International Club of Berne
Biennial General Meeting (BGM)
Saturday, 9 February 2013
Restaurant Arcadia, 3063 Ittigen
Committee members present:
President Graham Tritt
Vice President Werner Dettwiler
Treasurer Gerd Ulbers
Activities Nazanin Kupferschmid
Secretary/Webmaster Gary Long
Marketing Erika Bartolano López
Past committee members
Secretaries Judy Chisholm and Nedra Wälti
1 Opening of meeting, attendance and approval of minutes of last BGM
The meeting opened at 18.35. In all, there were 34 people in attendance, with 11 apologies and eight proxies received. Gerd Ulbers handed out copies of the minutes of the last BGM, held in 2011. There were no amendments, so the minutes were approved.
Six members had contributed suggestions and motions by letter and email, and their opinions would be considered in the appropriate parts of the BGM.
2 Membership report
Since the last BGM, between 20 and 30 members had left the club, while another 20 to 30 had joined, giving an overall membership figure varying between 150 and 160. Werner Dettwiler pointed out that not all 2013 memberships are yet paid up.
3 Treasurer’s report
Gerd Ulbers presented the financial statement included in the BGM invitation provided to the participants. A question was raised about the possibility of paying membership fees in cash (perhaps by post or at any of the more popular Club events).
Gerd referred to the action list from the Futures Workshop (see the Invitation), and talked about the idea of a permanent Club location (to be put to a vote later in the evening as a motion). He gave attendees a handout showing a budget for such premises.
Lastly, Gerd read a statement from the Club’s auditor, after which the treasurer’s financial statement and report were accepted.
4 Activities report
Since the last BGM, a number of new events had been added, two of which proved to be very popular: the Cooking Group (an idea of Gerd’s) and Wine Tasting (thanks to Lois Elvey and Flo Oberli). Other new events included the Kids’ Club (promoted by Erika, focusing on children's activities). Graham also mentioned some activities being considered, and coordination with other organizations.
5 President’s report
Graham began his report by introducing Gary Long as the Club’s new secretary, succeeding Nedra Wälti and Judy Chisholm, to whom our thanks are due. He gave a general overview of the Club’s status, and the need for increased membership through marketing. He introduced Erika Bartolano, who had recently agreed to join the Executive Committee in marketing and public relations efforts, also including work on the Club website.
The president admitted that some of the Club’s activities were not successful, for instance the Language Cafes which needed from four to six people to work properly. One way to find new prospective members was through social networks like Facebook, Meetup and Glocals. He reviewed the Club’s different activities and the new ones that had been added, including new plans for a Swiss-German café with Eric Hirschi.
6 Changes to the Bylaws
Graham explained the eight changes to the Bylaws that were to be voted on by the meeting. These changes were listed in the BGM Invitation sent to members and given out at the meeting.
1. Membership. A prospective member may join the club by (a) sending in the application form, (b) being approved by the Executive Committee and (c) paying the membership fee. (d) The Executive Committee may exclude a member. (e) A fee paid in November or December applies to the following year. (f) The fee is always for the full calendar year.
2. Meetings. (a) The club language is English. (b) The applicant should be conversant in English in order to discuss everyday topics. (c) Members are requested to use English so that others can join in conversations at any time. (d) (Language group activities are excepted, of course.)
3. General Assemblies are the Biennial or Extraordinary General Meetings. The BGM should be held in the first quarter of odd years, with three months’ notice.
4. Quorums. Votes and motions are passed by a simple majority of proxy (absent, post or email) votes plus members present.
5. Nominations. The period for nominations is one month up to the election at the BGM. There is no special Nomination Committee.
6. Executive Committee. The officers of the club are President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Manager and Activities Coordinator. Additional members of the Executive Committee may have responsibilities in the following areas: Public Relations/Marketing, Newsletter, Online Media (Webmaster) and New Members Coordinator
7. Voting may be for positions individually or as a slate choice (group). Activity leaders are volunteers. Every member is encouraged to lead at least one activity each year.
8. Executive Committee members (a) may have several responsibilities, and (b) it is not required that all positions be filled. (c) The Executive Committee may be extended at any time to include ad hoc members without specific responsibility. (d) Activity leaders and members in general may attend the Executive Committee meetings. (e) Officers should not hold the same function for more than two consecutive terms.
All eight changes were approved as worded by a majority of the members present, with the exception of 2b with led to discussion and a change. The amendment was that “conversant in English” should read: “the applicant should be willing to speak English.”
Regarding change 6: the current committee can always be enlarged with adhoc members (temporary or permanent, with or without assigned tasks).
It was agreed that the intent of the changes takes effect immediately. The Bylaws are being rewritten.
7 Motions regarding clubrooms and related matters
Proposals for the further development of the Club included an enlargement of the Executive Committee, the establishment of a permanent location for Club activities, and membership fees. These motions were listed in the BGM invitation and handed out. Here they are listed in the order discussed.
1. The Executive Committee is authorized to find and rent suitable rooms for club activities, according to the proposed budget. The Executive Committee will formulate house rules and usage contracts.
The proposal of a permanent club location (clubroom), as requested in the Futures Event of February 2012, had been followed up by the committee. After considering many options, a recommendation of a room for CHF 480 per month in Elfenau lies on the table. Graham presented a concept for its usage and management, including expenses for initial setup and running costs. Budget information had been included in the BGM programme and on a separate sheet given to participants by Gerd. After lengthy discussion of the pros and cons, the proposal was put to a vote and rejected by a majority of those present. As result, motions directly relating to this one were not given further consideration. Club activities would continue to make use of current locations such as the Bruder Klaus Church, and possibly new locations, with more frequent informal club meetings.
2. Groups using the clubrooms should pay a fee of CHF 10 per hour, to be collected in some manner from the attendees.
3. Persons using the rooms (except activity leaders and Executive Committee members) should pay CHF 2 per attendance.
4. Drinks (coffee, tea, etc) have a surcharge of CHF 1 per cup.
5. Non-ICB activities pay for usage at double the rate.
6. The club’s funds will cover losses in 2013.
7. For 2013, alternative methods should make it possible to cover room expenses
Following motions did not relate to clubrooms and were discussed:
8. The membership fee should be increased by CHF 10 from 2014.
9. The membership fee may be raised for 2014 by an amount up to a maximum of CHF X. The value of X will be determined by vote! Members will be asked whether they are willing to pay an increase of CHF 5, 10, 15, 20, 30...
In general the feeling was that the fees are unrealistically low, considering all the activities we offer. Various amounts were put to vote, and the majority decided for an increase in fees by 15 CHF for both singles and families from 2014, to CHF 50 and 60.
10. The BGM should be held in Mappamondo/Murihuus
The proposal to hold future BGMs at Mappamondo or the Murihuus, possibly with catering, was rejected as an unnecessary restriction on executive decisions. The idea of holding it together with the Spring Party found favour. All ideas will be considered in any case.
Lois Elvey was nominated from the floor to sit on the Executive Committee as an ad hoc member; she declined, she is busy enough with the Wine Tasting events. Cristian Yamamoto-Dogaru was nominated and volunteered just to help.
The list of the Executive Committee members nominated appeared in the BGM handout. The entire slate of these nominated members was voted on as a whole and accepted by the members present.
ICB Executive Committee 2013-2014
President Graham Tritt
Membership Manager Werner Dettwiler
Treasurer Gerd Ulbers
Secretary Gary Long
Vice-President Nazanin Kupferschmid
Activities Coordinator Emeliana Ulbers
Marketing Erika Bartolano
Newsletter Werner Dettwiler
Online Media (Webmaster) Gary Long
9 Other business
As no other business was brought up, the meeting ended at 20.05.
With the official part of the meeting closed, a four-course dinner was served and enjoyed by the participants, each of whom received a subsidy of 25 CHF from the Club.