Commission Members in Attendance:

CT: Shirley Ferris, Robert Jacquier, Mae Schmidle.

MA: Gordon Cook, Jay Healy, Mary K. Kassler.

ME: Fred Hardy, Colon Durrell, Stanley Millay.

NH: Doug Morris, Debora Erb, Powell Cabot.

RI: Ron Newman, Al Bettencourt Jr., Aaron Briggs, Peter Petrone, Jametta Alston.

VT: Bobby Starr, Harold Howrigan, Andy Dykstra, Millicent Rooney, Jacques Couture.


Ex Officio Members Present:

Leon Graves, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Agriculture, Foods and Markets.


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 called the meeting to order at 10:56 a.m. on Wednesday, June 7, 2000.

I. Public Participation:
Robert Wellington of Agrimark said the failure of Agrimark to submit its block voting notification within the deadline for the Supply Management Proposal Referendum was attributed to insufficient postage affixed to the ballot and postal delays. Mr. Wellington noted that this error did not alter the outcome of the referendum. Agrimark members were notified of the intention to block vote in support of the proposal so any members who wished to vote against the measure were given full opportunity to do so.



II. Introduction of guests:

Thomas Griffiths of Wiley, Rein and Fielding; Ray Christensen of New York Department of Agriculture and Markets; Gail Christensen, dairy farmer; Mayo Cookson of National Farmers Organization; Steve Watous of Allied Federated Coops; Allen Hall of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau; Patricia Green of Country Folks; Kelly Furstenberg of New England Farmer; Maggie Murphy from the office of New York State Senator Nancy Loraine Hoffman; Erik Rasmussen, USDA Market Administrator; Bonnie Burr of the Connecticut Farm Bureau; and Gabe Moquin of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.


III. Consideration and approval of minutes of the May 3, 2000 meeting:


Motion 6/7-1 by Fred Hardy/Second by Bobby Starr

Moved to accept the Minutes of the May 3, 2000 as presented.



IV. Consideration of Communications:

Mrs. Schmidle read a letter naming Mr. Petrone the designee for the Rhode Island delegation and Becky Bessette as the alternate.


Mrs. Schmidle referred to a letter from eight senators of the New England delegation.


V. Financial and Budget Report: Months ending March and April 2000

Mr. Cabot reported on the March and April 2000 compiled financial statements for the Administrative and Producer Settlement Funds.


Mr. Cabot said the Committee on Finance was recommending a revised year 2000 budget and to repay $50,000 to the state of Maine at this time.


Mr. Cabot also commented that contracting with outside services for the provision of temporary staff is more expensive than a full-time employee would be.


Responding to a question about the financial statements, Mr. Becker explained the over order obligation and how the producer pay price is derived and the source of the administrative fund.


Mr. Cook asked about and Mr. Becker gave an explanation of the school milk reimbursement fund.


VI. Reports:

A. Chairs Report:

Mrs. Schmidle read a communication from Ms. Henry notifying the Commission of her resignation.


Ms. Schmidle read the biography for Thomas B. Griffith, the attorney from the firm Wiley, Rein and Fielding  representing the Commission.



B. Executive Director's Report:

Mr. Becker said the producer referendum on supply management passed and the measure will be implemented as part of the Commission’s regulations July 1, 2000.


Mr. Becker referred to the legislative debate in Massachusetts and commended Mr. Healy, Mr. Cook, Mr. Shields and Ms. Kassler for their efforts.


Mr. Becker said escrowed funds from the New York State Dairy Foods Association case are being reviewed and verified. A motion was filed in U.S. District Court to release the funds.  The funds will be remitted as soon as is feasible.


Mr. Becker said the claim forms for school milk were sent out to the schools and should be returned to the office by July. The payment can then be sent out to the states for subsequent distribution to the schools.


C. Committee on Finance Report:

Nothing further.


D. Committee on Administration:

Mrs. Schmidle said the committee has been meeting regularly to discuss finances, the executive search committee and the personnel manual.


Motion 6/7-2 by Harold Howrigan on behalf of the Committee on Administration

Moved that in recognition of the extraordinary services of the general counsel Dixie Henry to the Northeast Dairy Compact and her generosity, patience and invaluable legal advice we express our deep gratitude and sincere thanks and wish her well in her new career.



E. Audit Committee

The Audit Committee had not had a chance to meet.


F. Bylaws Committee:

Ms. Erb said the committee met in the morning and will recommend no action at this time.


G. Committee on Regulations and Rulemaking:

The committee had not met.

Mr. Starr said he served as referendum agent on the supply management proposal and described the ballot counting experience.


VII. Old Business:

A. Final Decision on HEP 97-06 (In re Petition of Organic Cow, LLC)- Executive Session.



Motion 6/7-3 by Colon Durrell/Second by Jacques Couture

Moved to go into executive session to discuss a legal matter.



Executive session from 11:45 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.


Motion 6/7-4 by Harold Howrigan/Second by Gordon Cook

Moved that the Commission adopt as its final decision in re: Petition of the Organic Cow, LLC, Docket Number HEP-97-006, the Document found at tab 21 of our materials relating to that matter and styled “final decision the commission” with the following amendment: That the date of the decision reflect today’s date.



B. Bylaws Committee Recommendations:

Ms. Erb suggested the Commission hold a retreat to address long standing issues.


Motion 6/7-5 by Deb Erb on behalf of the Bylaws Committee

Moved that the Commission have a retreat, using an independent facilitator, to consider the future direction of the Commission. This retreat would help the Commission members clarify bylaws, job descriptions and the structure of the organization. This retreat should happen within two months.


Ms. Ferris asked if the retreat could take the place of a commission meeting.


Ms. Rooney said many of the issues faced by the Bylaws Committee center on semantics.


Mr. Howrigan said a retreat could be very valuable given the time already spent on these issues.


Ms. Kassler said an outside facilitator needs to be prepared and who does the preparation is important. She questioned the need for a retreat.


Mrs. Schmidle asked who would arrange the retreat and at what cost.


Mr. Starr asked what a retreat would do to solve the problem.


Ms. Erb said there are unresolved disputes over the job descriptions for chair, vice chair and executive director.


Ms. Erb said she did not have a preconceived notion but was concerned that the Commission seems unable to arrive at a consensus.


Mr. Healy said the cause is the dynamics of a Commission.


Mr. Cook said the Commission is passing a developmental stage that may require a retreat.


Ms. Ferris suggested a retreat be tied to a meeting and that a specific list of issues to be addressed.


Ms. Alston said the committee motion includes such a list.


Mr. Healy proposed an amendment to reflect Ms. Ferris’ comment.


Amendment to Motion 6/7-5 by Jay Healy/Second by Mary K. Kassler

Moved to amend the motion to include a specific agenda and a fixed, compressed time period.





A lunch recess was held from 12:55 to 1:35 p.m.


VIII. New Business:

A. Committee on Finance Recommendations:

Mr. Cabot suggested one motion encompassing several payments.


Motion 6/7-6 by Powell Cabot on behalf of the Committee on Finance

Moved to:

1.         Approve for payment the Federal Milk market Administrator’s Invoice – March 2000 pool, audits completed during April.

2.         Accept the March and April 2000 Financial Statements and file for audit purposes.

3.         Repay the State of Maine $50,000.

4.         Adopt the revised 2000 budget.




B. Committee on Administration Recommendations:


Motion 6/7-7 by Harold Howrigan on behalf of the Committee on Administration

Moved to approve for payment the Wiley, Rein and Fielding invoice for legal services for the amount of $11,291.47




2. July Meeting Date:

Mr. Becker said the first Wednesday in July is the 5th, the day after Independence Day, which may be inconvenient for some Commissioners.


Motion 6/7-8 by Ron Newman/Second by Bobby Starr

Moved to change the meeting date from the first Wednesday in July to the 12th.


Mrs. Schmidle conducted several straw polls to determine which date might be most convenient.



Amendment to Motion 6/7-8 by Gordon Cook/Second by Mary K. Kassler

Moved to change the date from the 12th to the 25th of July.






IX. Announcements: Opportunity for State Comments:

Mr. Healy summarized the legislative debate in Massachusetts and thanked Mr. Graves and Ms. Ferris for their support.

            Mr. Healy said the Massachusetts Senate voted by a 22 to 17 margin to withdraw Massachusetts from the Compact. The issue must be approved by a conference committee and then be signed by the governor. The governor has publicly stated that he will veto the measure and 17 votes is a sufficient margin to uphold a veto. Currently supporters have garnered 67 signatures in the House for a letter of support. A similar letter was circulated in the Senate but three signatories changed their position at the last minute.

            Mr. Healy said opponents are spending a lot of money lobbying to withdraw Massachusetts from the Compact and the Senate president is very active in the issue. The issue will be reduced to the $22 billion state budget and negotiations over what stays in and what is cut, Mr. Healy said.

            The issue is boiling down to a rural versus urban debate. Mr. Healy said that a press conference with the New England governors might be useful. Mr. Healy said gubernatorial politics is involved as the Senate president is campaigning and the chief opposition lobbyist is the Senate president’s campaign consultant.


Ms. Erb asked about the argument that Massachusetts has the majority of processing jobs.


Mr. Healy said there are 30,000 processing jobs in Massachusetts.


Mr. Hardy said no one believes that the retail price of milk will go down if the Compact is eliminated.


Mr. Howrigan said the source of the opposition is International Dairy Foods Association.


X. Executive Session if Necessary:


Motion 6/7-9 by Harold Howrigan/Second by Doug Morris

Moved to go into executive session to discuss a legal matter.



The Commission went into executive session at 2:20 p.m. and returned to open session at 3 p.m.



Motion 6/7-10 by Harold Howrigan/Second by Mary K. Kassler

Moved to accept the signed settlement agreement between Kenneth Becker and the Northeast Dairy Compact.




Mr. Howrigan commended the executive director for the manner in which the resignation was handled.


The meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,






Mary Kelligrew Kassler, Secretary



Return to Minutes and Motions
Return to the Northeast Dairy Compact Home Page