I. Call meeting to Order

Luis Hernandez, NOPHNRCSE President, called the meeting to order at 6:12 PM Eastern.

Eileen M. Vale stated the rules for the meeting. The rules were as followed:  To ensure the meeting is conducted effectively and efficiently, the parliamentary procedures of the Robert Rules of Order will be followed. This will ensure fairness as well as giving each member the right to voice his or her opinion. The business will be conducted through motions, members need to obtaining the floor to speak, the person needs to recognize by the president before speaking and they need to say their name and State that they represents. No member could speak twice for the same issue until everyone else wishing to speak has spoken at least once. All remarks need to be directed to the president and should be respectful to others.

II. Roll Call

Eileen M. Vale conducted a roll call. Based on the article IV A of the NOPHNRCSE By-Laws a quorum for the transaction of business of any meeting of the organization shall consist of 10 active members of the organization. Presents: Ronnie Skala, Mike Castillo, Mari Hrebik, Mary Sanchez, Salvador Salinas, Lori Valadez, Carmen Ortiz, Russell Castro, Ron Hilliard, and more than 10 members present. Quorum established.

III. Approve Agenda

The agenda was presented. Luis requested additions or edits needed for the agenda. Luis Hernandez made two additions; IRS Audit and Weekly e-mailing of Job Announcements. Jessica Dyer, RI made the motion to approve the agenda with additions. Brundi Velez, WI seconded the motion, no further discussion. Motion carried.

IV. Approve Minutes

Eileen presented the draft minutes from the 2007 Business Meeting. She asked for any edits or additions needed. Emily Bonilla, ND made a motion to accept the minutes as presented. Chad Kacir, HI seconded the motion, no more discussion. Motion carried.

V. Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Report presented by Treasurer, Jorge Camacho:

Money Market Account- $15,325.21
Regular Checking Account $90,097.24
CD’s, one Wells Fargo Account for $57,155.18
Scholarship and Endowment $62,300.86
Total Combined is $224,878.49

Mike Castillo, TX made a motion to approve the Treasurer’s report as presented. Mary Sanchez seconded the motion, no more discussion, motion carried.

VI. Ongoing Business 

President Report– President Summary of accomplishments from the period of August 2008-July 2009

  • 2008 Conference Proceedings – Carmen Ortiz developed 2008 conference proceedings. The proceedings included: Conference Proceedings, Farmer of the Year Award (all videos) and Days in the Life (all videos). Three (3) CD’s were distributed to NRCS Chief, Chief Special Assistants and all State Conservationists.
  • I met face to face with NRCS Chief Dave White in Washington, D.C. Presented a new vision for collaboration with NRCS.
  • Angel Figueroa met with NRCS International Programs Director Melvin Westbrook. Discussed potential opportunities for short term foreign assignments. Negotiations still undergoing with Foreign Agriculture Service. Angel Figueroa is leading this effort.
  • Website Design – under the leadership of Carmen Ortiz, finalized a contract to redesign NOPHNRCSE website. The contact was established with Web Mojo, a website design company base in Thousand Oaks, California. A website demo will be presented by Carmen Ortiz in 2009 annual training conference.
  • I represented NOPHNRCSE in the USDA Diversity & Inclusion Forum. This forum is sponsored by the office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. The forum objective is to continue a dialogue and progress for collaborative strengthen diversity and EEO in USDA.
  • I represented NOPHNRCSE in monthly teleconferences of the USDA Recognized Employee Organizations (REO).
  • I participated in monthly teleconferences with NRCS employee professional organization Presidents and NRCS Civil Rights Division as an effort to promote collaboration and partnerships. This dialog resulted in the 2010 Joint Conference in Kansas City, Kansas.
  • 2010 Joint Conference- this conference is a joint effort among NOPHNRCSE, NOPBNRCSE, APIO and all SEPM’s (Civil Rights Division).
  • Energy Workshop – under the leadership of Irma Hernandez, NOPHNRCSE developed a partnership with the Energy Technology Development Center to present a workshop in Energy in Agriculture at the 2009 Annual Training Conference in Philadelphia.
  • I represented NOPHNRCSE at the 2009 NOPBNRCSE and AIANEA annual training conferences.
  • Lori Valadez completed a new NOPHNRCSE brochure. It was distributed to current and potential new members as well as HEPM’s.
  • Represented NOPHNRCSE in a National HEPM’s teleconference sponsored by the National Hispanic Emphasis Program Manager, Jaqueline Padron. I shared information about the mission of NOPHNRCSE and how HEPM’s and Regional Reps can work together.
  • Climate survey – Roney Gutierrez completed a climate survey to investigate membership climate about NOPHNRCSE. Over 50% of membership participated in this survey.
  • 2009 Membership Drive – Ted Lucero and Tim Garrahan completed a membership drive as an effort to increase membership by 25%. It’s also an opportunity to update membership dues.
  • 2009 Career Enhancement Grants – Edwin Martinez, DC in St Johns’, Michigan was this year recipient of the 2009 Career Enhancement Grant.
  • Mario Morales, resigned to his position NOPHNRCSE Vice President,. Gilbert Guerrero was appointed as acting Vice President until next elections.
  • NOPHNRCSE History project is undergoing under the leadership of Humberto Hernandez and the Historical Perspectives Committee. He will provide an overview of the project during 2009 annual conference awards luncheon.
  • How to Work Effectively with Hispanic Producers: Irma Hernandez worked with the council to submit a proposal for NEDC to develop a new training How to Work Effectively with Hispanic Producers. She presented the proposal to the NEDC Advisory Training Committee and it’s right now on the development as an official training by NEDC.
  • Completed NOPHNRCSE Hispanic Employment Survey. Over 80% of membership participated in this survey. Results will be presented in 2009 annual training conference.
  • Eileen Vale distributed NRCS vacancies to the membership with the help of regional representatives, members and HEPM’s.

Committee Reports

Nominations were conducted during the period of April 28 to May 31, 2009. Nomination

Form was incorporated into our organization’s web page. It was accessible to all members listed in the organization’s membership, as provided by the Membership Committee. Ten (10) members were nominated. Five accepted their nomination as follows:

The election process started on April 28. Ballots were posted in the Organization’s site to all members until May 31, 2008, accordingly to the election process. Furthermore, a runoff for treasurer was held. Deadline for the treasury position between Jorge Camacho and Rosabeth Garcia-Sais was July 18, 2009.

A brief summary of the results is as follows:

  • Number of ballots received for the regular election = 58
  • Number of ballots received for the runoff election = 40
  • Number of valid ballots received = 53

Luis Hernandez read the election results. The elected officials were:

Vice President: Kristin Graham Chavez

Treasurer: Rosabeth Garcia-Sais

Regional Representatives: South Central-Maria Hrebik, TX; Southeast-Carolyn King, AL; West-Roney Gutierrez, CA (incumbent)

Regional Reports 

Luis Hernandez asked for regional reports. Members present were asked to review then since they were mailed and available at the meeting.

Carmen Ortiz, CA made a motion to approve all reports as presented. Edwin Muniz seconded the motion, no more discussion, motion carried.

VII. New Business 

  1. Presentation of Students: Luis Hernandez asked for Gilbert Guerrero to present and introduce the students who were attending the conference to the membership. The students introduced: Marvin Lopez, TX, Aaron Smythe, Elisa Duran, NM, Jose Rodriquez, TX, Raul Hinojosa, TX, Terri Johnston, TX, Alejandra Martinez, NM, and Keliah Mclnaney, OK.
    Gilbert Guerrero further stated, the Committee has worked together for throughout the year promoting various scholarships available through NOPHNRCSE for the 2009 Conference. The biggest change in the committee has been the consolidation of the Endowment and the Scholarship committee.  The committees were doing much of the same so it was proposed and approved to join the two committees.
    The committee reviewed and evaluated 29 qualified candidates that applied for the scholarships available. From 29 candidates, 7 were selected to receive Financial Scholarships and 3 were selected to receive the Travel Scholarships that will give them the opportunity to participate in the 2009 NOPHNRCSE Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  2. Presentation of and Action on 2011 Conference Proposals: 

    1. Oklahoma – Luis Hernandez introduced Ron Hilliard, State Conservationist of OK, and Gilbert Guerrero who presented their proposal for the 2011 Conference by using a PowerPoint Presentation.
    2. Texas – Luis Hernandez introduced Salvador Salinas, Deputy State Conservationist of Texas and Bertha Venegas R C & D Coordinator, Boerne, TX and Fernando Garza, District Conservationist, San Antonio, TX who presented their proposal for the 2011 Conference by using a power point presentation. Once all presentations were completed, ballots were distributed among all members present to cast their votes. Results of the new site of the 2011 Conference will be announced at the banquet.
  3. NOPHNRCSE New Website Demo: Carmen Ortiz proceeded to inform that membership and NC the development of the new website is currently underway. The website will include a NOPHNRCSE store, electronic fallible forms for nominations, etc, and each committee will have its own webpage. Carmen stated that she is currently working with Web Mojo in Thousand Oaks, CA. The site will have an online directory; has plenty of space to upload pictures and videos.
  4. Lack of Participation on the Career Enhancement Grant: Astrid Martinez asked the membership, what can the NC do increase the participation on the career enhancement program. Astrid stated that there was a great lack of participation from the membership this year. The NC has increase the amount of the grant from $500 up to $1000. By increasing the amount of the scholarship grant the NC thought this might help increase participation. Edwin Martinez was the only participating recipient to receive the scholarship this year. Last year there were only two recipients, Heather Medina and Rick Luna. Emily Bonilla, ND stated maybe one problem is timing the announcement was sent out. In the future the NC will go to greater efforts to promote the Career Enhancement Grant/Scholarship Program.

  5. NOPHNRCSE’s Future (Membership view of NOPHNRCSE in the next five years):  Humberto Hernandez, retired Regional Conservationist, stated when NOPHNRCSE was first formed back in 1992, there were an estimated 218 members. Today we are down to 128 members. He further stated that we really need to do some soul searching and recruit new members to NOPHNRCSE. Regional representatives need to reach out to the members in their region to recruit new members to NOPHNRCSE. It is everyone’s responsibility to recruit new members and outreach to NRCS employees on what NOPHNRCSE can do for them.
  6. Proposal for Realignment of Regions: This issue will be tabled for next year, due to no action called on this item. Bertha Venegas, TX made a motion to table this item until next year due to no action called.  Mike Castillo seconded the motion, no more discussion, motion carried.

VII. Other

  1. IRS Audit: It has come to the attention that an audit review may have to be made. Therefore, an Audit Committee must be established and separate from the means and ways. The Audit Committee will ensure that NOPHNRCSE will conduct any audits necessary to ensure that all laws are followed. This may be done by hiring a Certified CPA. Ismael Reyes, FL made a motion an Audit Committee be established to ensure NOPHNRCSE’s financial accreditation.  Rebecca de la Torres seconded the motion, motion carried, and no more discussion.
  2. Job Announcements:  The NC asked the membership if they would like to continue to see weekly job announcements. The NC asked if they liked the process we are currently using to distribute these job announcements. The majority voted yes they would like to continue to see weekly job announcements. The membership stated the process the NC’s secretary is currently using works great.
  3. Announcements: Luis Hernandez stated Carlos Suarez said he was sorry he couldn’t make it to the conference and he wanted to say hello. Heather Medina stated please turn in all auction items at the registration desk.

Adjournment: Gilbert Guerrero, OK, made a motion to adjourn, Russell Castro, TX seconded the motion. Meeting was adjourned at 8:27 PM EST.