March 6, 2019 Minutes

In attendance:  Millyn Gaaserud, Martha Banks, Sue Okie, Kate Larson, Stephanie Maher, Evonne Klein, Carolyn Bayne, Laurie Williamson, Susan Spain, Vicki Baldwin, Joan Davis, Mary Genco, Amy Zerbe, Shelly Skoglund and Tiffany O’Connor

Call to Order:  Martha Banks called the meeting to order at 9:35 AM and stated that she and Mary Genco would chair the meeting in the absence of Gwen Mogenson and Clara Sartori.

Treasurers Report: Stephanie Maher reported that the bank balances at the end of February totaled $17,681.85. Stephanie reported that there was 1 new member in February. She has received a notification regarding renewing the hosting of the domain name and will check with Gwen Mogenson on how to handle.

Secretarial Report: A motion to approve the Minutes of the February 6th meeting was made by Evonne Klein and seconded by Kate Larson. The Minutes were approved by a majority vote.

Membership (Betsy Shay/Jean Sweeney were not present): 

One new member, Susan Edwards, joined in February taking membership total to 116. This (including 2 life members) is down from 130 last year. Our longer-term membership level usually hovered around 125.

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.

Evonne Klein suggested that we communicate a “not for women only” message to all members in order to reach out to them to consider a family membership.

We are happy to welcome new members at any time during the year. Personal contact is our best outreach.

To renew, members can go to and press the Join button on the upper right to pay on line. Alternatively, 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
  • Consider an additional contribution. Your contribution supports our local league activities.

CDSP Outreach (Shelly Skoglund): Shelly will present to the CDSP (Council of Darien School Parents, the umbrella organization for various public school Parent Teacher Organizations) on Thursday March 7th. Other LWV members are welcome to attend. The goals are to make parent school leaders aware of the Darien LWV and our activities and to recruit new members.

As an April program thought, we are considering partnering with CDSP to present a public program on the Future of Education including the challenges/benefits of regional school districts.  More details are to be determined.

Mary Genco suggested we meet with the YWCA, host a lunch, and/or work with the Welcome Wagon program to include information on LWV.

As a possible new initiative, we discussed the free online iCivics curriculum, which involves developed curriculum plans and support documentation largely using interactive video game-based learning. It can be done 1:1 or in a small group. More can be learned at iCivics.

Members felt that iCivics is geared to older students, who do take Law and Government and participate in a Model Congress. Although the Middle School does not have a current civics program, there was concern that schools have strict rules now about such programs which are administered by vendors.

Nominating: (Sue Okie, Shelly Skoglund, Stacey Tie): All Darien LWV members are encouraged to volunteer for our many Board positions. We have a large and vibrant board structure.

Sue Okie reported that we need to be more proactive to fill vacant positions including a 3rdPresident, another Vice President, and candidates for Candidates Night volunteers and the Voters Guide. This organization is dependent upon its members to work together to organize our amazing programming and services.

We have jobs that you can do on your own time or you can work as part of a group. We have jobs that require small amounts of time all year and those that just require effort for a single event or project. Whatever your interests, we can find a match for you.

Members can click on the link to complete the LWV Volunteer Form and explain their interests. Someone from the committee will then contact the member to follow up. For more information on job descriptions, members can contact our nominating committee members Sue Okie, Stacey Tie or Shelly Skoglund

BYO (Bring Your Own) Initiative: Thank you was expressed to our BYO (Bring Your Own) presentation coordinators Juliet Cain, Paola Sordoni and Lucia Zachowski. BYO is advocating for passage of a Darien town ordinance to promote the use of reusable customer supplied shopping bags rather than single use plastic bags. A public hearing has been held.

A discussion ensued and it was agreed that the LWV cannot endorse as an official sponsor of the initiative. It was agreed that national LWV has a position on improving the environment. Consistent with that, Sue Okie moved and Laurie Williamson seconded that Carolyn Bayne be asked to draft a LWV statement in line with the national policy that is supportive of the BYO initiative. Carolyn will send this to Gwen Mogenson and Clara Sartori to review. Once finalized, it could be read at the next hearing on the subject, and distributed via a press release.


Food For Thought (Karla Coe): FFT met in February. Carolyn Bayne reported that the topic discussed was full-time vs. part-time elected state officials. The next meeting is Thursday, Mar 14th (2nd Thursday this month), 9:00 to 10:30 hosted by Ann Ferris, 30 Hale Lane. All members are invited to join a freewheeling discussion of a topical news subject. The topic is not announced in advanced so no preparation is required.

Save the Date: The LWVCT public forum “Redistricting and the Perils of Gerrymandering” will be held on Saturday March 23rd, 10:00 AM – Noon, at the Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street, New Haven.  It is free and open to the public. Mary Genco suggested that a video be made available to Channel 79 and Joan Davis will alert the newspaper, all subject to review by Gwen Mogenson and Clara Sartori.

The 2020 Census will lead to the redrawing of our state legislative districts and potentially our US House districts as well.

Forum panelists include: Heather Green, Dean of the Yale Law School, an expert on election laws; Tom Wolf, a principal of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU who has litigated major national redistricting issues; Secretary of the State Denise Merrill; Senator Martin Looney, President Pro Tem of the State Senate; and Senator Len Fasano, State Senate Minority Leader. The panel will take questions from the floor following their discussion.

Town Officials Event – Thursday March 28th, Darien Library Auditorium, 6:30 PM reception, 7:00 PM Program. It is free, open to the public, and co-sponsored with the Darien Library.

Our First Selectman, Chairs of the Boards of Education and Finance, RTM Moderator and a representative from the Planning and Zoning Commission will each give a short presentation on the current issues and initiatives facing their town government functions and then take questions. Thank you to all those (largely volunteer) citizens who participate in our town government.

New Business: Laurie Williamson reported that hearings are being held today in Hartford on HB-7202 and HB-7280 concerning the addition of tolls to major highways in the state, and governance of the program.  Members are encouraged to email their representatives regarding their views and questions, as suggested in a flier from Terrie Wood.

The next monthly meeting will be held at the Darien Historical Society at 9:30 on Wednesday, April 3.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 AM.


Respectfully submitted,

Vicki Baldwin, Co-Secretary