WHITE IRONSTONE CHINA ASSOCIATION, INC.
WHITE IRONSTONE CHINA ASSOCIATION, INC.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
THE INN AT CHESTER SPRINGS
NOVEMBER 13, 2004
President Tom Moreland called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. Directors present were: Dale Abrams, Cindy Barber, Ted Brockey, Ernie Dieringer, Amy Earls, Elsie Freeman Finch, Jean Gortzig, Dave Klein, Olga Moreland, Tom Moreland, and Harry Moseley. Directors Anne Miller and John Yunginger were absent. Also in attendance was Bev Dieringer, Co-Editor of White Ironstone Notes, and Audrey Moseley, Co-Chair of the 2005 WICA Convention.
On motion duly made and seconded, the minutes from the April 29 and May 2, 2004, Board Meetings (Tab A), were approved unanimously.
President Tom Moreland reported on the status of the I.R.C. 501(c)(3) application. At the 2004 General Meeting, the membership approved amending the Certificate of Incorporation in order to apply for this tax-exempt status. The application is in progress, and three years’ financial information is being compiled to submit with the application as required.
The board reviewed FYE financial reports, submitted by Treasurer Anne Miller, which reflected a year-end surplus of $2453.00 (Tab B). The surplus resulted, in part, due to the 2004 convention ending with a profit (see below). The board reviewed explanatory comments on the financial statements submitted by Anne Miller via e-mail, which expressed gratitude to Patty Hitt for her assistance in preparing the financial statements. Anne also urged improved procedures for the handling of sales tax at conventions, proposed that WICA use a new bank because of poor service and large fees, and recommended that WICA move the Money Market funds into a CD. Jean Gortzig moved that the Money Market funds be put into a CD, to the extent that the treasurer recommends. The motion was seconded by Cindy Barber, and passed unanimously.
The board reviewed an email from Patty Hitt relating to an adjustment of the financial statements due to a valuation of inventory and the resulting affect on Cost of Goods Sold in the WICA Shoppe, in the amount of $413.37. This amount is absorbed in 2004 and Patty will carefully review the financial reports to ensure that the adjustments/classifications are proper.
The board reviewed and approved the proposed fiscal 2005 budget, prepared by Tom Moreland (Tab C). The main changes from the 2004 budget included the following: WICA Shoppe numbers per Dave Klein’s estimates; membership dues reflecting Diane Dorman’s membership numbers; an advertising expense for Research and Membership Recruitment Committees, subject to board approval; Quickbooks accounting software to facilitate accounting functions of the WICA Shoppe and the Treasurer, subject to board approval; and no membership directory expense since we published last year.
Janet Allers submitted a financial report of the 2004 Convention, which reflected a profit of $3,809.54 (Tab D). A discussion ensued regarding the convention’s profit, which resulted from a notable increase in the number of tables at Sunday’s Show and Sale. In addition, the Auction netted $1,588.62 (Tab E), the raffle committee chaired by Janet Knorr realized $1218.00, and a raffle run by Dave Klein realized $430.00, for the Education Fund. The board reviewed a historical comparison of all of the annual conventions from 1995 through 2004, with data regarding attendance, registration fees, hotel room rates, number of show tables, net convention profit or loss, and net auction profit or loss (Tab F).
Dave Klein submitted the WICA Shoppe report (Tab G). For the period of 6/1/03 – 5/31/04, WICA Shoppe sales resulted in a profit of $2,993.08. Dave reported that the best-selling item was White Ironstone Pitchers: An Identification Guide, by Ernie and Bev Dieringer, with 200 books sold at $30.00 per copy. Dave showed the board improved financial reports that he produced with Quickbooks. Jean Gortzig moved to reimburse Dave approximately $200 for the purchase of Quickbooks and also authorize Anne Miller to purchase the software. Dale Abrams seconded, and the motion carried unanimously. Dave clarified, in response to an inquiry, that the Shoppe charges and collects sales tax on all of its sales, whether to dealers or non-dealers.
Dave presented an idea for selling a complete set of 39 back issues of White Ironstone Notes, with binder, for the price of $125. This would yield a profit of $73.86, but save purchasers $189.50 from the single issue aggregate price. Elsie Freeman Finch moved to authorize this proposal. Harry Moseley seconded and the motion carried. A brief discussion ensued regarding one person, Sarah Voas, who had recently purchased the entire set of back issues at full price. Elsie moved and Cindy seconded to reimburse Ms. Voas the difference between the price she paid and the discounted price, via a credit in the WICA Shoppe.
Dave presented a holiday brochure that he prepared to promote November and December sales in the Shoppe. The Board had informally approved in early October, via e-mails, the estimated cost of $387 to produce and distribute this brochure. The President asked for a motion to ratify this action. Ted Brockey so moved. Elsie seconded and the motion carried.
The board then discussed the possibility of reprinting Jean Wetherbee’s book, White Ironstone: A Collector’s Guide. The original plates are gone, so the discussion centered on scanning the pages and binding. Issues that need to be address include compensation to Jean and a possible addendum to correct a few errors in the original manuscript. Dale Abrams shared TLCI’s experience with reprinting the Tea Leaf book by Haviland. Jean Gortzig expressed the board’s desire that Jean Wetherbee receive adequate royalties. The board also discussed the pros and cons of self-publishing or contracting with a publisher. After much discussion, the board formulated the following resolution: The Board approves the concept of reprinting the book with corrections, to be sold exclusively by the WICA Shoppe, with details of the publication to be worked out by the Publications Committee after discussion with Jean Wetherbee regarding compensation. Elsie moved, Ted seconded, and the resolution was adopted unanimously.
Next, Harry and Audrey Moseley presented an update on the 2005 convention, which will be held April 22-24 at the Inn at Chester Springs Hotel Conference Center, Exton, PA. The registration fee is $90 and the room rate is $79 per night. Jane Diemer is coordinating the Friday tour of Wintertur. Ted Brockey will coordinate 1st Timers, Dale Abrams will chair the Flea Market/Tops & Bottoms, Denise Andre will chair Show and Tell, and Janet Knorr is coordinating the raffle. The Saturday programs include Amy Earls speaking on Potting Methods, Liz Volckening presenting an overview of entertaining customs of the Victorian period, an eBay panel discussion led by Tom Moreland, and the Business Meeting. Janice Stork is coordinating the display, in which vignettes will highlight items used for desserts, parties, and entertaining. Patty Hitt will review sales tax and serve as contact person with the PA Department of Revenue.
A discussion ensued on the issue of partial participation by members in the convention (raised during the April 29 board meeting). Tom moved that members who wish to attend any or all of the convention events must register for the convention. Amy Earls seconded, and the motion carried.
Harry Moseley presented the report of the Ad Hoc Auction Study Committee (Tab H). The following is a summary of recommendations by the Committee: 1) The board-approved policy of nonrefundable reserve fees should be followed, 2) The board- approved auction procedures should be followed with regard to reserve-price items (an incident occurred at the 2004 auction in which a consignor was publicly offered a price less than the reserve price and it was accepted—all committee members agreed this should not be done), 3) A maximum of 180 lots will be accepted for inclusion in the auction (the board can review this number as needed, 4) Upon receipt of all auction monies, the Treasurer will mail payment directly to consignors after deducting sales commission fees (in the past, the Treasurer was mailing the payments to the Off-Site Chair), and 5) The Board should establish procedures to obtain necessary state sales tax information for convention locations, execute any required state forms, and see that instructions are disseminated as necessary. Harry moved, and Jean Gortzig seconded, to adopt the Auction Study Committee’s recommendations. The motion carried.
A discussion followed regarding the need for a clearer allocation of responsibilities among the Auction Chair and the Offsite Coordinator. Tom plans to organize a conference on that subject with Ron Stork, Harry Moseley and Adele Armbruster, the Offsite Coordinator.
In John Yunginger’s absence, Harry Moseley presented the preliminary report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Collections Management. The Committee recommends that WICA consider providing collection management assistance at three levels, including: 1) education regarding collections record-keeping; 2) maintaining lists of qualified appraisers and auctioneers; and, 3) assistance with the dispersion of collections. The key issue will be ethics; any activities must be performed in an inscrutable way so that no motives are questioned. Dale shared the Tea Leaf Club’s process; the issue of liability is paramount. After extensive discussion, the Committee was asked to fine-tune their report pursuant to the board’s comments and questions. In particular, the board was reluctant to have WICA sponsor special auctions to disperse collections.
Amy Earls presented the report of the Research and Education Committee. Amy stated that her role as chair will be to encourage members to do research, and coordinate specific research activities. Suggested projects that were discussed include 1) White ironstone collections in historic sites/museums, 2) White ironstone ads, 1840s and later, and 3) Marks on white ironstone. Another project discussed was the Dieringer’s research of collections/museums for a driving tour brochure.
Olga Moreland presented three proposed Protocols: Archivist (Tab J), WIN Editor (Tab K), and WICA Website Committee (Tab L). The board discussed the custody of historical archives, and possible coordination with other ceramic clubs. It was noted that Rick Nielson has indicated an interest in editing the newsletter after the Dieringers (at some point in the future). The Protocols will be organized into one book that will provide guidelines for all committee members. On a motion by Ernie Dieringer, seconded by Ted Brockey, the three protocols were approved unanimously.
In her report on the White Ironstone Notes newsletter, Bev Dieringer updated the board on the issue of using bulk mail postage. There is a potential savings over 1st class of 50% or more. However, the mailing time could take up to three weeks for some members. After discussion, Elsie moved to approve the change to bulk mail for the Winter 2004 newsletter. Dave seconded, and the motion passed.
The board discussed ways of marketing the remaining pitcher books. So far, 183 copies have been sold; 60 more books need to be sold to reach the break-even point of 243 copies. The ideas discussed included advertising in trade journals and the newsletters of sister collecting clubs, and promoting on eBay in conjunction with remaining teapot books (if a pitcher book is purchased the buyer receives a free teapot book).
Olga Moreland presented an update from the Site Selection Committee re Convention 2006. Committee members Olga, Rick Nielson, Ted Brockey, and Ray Secrist are considering hotels in Pittsburgh and will report further at the spring meeting.
The board discussed the WICA Website Committee Report, submitted by committee chair Heather Diamond (Tab M). During 2004, the following additions to the site were made: By-laws of the organization; a new Officers and Directors page, including contact information for the WICA President; an updated/redesigned WICA Shoppe page; and a dealer information page (a call to members will be included in the Winter Notes). The committee, and in particular Rick Nielsen, is also researching a Members Only section of the site. After considering the new Protocol for the website, the committee is also researching further additions such as a calendar for regional meetings, further textual and pictorial information, and a white ironstone bulletin board or chat room. The committee requested that updated membership information be communicated regularly to maintain the accuracy of the website, including convention write-ups, membership statistics, and officer/board/committee information as changes occur.
Next, the board reviewed Diane Dorman’s membership report (Tab N). WICA had 443 household memberships as of October 21, 2004. This represents 612 members under the old method of counting members of the same household separately. While there were some increases and decreases in single and dual memberships, the overall number of members was the same from 2003.
The board reviewed the report of the 2004 Membership Survey, submitted by Ted Brockey (Tab O). Some 83 responses were received (19% of the membership). The vast majority of respondents indicated they are very satisfied with the organization, feel the White Ironstone Notes and publications are the most important aspects of WICA, and are delighted with the content of the Notes. Based on feedback by the respondents, the most important elements of the annual convention are the presentations, show and tell, exhibits, and the Sunday sale, in that order. The ratings of the WICA website indicate increased satisfaction with content, and suggestions were forwarded to the website committee. The overwhelming majority of respondents favor using available funds for funding special publications. WICA membership and renewal communications were overwhelmingly voted very clear and timely, and the WICA Directory considered very useful. The aspects of the Regional meetings considered most important are 1) the opportunity to view other members’ collections, 2) the ability to buy and sell, 3) speakers and presentations, and 4) see friends. In conclusion, Ted reported that the 2004 Membership Survey indicates continued, overwhelming satisfaction with the organization, its publications, and activities.
Next, the board reviewed the report of Committee on Membership Recruiting, submitted by Tom Moreland for Chair Linda Maro (Tab P). The board reacted positively to the several initiatives suggested by Linda.
In the report of the Nominations Committee, Chair Ernie Dieringer reported that Janet Allers and Carol Fleischman are the two non-director members of the Committee this year. The Committee has contacted the four officers (Moreland, Yunginger, Miller and Barber) and four directors (Klein, Yunginger, Gortzig and Brockey) whose terms expire in 2005. All have expressed a willingness to be re-nominated, if the Committee so chooses.
Jean Gortzig presented the report of the Membership Information Committee and the 2004 Convention Survey (Tab Q). Some 38% of attendees responded to the survey. Jean reported that the Convention Committee could take enormous satisfaction in the significant percentage of positive comments. The Friday tour and the educational programs were extremely well received, and the display of soup tureens received a 98% rating of Excellent. It was noted that no one who responded said they would not participate in another convention. The board reviewed the summary that clearly displayed comments and suggestions. In the Overall Rating of the convention, 49% of respondents rated the convention Excellent, 31% indicated Very Good, and 14% indicated Good. There were no ratings of Fair or Poor.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
Cindy Barber, Secretary