YMCA moves closer to hiring new CEO, adopting new budget

Beverly Bryant - May 17, 2017 12:16 pm

The Board of Directors of Ponca City’s YMCA held a special meeting Tuesday to continue addressing issues to improve operations at the Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center — YMCA.

Two representatives of the national YMCA organization attended the board meeting — Joanie Welle of Oklahoma City and Augie Mendoza, of Monument, Colorado, the Senior Resource Director, Region 4 West, of YMCA-USA.

After approving the minutes from the board’s May 1 meeting, members voted to accept the resignation of board member Link Cotham, effective May 4, then reviewed nominations of proposed new board members. The board voted to invite two prospective members to join the panel effective at the May 18 meeting.

The board discussed adding conditions to Addendum 3 of the operating agreement with the City of Ponca City, and voted to approve that document after the YMCA receives an opinion from an independent counsel, that the City of Ponca City’s obligation under the YMCA’s Operating Agreement with the city, and all addendums, are valid and enforceable according to their terms.

A second condition was that Eastman National Bank approves extending a line of credit and/or loan to the YMCA.

Board President Joel Gilliland said he was firmly convinced that getting the independent counsel’s opinion was the way the board should go, to assure the directors could not be found grossly negligent in doing due diligence on the matter.

Addendum 3 extends the initial contract term between the YMCA and the City of Ponca City to March 2019. That term originally would have ended in December 2017.

“We would have to give notice in June 2017 to terminate the agreement in December,” Gilliland said. “If we don’t approve this, we would still face severe budget issues and have no plans for improving that. The extension gives us the opportunity to finish the work we have started. It’s (the work) has either been done or is being done.”

Gilliland said there is a very specific reason the operating agreement needs to be extended  to 2019.

“The bonds (which funded construction of the facility) extend until February 2019 and federal regulations would no longer apply. Those regulations expire 30 days after the bonds are retired, so we can be squared,” Gilliland said. “It does put us on the hook as an organization, but we believe in the Y and believe we can make it 18 months.”

“We believe the key is to get a YMCA that’s functioning well and doing well budget wise, and holds a very positive view in the community. The support in the community will be there,” he said. “We’ve got to get it running like it should.”

Gilliland said he believes there is a real possibility that by the end of 2017, the YMCA can be in the black.

“It gives us that chance. We have a good board which is energetic and has great skills. I think it is doable,” Gilliland said.

After discussion, the board approved the two conditions, with one dissent.

The board also passed a motion to approve entering into an agreement with Eastman National Bank to obtain a $1 million line of credit.

The board discussed whether it was possible for the center to become solvent without the line of credit, through changes in staffing and programming, coupled with fundraising and new memberships.

Gilliland said the board would not be spending the entire $1 million, and may not spend even half that amount.

“This gives us something to pay the utility bills,” he said. “If we can get to July’s income, we could be OK. In June we’re in a tough spot.”

He said by that time the center will have a new CEO and new energy.

“The staffing profile is going to change,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people leave up and down the chain. Some have taken on additional responsibilities. I do expect at least half (the debt) will come out of salary reductions, but we want the involvement of the new CEO in the hiring of staff.

“We would all prefer that, with any money in the bank, we could just ride it out. That’s not really an option,” he said. “This doesn’t hurt us if we don’t spend it. We have to be very careful about pulling money out of this line of credit. Every time we draw from it, the board has to approve that. We might look at it once a quarter or hopefully once a year. We’ll know ahead of time what our needs will be. It’s not a checkbook for the CEO just to write checks.”

The motion passed with two dissenting votes.

A third motion approved by the board was to approve first draw from the line of credit for $400,000, to cover current indebtedness.

That amount would pay off a donor’s  loan, back utilities, and a previous loan with Eastman National Bank, which would put the facility in a current position. The remaining $50,000 would go into operating budget.

This motion was approved with two dissenting votes.

Following these actions, board subcommittees made reports on the areas they were working on.

In Operations, responsibilities have been shifted to current staff members. The summer day camp will be running but will be smaller than previous years because of staff and timing. The committee has received resumes and conducted two interviews for staff positions.

In Budget and Accounting, the committee has developed a full budget that covers everything, with clean categories of income and expenses.

In Fundraising, the committee said active fundraising will wait until the new CEO is in place and the board can observe operations for a while. The committee is considering a structure for several levels of donations in the future.

National representative Augie Mendoza praised the volunteer board members “who have pulled up their bootstraps to save this YMCA.

“It was clear the passion was there and the Y is a special place where everybody is included. We’re going to get past third base,” Mendoza said. “We’re here for sustainability support.”

Joanie Welle said “Ditto everything. I’ve worked with you all before — it’s the tip of the iceberg and it’s a long road, but we’re here to support the mission of the 501(c)3 to meet the needs of the community.”

Mendoza said he will work closely with the interim CEO.

“They don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The committees are working behind the scenes,”  he said. “We need good leadership, and a good solid board.”

Welles said  the board has resources through the national  organization which they can access for free to help with operations.

In new business, the board approved naming Stacy Richards as the center’s owner/agent contact to respond to the Department of Human Services as a point of contact.

The board then held an executive session to discuss hiring of an interim CEO and detailed budget discussions.

President Joel Gilliland said after that session that a special meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday to take action on those two items, after discussing an offer with a prospective candidate. He said someone could be hired and in place as early as next week.



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