Minutes 2023-11

Date/Time: Friday, November 17, 2023, 12:00pm
Location: Dunn Conference Suite, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater MA & ZOOM


APA Statewide

  • Seth Bean, President
  • Susan McNeil, Vice President
  • Mark Powers, Secretary
  • Maria Brunelle, Treasurer (Non-Voting)
  • Julie Dunlap LePoer, Web Manager (Non-voting)
  • Catherine Santiago, MTA Field Representative (Non-voting)

APA Chapter Presidents

  • Seth Bean, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • Jane Decatur, Framingham State University
  • Brian Cahillane, Westfield State University
  • Peter Fenuccio, Worcester State University
  • Susan McNeil, Massachusetts College of Art & Design
  • Rebecca Shersnow, Fitchburg State President
  • Rosa Taormina, Salem State University
  • Edward Vacha, Massachusetts Maritime Academy


  • Auditors: Peter Brown & Barrett Bernier of Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP
  • Eric Feibel, Bridgewater State University Chapter VP


APA Statewide

  • Aaron Childs, Membership Coordinator (Non-voting)
  • Roberta James, MTA Field Representative (Non-voting)

APA Chapter Presidents

  • Jenna Shales, Bridgewater State University

Call to Order

  • Time: No Quorum/No Meeting
  • Time: 10:12am 11/17/2023

Approval of Minutes

  • Per agreement of the Executive Board, the Minutes of the October 20, 2023 Executive Board Meeting were approved electronically on November 8, 2023.

Public Comments

  • None.

President’s Report – Seth Bean

  1. Close to seeing our 2023-2024 contract funded. Still need assistance with emails/phone calls to state legislators and governor’s office to pass and sign the legislature into law.
  2. Negotiations for the next contract will begin shortly
    • Survey will be sent out shortly – please participate – we rely on these for input into bargaining
    • Financial Parameter increases are a huge priority – MTA is working to gain a full Higher Ed support system to achieve better parameters
  3. Coalition of State Employee Unions to increase and push for reasonable Salary Parameters that are favorable to cost of living will begin meeting shortly to ensure a loud voice presented to the Governor.

Treasurer’s Report – Maria Brunelle

  1. Auditor’s Report
    • Fiscal Year 2023 Finances in two parts.
      • Logistics of Audit (finances (dues collection) trending down – possible membership decline, more expenses (inflation is also a factor), along with timing delays with MTA. This is not unusual in other financial audits. Auditors asked if there was any thought of increasing dues.
      • Being on a Cash Basis, there will always be time delays regarding expense receipted and disbursements.
      • Refer to Communications document.
      • Financials – Available in Draft form, pending questions by auditors) Auditors commented that Maria is great to work with for the audit
        • Clean opinion on financials (no audit findings)
        • Cash method basis – correct for this sized organization
        • Only point raised in statement is the usual caution regarding segregation of duties
          • Control Suggestions: Wire-transfers Policy
          • Credit Cards – APA has two. It is suggested that someone review the monthly credit card statements
          • Extension of IRS 990EZ has been filed. As long as the Cash & Net Assets is below $500, 000.00, the APA may file the 990EZ. Else the 990 must be filed (a much more detailed tax file document)
      • Auditors are requested to make a general statement to the membership about the financial status of the Union at the General Membership meeting.
  2. Payroll due on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 by 12:00pm.
  3. Approval of October 2023 Treasurer’s Report
    • Amendments: None
    • Motion to approve membership report as presented/amended made:
      • by: S. Bean
      • 2nd by: S. McNeil
      • Vote: Unanimous
      • Action: Motion Carries
  4. CD has matured. The suggestion is to bring in a Financial Advisor to assist with what to do with the CD as well as other cash (Money Market) that may be invested in CDs. Possibly look into TIAA/CREF.
  5. Paper statements sent to Westfield will end and only electronic statements will be sent in the future. Changing banks is difficult as is changing the address of the Association (which ideally should be the campus of the Statewide President.
  6. The current mileage reimbursement rate is $0.625 per mile.

Membership and Data – Aaron Childs

  1. 1412 Overall Membership since October 2023. A(n) Increase/Decrease of 4.
  2. 227 Non-Dues Paying Member. A(n) Increase/Decrease of 8 since October 2023.

Website – Julie Dunlap LePoer

  1. Met with Gerol this past Monday and he gave me the info needed to login to the webmanager@maapa.org account on Google, the Pantheon hosting platform and the WordPress site. I changed the password for the web manager account on all the above platforms, as is best practice when there’s a change in personnel. I changed the Web Manager information from Gerol’s to mine.
  2. On Pantheon, which is the platform that hosts the website, the Site Owner was Gerol’s personal email, and webmanager@maapa.org was part of the Site Team. Gerol transferred Site Owner from Gerol’s personal Gmail to webmanager@maapa.org, so that account has been promoted from Site Team member to Site Owner. We initially thought I would need to enter the APA credit card info again, as part of the transition asked for credit card info, but Pantheon was smart enough to detect the existing card info that Gerol had entered and I was able to move the card over to the new Site Owner account.
  3. I added president@maapa.org as a Site Team member. I can add additional accounts if any other board members should have access, but I just wanted to add at least one so we have a second login for redundancy.
  4. Updated two WordPress plugins: Google Site Kit and Native PHP Sessions for WordPress. Updated two WordPress themes: so I updated the Twenty Twenty-Two and Twenty Twenty-Three themes.
  5. I created a Website Info Google Doc with the info from Gerol and I have started documenting processes for managing the website. I added instructions on how to update the plugins and themes, and will continue to add documentation as I learn more about the site. At Fitchburg State, we maintain documentation for all our systems, and I find it useful to have documentation as a reference, especially for tasks that aren’t done frequently. I shared the document with president@maapa.org and can share it with other board members if anyone else should have access. Again, this is just to add some redundancy.
  6. I started making website content updates:
    • The last minutes that Gerol added to the site were March 2023 so I added the approved minutes for April 2023 and June 2023.
    • I asked Mark for the minutes after June 2023 and he told me we need to redact the Institutional Information data and any posts containing this data should be removed ASAP, so I went back and did a check to see if any of the old minutes posts contain this data and found four posts with Institutional Information data:
      https://www.maapa.org/minutes/2022/minutes-2019-05/ (This one has a PDF with the institutional issues redacted, but the data was on the web page itself, so I removed it.)
    • I removed the links to the PDFs containing the sensitive data and deleted the PDFs from the WordPress file system. I checked the Internet Archive Wayback Machine https://web.archive.org and found old snapshots for two of the pages:
      I emailed Internet Archive and asked them to delete the snapshots from the Wayback Machine because they contain sensitive data.
    • I posted the September and November President’s letters
    • Signed up for a free website monitoring tool (uptrends.com). If Uptrends detects that the site is down. It will email webmanager@maapa.org. Call or text my cell if there is an emergency (site is down, hacked, etc.).
  7. Action items from November meeting:
    • Time to post a question of the month.
      • What is being done in preparation for our next contract negotiation?
    • Add MTA News tab to the navigation.

Health and Welfare Fund Report – Susan McNeil

  1. The trustees met this Thursday Nov 16 for first time since June 2023
  2. Tim Gray the money funds manager reported.
    • 2022 was a hard year for stocks and bonds. They were down double digits, but they have rebounded, and returns are back up by 6% year to date and in line with the historical average. Suggests if we have any cash to think about investing in stocks and bonds funds (plain vanilla bond funds) he says returns over the next 3 years are expected to be in high single digits 6-9%.
    • Cobra enrollment is down
    • MTA enrollment is up 200 members. While we were down in the spring we have and continue to climb steadily
  3. Commonwealth is up to date on their payments to the fund last one was in June and the treasurer expects to receive the next on time.
  4. Met Life Rep Tim Head Dental (???)
    • The loss ratio is good. He reports continued efforts to recruit new dentists I asked for specifics on why some dentists are leaving Met Life and for him to provide concrete information on what they are doing to recruit those dentists back.
  5. Mike Murray who was the representative from the DHE to the HW board of trustees has resigned from the DHE and will no longer chair the Health and Welfare Board of Trustees Committee. He left as of the end of June 2023.
  6. We have been waiting for the Commissioner to appoint a new representative, but we have had no update of who will take his place. There was no rep present on Thursday.
  7. The current Treasurer Nancy George from the union side was going to be stepping down after many years but has graciously agreed to stay on during this upheaval to help us stay on track.
  8. At the meeting in April the union trustees on this committee got together and with the help of MTA and a legal advisor put forward a motion to share our current information with MPE group to see if it was viable to merge with them. The motion failed, and we had to schedule a second meeting to vote on extending with Met Life for yet another year.
    • At this meeting we voted yes to extend with Met Life one more year. Met life was proposing a 7% increase this year but the MTA negotiated a cap of 5% last year for any increase they might have, and we were able to negotiate that down even further to 3.5% along with another cap on any possible increase next year.
    • I asked a lot of questions about how this process is done and why we did not have any other bids to consider. Mike explained they had done bids in the past and probably will send out for bids again on the next go around. We will do this; I will make sure of it.
  9. The union trustees have been working together outside the board with some MTA reps and legal, Katie Durso is heading this up and MTA has hired an outside lawyer to help us with trying to make this merge.

Committee Reports

  1. Budget Committee – Rosa Taormina & Seth Bean
  2. Employee Relations Working Group –
  3. Professional Development – Edward Vacha
  4. Special Committees:
    • Committee on Legislative Action – Susan McNeil, Seth Bean, & Sherry Horeanopoulos
    • Committee on Health & Safety – Renee Bernier & Susan McNeil
    • Negotiations – Contract Committee
    • Employee Relations Committee (ERC) – Brian Cahillane, Jane Decatur, & Rosa Taormina

Old/New Business

  1. FAQ of the Month for the Website for December – Nothing Suggested
  2. Add new tab to maapa.org for Issues
  3. Call to Action regarding the ERC to specifically address the HR issues at Salem State University. Seth will reach out to Vincent Pedone & Elizabeth Sullivan to set up an ERC meeting.

Institutional Issues

Information has been redacted.


  • None


  1. Motion to Adjourn made at Not Applicable
    • by:
    • 2nd by:
    • Vote:
    • Action:
  2. Motion to Adjourn made at 11:30am 11/19/2023
    • by: R. Taormina
    • 2nd by: S. McNeil
    • Vote: Unanimous
    • Action: Motion Carries

Next APA Meetings

APA Executive Board10:00amFriday, December 15, 2023HybridWorcester/Zoom
APA Executive Board10:00amFriday, January 19, 2024HybridWorcester/Zoom
APA Executive Board10:00amFriday, February 16, 2024HybridWorcester/Zoom
APA Executive Board10:00amFriday, March 15, 2024HybridWorcester/Zoom
APA Executive Board10:00amFriday, April 19, 2024HybridWorcester/Zoom
APA Executive Board10:00amFriday, June 21, 2024In-PersonTBD
APA Meeting Schedule 2023-2024