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Summit Junior Baseball

Board of Directors Meeting—Thursday, 11/19/09-7:30 PM

Meeting Minutes
Approved 12/10/09 

1.       President’s Report (Keith Zusi)

Mr. Zusi welcomed the Board of Directors and provided an overview of the Executive Board roles, responsibilities and recent activity.  He noted the intention to provide for a more decentralized approach to SJBB management, with Executive Board members responsible for particular areas of activity, in consultation with the entire Executive Board and the Board of Directors as necessary.

Mr. Zusi noted an intention to manage Board Meetings with particular sensitivity to everyone’s time, with the objective of trying to complete meetings within no more than 90 minutes whenever possible.

To facilitate efficient meetings, Mr. Zusi encouraged the entire Board to offer topics for discussion several days in advance of Board meetings whenever possible.    Suggested topics should be provided to Mr. Zusi and Mr. Lenz, who will be responsible for preparing meeting agendas in consultation with the Executive Board.   

2.       Treasurer’s Report (Barbara Vitti)

Ms. Vitti indicated she would provide a monthly report to the Board with respect to SJBB financial matters.  She indicated that anyone that would like a copy of the SJBB budget should e-mail her directly.

In explaining the SJBB budget that is under development, Ms. Vitti provided an overview of SJBB’s most significant recurring items of revenue and expense.  Major revenue sources identified include (i) registration fees, (ii) sponsorship fees, and (iii) various fund raising initiatives (including the various Pizzafests).  Major expense items identified include (i) uniforms, (ii) equipment (noting the importance of coaches returning all equipment in good order), (iii) insurance, (iv) umpiring fees, (v) utilities, (vi) field maintenance expenses (e.g., drying agents) and (vii) various capital expenditures from time to time.    There was a discussion of the possibility of developing specific capital campaigns for major initiatives in the future that would be outside of the annual budgeting process.

Ms. Vitti indicated that a final budget would be presented for Board of Directors’ approval and that SJBB’s tax return would be filed by 12/15/09.

3.       Softball Program Director Report (John Calabrese)

Mr. Calabrese provided an overview of the softball program leadership group, emphasizing that softball supported a group approximately 1/5th the size of the baseball program.  Mr. Calabrese explained that a more focused effort would be placed on pre-season instruction, including various winter clinics conducted through Frozen Ropes in Union and a more educational/clinic-like approach to the softball Pizzafest, to be held on March 24 at Summit HS.  He described an inter-town recreation league for older ages involving Summit, Madison, Chatham and Springfield that is still the development stage.  He indicated that the softball recreation leagues would be grouped around the following grades: 1st/2nd together, 3rd/4th  together, 5th/6th together and 7th/8th together.

He also noted that softball is now open for spring registrants.

4.       Field Operations Director Report (Greg Mayes)

Mr. Mayes described his aspirations for baseball field maintenance in Summit as well as the individuals primarily involved with this group.  He indicated there would be a “field champion” for each baseball field in town.    In part through coordination with the Summit Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Department of Community Services (DCS), the field champion would be responsible for (i) ensuring the field storage space is stocked with adequate supplies and tools and (ii) the fields are maintained at all times in adequate condition (including ensuring that grass is cut regularly).  Mr. Mayes indicated he is still looking for two more field champions.

Mr. Mayes described the generous donation of a batting cage by the Weidenkopf family.  Because of the cement foundations supporting the cage, SJBB has contracted to have the cage removed and relocated to Memorial Field, where it will replace the old batting cage.  The fee for this removal and relocation service is expected to be approximately $700.    Some board members expressed concern regarding the potential for overuse and the need for limited access to the cage.  There was agreement that the cage would be secured in a manor consistent with town requirements in that regard.

Mr. Mayes indicated that he and his team are at working building strong relationships with the DPW and DCS.  They are working to ensure that user fees charged to program participants are used to the greatest extent possible to support field maintenance and infrastructure.  He outlined a list of requests he intends to propose to the DCS, including (i) weekly Saturday morning field maintenance, (ii) a redesign of the Jefferson Field backstop (in part to ensure clear throwing lines to 1st and 3rd base), (iii) replacement of the Memorial Field and Wilson Field scoreboard, (iv) the installation of the batting cage described above, (v) a batting cage at Long Field, (vi) paving in dugouts (a solution to persistent mud/flooding issues), (vii) bleachers at Franklin field, (viii) a new water fountain at Jefferson Field, (ix) a snack shop area adjacent to the equipment shed at Jefferson Field, (x) lights for Long Field, and (xi) recycling bins at various fields.

Certain board members suggested requests also be made to: (i) relocate the portable restrooms at Jefferson Field to a more appropriate area of the field complex, and (ii) provide portable restrooms at Franklin and Lincoln Fields.

5.       Personnel Director Report (Brian Kaufman)

Mr. Kaufman thanked Board members for their willingness to volunteer to support the program in a new era and the importance the Executive Board will place on Board input in its decision making.  He emphasized the importance that he will place on transparency in connection with all coach and team selection processes.  He described two new committees that would further the work of the Personnel Director: (i) the Parents’ Advisory Committee, which will coordinate parent input directly to the Executive Board, and (ii) the Coaches’ Committee, which will be responsible for vetting and evaluating coaching candidates and ensuring that coaches are adequately trained to instruct and support all players in the program.  Mr. Kaufman expects that the Coaches’ Committee will meet at least twice per year with the Executive Board.

Mr. Kaufman also explained the Evaluation and Draft Committee and the need for many more volunteers in connection with all of these various committees.  It is expected that the league drafts will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2010.

6.       Marketing and Purchasing Director Report (Mike Fuoti)

Mr. Fuoti described the subcommittees that will be under the Marketing and Purchasing Directorship: (i) Events, (ii) Purchasing, (iii) Equipment, and (iv) Sponsorships.  Mr. Fuoti emphasized there would be increased focus and attention paid to more broad solicitation of sponsorships that will begin earlier than in prior years.  He encouraged all Board members to actively solicit the Summit business community for their support in this regard and to reach out to him with any questions that they may have. 

Mr. Fuoti also discussed other aspects of his vision for the Marketing/Purchasing Directorship, including (i) the development of alternative revenue sources, with a particular focus on pursuing opportunities for field advertising signage (temporary and/or permanent), (ii) new approaches to the pre-season Pizzafest events (he encouraged all to offer their ideas), and (iii) initiating specific, focused capital campaigns to meet any major infrastructure needs of the program.

7.       League Registration Process (Patty McDonald)

Ms. McDonald described that the registration process (for all recreation and travel leagues) would work in manner consistent with last year.  All registrations would be handled on-line through the SJBB website, with advance advertising of registration dates and deadlines through typical channels (e-mail blasts, local newspapers, and school fliers (particularly for the younger/newer program participants).

Ms. McDonald also described the importance of the SJBB website (Summitnjsports.com) as the program’s primary communication medium, including calendars, board and agendas and meeting minutes.

There was a Board discussion regarding the need to ensure particularly that the program dates and deadlines be effectively communicated to those in the Summit community that do not have access to computers and internet tools.

8.       Secretary Report/Overview (Scott Lenz)

Mr. Lenz described his vision for the role of the Secretary, with a particular focus on: (i) ensuring the orderly, efficient and respectful conduct of Board meetings, (ii) ensuring that Board of Directors meetings and decisions are as transparent to the public as possible, particularly through the publication of meeting agendas and minutes on the SJBB website.  He encouraged all Board members to raise topics and issues with him and Mr. Zusi in advance of Board and Executive Board meetings so that their input and perspective can be fully taken into account in developing meeting agendas and ensuring the SJBB leadership is at work on those matters that are most important to the Summit baseball and softball community.

9.       Operations Director Report (John Floegel)

Mr. Floegel explained his vision for the Baseball Operations Directorship, with a particular focus on improving the skill level of all program participants through greater clinic and other preseason training opportunities, as well as through more in-season practice opportunities.

Mr. Floegel then described in detail various approaches for organizing the recreation and spring travel baseball programs for 4th, 5th and 6th graders that had been considered in detail by the Executive Board over the last several weeks.   In the recent past, the 5th/6th grade was combined as the recreation “Major League” on a little league size field and 4th graders played in a 4th grade only recreation “Minor League,” also on little league size fields. 

Mr. Floegel explained that many other communities were moving toward a model where 6th graders play in a 6th grade only league on intermediate size “50/70” fields.  He explained there was a growing belief among recreation baseball experts that this approach better prepared 6th graders for the jump to major league size fields and more advanced rules of play.

Mr. Floegel also explained the various alternatives that had been considered by the Executive Board in designing a spring travel baseball program proposal that (i) provides more competitive playing opportunities for more advanced players, (ii) does not dilute the quality of the recreation leagues, and (iii) protects pitchers that might participate (as pitchers) in both spring travel and recreation league play.  Mr. Floegel explained that the Executive Committee strongly and unanimously supported the requirement that participants in SJBB sponsored spring travel programs also participate in recreation league play, with recreation league play being the most important priority.

There was much discussion regarding the pros and cons of moving 6th graders to an intermediate size field in a 6th grade only league.  There was also a great deal of discussion regarding the pros and cons of combining 4th and 5th graders in a single recreation league that would play on little league size fields.  There was concern expressed by several board members that many 4th graders were not yet physically prepared to play consistently with 5th graders in a recreation league.  There was also much discussion regarding how best to protect pitchers that might participate (as pitchers) in both recreation and spring travel leagues.

After much discussion, THE BOARD VOTED TO APPROVE:

·         6th grade only recreation league play on a 50/70 field (Long Field)

·         5th and 4th graders each playing in their own grade-only recreation league on little league size fields (most games to be played at Jefferson Field in each case)

·         The requirement that participants on SJBB sponsored spring travel baseball teams also participate in the SJBB recreation baseball program, subject to appropriate pitching restrictions to be developed before the spring travel and recreation seasons begin.