Approved Minutes

Commission Regular Monthly Meeting

Briggs Opera House, White River Junction, VT

Aug. 4, 1999

Commission Members in Attendance:

CT: Robert Jacquier, Rich Allen, and Mae Schmidle

ME: Colon Durrell, Fred Hardy, Tom Doak

MA: Jay Healy, Sam Shields

NH: Deborah Erb, Doug Morris, Powell Cabot

RI: Ron Newman, John Smith

VT: Robert Starr, Jacques Couture, Millicent Rooney, Andy Dykstra

Commission Staff Present:

Kenneth Becker, Executive Director; Dixie Henry, General Counsel; Carmen Ross, Regulations Administrator; David Ferch, Public Information Director; Denise Little, Administrative Assistant; and, Patricia Lammott, temporary Office Assistant.

Chairman Mae Schmidle called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 1999

Public Participation:

No member of the public chose to participate at this point.

M. Schmidle introduced David Ferch, the new Public Information Director.

At the Chairís request, the members of the audience introduced themselves:

The following members of the audience introduced themselves: Eric Rassmussen, the Order 1 Federal Milk Market Administrator; David Walker, Order 4 Federal Milk Market Administrator; Diane Bothfeld of St. Albans Coop.; Nancy Adsit from the office of NY State Assemblyman C, W, Crouch; Kay Zoesky from the office of NY State Sen. N. L. Hoffmann; Carl Peterson of Agri-Mark; Ray Christensen of NY State Dept. of Agriculture and Markets; Gail Christensen a dairy farmer; George Stearns of the National Farmerís Organization; R. Stewart Yeaton of NH Farm Bureau and Agri-Mark; Martha Kierstead of the NH Farm Bureau; Pat Green of Country Folks; Bob Wellington of Agri-Mark; and Leon Graves, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

 

 

Consideration of the minutes for the July 7 commission meeting:

 

Motion by Andy Dykstra/Second by Deborah Erb

Moved to accept the minutes of the July 7, 1999 meeting.

MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0

Amendment by Ron Newman

Moved to clarify the July 7, 1999 minutes to ensure the budget report

adopted is for the period ending May 31.

MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0

Communications:

M. Schmidle said there was communication she would present during the Chairmanís report.

Committee on Finance:

Treasurer M. Kassler was unable to attend. K. Becker delivered the June financial report in her place. K. Becker reported that the financial committee reviewed the report during a conference call the preceding Friday. K. Becker added that the Commission did receive a line of credit on July 2. Hence the Commission has been able to meet Commissionís obligations and should be able to do so for some time.

The staff is working on a financial procedures manual with the assistance of the Commissionís accounting firm, said K. Becker. An outline has been put together, including all accounts of the Commission and procedures used to process the accounts, such as electronic transfers, and who is authorized to sign checks.

While M. Kassler was away, she delegated J. Couture to approve and counter-sign with the Executive Director necessary advances for Commission operating expenses from the line of credit.

Motion by Ron Newman/Second Jacques Couture

Moved to file for audit the June 1999 financial report.

MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0

Chairmanís Report:

M. Schmidle requested a motion to go into executive session to discuss pending litigation.

Motion by Ron Newman/Second Bob Jacquier

Moved to go into Executive Session to Discuss Litigation

MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0

The Commission came out of executive session.

The Executive Directorís Report:

At the last meeting , the Commission adopted the audit report and asked the staff to report on Year 2000 (Y2K) compliance issues. That report is attached as an appendix to the minutes.

K. Becker then offered an update on the effort to reauthorize the Northeast Dairy Compact, expand it, and create a Southern Dairy Compact.

K. Becker also updated the Commissioners on the University of Vermont Milk Market Impacts Study. A final draft should be available within the next two weeks for review by the Committee on Rules and Regulations.

K. Becker also reported that he and Harold Howrigan appeared on a Vermont Public Radio call-in show. Furthermore, he, H. Howrigan and B. Starr have been asked to appear early next week on a public television station to do a call in show. And K. Becker said he will appear on a radio talk show, "Talk of Vermont" Thursday morning where he will debate a representative of International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).

K. Becker said he was asked by a group of producers in Pennsylvania to explain how the Compact works. The conference in Lancaster, PA was attended by about 25 producers, and by a staffer of the local congressman and a deputy of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

And last week he attended a leadership conference at Syracuse, NY, which was attended by prominent individuals in the New York dairy industry.

Committee on Administration:

M. Schmidle reported that Committee on Administrative matters would be handled under new business.

Audit Committee:

T. Doak said that last month the Committee made a recommendation on the 1998 audit. 1998 was the last year of a two-year contract with the auditing firm. The committee needs to discuss what is the next step regarding a contract for future audits.

By-Laws Committee:

The Committee has not met since the previous Commission meeting.

The Committee on Regulations and Rule Making:

B. Starr said the Committee will meet after the written comment period on the supply management proposals to put together recommendations for the next meeting.

They will discuss the possibility of CCC obligations under old business.

Old Business:

The Committee on Administration Recommendations: The Personnel Manual

F. Hardy said the Committee met by telephone conference call. Several changes were made to the personnel manual as described in the packet of information received by the Commissioners.

Motion by Fred Hardy on behalf of the Committee on Administration

Moved to Adopt the Personnel Manual be adopted as altered.

Discussion Followed

During the discussion, D. Erb asked why the performance evaluation of the Executive Director was transferred to the Committee on Administration. F. Hardy responded that the Committee believed the issue was one of oversight of the performance evaluation. D. Erb then pointed out that the Commission By-laws state that the Executive Director performs evaluations of the staff and the commission evaluates the Executive Director. J. Healy agreed with D. Erbís characterization. M. Schmidle said she believed the change was an effort to streamline the process.

Motion by Jay Healy/Second by Millicent Rooney

Moved to amend the proposed Personnel Manual by Striking subsection I on page 16.

Discussion Followed

B. Starr suggested that the by-laws and administration committees get together to work out the differences and suggested the issue be tabled until then.

Motion by Bobby Starr/Second Powell Cabot

Moved to table the motion to adopt the proposed personnel manual.

This motion supercedes the original motion and amendment.

MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0

Reauthorization Tracking Committee:

B. Starr said there was no further news than that already reported by K. Becker.

Committee on Regulations and Rule Making: CCC Escrow Discussion:

B. Starr said that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently revised the estimated amount owed by the Commission to the Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) down from $3.5 million to $1 million, based on the latest production figures. B. Starr said the Commission may need to make arrangements to pay an obligation to the CCC, if any, which would be due at the end of September.

K. Becker explained the history of how USDA calculates the amount owed by the Commission to the CCC and differences of opinion as to how to calculate the sum. Recent National Statistical Service (NASS) data on third quarter production resulted in the estimated obligation being revised downward to $1million, said K. Becker. K. Becker will continue to communicate with the CCC on whether there will be an obligation to the CCC, how it is determined, and what the amount might be.

K. Becker added that the August over-order price has been computed and there is every reason to believe sufficient funds will be available from the August pool paid in September to meet a potential obligation, if any, to the CCC.

Motion by Jacques Couture/Second Sam Shields

Moved to direct staff to continue to monitor the situation regarding milk production as they pertain to a CCC assessment

MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0

New Business:

Committee on Administration:

Motion by Ron Newman on behalf of the Commmittee on Administration

Moved to Approve the Federal Milk Market Invoice for the May Pool, Audits Completed in June, Referendum Mailing.

MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0

 

M. Schmidle said that changes in standing committee memberships were discussed at the previous meeting but no vote was taken.

Motion by Ron Newman on behalf of the Committee on Administration

Moved to approve the changes to the standing committees

(See Standing Committee list in Appendix to Minutes)

MOTION PASSED 6 TO 0

 

No personnel report was offered.

Next meeting date:

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday September 1, in the Concord, N.H. area.

Committee on Rules and Regulations:

No report was offered.

Individual state comments:

R. Newman said that various other states are surveying retail milk prices and urged the Compact states to do the same. Several locations have seen retail prices remain high though farm prices are a third lower.

  1. Dykstra said this price disparity should be publicized.

Leon Graves made comments regarding compact reauthorization, and the National Governorsí Association meeting.

 

Public Participation:

Bob Wellington provided the Commission with information regarding a survey on retail milk prices and fluctuating farm prices.

R. Allen pointed out the Compact softened the farm price drop so the retail price changes were more equitably distributed in the Compact region.

The Meeting adjourned at 3:15.p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Powell Cabot

Secretary

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