Outreach donates $18,000 to Lagarto fire victims
by Rita Arnst
Jul 15, 2009 | 1191 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
During the quarterly Live Oak County Outreach Board meeting, members voted to donate $18,000 to the Lagarto VFD Relief Fund to help cover the cost for trailers for two displaced families.

Lagarto Community Church Pastor David Donaldson addressed the group and began by saying, “You know the fire we had in April displaced some people from their homes. They have no homes; we have a 90-year-old lady who has no home. We have children who have no home. I am representing a facet of this wonderful Live Oak County community to help get some homes. We have a ministry that has helped us acquire some trailers. This is what my southeast part of the county is all about. It is about faith, hope and love because that is what we saw come together.”

Donaldson said the small trailers are 12’x40’ and have one bedroom with a full-size bed. They also have a pull-out couch with a full-size hide-a-bed and two bunk beds. There’s one bathroom and a kitchen with a full-size oven, refrigerator and dinette. “It’s just a beautiful trailer. I thought it was going to be a ‘plain Jane’ but it was just beautiful. We are able to purchase them for $1,000. That wouldn’t even buy the air conditioner unit that comes with it,” said Donaldson. He went on to describe the larger 14’x64’ trailers. They come with three bedrooms, two baths and they cost $2,000 through Ministry Resource in Stockdale, Texas. “Unfortunately, we are putting the cost on these people who lost everything. We had a little gospel singing gathering and we raised $11,000. That was good but it wasn’t enough because we have 14 displaced families that still need homes.” The total figure for the trailers by themselves is nominal; however the cost to deliver the trailers is $20,000. Cinder blocks are nearly $5,000; utility poles, meter loops and permits are $8,000; septic tanks, caliche, labor, etc., make a grand total of $148,000 needed for the displaced families.

After Donaldson presented the gathering with the total costs, Live Oak Outreach President Jo-Ann Thoms said she wanted to appoint a committee to act as a liaison between the Lagarto community and the Outreach. “And on that committee, I would like to appoint Sue Dobie, John Ed Holland, Brother Doug Hinchcliff and Brother Pat Traxler. When you decide we will see if we can honor that,” said Thoms. However, Outreach Treasurer Sue Dobie spoke up and said, “Well, what I am looking at right now, we could probably do something right away. We could fund two displaced families for around $17,000 and then we could see how it goes. Then we can have the committee for an ongoing assessment of this.” Dobie made a motion that Outreach donate $17,000 to the Lagarto VFD Relief Fund, but changed it to $18,000 because of the price of insurance. The motion was seconded by Pastor Hinchcliff. Then he made a motion to have half of the money they donate come from the United Way fund and the other half come from the operating fund. The motion carried.

Rev. Hinchcliff challenges minutes as read

In other Outreach news, Hinchcliff challenged the minutes as read with reference to members-at-large. “What I understood was that members-at-large had already been seated. They were already on the board and had been seated at the first meeting. And what happened after the first meeting was the question was were we going to change the bylaws in the future.”

Thoms asked that Holland read a statement from Brother Randy Samuels and Brother Pat Traxler with reference to unseating the two representatives from George West and the representative from Three Rivers. Then Dobie said, “I think what we said was the people from George West and Three Rivers were appointed by George West and Three Rivers and they were not members-at-large they were members from each of communities and the representatives of the community appointed them.”

“They were seated,” confirmed Hinchcliff.

“Yes, they were seated,” replied Dobie. “But not as members-at-large but as members from those two communities that had appointed them. And we discussed who should appoint them,” continued Dobie.

Judge Patricia Lanford spoke up, “I don’t know if we are ‘at-large’ but this is City Councilman Mike McCormick, I’m Judge Patricia Lanford, we are the members from George West. And this is City Councilman Sally Rodriguez; she is the member from Three Rivers. We each received a notice stating our membership has been declined. But I remember being seated in January and I remember being here.”

“Yes, and as a matter of fact we voted on it,” said Hinchcliff. “The procedure was the whole board voted to seat one, two, three,” he said as he pointed at McCormick, Lanford and Rodriguez. “We specifically named them. They have functioned as board members and now you are saying, ‘I’m sorry but, now all that didn’t count.’ So then the election of you as president didn’t count,” he said looking at Thoms. “Because they voted as a part of that and that would disallow all the votes that have taken place. I don’t want to do this but if you are saying that the board members that have been serving were not really board members, then ALL the elections and votes that have been taken would be invalid. Now you can change it for next year but they are seated. And if you go back and try to remove them then you have created an anomalous situation and I don’t want to do this,” Hinchcliff said.

Lanford, McCormick & Rodriguez will stay on as board members

Holland had the floor and read Samuels and Traxler’s statement. “After careful consideration the personnel committee makes the following clarifications of bylaws: Article I, Section 2 Organization (b) concerning the term members-at-large which reads as follows: In order to provide representation for Individual Pledges, at the first annual meeting of each year, the Board of Directors, upon the recommendations of the personnel committee shall appoint and seat two representatives from George West and two representatives from Three Rivers to serve on the Board of Directors, as Members-At-Large on the Board of Directors. Each city thus represented will be allowed one vote on the Board of Directors.” After Holland read the section of bylaws he went on with the committee’s interpretation of said bylaw. “Members at-large will be defined as individuals who give pledges, who have been recommended by the personnel committee and appointed and seated by the board of directors. Individuals seated as members-at-large that have not meet the criteria or not seated constitutionally and action by the board of directors should be taken immediately to intentionally correct any past action that does not follow the bylaws as adopted by the board of directors.” After Holland finished reading the statement, Hinchcliff asked to see it and then said, “OK, so this is an interpretation made by Randy [Samuels]. I can tell you the members-at-large are not defined by this. What he is saying is that members-at-large will, in the future, be defined as such and that is a board decision. When you seat members you don’t retroactively go back and say, well, we made a mistake, we changed the rules.”

Hinchcliff went on by saying, “You already made a decision and once you have made a decision you have to live with it. I don’t mind if the board changes the rules in the future, that’s not my protest, but retroactively you create a mess. Because every vote where they were present has to be disallowed and I don’t want that. I really don’t. The deed is done. They were seated as members-at-large from George West and Three Rivers.”

Dobie interjected, “I disagree, I don’t think they were seated as members-at-large. They were seated as appointed by the entities of George West and Three Rivers. They are not members-at-large, they are members of George West and Three Rivers and we decided that we would let them have representatives on the board.”

Hinchcliff come back by explaining, “There is no other status. The city did not appoint them; they were recommended and we elected them. They were here and have been voting members. It is just a matter of logic, I don’t want to go back; going forward is the only way to keep from making this a mess. As a matter of procedure, if you eliminate them everything has to be re-done. That would create a mess including liability for any money spent or not spent. The easiest thing to do is just get on with it. Put it on the agenda for the next time around.”

Holland agreed, saying, “Why don’t we just leave things as is and go forward because we would be committing something we shouldn’t be doing. It was a misinterpretation by everybody involved. But it already happened and we need to live with what happened.”

Hinchcliff stated the secretary needed to note in the minutes that a discussion was had as to membership-at-large and it will be undertaken as an agenda item in the future. “Members that are currently seated or appointed by their respective churches and I know Lisa [Steen] is here too and so is Elaine [Hinchcliff] are here to be members. I would move we approve the minutes as amended and corrected and that the members-at-large who are seated will continue as board members,” said Hinchcliff. He made a motion to approve the minutes as amended and Holland seconded the motion. The motion passed with all the members, including those from George west and Three Rivers, voting in the affirmative.

Outreach has $89,076.77 cash on hand

Afterward, Dobie gave a brief summary of the Live Oak Outreach accounts. She prepared a four-page handout of account summary year-to-date. The ending balance of the operating account is $42,743.10. The United Way account has $16,369.40 and the reserve account has $29,964.27. The total cash the Outreach has is $89,076.77. Dobie explained which account is used for various expenses. For example, food bank expenses come from the operating account. Emergency expenses come from the United Way account. Dobie added food expenses will probably go up. “I think the report you presented, on the face of it, appears to be an excellent report of expenses and income and receipts. I would like to accept the account summary at this time so. I think you did an excellent job,” Hinchcliff said.

Following, Outreach Executive Director Marion Fulbright gave the 2009 administrator’s report (January-June). She said volunteers have remained steady. Hours have varied but, are in the same range. She gave the number of client visits and those that came a second time. Fulbright gave the number of transients helped and those needing shelter. “We have given no school supplies but that will be starting shortly,” Fulbright said.

New board member Lisa Steen with Brush Country Cowboy Church gave a five-minute statement addressing Thoms, Fulbright and the board members. She began by stating, “In light of the recent articles and letters published, Brush Country Cowboy Church wants to assure you, Madam President, that you have our respect, support and deep gratitude for the work that you have and are performing on behalf of the people of Live Oak and McMullen counties.” The speech continued in the same vein, assuring Thoms and Fulbright they had their full support.

In new business, school supplies sign-up will be July 22 with distribution on Aug. 5. The $1 “Bag Day Sale” is scheduled for Sept. 16-18. The Outreach will close Sept. 21, 23 and 25 for restocking. It will also be closed on Labor Day, Sept. 7. The Food Bank Program is set for July 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Outreach. A new computer and high speed Internet service will be added to help with ordering. A nomination committee for the 2010 officers was appointed. The committee will consist of Virginia Horton, Marion Sehlke and Lisa Steen. The last agenda item on “newspaper articles” was tabled until the next meeting, which will be held on Oct. 8 at 6 p.m.
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July 15, 2009
I can't put my finger on it, but there seems to a certain tone with this article that I can not quite figure out. As a former Live Oak resident I like following old hometown news. But Ms. Arnst account of this meeting seems to strike a negative tone and seems like a closeted attempt to shed some bad light on folks. Just my own observations but it did stick out to me. I admit I don’t know much about my old hometown, but I do know passive aggrsive remarks when I read one and I don’t think local paper reporting is the place for it. I am referencing two stark differences when reporting on ‘praises’ for some of the member’s efforts.

This first quote about a job well done is stated, without any remarks or additional “reporting” from Ms. Arnst. “I think the report you presented, on the face of it, appears to be an excellent report of expenses and income and receipts. I would like to accept the account summary at this time so. I think you did an excellent job,” Hinchcliff said. Yet later in the article I read the statement from a member thanking the president, etc. and The statement Ms. Arnst wrote after that statement is what bothered me: The speech continued in the same vein, assuring Thoms and Fulbright they had their full support. Now something tells me this is a thinly veiled negative remark.

I know several of these people in the article and I know they are good people. It saddens me that with so much good that could come out my old hometown paper, this is what my former paper reports on.

Reporting should remain NUETRAL.