sadie Liller said capacity of venue may pose a problem. Erin-Ruth Natividad said a virtual gala is a possibility. Sadie Liller said we are getting further behind, and GCCW should try to do something. Melita Friend suggested something outside, potentially Camp Deep Creek. Lisa Thayer Welch suggested the Agricultural Hall at the GC Fairgrounds, where we could potentially serve a boxed meal. Erin-Ruth Natividad suggested a gourmet pastry box to be handed to guests as they leave and not make the event a catered meal. Pam Trickett said it is $1500 a day to rent the Ag Hall ($500 extra if the kitchen is used), and Sadie Liller suggested to see if it could be discounted due to the nature of our event. Lisa Thayer Welch said she would reach out to the appropriate party and get more information. Lisa Thayer Welch said past honorees may not want to come due to health risk, but we could still honor/mention 2020 winners. It was agreed Dutch’s was too small for social distancing, and Lisa Thayer Welch would reach out to them to identify our past gratitude and decline booking for 2021. Sadie Liller suggested the renovated Brodak’s Venue. Melita Friend said she had a contact and would speak with her, and also suggested that we could virtually stream the event for those who cannot attend in person. Erin-Ruth Natividad said we could potentially do July, and her company could potentially provide some sound and lighting features to make the event special. Pam Trickett suggested May or June. Melita Friend said she was optimistic about the opening of the public since kids are going back to school again. Pam Trickett also inquired about the Wisp. Lisa Thayer Welch said she would reach out to Lisa Ratliff, event coordinator at the Wisp, but ultimately, Lisa suggested we use a place that would do set up for us. Lisa Thayer Welch said we would look at all the options and have a committee meeting with Caroline and Sadie.
3. 2022 Funding Request- Linda Carr said we got $4000 for this year, but once upon a time, it was $4500. Lisa Thayer Welch identified that GCCW should only do $4000 per information sent to County dept heads from the Director of Finance. Erin-Ruth Natividad motioned we request $4000, and Caroline Blizzard seconded.
4. Letters to the Editor- Erin-Ruth Natividad will create a letter for February on the topic of Local Women Candidates and/or Municipal Election Voting.
5. PG County Commission Event- Erin-Ruth Natividad advised she shared this event to members today. On Sunday, February 7 from 1-4, the Prince George’s County Commission for Women will hold their 2021 Virtual Legislative Briefing with a theme of Empowering and Educating Women on Issues that Matter. Although registration is free, members must register for this event on Eventbrite. Erin-Ruth Natividad and Lisa Thayer Welch have already registered and will attend the event.
6. Local Municipal Elections- Erin-Ruth Natividad said she included upcoming local elections through April on the Agenda for this meeting for people to mark their calendars. PR team will make sure regular posts are shared on the FB page, and it is requested members share the posts.
7. Women’s History Month- Erin-Ruth Natividad suggested we write a letter to the Commissioners requesting they make a public statement regarding Women’s History Month 2021, especially since women have been hit hard by the pandemic, etc. Lisa Thayer Welch said we would ask them to do a proclamation of 3/1/21 and publicize it.
8. Treasurer- Linda Carr highlighted her upcoming term ending, and she said we need to start to think about who is going to take over Treasurer. Linda would like the opportunity to train the individual.
Erin-Ruth Natividad motioned to adjourn the meeting, and Sadie Liller seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 6:28 P.M. The next meeting is Tuesday, April 6, 2021 from 5 to 6:30 P.M.