Laurelbrook Holds Constituency Meeting
Laurelbrook Sanitarium and School, Inc. held its yearly 2010 constituency meeting beginning at 10:08 a.m. in the McKee Educational Center building a short distance away from the church building on Laurelbrook’s campus. The meeting began with a devotional by Brian Traxler, the educational director of the E.A. Sutherland Educational Association, the state-chartered accreditation body accrediting Laurelbrook School.
Following are notes on the devotional:
1. Ellen White, Testimonies, Vol. 3, pp. 157-158 says a person can do too much mental effort or too much physical labor.
2. She also says that thinking for ourselves fights disease.
3. In Education, p. 17, she says that the work of true education is to train students to be thinkers, not reflectors of others’ thoughts.
4. Philippines 2:3-4 “3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
5. God wants us to think individually and a result of our choices to help others.
6. In the book Justice, Michael Sandel says that we have obligations to society and that we put the common good of all first and then put our choices last. We should decide as a whole what to do and then do it, regardless of individual choices.
7. Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
8. It is dangerous if we think we have obligations to society but that we don’t have to consent to them.
9. In Mr. Sandel’s case, he is talking about men making the choices for you, not God.
10. We need to let God make the choices for us – not society, not the entertainment industry, not circumstances we are faced with.
11. If as staff members you study out why things are done in various ways, this would unite the staff and help you and your fellow staff members to make a more effective contribution.
12. If you just go along with what is being done, you will eventually get into trouble because you don’t understand what is being done.
The roll call of members came next. Wilbur Atwood, the board chairman, presented the minutes of the previous constituency meeting, which sparked considerable discussion about various board meetings and what transpired at each of those meetings. Sherry Collins read the minutes of a board meeting that had taken place without the constituency receiving the minutes. Wilbur Atwood then explained how the board operated at times this past year. Ron Oxentenko explained how the present retirement policy worked and the uncertainties of the present policy. The meeting approved the correct minutes.
Eva Lynne Disbro, vice-president of human resources for McKee Foods, presented a PowerPoint presentation about what constituency and board members’ responsibilities really involve. It also involved selecting a board.
Following are notes on this presentation:
1. A board of directors is required for any corporation. This group manages corporate affairs and have certain legally required duties to the people involved in the corporation.
2. Good governance involves developing a mission and a vision for the organization, setting goals and policies and procedures, getting the needed resources to fulfill the mission and vision, keeping tabs on what the organization is doing, and making sure that the provided resources are used correctly and that the people in the corporation know how the organization is being run.
3. A non-profit board has the responsibility to establish a mission and a vision (or refining these), to provide financial oversight, to make sure the organization has the needed resources, to select (and evaluate) the chief executive, to watch that the organization is ethical and honest in all its dealings, and to provide good publicity for the organization.
4. There are several ways to organize a board – people with skill and knowledge to assist those working with the actual organization, members represent all potential groups and cultures, members representing all major groups in the organization, or members who have a passion for the mission and vision of the organization.
5. In the future, Laurelbrook should decide on which way the board should be organized, the qualification of board members, develop a board recruitment grid, and ask for commitment to serve on the board.
6. A board recruitment grid involves a list of what qualifications various board members should possess for that organization.
7. A normal non-profit expects board members to know something about the organization and its environment, to attend meetings regularly, to prepare adequately for meetings, to take part in the governance process, to commit to team work, to speak with one voice, to improve the organization as possible, and to support the chief executive and the other executives running the organization.
8. Generally, board members are protected by law if the board is run in an ethical and above-board way.
Ron Oxentenko, Laurelbrook’s president, explained that members of the constituency make the decision that guide the organization. People can be put in the constituency if they will help the program or if they have been recommended by the executive committee after one year as staff members.
It was mentioned that a nominating committee to vet board or constituency selections and reasons for those selections would be a good idea. It was voted to have a committee separate from the administration to develop a policy for selecting board and constituency members and to form a list of prospective names. Six names were voted for such a committee.
A group of board members was then voted back on to the board, and Wilbur Atwood was re-elected as board chairman. It was voted to add Wanda Sarr to the board. She will be the academy principal and a Laurelbrook vice-president this next year.
Marvin Frey, the Laurelbrook Nursing Home administrator, reported that the nursing home averaged 46 residents for the past year. For the past few months, the resident census has been 49 with 50 beds available. The nursing home has operated under budget and staff members have been replacing off-campus employees. The adult daycare building project and a new fire alarm system has been stalled due to approval of the state fire marshal. The petition for the Rhea County Life Care has been denied permits to add beds and construct a new building. There are about 10 off-campus employees still working because it is hard to get nurses. Ron Oxentenko mentioned that Laurelbrook has been supporting the training of nurses – one just graduated with two more people now studying for the nursing degree.
Ron Oxentenko talked about the academy program. The 2010 year closed with 18 students and four graduates. This year so far we have accepted 22 students for the 2011 year. Our target market is young, conservative families. The main reason for fewer boys may have been too much time spent in kitchens. Reopening the family and the building program may be some of the main attractions for students. The rotation system is also important.
Wanda Sarr, the person who will be in charge of the academy student program, mentioned that people are worried about changes in the program. She mentioned that she will not be doing total change. She wants to clarify the aims and goals of the program and evaluate whether what we are doing against those aims and goals is working. Then again we need to stop doing what is not in harmony with the aims and goals. Finally, we need to see if there are things we should be doing that would further the aims and goals of the program.
Daniel is a story that will help us with this program. Daniel 6:1-3 “1 ¶ It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel [was] first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit [was] in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Daniel is a foreign captive but chosen to head up the government because Daniel stands out above and beyond everyone in the kingdom.
Daniel 5:11 “There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom [is] the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, [I say], thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, [and] soothsayers;” This is the last Babylonian king – he is trying to find an answer. Who is recommended? Daniel. Our students should stand out as respected, responsible, and wise people.
Daniel 1:12, 18-20 “12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink “18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom [and] understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians [and] astrologers that [were] in all his realm.” When these Hebrews were examined, they were found to have excelled in all areas.
Ellen White, Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 230 says a student should stay in close connection with God. This spiritual aspect should lead him/her to excel in the subjects studied. This student does not let amusements or other activities to divert him/her from his/her goals. This student will get better and better as time goes on.
We want to have a harmonious program with every aspect continually upgrading so our students stand out when they go out to work in the world. We are helping to educate God’s people who will be hastening Jesus’ Coming. Our students need to learn the knowledge and wisdom but also the practical application of that wisdom and knowledge. God will help us to do what we cannot do on our own so our students will be like the twelve Disciples of Christ who turned the world upside down.
David Brummell, who is in charge of the farm program, mentioned that the farm program has been restarted.
The plastic is not on the greenhouses because the fields dried up sufficiently to be able to do the necessary sowing. We have almost four acres of vegetables, one acre of peanuts, 2000 strawberries. We did get a machine making large amounts of compost to help solve the problem of excessive weeds. We need to watch out for God’s providences. At a government auction, we saw a planter we liked. When calling the company, we found the planter was worth much, much than the $2000 we paid for it. Eventually this summer, we plan to get the plastic on the greenhouses. We are not spraying like many farmers, but we are building the soil up so eventually we can be certified as organic.
Paul Frechette, the institution’s treasurer, presented the financial report. After changing certain figures (notably dropping the staff free service), the actual reports indicate that the nursing home is making money. The state rate coming soon for the nursing home should be much better than the rates we have been given. After making the land sale, Laurelbrook paid off two notes. Our biggest expense right now is operating the academy program without a lot of dorm students. We just got a large donation for our attorneys’ legal fees. We need another source of income for the institution to survive. A lady is coming to replace Paul. The financial report was accepted.
Ron Oxentenko mentioned that we have an institution that has a farm, a nursing home, and an academy program. It would be very easy for the nursing home program to have problems. We can save much money if we can have our own employees do things. If we had 40 students, our picture would change drastically. The farm will not generate enough income this year to make a difference. We have encouraged the nursing home to take all types of patients, some of whom are hard to deal with. Laurelbrook depends on the nursing home. Please keep this in your prayers. We have to fix things so we have a balanced budget. David Brummell has the goal of raising food for people, not food for animals. Collegedale’s cafeteria has agreed to work with us to take food we raise if that food is treated like other companies treat their food.
All board members need to be back at 2:45 p.m.
Wilbur Atwood mentioned his appreciation for Ron Oxentenko’s work and closed with prayer.