NORTHEAST DAIRY COMPACT COMMISSION
MONTHLY MEETING MARCH 1, 2000
CENTENNIAL INN, CONCORD, NH
Commission Members in Attendance:
CT: Shirley Ferris, Robert Jacquier, Mae Schmidle.
MA: Sam Shields, Mary Kassler, Charlie Arbing, Jim Hines, Gordon Cook.
ME: Fred Hardy, Colon Durrell.
NH: Doug Morris, Debora Erb, Powell Cabot.
RI: Ron Newman, Al Bettencourt Jr., Aaron Briggs
VT: Bobby Starr, Harold Howrigan, Andy Dykstra, Millicent Rooney.
Commission Staff Present:
Kenneth Becker, Executive Director; Dixie Henry, General Counsel; Carmen Ross, Regulations Administrator; David Ferch, Public Information Director; and Patricia Lammott, Temporary Office Assistant.
Vice Chair Mae Schmidle convened the Third Annual Meeting of the Northeast Dairy Compact Commission at 10:37 a.m.
Mrs. Schmidle delivered her report as Chair of the Commission in 1999.† The report is included in the 1999 Annual Report.
Mr. Becker said the auditors are preparing the 1999 audit.
No other reports were presented.
The Annual meeting was adjourned at 10:45 a.m.
Mrs. Schmidle called the regular monthly meeting of the Commission to order at 10:45 a.m.
I. Public Participation:
Carl Peterson, president of Agri-Mark, said the Council of Northeast Farmer Cooperatives met the previous Friday to discuss expansion, extension and creation of Compacts.
Mr. Peterson also said Agri-Mark will support the proposed assessment-refund proposal.
Mr. Cook asked if presidential candidates in New York are showing support for the Compact.
Mr. Peterson said there is strong support amongst New York politicians for the Compact.
Ms. Ferris asked about the strategy regarding Compact expansion.
Maggie Murphy said the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture will meet soon in Washington, DC.
II. Introduction of Guests;
Gail Christensen, dairy farmer; Ray Christensen of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets; Peter Gregg of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets; Maggie Murphy of the office of New York State Senator Nancy Lorraine Hoffman; Carl Peterson of Agri-Mark; Pat Green of Country Folks; Steve Watrous of Allied Federated Coops; Gabe Moquin of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture; and Erik Rasmussen of the Federal Milk Order No. 1.
Mrs. Schmidle said she was standing in place of Chair Linda Smith Dyer who was unable to attend due to a medical condition.
Moved to adopt the minutes of the 2-2-00 meeting as presented.
IV. Consideration of Communications:
Mr. Becker referred to a letter submitted by Commissioner Jay Healy regarding consolidation of ownership of milk processing facilities in New England.
Mr. Becker also said two pieces of written comments regarding supply management were received: from a New York farmer and from Ms. Ferris.
V. Financial and Budget Report for the month ending December 1999:
Mr. Cabot said the administrative fund and producer settlement fund have been reviewed and are in good shape.
A. Chairís Report:
B. Executive Directorís Report:
Mr. Becker said:
∑ The auditors may make some adjustments to the reports, slightly altering their appearance. In point, the auditors are recommending a different method for reporting the payment to Maine.
∑ Testimony prepared for Linda Smith Dyer, which she was not able to deliver orally to the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, was submitted as a written comment and may be put into Congressional Record.
∑ Applications for school milk reimbursements for the Ď99-Ď00 school year are being processed.
∑ The January producer settlement pool processed in February was nearly $7 million. A number of handlers and producers contacted the office with questions stemming from the Federal Milk Market Order reform and the low farm price of milk.
∑ The deadline for filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court in re: New York State Dairy Foods Association v. Northeast Dairy Compact Commission was Feb. 28, 2000. Two of the plaintiffs did file by the deadline. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling by early summer as to whether they will consider the case.
C. Finance Committee Report:
Mr. Cabot said the committee met by telephone conference call and reviewed the financial reports and discussed the method of reporting the payment to Maine approved earlier by the Commission.
The committee also discussed payment of the market administratorís bill.
D. Committee on Administration:
Mr. Howrigan said the committee met Feb. 29, 2000. The Organic Cow case will be delayed while attorney Cliff Sloan recovers from a medical condition.
Mr. Howrigan also said the Commission should, as Mr. Briggs suggested, invite delegations from neighboring states to attend Commission meetings.
E. Audit Committee Report:
The committee did not meet.
F. Bylaws Committee:
Ms. Erb said that pursuant to the February meeting when the Commission discussed fixing inconsistencies between the bylaws and the proposed personnel manual, she prepared a memorandum describing the objectives for resolving the inconsistencies. Those objectives will be offered for adoption later in the meeting.
G. Committee on Regulations and Rulemaking:
Mr. Starr said the committee held a public meeting on Feb. 23, 2000 to discuss supply management. The meeting was attended by the full committee and a large number of Commissioners. Three witnesses testified.
VII. Old Business:
A. Deliberative Meeting on Proposed Rule to make Technical Amendments to the Over-Order Price Regulation:
Mr. Starr said he would offer the proposed changes in the form of three motions covering 10 items.
Moved to adopt amendments to the over-order price regulation to make technical amendments to certain definitions and change certain dates of required action to conform to the federal market order reform regulations and to amend the definition of producer to specify every December since 1996 as a condition of qualification.
Moved that the public interest continues to be served by establishment of minimum milk prices to dairy farmers under Article IV, as amended; that the previously established level price of $16.94 (Zone 1, Class 1) to dairy farmers under Article IV, is unaffected by these amendments, and will continue to assure that producers supplying the New England market receive a price sufficient to cover their costs of production and will elicit an adequate supply of milk for the inhabitants of the regulated area and for manufacturing purposes; that the major provisions of the order, other than those fixing minimum milk prices, are and continue to be, in the public interest and are reasonably designed to achieve the purposes of the order.
Mr. Starr said the Commission needs to select a referendum agent. Mrs. Schmidle has filed this role in the past but Mr. Starr noted that he is in Montpelier so it would save the Commission money if he were named referendum agent.
Mr. Shields suggested that Mr. Starr serve as referendum agent and the Commission agreed.
Moved that the terms of the proposed amendments will be approved by producers pursuant to a producer referendum required by Article V, Section 13. Furthermore move to certify that:
1) December 1999 be the designated representative period for determining eligible producers;
2) Ballots will be mailed to eligible producers and qualified cooperatives by March 10, 2000;
3) Qualified cooperatives must mail notice of block votes to members by March 14, 2000;
4) All ballots must be received in the Commission office by 5:00 p.m. on March 20, 2000;
5) Bobby Starr shall serve as referendum agent.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
B. Committee on Regulations and Rulemaking Recommendations regarding Supply Management.
Mr. Starr said the proposal is to escrow 5Ę/cwt from each pool. At the end of the year, those producers who did not increase production by more than 1 percent would share the pool. The pool would be divided in two halves. The first half would be shared evenly by all producers who qualify for a refund. The second half would be disbursed to those same producers based on total volume produced with a cap of $12,000.
Mr. Newman asked if, providing there was an obligation to the Commodity Credit Corp., the obligation would be paid with money from the Supply Management Assessment Refund Pool (SMARP).
Mr. Starr said no.
Mr. Jacquier said he supported the proposal but in retrospect questioned whether the pool should be paid in two halves.
Mr. Starr said the purpose of the proposal is two-fold: provide an incentive to producers to curtail production increases and support small farms, which the two-part pool does.
Mr. Cook said that regardless of opinions on details about the plan, the important thing is to have a plan.
Ms. Erb asked when the any potential surplus from the SMARP would be returned to the producer settlement fund.
Mr. Ross said the surplus would be returned to the producer settlement fund in the first month after the pool had been paid out to eligible producers.
Mr. Briggs said this plan and the Compact helps keep the rural character of New England.
Moved that the Commission propose the supply management program as described in the pre-discussion draft and that the Commission hold a public hearing on April 5, 2000 in the Concord, New Hampshire area.
The Commission broke for lunch at 12:27 a.m. and returned at 1:25 p.m.
C. Bylaws Committee Recommendations:
Ms. Erb read the memorandum describing the objectives for resolving inconsistencies in the bylaws and the personnel manual.
Moved that the Commission agree that the Bylaws and the Personnel Manual should be amended, as necessary, to accomplish the following:
1) Clarify and affirm that the Commission, as the governing body, is the sole authority for adopting Commission policy;
2) Clarify and affirm that the Commission oversees both the Committee on Administration and the Executive Director;
3) Clarify and affirm that the Committee on Administration oversees the Executive Director;
4) Clarify and affirm that the Executive Director is the Commissionís manager and has the responsibility and authority to implement the Commissionís policies and to conduct the day-to-day operations of the Commission;
5) Clarify and affirm that it is the responsibility of the Executive Director to supervise and conduct performance reviews of the staff; and
6) Clarify and affirm that the Commission is responsible for conducting the performance review of the Executive Director.
Mrs. Schmidle said the Committee on Administration had discussed the objectives and determined that the issue should be discussed in executive session before a vote is held.
Ms. Kassler questioned why an executive session was required since the substance of the changes had already been discussed in public.
Ms. Erb asked for the grounds for an executive session.
Mrs. Schmidle said the executive session was required to discuss personnel matters.
Mr. Cook said the discussion is about the bylaws, not a specific personnel issue.
Mrs. Schmidle said there were also other issues to discuss in executive session.
Moved to go into executive session
Mr. Bettencourt asked that the executive session be postponed to the end of the meeting.
Mr. Starr asked for a specific reason to go into executive session.
Ms. Erb said she should be able to make a committee report without going into executive session.
Mr. Cook withdrew his motion to go into executive session and called the question on Ms. Erbís motion.
Moved to call the question
Ms. Ferris asked a point of information on parliamentary procedure: does a motion to table take precedence over preceding motions?
Mrs. Schmidle said a motion to table takes precedence.
Moved to table the question
MOTION PASSED 4 TO 2 (MASS AND NH VOTED NO)
D. Ad Hoc Personnel Committee:
Mr. Jacquier said he would give a report in executive session.
VIII. New Business:
A. Committee on Finance:
Moved to file for audit the December 1999 financial statements.
Moved to pay the Federal Milk Market Administratorís invoice for the December 1999 pool and the audits completed in January 2000.
IX. Public Comments:
Mrs. Schmidle said the recommendations would be offered in executive session since they related to personnel matters.
XI. Committee on Regulations and Rulemaking:
XII. Next meeting date:
Mr. Becker said the Commission voted to hold a public hearing on supply management on the first Wednesday in April and suggested the Commission meet at the end of the public hearing.
Following discussion, the Commission reached consensus that the meeting would start at 10:30 a.m. on April 5, 2000 and the public hearing would start at 1 p.m., interrupting the Commission meeting if necessary.
XIII. Announcements: Opportunity for Individual State Comments.
Mr. Starr gave a report of his visit to the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
Mr. Briggs and Mr. Howrigan discussed the merits of inviting people to attend Commission meetings.
Moved to invite a delegation from the Midwest and other areas to attend our monthly meetings to exchange information.
Ms. Ferris asked about the status of the ad hoc networking committee.
Mrs. Schmidle said Ms. Ferris is the chair of that committee and can proceed as she pleases.
Mr. Durrell said Robert Spear, Maineís commissioner of agriculture, will ask Stan Millay, executive director of the Maine Milk Board, to sit on the Commission in Linda Smith Dyerís stead until she is ready to return.
Mr. Durrell also said the International Association of Milk Control Agencies annual meeting will be August 20 in the Albany area.
Moved to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters.
The Commission returned to open session.
Moved to appoint Peter Petrone pro tempore chair of the ad hoc personnel committee and to appoint Fred Hardy pro tempore member of the ad hoc personnel committee.
Ms. Erb said the next step is to propose changes in the wording of the bylaws and personnel manual. The bylaws committee will meet March 23 to propose changes at the April 5 meeting. A vote would be taken at the May meeting.
Ms. Erb also proposed the establishment of a standing personnel committee since the ad hoc personnel committee has been used now and again for two years.
Mr. Starr said the Committee on Administration is charged with handling personnel issues.
Ms. Kassler suggested the Bylaws Committee review the issue and develop a proposal at the next meeting.
Mr. Durrell wanted to move to appoint Fred Hardy to take Linda Smith Dyerís place on the Committee on Administration until her return.
Mrs. Schmidle said the individuals on the committee are elected and cannot be appointed.
It was pointed out that the bylaws allow substitute appointments and require representation from all six states on the committee.
Moved to appoint Fred Hardy to serve in an At-Large capacity on the Committee on Administration.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.
Mary Kelligrew Kassler, Secretary