President’s Message May 2015

Quorum Anybody?
Robert’s Rules of Order, the parliamentary bible, provides that a “quorum is the minimum number of voting members who must be present” so that business may be conducted. It also states that “In all ordinary societies the by-laws should provide for a quorum as large as can be depended upon for being present at all meetings when the weather is not exceptionally bad.” (Don’t hold a meeting in February!)

According to my favorite research resource, Wikipedia, in Ancient Greece a quorum of 6,000 was required for ostracism and for grants of citizenship. Under Jewish tradition, a quorum of 10 men is necessary for prayer services to be conducted. The United States Constitution provides that a quorum for the House of Representatives and the Senate is a majority. Sound complicated?

What does our Chamber require for a quorum? Good weather and 6,000 people; a majority; or just 10 people? Our by-laws state that 25% of members in good standing constitute a quorum. Big deal, who cares? Well, it’s important because on May 20th we’re having our monthly meeting and conducting elections. We’re also going to vote on a change in the by-laws for election of officers. Gotta have a quorum!

Since our Chamber has grown by leaps and bounds to 164 members (as of this writing), our quorum requirement is 41 people. Make sure you diary the date—”put it in the books” as Mets announcer Howie Rose might say—May 20th at Somerset Gardens. We’re going to have a great meeting, an election for Board members and a sumptuous breakfast spread (not just muffins…..) hosted by Pam Winter and her staff at Somerset.

We are chock-full of events coming up; networking at Atria Senior Living on June 4th; the Chamber BrainTrust Focus Group on May 12th; Memorial Day Parade on May 25th; our BBQ meeting on June 17th at Haypath Park; Long Island Ducks Baseball & Picnic on July 1st (all-you-can-eat outing!), Serenity Garden Concert on July 16th and of course our Fair on October 4th (sign up to be a Sponsor or a Vendor!).

These are great events and provide terrific opportunities to connect and do business with one other.

As we grow as a Chamber, we need to be mindful of the future and the larger community. What’s the future of Plainview-Old Bethpage? Of Long Island? On May 12th the Town of Oyster Bay will be voting on Beechwood’s plan to develop the largely vacant property on Old Country Road. How will this impact the community and our businesses? Newsday has reported that the cost of living on Long Island is rising and driving business and people out of the region. For example, home prices on Long Island are 70% higher than across the country; and real estate taxes are 4X the national average; groceries, utilities and health care costs are anywhere from 19% to 40% more than the national average. Newsday also reports that, “…Long Islanders at almost every income level have practically nothing left for savings, college or retirement funds after paying housing and living expenses that were the norm in their income brackets.” That is a very sobering thought.

How do we strengthen the appeal of our Chamber members to the POB community and outlying areas? How can we be engines of growth and progress? How do we keep and attract the next generation of teachers, entrepreneurs, professionals and businesses of all type to Long Island? These are some of the challenges confronting all of us. As a Chamber we should be asking these questions and exploring answers to them. Long Island is at a crossroads and we need to be leaders and activists in charting the future.

Be a quorum buster and come on down to the May 20th meeting. We don’t need 6,000 people–only 41 people! (The last person gets breakfast for free LOL!) Let’s vote for Board Members and let’s have a dialogue about some of these important issues. We won’t have a formal speaker on May 20th, so we can talk about anything and everything.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!