William Way board approves new bylaws

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Board members of the The William Way LGBT Community Center held voted to revise bylaws and discussed ongoing renovations Feb. 18 at their bimonthly meeting.

Those who attended the meeting, held at 1315 Spruce St., were secretary Eric Ashton, treasurer Ann Butchart, Liz Reasey, Stephanie Gross, Christopher Pinto, Moira Mulroney and co-chairs David Michelson and Emilie Carr. Absent were board members Al Besse, Deb Francesco and Ted Greenberg.

The board conducted the first of two votes required to approve proposed revisions to its bylaws. The second vote will be held at the next public board meeting April 15. The revisions include changing language to make existing bylaws clearer, as well as changing the frequency of the board meetings. If the revisions are approved, the board will be required to hold four public meetings and four executive sessions per year, reduced from the current requirement of six public and four executive meetings. Board members are still expected to adhere to the same attendance guidelines, which state their positions will be considered vacant if they miss more than three meetings in a row or more than five meetings in a calendar year.

The proposed revisions would also require committees to make quarterly reports to the board instead of at every regular meeting.

Executive director ’Dolph Ward Goldenburg reported that the center’s membership is up by 9 percent, from 964 households last year to 1,058 this year, and that Cornerstone memberships increased 10 percent, from 77 last year to 84 this year.

Center occupancy is down 14.4 percent, mainly due to Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus and Spirit of the Leopard moving out of the center. Usage is also down by 29.3 percent, which is primarily attributed to the decrease in traffic from the two groups.

Candice Thompson, director of center services, reported the center’s LGBT Bookmobile program, which was started in October to bring books from the center’s library to GSAs in southern New Jersey, is doing well and female students are requesting that it stock more lesbian literature.

Thompson also reported that Way Gay U spring classes will begin in late March. New class offerings include Introduction to Philadelphia Architecture and Online Dating 101.

It was also announced that the center is hiring for two part-time positions: senior program coordinator and volunteer coordinator.

Jon Wexler, director of facilities, reported on the elevator construction. From the ground floor, Wexler showed the board the area in the basement that has been cleared for the elevator’s foundation, and the part of the ceiling that crews will have to remove for the project.

Goldenburg also reported that the center has received state grants secured by state Rep. Dwight Evans (D-203rd Dist.) and Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione (D-2nd Dist.), in the amounts of $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. He also said that state Rep. Babette Josephs (D-182nd Dist.) and Sen. Larry Farnese (D-1st Dist.) are considering grant commitments for the project.

Wexler also noted the expansion of the center’s living room and that room 223 has been divided into two offices. Additionally, Mountain Meadow is relocating to a smaller office due to financial reasons, while AIDS Fund is taking over that office.

Goldenburg announced the center has moved its spring dinner, originally scheduled for April 2, because the Mazzoni Center and ActionAIDS are hosting events April 2 and 3, respectively. Instead, the center will host a high-ticket dinner event to coincide with the Building Bash on June 7.

Butchart reported on the center’s finances, which included higher income and fewer expenses than expected for the month of January. The center reported a total income of $30,276.16 for January, $3,405.16 over what it had expected. The additional income came from unanticipated individual giving and program revenue. Expenses for the month totaled $43,742.70, which was $5,202.30 less than anticipated. The majority of the reduction is a result of reduced personnel expenses due to staff vacancies.

The center ended the month with a deficit of $13,466.54, well below the planned deficit of $22,074.

For the year to date, the center’s income totaled $176,500.52, which was $24,619.48 less than expected. The majority of the shortfall is attributed to auditors requiring $20,000 of Indigo Ball proceeds to be posted to fiscal year 2008.

The center’s year-to-date expenses totaled $177,853.64, which is $6,870.36 less than expected. For the year, the center had a shortfall of $1,353.12.

For more information, visit www.waygay.org.

Larry Nichols can be reached at [email protected].