Minutes-PVS Excom Meeting-June 23, 2009

The meeting was held at the home of Rosemary and Dick Schwartzbard. Present were Mary Beale, Dick Comerford, Marvin Hass, Kerry Hines, Charlie Huggins, Cara Jablon, Dick Laeser, Dave Lerner, Sue Lyon, Carolyn Maurer-DeVilbiss, Ray McKinley, Rosemary and Dick Schwartzbard, John Seabold, Ellie Thayer, and Dottie Villers.

Minutes from the May 26th Excom meeting were approved as corrected.

Treasurer Dick Laeser reported a treasury balance of $10,949.92. There were minor expenditures over the last two months for Club related activities: attendance at the spring BRSC Meeting ($125.00), the May monthly meeting ($85.81), 2 year extension of the Club’s website domain ($19.90), and mailing of the April TOOT ($64.24). Dick will be paying the yearly Virginia Corporation Registration fee ($25) and filing an annual report in order to maintain the Club’s nonprofit corporate status in Virginia. The deadline for renewal is August 21st.

Membership Dave Warthen sent out the June Membership Report electronically ahead of tonight’s meeting. Dave served as guest editor of the June TOOT while continuing to contribute his monthly “Members’ Corner”. He will be sending out membership renewal forms for 2009-2011 in early July. Responses must be in by October 31st, 2009. In the past the forms have included an “Assumption of Risk and Release and Waiver of Liability Agreement” to be signed by the member(s) or applicant(s). According to its terms, individuals assume responsibility for their decision to participate in Club activities, accept the risks, and agree to absolve the Club (“its officers, executive committee, leaders and volunteers”) of any liability. The wording comes to about half a page.

Recently Excom has been reviewing the Club’s documents regarding liability. Cara submitted recommendations for a new ski trip liability waiver that were discussed at the May 26th Excom meeting. Ellie consolidated the recommendations into a one page draft. Following input from various Club members and particularly Cara, Elli, and Rosemary and Dick Schwartzbard, an edited version went out to Excom members on June 10, 2009 (see below). Ellie adapted the proposed ski trip waiver for use as a membership renewal waiver, substituting the words “PVS activities” and “activity leaders” for “ski trip” and “trip leaders”. Excom received this via email on June 18th. Both the membership waiver and the ski trip waiver expand on the types of risks and adverse events that might be encountered. “The question before Excom,” said Ellie, “is do we think we need a new membership waiver”. In earlier communications, Dave Lerner expressed concerns about the existing membership waiver.” Liability waivers in general do not prevent lawsuits,” argued Dave. He viewed the Club’s waiver as overly broad. Cara feels that each activity needs its own specific waiver. It was agreed that the membership waiver probably had very little protective value. On balance Excom felt that the existing membership waiver was adequate. It was brought to a vote and passed unanimously. The “old” waiver will be retained.

Sue Lyon has provided attendance figures at monthly meetings for the first 6 months of this year. With the exception of the annual meeting at which there were 43 individuals, attendance has consistently fallen within a very narrow range of 26-29 attendees.

Events and Meetings

July 12 – All Trips Party: Cara and Bob Jablon September 15 – Monthly Meeting: Leonhardts

July 28 – Excom Meeting: Ellie Thayer September 22 – Excom Meeting: Mary Beale

August 18 – Excom Meeting: John Seabold October ? – Frank Shelburne hike (Burke Lake):

Sally Finan

August 19 – Wolf Trap picnic: Dottie Villers October 25 – Oktoberfest: Sally Finan/Dottie


TOOT Marvin Hass will be editor of the summer issues of TOOT (July/August and September) as he has in the past. The ski trip flyers will be coming out in the July TOOT (deadline June 29th). Dave Lerner plans for each trip to have a website. He will provide the trip leaders with instructions. The websites will have “buttons” to access the trip application and the liability waiver.

Mid-week and non-ski trip events coordinator The Club has a vacancy for a mid-week activity coordinator. The difficulty is not in getting ideas for things to do but in securing a volunteer who will facilitate them. Ray said that he would be happy to have someone take over for him as non-ski trip events coordinator. Ray has had the job as long as anyone can remember.

Ski Trip Liability Waiver Several Excom members weighed in by email regarding Cara’s June 10thedition of the ski trip waiver. The only source of concern was paragraph (4). It reads “I understand that this trip may be cancelled by the trip leaders or PVS for an inadequate number of participants or for other reasons. In such event, I understand and agree that I may forfeit some or all of my deposit, if the trip leaders are required to make a non-refundable good faith deposit.” In an email dated June 14th, Dave Lerner pointed out that paragraph (4) serves as a disincentive for early deposits. He referred again to fact that PVS is the only BRSC club that has no financial involvement in the operation of its ski trips. While acknowledging that this is a separate issue from the liability waiver, he hopes that the concerns about financial responsibility will lead to changes in the Club’s approach.

In an email dated June 19th, Ray wrote of the unintended consequences of paragraph (4). “It would encourage trip leaders to take chances”, said Ray. “It would also encourage those interested in the trip to wait until there are enough signed up to avoid possible loss before sending in their money. This is exactly the opposite of what trip leaders need. Early sign-ups are essential and this –paragraph (4) - would help minimize them.” Ray said that in 19 years of leading trips, he avoided fees by telling the wholesaler that he could not possibly have the money until October. Digressing from the wording of the waiver, Ray referred to an incident in the Club several years ago when someone dropped out of a trip resulting in a participant being stuck with a single supplement. This caused significant problems and a near law suit. “That’s why all trips have a bottom line in the fine print which reads -If an odd number sign up for the trip, the last single to send in a deposit will have to help find a roommate or pay the single supplement. “This sentence is essential,” cautioned Ray.

In a response dated June 20th, Carolyn said that although she didn’t disagree about paragraph (4), she felt that in today’s market, deposits and payments are expected much earlier than October, especially for December/January trips.

With all four 2009-10 trip leaders present at tonight’s Excom meeting, many of the same views were expressed. Cara explained that paragraph (4) just deals with the trip which doesn’t draw enough people. “Someone has to pay for that deposit,” warned Cara. “Who’s going to pay for it?”

Most felt that the loss of a nonrefundable good faith deposit was unlikely to happen. If it did, “”we would decide on whether the club would cover the loss on a case by case basis,” said Rosemary. Carolyn recommended that paragraph (4) be deleted from the waiver. “If we leave it in, we’re not going to protect the trip leader, we’re going to discourage participants. I appreciate Cara’s intention. I just decided it’s not going to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”

Ray reminded Excom about the sentence regarding the last single to sign up for the trip being responsible for the single supplement if there is no roommate. Rosemary said that the wording is in the Ski Trip Guidelines. “It should be in the flyer also,” she added.

There was a motion to accept Cara’s June 10th edition of the ski trip waiver minus paragraph (4) and with an additional line for a second signature. The motion passed unanimously.

With the omission of paragraph (4), there is room on the waiver form for trip application information (name(s), address, and telephone number).

Rosemary advised trip leaders to include “Ray’s sentence” in the cancellation guidelines of the flyers.

Kerry suggested that ski trip leaders include a request for reimbursement of losses with their ski trip proposals.

Dottie thanked Cara and Ellie for all the work they did on the waivers.

PVS 45th Anniversary Dinner (2010) It’s hard to believe since we’re not getting any older but the Club will be celebrating its 45th anniversary in November 2010. It’s not too soon to begin making plans. Individuals interested in chairing or serving on the committee should let Dottie know.

Minutes submitted by Mary Beale, secretary