Board Buzz: Long Term Tenants and Board Change

Mar 29, 2023 | Beacon, Members News

Dear East Shore Congregation,

Your Board would like to share with you some of our thinking following the offer of Emerald Heights Academy to rent the Education Building. The Academy contacted Rebecca Chatfield, our Director of Finance and Operations, in late December and she met with the Staff Leadership Team (SLT) in early January describing the offer. They wished to use the building during weekdays, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., not on weekends, and not during the months of July and August. They wanted a three year contract, which could be renewable, for $80,000 a year. The Academy communicated that they were on a short timeline to find a new place and needed an answer by the end of January.

The SLT members all wrote up their thoughts as to how they thought this tenant would impact East Shore.  They felt they had little experience for making this evaluation since the only really long time tenant we have had is the Music School, which takes up the whole Music Building, not really a shared space. The SLT reached out to some constituents for their views. This resulted in emails to the Board from those who had received the information. This was communicated to the Board, which met on January 24. The Board asked that Rebecca continue to pursue a possible rental with Emerald Heights while the Board engaged more of the congregation. Before a process for feedback could be completed, Emerald Heights felt they could not wait to continue their search, and withdrew their offer.

In trying to debrief this experience, Reverend María Cristina suggested that we not debate the merits of the possible tenant, but rather consider the lessons we need to take from this experience, specifically so that we might do this process better in the future. There was considerable discussion. These were the areas identified as needing further consideration:

  1. How to increase a sense of trust between the Board & congregation.
  2. How to proceed when so pressed for time, but without letting the time factor overwhelm a need for process.
  3. How to include the wider congregation so that there is more inclusion.
  4. Do we need further policy?  As to process?  As to possible tenants?

This was definitely a learning experience for all of us  and it is clear we need to continue to refine this process so that we might respond more nimbly should an appropriate renter present themselves in the future.

Respectfully submitted,

Your Board of Trustees

Board of Trustee Changes

Ann Carlstrom has served as the Secretary of the Board since last June. Unfortunately, due to Bill’s health concerns, Ann has resigned so that she can use her energy where it is most needed at this time. We thank Ann for all her work for the Board and send all our very best wishes to Ann and Bill.

Maury Edwards, who was our Secretary for the last Board, has consented to come back as Secretary through June. We welcome Maury and are grateful that he already has the background he needs to take up this task. Thank you, Maury.