by Walt Sullivan, CHCA President

The Development of Chestnut Hill College on Sugarloaf.

This is certainly the most important, and the largest, physical development in our community in more than several decades.

Your board on Feb. 25, 2010, unanimously adopted a detailed resolution establishing a special committee of the CHCA chaired by architect Larry McEwen to prepare for and conduct negotiations with Chestnut Hill College. (For many months, even before then, the erstwhile participants had been carefully reviewing the original proposal by the college, consulting experts, and preparing for those conversations.)

That CHCA committee included representatives of other key organizations in our community including the two near-neighbor organizations. The nine members and several alternates have devoted literally thousands of person-hours to this task. I myself have devoted no little time to this. Mr. McEwen has devoted no fewer than an average of 30 hours per week to it, all, of course, pro bono.

Those negotiations are now nearing a conclusion. I cannot yet tell you whether, despite very great progress, they will prove successful, or whether the situation will descend into a swell of litigation against the college, perhaps by the two near-neighbor organizations. We all devoutly pray for a successful outcome in the form of a comprehensive agreement including conservation easements and appropriate zoning treatment.

A necessary reform: A “board of directors” with real expertise for our Local

This important subject I have discussed here with you in the past. This proposal was – and is – in the interests of our beloved Local (including our 18 valued employees) and, above all, of the community we all serve. One purpose (of many) is forever to insulate our Local from the potential maelstrom of Chestnut Hill politics (which, thankfully, we have avoided during my term), such as surrounded it in 2006 and on several occasions in years before that. The whole community should rightfully see the words of that proposal, which are as follows:

“The Board hereby adopts the following:

1. The Local (including the online portal) is a treasured resource of our community owned and published by the Association in trust for the community and the readership in accordance with Bylaws I, C, 3. The Board acts for the Association.

2.  The Board may delegate its many responsibilities concerning the Local provided that that be in the interests of the Local (and its employees) and the community.

3. This delegation is revocable at any time by a vote of 2/3 of the Board as to any specific decision or generally, because this is not an amendment to the bylaws.

4. The 12 members of the Executive Committee and the 34 members of the Board do not possess the expertise in media and related disciplines to evaluate the job performance of Local employees and generally to manage this treasured enterprise, which is in addition a business, although with great seriousness they try to do their best. Moreover, any situation in which employees have 12 let alone 34 “bosses,” lay people or not, is untenable for all.

5.  Accordingly the Board hereby delegates full authority to manage the Local (including its online portal) to an independent board of directors for the Local consisting of three to five persons who must upon nomination by the CHCA president be confirmed by the Board.

6. Those persons must possess significant expertise in media and related disciplines sufficient to enable them effectively to manage the Local in all respects. They must commit sufficient time to do so.

7. Those persons shall serve staggered terms of five years, i.e., the first confirmed, a five-year term; the second, a four-year term, etc. They are eligible for re-nomination.

8. They shall, just as analogously do the CHCF trustees, report informationally twice annually to the CHCA Board.

9. As heretofore, monthly financial statements will issue to the CHCA treasurer and then to the Board.

10. This delegation shall not take effect until the third nominee has been confirmed by the Board.

11. Editorial independence as defined at I, C, 3 (c), p. 8 remains forever preserved and intact.

Your board on Feb. 24, after full and free discussion, by a roll call vote of 16 to 11 as appears in the minutes, published at www.chestnuthill.org, declined to adopt this proposal.

I am duty bound, somehow, to accomplish this objective in the interests of all. No single reform equals this in necessity and importance. I shall therefore revise that proposal such as it may gain acceptance by your board and present it in due course to your board.

Application by CHCA to the IRS for 501(c)(3) Status

Your board is considering this action in order to enable the CHCA itself to receive sponsorships and donations associated with events and to receive programmatic grants, tax deductible to the donors and grantor organizations. We have reviewed the law and have all the needed materials. We have established a small committee to report back to your board as soon as possible on the wisdom and practicality of the matter, including on the seven questions posed in the amended motion passed unanimously on Feb. 24, which you may see in the minutes on www.ChestnutHill.org