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MINUTES

LEWIS AND CLARK BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION
Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana
March 31, 1998

Commission members in attendance were Matthew Cohn, Brian Cockhill, Jeanne Eder, Leif Johnson, Darrell Kipp, Teresa Korpela, Edythe McCleary, Hal Stearns, Betty Stone, Curley Youpee, and Doug Monger representing FWP. Guests included Dave Walter, Marcella Sherfy, Margaret Gorski, and Rita Cortright.

Brian Cockhill called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and reviewed the changes made to the agenda since it was mailed. He explained that in the interim the Selection Committee made conference calls relative to selection of an executive director, and it was determined that most of the agenda items will be tabled to allow adequate time for interviews. Mr. Cockhill said that the two agenda items that will be addressed today are the election of officers and a preliminary discussion on establishing affiliate status with various groups. He suggested holding off introductions until the first interviewee was presented to the Commission. Mr. Cockhill then called for nominations for chair and vice-chair of the group. Mr. Cohn nominated Betty Stone as chair and Hal Stearns as vice-chair. Terry Korpela seconded the nominations. Mr. Stearns raised a point and suggested that introductions would be helpful as they have met only once previous to today's meeting. Introductions were performed. Mr. Cockhill then called for additional nominations. Hearing none, Leif Johnson made a motion to close the nominations. Terry Korpela seconded. Mr. Cockhill called for discussion. Hearing none, Mr. Cockhill called for a vote to close nominations, which was unanimous in favor. He declared the nominations closed. Mr. Cockhill said the motion was before the group to name Betty Stone chairperson and Hal Stearns as vice-chairperson of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission. He called for discussion. Mr. Yopuee inquired regarding the duration of the terms. Mr. Cockhill responded that without the adoption of bylaws there is currently no duration. He suggested that with the election of a chairperson, one of the first duties would be to appoint a committee to begin writing the operations plan and bylaws. He cited the Heritage Commission's recent work on a governance package as an example. He asked for any further discussion. Hearing none, he called for a vote in favor of the nomination. The motion carried. Mr. Cockhill called on Ms. Stone to take the chair. Ms. Stone asked Mr. Cockhill to conduct the interview process. She asked for volunteers to serve on a Bylaws Committee. Mr. Cockhill and Mr. Youpee volunteered to serve on the committee with the new executive director. Ms. Stone said that one of the first directives to the new director will be to research examples of bylaws of other organizations and meet with the Bylaw Committee to prepare draft bylaws to be presented at the next meeting.

Ms. Stone called for other business. Edythe McCleary distributed copies of the newly produced Custer Country Tour Guide and called attention to page 63, which contains Lewis and Clark contacts.

Ms. Stone opened discussion on affiliate status with other bicentennial commissions and agencies. Mr. Cohn asked Mr. Cockhill to explain the nature of the requests he has had regarding affiliate status. Mr. Cockhill responded that he has had two requests, one from the Lewis and Clark County Bicentennial Commission and one from the group in Great Falls. He said both have intentions of holding community events, and are interested for purposes of scheduling future events and sharing resources, that they tie into the state-wide activities of this group. He said the Forest Service is publishing a Lewis and Clark Trail-related publication periodically and there is a need to share information between the groups. Edythe McCleary added that the BLM has their own Lewis and Clark Commission and they are anxious to be included as well. Mr. Cockhill suggested the executive director prepare a recommendation on dealing with affiliate status and present it to the Commission. He added that this same situation may arise with the tribal governments and there needs to be a way to develop a status with them as well. Mr. Cockhill said he assumed that this group would want to eventually produce a newsletter that draws together events and the Commission's work. He said a mailing list would be necessary and recipients would be encouraged to provide information that could be included in the newsletter. Ms. Stone said Travel Montana may have a useful list for a first mailing, with a request to notify us if they wished to continue receiving the newsletter. Jeanne Eder said the Dillon chapter has been inquiring about the Commission's issues and plans and would appreciate a newsletter fairly soon. Mr. Cohn said the Commission should ascertain what the groups are looking for from the Commission and plan the state's program accordingly. Ms. Eder said the Dillon group wants to know what kind of observance is planned and how they can have input into it, as they are most interested in scheduling tours from Three Forks to Lemhi Pass. She added the National Historic Trail Foundation will hold their annual meeting in Dillon in 2000. The group is also interested in locating funding for projects such as bus renovation, help with road reconstruction, and parking area construction. Ms. McCleary suggested establishing a membership as a means of helping defray the cost of producing and mailing a newsletter. Mr. Cohn said once the executive director is hired, this group may need to meet more often and address the development of the Commission's core philosophy. He suggested seeking input from these different organizations as to what they would like to see happen.

Mr. Cockhill introduced Margaret Gorski, Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Coordinator, USDA Forest Service in Missoula. Ms. Gorski addressed the Commission, stating she has just recently been assigned to this position in Missoula. She said her specific task is to get a sense of what is happening on the national level so that the Forest Service's resources can be best spent in cooperation with national plans. She is also charged with identifying and securing potential funding sources for the Lewis and Clark observance. Grants and partnership money for local communities through Rural Economic Development Program were noted as potential sources. In regard to coordination with other agencies, Ms. Gorksi said she has been networking with them and will attempt to minimize the required contacts. She left her card with the Commission and said she looks forward to working with them. Ms. Eder said she sees the funding issue as a potentially big problem. She said the National Park Service provided $75,000 for administrative operations for the National Bicentennial Committee and asked Ms. Gorski if it is reasonable to expect something similar in Montana. Ms. Gorksi said there is a challenge cost share program through the National Park Service through the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail that is available to outside groups. She attended a meeting three weeks ago in Washington, D.C., comprised of all the resource agencies involved. They have adopted a working guideline and will begin interacting with Congress to lay the groundwork to secure an appropriation. Ms. Gorski said resources are limited and she wants to work with the Commission to insure the dollars are put to the best use. Mr. Cockhill asked Ms. Gorski to consider how the Forest Service wants to interface with the Commission. She responded that on Thursday she will meet with representatives from the Forest Service and BLM to develop a wish list of project needs related to Lewis and Clark sites and said interfacing with local communities would be very useful. Ms. Stone asked her if she will be available to attend Commission meetings in the future and she said she will make herself as available as possible, and suggested the possible establishment of liaison position for federal agencies. Mr. Cohn informed the Commission of the existence of the Montana Tourism & Recreation Initiative, a group of 12 federal and state agencies that meet twice a year with the Governor to address issues related to travel and tourism. He said at their last meeting a couple of weeks ago the main topic of concern was Lewis and Clark. He said they recognize the need to work with the Commission and have invited the executive director and Commission members to attend their next meeting at end of August.

Ms. Stone reviewed the list of tasks that have been identified to date for the newly hired executive director. They are as follows: develop bylaws; develop mission statement; produce newsletter; identify federal and state agencies and organizations and their expectations of the Commission; identify and contact all Lewis and Clark groups instate; identify Tribal contacts; and review licensing and endorsement criteria.

Ms. Eder asked about staff in addition to the executive director. Mr. Cockhill responded that because the Commission is attached administratively to the Historical Society they are required to provide staff as they can. He said in the interim period over the next couple of years, the demand for staff will not be too great. Mr. Cockhill said at the next meeting plans could be discussed regarding staffing needs and an appropriation could be developed for the next appropriation cycle in 1999 with the Legislature. He said Travel Montana has provided funds for the first couple of years of operation for the Commission. Mr. Cockhill identified several potential sources of revenue such as commemorative license plates, a portion of Bed Tax revenues, or a car rental tax. He said he feels it is premature to consider staffing until a plan is developed that addresses funding and an overall plan. He said Dave Walter and Rita Cortright are available as staff to the Commission in the interim. Ms. Eder asked if we are ready to produce a newsletter and Mr. Cockhill said he did not see that as a problem.

Mr. Cockhill then reviewed the materials provided for conducting interviews for the executive director. He said four of thirty-four applicants were selected to be interviewed. He will ask Commission members to introduce themselves to each candidate and he will ask each candidate a predetermined list of six questions. Following the structured questions Commission members will be free to ask questions of the candidates as they deem appropriate. Score sheets were provided for each interview and he asked Commission members to take notes regarding their scores. The candidates will also have time to ask questions of the Commission. Prior to their oral interview each candidate will be asked to complete a written question which will then be provided to the Commission for review. Mr. Cockhill said if a satisfactory candidate is not found today, the pool of candidates remains open. Darrell Kipp asked if the selection will be made today and Mr. Cockhill said possibly, but not necessarily.

The four candidates, Clint Blackwood, Nancy Goodspeed, Jennifer Thompson and Tim McCauley, were then interviewed separately.

The interviews concluded at 3:00 p.m. followed by a closed session to discuss applicants' qualifications and make a determination on hiring. Clint Blackwood was the successful candidate.

Ms. Stone named Doug Monger, Brian Cockhill and Hal Stearns to the Negotiation Committee and they agreed to meet at 4:00 p.m. Thursday at the Society to negotiate with Mr. Blackwood. Letters will be sent to the unsuccessful applicants following Mr. Blackwood's acceptance. Mr. Cockhill said Tom Cook will prepare a press release on the hiring. Ms. Stone agreed to call Mr. Blackwood regarding his selection and the Thursday meeting.

Discussion on the next meeting took place. It was agreed to meet on May 12, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., at the Interpretive Center in Great Falls. Terry Korpela made arrangements for the meeting room and lunch. Mr. Blackwood will be asked to secure lodging.

Ms. Stone called for a motion to adjourn. The motion was made, seconded and carried. The meeting adjourned at 4:05 p.m.

 

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For more information please contact:
Montana Historical Society
P.O. Box 201201
225 North Roberts
Helena, MT 59620-1201
(406) 444-2694
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