MISSISSIPPI AUTHORITY FOR EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION
Regular Telephonic Meeting of the Board of Directors
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
MAET Administration Building
3825 Ridgewood Rd.
Directors present: David Allen, Chair and Peggy Holmes, Vice-Chair
Directors present telephonically: Andrea Mayfield and Bob Sawyer
Directors not present: Pete Smith
Staff present: Ronnie Agnew, Teresa Collier, Scott Colwell, Tara Courtney, Joel Gatlin, John Gibson, Paul Moore, Claudia Singletary, Maggie Stevenson and Henry Williams
Others present: Keith Evans and Tristan Rowe (Rea Shaw Giffin & Stuart) and Onetta Whitley
OPENING OF MEETING
Chairman Allen opened the meeting, and it was established that there was a quorum present to do business
Chairman Allen led the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A motion was made by Director Sawyer and seconded by Vice Chair Holmes that the Board approve the agenda, and upon a unanimous vote, the motion carried.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion was made by Vice Chair Holmes and seconded by Director Sawyer that the Board approve the minutes of the January 17, 2017 meeting of the Board of Directors, and upon a unanimous vote, the motion carried.
Keith Evans and Tristan Rowe of Rea Shaw Giffin & Stuart presented the fiscal year 2016. The auditors stated that the audit is clean.
Paul Moore presented the financial reports.
Paul Moore stated that MPB could not have further cuts to its budget from the governor/legislature unless all state agencies have first been cut to the 5% mark.
Paul Moore added that “other income” will include an EdNet disbursement of $50,000 and that MPB staff have applied for a CPB grant to be awarded to some who have purchased the PMM master control system.
Director Sawyer inquired about funds to be turned over from the Foundation for Public Broadcasting, MPB’s former fundraising arm, to the new MPB Foundation. Joel Gatlin responded that he has spoken with Brunini Law about the availability of funds.
Director Sawyer inquired about the funds deposited by FPB with Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. Joel Gatlin answered that the Community Foundation voted to recognize and honor the agreement between the Foundation and the MPB Foundation.
Joel Gatlin suggested that an investment committee made up of members from the MPB Board and MPB Foundation Board might need to be formed to manage the investment funds.
Ronnie Agnew stated that MPB needs transfer of operational funds as soon as possible.
Joel Gatlin suggested that the matter of transfer of cash assets from the Foundation and decision on the investment funds be separated. It was the decision of the board that David Allen will send a letter to Ann Becker, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation, asking that these assets be separated and that cash assets from the Foundation be transferred to the new foundation within five business days from date of letter.
Ronnie Agnew reported that conference week is coming up for the Mississippi Legislature and that our bill will be decided upon during that time. Ronnie Agnew explained that there was an amendment presented by Senator David Blount that kept MPB’s funding bill reflecting a $1.5M cut from going to the House after it had been approved by the Senate.
MPB FOUNDATION UPDATE
Ronnie Agnew reported that TV Pledge amount was down from last year, but not by a large amount.
Ronnie Agnew stated that radio drive will be held Friday, March 24 and will be a one-day drive with goal of raising $125,000 during that day.
Paul Moore noted that MPB Foundation is operating “in the black” and that there is an upcoming direct mail campaign.
Ronnie Agnew announced that a Director of Development has been hired to lead MPB Foundation, but name has not been released until new hire has notified current employer. Tentative start date for new hire is April 3.
Ronnie Agnew reported that MPB Foundation has contracted with First Community Development of Atlanta, a firm with strong record in fund-raising around the mission of a business or agency. A core group will be formed from members of MPB and MPB Foundation boards which will meet with Steve Dorough of First Community Development to begin the process.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Ronnie Agnew stated that the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) bill, which would have increased MPB’s rent of the building significantly, died in committee.
Ronnie Agnew added that the State Personnel Board bill was killed. The passage of that bill would have allowed MPB to reorganize staff members in more effective ways for a broadcasting agency.
Ronnie Agnew recognized staff to report on departments within MPB.
Scott Colwell stated that the new master control system, PMM, is functional and that hiccups within the system are being addressed. Scott Colwell added that over the years, this system will be a money-saving step as there will not be equipment to maintain or replace.
Scott Colwell noted that most problems with cable companies not airing the PBS Kids 24-hour channel have been resolved.
Scott Colwell announced that as result of the spectrum auction, three of our stations will be reassigned.
John Gibson reported on the airing of Poetry Out Loud and the statewide spelling bee. John Gibson added that staff will be recording material for the Paul Thorn documentary.
Tara Courtney stated that MPB’s Day at the Capitol was successful, with opportunities for staff to speak individually with many legislators.
Maggie Stevenson announced that this week MPB will host 200 daycare and homeschooled children for the celebration of the PBS Kids 24-hour channel.
Teresa Collier noted that Associated Press awards banquet will be occurring over the weekend and that MPB News staff will be in attendance.
Teresa Collier reported that there has been good feedback from this year’s @Issue.
As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned.