President’s Message – September 2021

by Bob Duthaler

Executive Board Retreat
Your Board … Working Hard For You!

There are two components that help to make a great organization, its members and its board. I am happy to report that JAG has both. This organization is made up of people who really care about our industry, its future, and its impact on our community. JAG members take an active role in participating in monthly meetings, engaging in our webinars, and attending our conference. Members understand the value of JAG. In turn, the JAG Board recognizes this, and is dedicated to give members the best value for their dues, and then some.

To ensure the organization continues to grow, progresses with the times, keeps up with changes in the industry, and legislation, the JAG board participates in an annual retreat in August. This year we meet again virtually for several days over a two-week period.

This is the board’s chance to reflect on the year past, evaluate and plan the goals for the upcoming years, and review the organizations Policies & Procedures and Bylaws. In an ever-evolving organization this is an important task the board assigns itself each year.

Each year prior to coming to this retreat, board members are given a list of goals which our organization strives to achieve. Board members are asked to grade our organization on accomplishment of these goals on a scale of 1-10. You can imagine, each board member might view things slightly different from another, but this gives us an understanding of both the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. This becomes the foundation of our retreat.

Next, we examined our operational structure, management structure and our action plan. Committee chairs and board members use the action plan as a tool to guide our organization, keep on top of our goals and report back to the members. The reporting on the action plan takes place at both membership meetings and in this monthly newsletter. The action plans for all standing committees and ad-hoc committees were explored in addition to receiving a yearly update from the committee chairs.

We concentrate going through all our financials, getting updates from our treasurer of financial filings and more. I am happy to report out that our organization is financially solvent, on track with all our financial filings and reports. The board also reviews the financials monthly at our executive board meetings as presented by the treasurer. Again, I am happy to report that we are on the track and working closely with our accountants and tax preparers to keep moving forward in a financially sound manner.

Examining our future legislative battles, the FCC being one of them, and preparing the organization for what is to come is another task the board takes seriously. We are aligning ourselves with other organizations in the same fight, keeping on top of the national battle from NATOA and working with our partners and lawyers to keep JAG members informed. JAG keeps a close eye on state legislation with our statewide partners who have a vested interest in cable franchising and broadband. By reaching out to other organizations including the League of Municipalities, Board of Public Utilities – Office of Cable Television our goal is to help steer the legislative battle. Our legislative chair Dave Garb and his committee, along with our managing director and myself, take an active role in keeping up with anything on the hill or state capitol that might affect our industry and getting that information out to our members in a timely manner.

Our policies and procedures are an ever-changing document, although at its core remains steady. The Policies and Procedures along with our bylaws are the very heart of the JAG Organization. It is important to look through these with a fine toothcomb, see what is working, what needs to be adjusted and sometimes what just needs to be cleaned up. The Leadership Development Committee is also tasked with reviewing these documents throughout the year and bringing and changes to the board for a vote. Our board takes these documents very seriously, understands the value of them and that they are the very core of the JAG Organization. Some proposed bylaw changes will be introduced to the members at our September Meeting and will be voted upon by the general membership in October. These are strictly house-keeping items and language clarification.

The board uses all that we learn during our annual retreat to help determine future goals, the direction of the board for 2021-2022, and inform the membership moving forward. As always, I invite you to take an active role in this organization by sitting on committees, running for board positions, and actively attending and participating in our monthly meetings. There is a good chance that some board members might be retiring from the board after many years of service, so the board eagerly looks forward to new members stepping up and filling their shoes.

I urge you to carefully read through this newsletter for organizational updates, committee reports, peer reviews and more. In addition, take advantage of all JAG has to offer by attending our monthly membership meetings and scheduled webinars and social hangs. Find something in this organization that interests you, participate in a committee and even run as a board member. The future of JAG is in your hands, and knowing that, I know we are going to be in good shape.