February 6, 2019 Minutes

In attendance:  Clara Sartori, Gwen Mogenson, Millyn Gaaserud, Martha Banks, Sue Okie, Kate Larson, Jean Sweeney, Stephanie Maher, Evonne Klein, Arlene Tularco, Carolyn Bayne, Laurie Williamson, Susan Spain, Vicki Baldwin and Jill McCammon

Call to Order:  Gwen Mogenson called the meeting to order at 9:35 AM with the following changes to the Agenda:

1) Amend to approve November, 2018 and January, 2019 minutes

2) Amend to reorder the agenda  in order to allow Bring Your Own (BYO, outside speakers) to present around 9:40 AM and then resume for the rest of the business agenda

3) Amend to request volunteers to help with planning/execution of Town Officials Event in March or April

Treasurers Report: 

Stephanie Maher reported that January revenues were $1,347.42 with expenses of $167.62 generating Operating Income of $1,179.80.  Total Cash On Hand as of January 31 is $16,494.18.

Secretarial Report:

A motion to approve the Minutes of the November 7th meeting was made by Kate Larsen and seconded by Stephanie Maher. The Minutes were approved by a majority vote. A motion to approve the Minutes of the January 9th meeting was made by Jean Sweeney and seconded by Stephanie Maher. The Minutes were approved by a majority vote.

Gwen Mogenson welcomed Vicki Baldwin (long-time member, new Board Member) as an addition to our Secretarial team, and thanked Susan Spain, Laurie Williamson and Amy Zerbe for their service in this critical function.

Bring Your Own (BYO) Presentation: 

Gwen and Clara welcomed BYO coordinators Juliet Cain, Paola Sordoni and Lucia Zachowski. BYO is advocating for passage of a Darien Town Ordinance that would support the use of reusable customer supplied shopping bags. Key components of the Ordinance include replacing plastic bags thinner than a certain size with paper, and charging the consumer $.10 per bag to be paid to the retailer.  Similar proposals are in process in Norwalk and Stamford, and local Darien retailers are generally supportive.

Members are encouraged to attend the public hearing Wednesday, Feb 6th at 8:00 PM in the Darien Town Hall Auditorium. It was also agreed that members could be updated via a link in Constant Contact, the online Newsletter, which Gwen will put together.

The meeting reconvened after the presentation.


Thank you was expressed to Betsy Shay and Treasurer, Stephanie Maher for working so hard to update our membership reporting database and meet the reporting deadline.  The reported January, 2019 membership of 113 will determine our required State and National dues payments due in the summer 2019.  Clara Sartori drafted email thank you notifications for our contribution donors.

The reported membership of 115 includes two life members (non-dues paying), Katharin Baker and Ursula Forman, and is down from 130 last year. We had several new, unsolicited members last year who did not renew, and attendees were encouraged to reach out to those they may know.

Members felt that we need to do more to engage and retain “sampling” members who may not be so familiar with our organization. (welcome events, better social media, one on one outreach?). Personal contact is our best recruiting tool.

Millyn Gaaserud suggested that potential younger members are interested in schools. We could consider programs with the CDSP, utilizing the PTOs, and stepping up our social media efforts. A discussion was held on attracting prospective members by hosting, or co-hosting, a program surrounding regionalization.

Our next membership drive in the Fall of 2019 provides an excellent opportunity to recruit for expanded membership ahead of the 2020 Election and 2020 celebration of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote and the founding of the League of Women Voters. Of course, we are happy to welcome new members at any time during the year.

To renew, members can go to lwv.darien.org and press the Join button on the upper right to pay on line. Or, prospects can be encouraged to send a check to LWV Darien, PO Box 103, Darien 06820, with the reminder:

  • $55 Individual Membership, $80 Household Membership
  • Don’t forget to consider an additional contribution. Your contribution supports our local league activities.

RBG Event:

Thank you was expressed to the Darien Library and Clara Sartori for coordinating our screening of the Film “RBG” (re: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg). The Darien LWV sponsored a showing of the documentary on Sunday, January 27th. The event was free and open to the public as one of our community service activities. A good crowd of around 70 attended.

Legislative Coffee:

Thank you was expressed to Millyn Gaaserud for hosting the January 30th event at her home. There was good attendance given this was for members and guests only. State Senator and Majority Leader, Bob Duff attended along with State Representatives Terrie Wood and Matt Blumenthal. Unfortunately, State Senator Carlo Leone was not in attendance.

Thank you was expressed to the program planning committee, Martha Banks, Mary Genco, Kate Larson, Clara Sartori, and Laurie Williamson for doing substantial background research and prioritizing our topics of interest. Special thanks went to Clara Sartori for moderating the discussion. We did not get to all of our designated topics, and Clara subsequently emailed our prioritized topic planning documents to the participating legislators.  State reporting forms are due within 15 days.

The pros and cons were discussed regarding continuing the Coffee as a membership perk in a private home vs. having a public event in a public location. Moving the time earlier on a weekday vs. holding the event on a weekend was considered.


Thank you was expressed to the nominating committee of Sue Okie, Shelly Skoglund, and Stacey Tie. They would like another volunteer for their work developing our 2019-2020 Board of Directors slate. All Darien League of Women Voters members are encouraged to volunteer for our many Board positions. We have a large and vibrant board structure.

The organization is dependent upon its members to work together to organize our programming and services. There are jobs that can be done solo or as part of a group, as well as jobs that require small amounts of time all year and those that just require effort for a single event or project. Members are asked to click on the link to complete the LWV Volunteer Form. Someone from the committee will contact the member to follow up. Alternatively, click on email links to contact our nominating committee members.

Observer Corps Light:

Thank you was expressed to Maggie McIntire, Executive Director of our meeting host, the Darien Historical Society. Maggie gave us a wonderful walk through of their current display featuring the works of Margaret Brassler Kane.

We are in preliminary discussions with the Historical Society on jointly celebrating the upcoming LWV anniversaries. Darien LWV celebrates 90 years in 2019. State and National LWV celebrate their centennial in 2020, the same year that women earned the right to vote under the 19th Amendment. Slogan could be: 100 years of history and YOU are part of it!

Food For Thought (FFT): 

Karla Coe’s report stated that FFT met in January, and the next meeting is Thursday,  February 21st from 12:30-2:00 PM, hosted by Ann Ferris, 30 Hale Lane. All members are invited. This is a freewheeling discussion on a topical news subject. The topic is not announced in advance, so no preparation is required.

Town Officials Event:

Volunteers were requested to help with the planning and execution of the Town Officials Event to be help in March or April.  A discussion of possible speakers and topics followed.

The next monthly meeting will be held at the Darien Historical Society at 9:30 on Wednesday, March 6.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:47 AM.


Respectfully submitted,

Vicki Baldwin, Co-Secretary