Chairman Letter: 2020 Annual Meeting/Convention Update

October 15, 2020

Dear Directors and Legislative Directors:

Again, I hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy.

In my letter of October 2, I reported and explained the decision to cancel our scheduled 2020 convention at the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico. The decision, first and foremost, was based on protecting the health and safety of potential attendees and their families.

I also reported that we are, nonetheless, required to have an annual meeting. Since a scaled-back agenda would be appropriate under the circumstances, we must, at the very least, formulate our 2021 legislative agenda.  As previously stated, it is important that we move forward and operate on the assumption that normalcy will return, and that we will be hosting our 44th Annual Legislative Breakfast as scheduled on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 in Albany. To that end we must finalize the legislative agenda and get it ready for printing as we do every year.

I proposed the option of participating in a one-day in-person and virtual meeting at the Huntington Hilton (Long Island) on Tuesday. November 10, 2020. The in-person meeting option was predicated on a majority of members who would want to attend, with a definitive response on the proposal no later than Tuesday October 13, 2020.

Stressing once again that the primary concern is for your safety and health, I must now inform you that I did not receive a majority of members who were willing to participate in the one-day in-person meeting. The obvious concerns of those who responded in the negative were all health and safety related. In addition, there were more growing concerns that the threat of COVID -19 doesn’t appear to be alleviating, and in fact it could spike as we head into the colder months.

The membership has spoken, and we will proceed with a virtual-meeting-only option on Tuesday, November 10, beginning at 9am. NYSPEC Treasurer Joe Mannion will be setting up the meeting, and you will be provided with the pertinent access information prior to it.  Mark your calendars!

In the interim, please review our existing (2020) Legislative Agenda, which is posted on our website as a separate item on the Menu Bar. In preparation for discussion with respect to finalizing the 2021 agenda, please do this now, or as soon as practicable, to determine whether you wish to propose any changes, additions, deletions, etc.; if you do want to propose changes/additions to the existing language, please prepare same in written form and submit to me via email in advance, as review by General Counsel may be required. If that’s not possible, please have your proposal(s) ready to be discussed and voted on during the meeting. This will minimize the discussion and time it takes to finalize our 2021 agenda. Please keep in mind that from the completion of our annual meeting, we have just a short period of time to get our 2021 Annual Legislative Breakfast booklet printed by February 2, 2021. As you know, changes not agreed to at the meeting necessitate time consuming back-and-forth communication to facilitate final language all are comfortable with. I believe we will be able to get through this process rather quickly if everyone is prepared in advance.

It is important to note that we must operate the meeting under the constraint of a limited number of participants. Therefore, I am requesting that each member unit restrict the log-on to one or two participant locations. Obviously, you may have numerous participants at each log-on location so long as they are viewing the proceedings on one device at that location. This will ensure that all those who wish to participate have the ability to do so, with the goal of conducting our business as expeditiously as practicable.

At NYSPEC meetings, the Director of each member unit is permitted to vote on motions/resolutions pursuant to our bylaws. For the purposes of this virtual meeting, if a Director will not be available to vote, a designee from his/her unit may be named, but, pursuant to our bylaws, this designation must be in writing on the member unit's letterhead, and submitted to the Recording Secretary prior to the meeting. Please email proxy designations before 5pm Monday, November 9, to NYSPEC Recording Secretary Rich Wells [ ].

I look forward to our meeting, and moving our 2021 legislative agenda forward. My hope once again is that we have a productive (and healthy) legislative session in 2021, and that we return our convention to the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico next year!

In Unity,

Peter D. Meringolo

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