La Plaza Telecommunity
Board of Directors Regular Meeting
Tim's Chile Connection
May 11, 1999
+ A wireless project similar to the one in Questa will be developed for
+ La Plaza will seek ownership of the Questa demo project equipment.
+ The board is asked to underwrite improved health benefits and a
retirement plan for La Plaza staff.
+ There will be a 'spring cleaning' day in June or July.
+ There may be changes in fees for business users and those online for
+ 70% of La Plaza's hardware is Y2K compliant, 23% is still being
assessed and 7% is non compliant, but with fixes available for all non
+ La Plaza needs a long range public relations strategy.
+ The board seeks board members who are non-techies.
+ Proceeds from the Tango III will be used to purchase two new
computers for the La Plaza essay contest.
+ The board will not change the way board members are selected.
+ The board will meet in other communities served by La Plaza.
+ A policy for the disposal of capital assets will be discussed at the
+ La Plaza will donate a web page for a year to a benefit auction.
Call to Order Thomas Myers, President
Approval of Agenda Thomas Myers, President
Approval of April Minutes Thomas Myers, President
Executive Director Report Judith Pepper, Executive Dir.
Y2K Report Tim Corcoran, Systems Admin.
Treasurers Report Reva Suazo, Treasurer
Membership Thomas Myers, Chair
Public Relations Peter Alexander, Chair
Nominating Thomas Myers, Chair
Youth Advisory Thomas Myers, Chair
Fund Raising Dawn Redpath, Chair
Education Ira Schwartz, Chair
By-laws Thomas Myers, Chair
Board Discussion Thomas Myers, President
Members Comments Thomas Myers, President
June 8, l999 - 6:00 p.m., In Questa
Adjournment Thomas Myers, President
Call to Order by Chairman Thomas Myers, at 6:05 p.m.
Present: Alexander, Goetz, Lopez, Myers, Redpath, Suazo, Wichman,
Pepper (Executive Director), Corcoran (interim Systems Administrator),
Medina (staff) and members, Erich Kuerstner, Mr/Ms Jerry Simpson,
Elizabeth Manning. Absent: Gunn, Schwartz
Approval of Agenda
MOTION to approve agenda: Lopez
VOTE: Agenda approved.
Approval of Minutes of April 20, l999.
MOTION to approve: Redpath
VOTE: Minutes of April 20, l999 approved.
Executive Director's Report--Judith Pepper
The Executive Director presented her report, highlighting the
+ We are working with Rick Carlisle, State Radio and Communications
General Service Division, to develop a wireless project for Penasco
similar to the one in Questa. The State, La Plaza, Penasco Schools,
La Jicarita Enterprises, and the Picuris Pueblo are working
together to provide high speed data lines to the Pueblo, the
Schools and other community offices. Arnold Lopez requested a T-1
line to connect La Plaza and the high school but was told U.S. West
could not install it, leaving us to use the 56Kbps line to reach
the schools and the 80+ users in Penasco. There will be a meeting
May 21, with the partners and LANL to plan a collaborative effort
to install the wireless service through the Pueblo. Given the poor
phone service at the Pueblo, it is hoped they will agree to the
user of their radio towers for this purpose. The State would like
to see the service installed by September.
+ Rick Carlisle is recommending two options for La Plaza assuming
ownership of the equipment from the Questa demo project. the
equipment in Questa. La Plaza can buy the equipment outright or the
State can give ownership to one of the four municipal entities
involved and La Plaza can continue to manage both the equipment and
the system. It was suggested La Plaza might be better advised to
own the system outright rather than to have such an arrangement
with the schools. La Plaza might not have to buy it but, if we do
want ownership, it may be important to do so. There is some
question as to whether the state can sell property to a private
entity. The fact La Plaza is a 501c3 serving other entities may
+ The board was asked to consider a fundraising event to underwrite
the cost of better health care benefits, paid at 100%, and a
retirement package for La Plaza staff. It was pointed out the staff
at La Plaza are quite loyal and that, to retain such a staff,
benefits will have to be improved. It was suggested a fundraising
event might not be the appropriate way to underwrite these
benefits; that they ought to simply be made a part of the budget
and the board be made responsible for finding the revenues
+ The staff will come up with a date for 'spring cleaning in either
June or July and board members will be expected to participate.
+ The budget is within the allocated amounts for expenses and
revenues. $22,000. a month was projected and this seems to be right
on target. Accounts are carefully monitored and there are more who
are on the credit card payment arrangement.
+ It was suggested Charlotte's Web (Charlotte, NC) would be an
organization against which La Plaza could compare itself.
+ It was noted the number of calls for technical assistance was again
going up. Part of this was due to the installation of the new
modems and also that the number of users in Questa is beginning to
+ The question was raised as to the number of businesses making use
of La Plaza services. La Plaza currently does not differentiate
between business and personal users, charging a flat $15. for
either use. This seems to be a standard practice for most ISPs. It
was suggested an additional fee might be added for additional
hours. Nationally, average usage is two hours a day. 235 of our
users meet this level, online for 60 hours or more a month. It was
noted modem speed has a lot to do with this; that we might do well
to find out the average modem speed of our users.
Y2K Report--Tim Corcoran
+ Y2K statements from Mission Critical utility vendors have been
--Kit Carson Electric
+ 70% of La Plaza's hardware is Y2K compliant, 23% is still being
assessed and 7% is non compliant, but with fixes available for all
non compliant items. As outlined in the report, there is hardware
that likely will not survive to 2000. Also, while both main servers
are compliant, La Plaza hopes to replace these this summer. A grant
has been submitted for funding to do so. If the grant is turned
down, La Plaza will go immediately to the McCune or Ford
Treasurer's Report--Reva Suazo
There was nothing to report. The audit begins May 12.
Two unsubscribed. Two or three others joined.
Public Relations--Peter Alexander
There has been no work thus far but the plan is to work up a long range
PR strategy for La Plaza. The Executive Director noted the difficulty
in getting coverage in the local press, using, as an example, the fact
the Taos News was only just now carrying the story about the March 31
award of the Benton Foundation grant.
Those indicating an interest in serving on the board have been asked to
submit letters so indicating; this to fill current openings. To date,
no responses have been received. The desire is to create a more well
rounded board, to include more community members, more diverse skills,
e.g., marketing. La Plaza does not want to have just a techie board.
Youth Advisory--Thomas Myers
With the Kellogg MIRA grant coming to Taos, the Youth Advisory
Committee will be moving in that direction. However, with students
currently in finals and year end activities, little will be done until
school is out.
Fund Raising--Dawn Redpath
Proceeds from the Tango III will be used to purchase two new computers
for the La Plaza essay contest.
The chairman was absent and no meetings have been held in the most
Under the present bylaws the board may appoint someone to fill a
vacancy until the next board election. The appointee can then run for
the board. This is to prevent the board from loading the membership
with those of its own choosing. The La Plaza attorney said the board
may also amend the bylaws and thereby select and elect those who it
chooses. It was noted there is no requirement the board must fill a
vacancy so long as there are at least three but no more than nine on
the board. The decision was made to leave things as they are.
Board Discussion--Thomas Myers--President
MOTION the board list be closed to all but board members. (Currently
anyone can send messages and only board members receive them.):Alexander.
DISCUSSION: Discussion centered on whether the board should close off
this means of communication by members.
VOTE: Motion Failed on a 5 to 2 vote.
The board will meet to discuss the evaluation of the Executive
The Vision process will continue on email, with Goetz gathering the
information. Once the necessary groundwork has been done, the board
will meet to develop a strategic plan.
The Executive Director noted once a clarifying post had been sent out
on the listserv policy no additional postings had been received.
The board discussed meeting in Questa and Penasco. Questa was selected
for the June meeting.
A policy on the disposal of capital assets will be drafted and brought
to the next meeting for consideration.
Jerry Simpson requested the board consider a contribution for the
auction being conducted for the police officer suffering from Cancer.
La Plaza will donate a web page free for one year.