2002 AGM Minutes
Minutes of the 2002 Annual General Meeting
of the Toronto Ultimate Club
Thursday November 7, 2002
- Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 19:15 in room 2-214 of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at 252 Bloor Street West. In attendance were Thomas Meyer (sitting member of the Board of Directors), Jim Lim (sitting Board member), Natalie Baddour (outgoing Board chairman), Emily Tang (Treasurer), John Harris (General Manager), Christian Hajok (Chair, League Committee), Ian Brooks (Chair, Communications Committee), Tim Edwards (Chair, Touring Committee), Rob Botman, Lori Bristow, Harry Burkman, Jack Cooney, Carol Domitric, Ian Kerr, Paul Lindala, Michael Pezzack, Scott Parsons, Jeremy Roedde, and Penny Young . The meeting was chaired by Meyer.
The minutes of the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) - held October 25, 2001 - were read and accepted without revision.
- Report from the Board of Directors (Meyer)
The Board examined the solicitation and donation of sponsorship with a view toward developing an official policy. Such a policy is not currently in place.
On the solicitation side, no money was either sought or accepted by TUC due to a lack of clarity on what the money would be used for. The Board decided that priority areas for spending needed to be identified first; this task will be completed by the new Board. It was also decided that once priorities had been identified, TUC would hire a professional marketing company to solicit donations on its behalf.
On the donation side, the Board instituted a 'grant policy' whereby applications for funding would be accepted from interested individuals and organizations up until March 31 of each year. A decision would then be made on each application and money disbursed to proposals deemed to be of merit. The total amount of money available for disbursement under this grant system was unspecified.
The Board decided that juniors development, while important, did not fall under the purview of TUC's sponsorship policy. Instead, applications for funding of under-19 teams or programs would be considered by the Board independently of the grant system. Again, the total amount of money available for juniors was unspecified.
- Lands Committee
The Lands Committee, which reports directly to the Board, has determined that there are no parcels of land suitable for TUC purposes available for purchase in the GTA. The Committee's mandate was therefore expanded by the Board to include a wider variety of potential solutions to the lands issue, such as converting unused government-owned land or locating existing fields that TUC does not currently use.
The Board agreed that the perceived value of player fees needs to be increased by initiating wider player education. This would result in improved Spirit of the Game (SOTG), knowledge of the rules, player skills, and on-field safety.
The Board initiated auditor's reviews of fiscal years 1999 (completed February 2002) and 2000 (to be completed soon), as well as full audits of 2001 and 2002 (pending).
The Board acknowledged that it had yet to 'fully iron out' the duties of TUC's General Manager (GM), indicating that it should take a greater supervisory role in the GM's work. The outgoing Board recommends that the new Board hire a summer student in 2003 to assist the GM with office-related tasks.
- Reports from the Executive Committee
- Year in Review (Leigh Kivenko, President; delivered in absentia by Hajok)
The TUC website's Bulletin Board Service (BBS) proved a useful tool this year for soliciting opinions from the membership at large to guide Club policy.
The feasibility of a year-end awards banquet & cruise for September was studied by the Executive and ultimately rejected by the Board.
- GM's Report (Harris)
TUC continued using the Quickbooks computerized accounting system this year.
World Youth Day and the 16-day strike by municipal city workers disrupted field use in July, though most games were played as scheduled. Refunds were received from the City of Toronto for 16 days' worth of field permits.
Winter league was nearly jeopardized this year when the Coffee Time Soccer Centre in Vaughan - the league's home for the last five years - declined to renew TUC's traditional timeslot due to their policy of prioritizing the Ontario Soccer Association. The league moved to a converted hangar at Downsview, attracting 40 players.
uDog, the company contracted to handle TUC's online payment system, had its links to credit-card companies dismantled in February under a new federal banking policy which prohibits third parties from processing payments. TUC hired uDog to rewrite the software onto the TUC server, and now owns the online-payment software & sign-up system in perpetuity.
The GM wants to be more involved in soliciting sponsorship from outside entities, and in securing additional fields through the Friends of Athletic Fields organization co-founded with Kristi Herold of the Toronto Central Sport & Social Club (TCSSC). The GM would also like to organize more events to raise TUC's profile in the GTA such as exhibition matches during Argonaut or Blue Jay games. Finally, the GM would like to undertake greater SOTG education.
- Finance Report (Tang)
The $10,000 decrease in TUC's operating surplus from 2001 to 2002 can be largely attributed to the expense of purchasing uDog's online-payment software ($7,000) and to a large shortfall in revenues from the Zodiac tournament in September ($3,000): organizers did not account for the increased rental & insurance costs of the tournament's new location at Eglinton Flats, or the need to hire an overnight security guard to protect equipment at the site.
Members discussed how to manage TUC's large accumulated surpluses (approx. $80,000, currently invested entirely in GICs). Burkman, TUC's volunteer legal counsel, suggested investing it in Banker's Acceptances since they usually earn more interest than GICs but still offer a guaranteed return. Breaking up this amount and investing chunks with different banks was also suggested.
- League Committee (Hajok)
TUC continued to use Incident Reports this year. A total of 15 were received, none of which were from the A league and none of which were perceived as being gratuitous.
The new Spirit Committee performed well in handling the Reports. Only one game was attended to enforce SOTG and neither team experienced problems thereafter. However, it is still unclear who should be enforcing SOTG in such instances.
A 'Spirit Corner' was added to TUC's website to publicize examples of good and bad SOTG, but little input was received from members.
- Touring Committee (Edwards)
TUC's popular support program for competitive touring teams continued this year with a funding increase of $2,500 ($10,000 total). The program attracted 11 teams (2 more than last year) including 5 women's teams, 3 open, 2 mixed, and 1 masters.
Teams were provided with insured practice fields and sponsorship money in return for volunteering their time at TUC activities. The membership benefitted from more than 320 person-hours of volunteer work at skills clinics, registration, men's & women's development leagues, and local tournaments. This was in addition to the time dedicated by touring players who serve on TUC's Board, Executive, and committees - or as league convenors - to their positions.
One new volunteer activity touring players could perform was the Coach-For-A-Day program. 16 C-league teams were matched with a touring player who helped them improve their skills and acquainted them with more advanced aspects of the sport.
The 9 teams who attended Nationals received total sponsorship payments ranging from $940 to $1,350. As was the case last year, sponsorship was broken down into three disbursements: the first covered each team's $500 Nationals fee, while the second and third were commensurate with the team's national placement and the total number of tournaments attended during the season, respectively.
- Approval of the Accountant/Auditor
Burkman tabled a motion retroactively authorizing the hiring of accounting firm Goldstein Paloc LLP to prepare financial review statements for fiscal years 1999 and 2000, and audited statements for fiscal years 2001 and 2002, with remuneration to be determined by the Board.
The motion passed unanimously.
- League Growth Management (Lim)
Two camps on the issue of league growth management have emerged. One believes TUC should become a private, capped, exclusive social club which prioritizes service for existing members. The other favours an open, expansive organization which views the growth of ultimate in the GTA as its primary mandate.
To determine which perspective is most favoured by the membership, and to identify the direction TUC will follow in the years ahead, a 'Satisfaction Survey' will be administered in the next few months to the membership at large. Depending on survey results and the perceived closeness of this debate, a binding referendum may follow.
Lim noted that this year's request to members that they (on a voluntary basis) play fewer nights was marginally successful. More drastic, enforceable measures may be necessary.
- Fields (Lands Committee Chair Barry Goldlist absent; no report)
Harris reported that the City of Toronto is devising a single field-use & permitting policy to replace the current 9 disparate policies. Fields will now be assigned according to an organization's size, not historical precedent (i.e. if they have used the field before). It was generally agreed that it is crucial for TUC to be represented at Parks & Recreation Committee hearings which make decisions on these matters.
Determining the maximum fees TUC members are willing to tolerate for a season of ultimate was identified as a possible priority for the new Board: higher fees could make a land purchase or long-term lease-holding agreement with the city (by which, for example, TUC could finance land-use conversion) more feasible. Burkman said that long-term rental was more realistic than purchasing, suggesting Riverdale as one possible location that could be dedicated by the City for TUC use in exchange for financing its upkeep.
It was generally agreed that an aggressive, concerted lobbying effort of City Hall - and the Parks & Recreation Committee in particular - is needed in tandem with a detailed business development plan for use or conversion of specific parcels of land. Ideally, this effort would be carried out by the Board in cooperation with TUC members possessing the necessary experience, connections, and clout to ensure its success.
To this end, the following motion was tabled:
"The membership directs the Board of Directors to prioritize the development of a working strategy to substantially improve the Club's long-term field situation by the 2003 AGM, including the allocation of whatever financial resources it deems reasonable. A progress report is to be delivered by the summer-league captain's meeting in May."The motion was accepted unanimously, with one abstention.
- Board Elections
Nominees for appointment to the Board of Directors were as follows:
- Natalie Baddour
- Robert Botman
- Lori Bristow
- Ian Brooks
- Barry Goldlist (nominated in absentia)
- Michael Pezzack
- Jeremy Roedde
Following a secret ballot (administered by Acting Secretary Edwards) by the 15 members still in attendance, the following 6 nominees were declared elected by a majority of members present:
- Natalie Baddour
- Robert Botman
- Lori Bristow
- Ian Brooks
- Michael Pezzack
- Jeremy Roedde
They will join Lim and Meyer - who have already served one year of their appointments - on the Board of Directors.
- Other Business
- Cooperation on Field Allocation
There was general agreement that TUC should be cooperating with the TCSSC and other interested organizations in allocating fields equitably, in a manner that best suits each club's particular needs.
- Nominating Committee
In the interest of increasing transparency and ensuring the best possible quality of managers for TUC, Burkman tabled a motion directing the Board to form a nominating committee to recommend a slate of suitable candidates for Board and Executive Committee positions prior to each AGM. This would not preclude the possibility of members being nominated at the AGM itself.
The motion passed with 13 votes in favour and 1 against.
- Next General Meeting
In the interest of providing updated directives to the Board immediately prior to the start of the summer season, Harris tabled a motion to hold the next TUC General Meeting in March 2003. The motion was not seconded.
The Meeting adjourned at 22:40. No date was set for the next General Meeting.
Minutes prepared by Tim Edwards, Acting Secretary.