CAA taking a new approach

February 12, 2010
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The Convention and Arena Authority has restructured.

The board, which oversees operations at DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena, has added a few members and has changed its entire meeting schedule.

CAA Chairman Steven Heacock was the first to call for a schedule change. He said members were having difficulties attending board and committee meetings because of their already-heavy work schedules, and those absences sometimes resulted in the lack of a quorum. On other occasions, committee meetings were cancelled.

Two of the panel’s seven members missed last month’s board meeting, which was the final one scheduled for a Wednesday.

For the most part, the CAA has convened on the fourth Wednesday morning of each month since its inception in April 2000. A board meeting isn’t held in July, though, and the November and December meetings have been consolidated into one December meeting.

Heacock said another reason behind the creation of the new schedule is some board members complained they would first learn of actions taken by the Finance and Operations committees from the Business Journal, instead of hearing them first hand. Both committees had met the week before the scheduled board meeting, and the stories were published days before board meetings were held.

The new schedule is expected to correct that situation; it calls for the committees and the board to meet on the first Friday morning of every month — except, again, in July, the first month of the CAA’s fiscal year. A committee meeting will be held an hour before the board meets. Having the board meet immediately after a committee finishes means members will learn of any actions a committee takes right away.

“It’s a two-hour commitment, but it should result in better communication,” said Birgit Klohs, CAA board member and chairwoman of the Finance Committee.

“It increases the interaction between the committees and the board. It heightens the stature of the committees and alleviates time constrictions,” said Rich MacKeigan, CAA executive director.

But by limiting meetings to one day a month instead of three — as the board and both committees had been meeting on three separate days — each committee will now meet every other month rather than monthly.

As for new members, Kent County Administrator and Controller Daryl Delabbio will replace former County Fiscal Services Director Robert White on the Finance Committee. The CAA isn’t losing White’s services, however, as the board hired him last month to be its financial consultant.

Metro Health’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources Floyd Wilson Jr. was sworn in a few weeks ago as the CAA’s newest board member. He replaced Cliff Charles.

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