by Wesley Ratko

Walter Sullivan ended his two-year tenure as president of the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s board of directors May 26 with a farewell address to the board in which he expressed his appreciation for the chance to serve as president.

“It ain’t no kidding when I say I have loved every day of these two years, and it’s certainly no exaggeration that I have come to more deeply love this organization,” Sullivan said.

He told the board that he was not an “organization man,” but explained that the CHCA has done so much, and it is the people in it that are the reason he loves it.

During his tenure as president, Sullivan said that he kept the community association “free of major controversy,” and encouraged “maximum transparency” in the board’s business.

Of all the matters to come before the board, zoning and development issues have been the most heated topics of discussion, Sullivan said. Because these discussions can be somewhat technical, he said he urged members to remain informed about issues outside of board meetings so that debates are productive.

“This is the board of a co-op, with fiduciary responsibilities, and as such, it needs to know fully what it’s doing,” he said.

Introducing the incoming board president, Jane Piotrowski, Sullivan told the board that it goes without saying that she has earned the role.

“She is well capable of providing the leadership,” he said

He closed by thanking the board, which applauded him.

Piotrowski spoke briefly, thanking the board for having the confidence in her in electing her president.

“You all know who I am and what you get,” Piotrowski said.

She said she will continue to help build bridges and to strengthen relationships with other community groups.

Officer elections

Board member Tolis Vardakis reported that the Nominating Committee had nominated Lou Aiello to be vice-president of the Physical Division, but that it had erred in doing so. Vardakis was quick to clarify that this error had nothing to do with Aiello’s capabilities, but instead involved a violation of the by-laws, which prevent the nomination of an individual who has held a position for two executive terms to hold it for a third term.

Aiello, who was absent Thursday dealing with a family emergency, will serve on an interim basis until a replacement can be nominated.

The nominating committee’s recommendations of six officers and five at-large committee members was approved unanimously, without controversy.

Treasurer’s report

Mark Keintz, speaking as interim treasurer, briefed the board on the budget by explaining that the Chestnut Hill Community Association effectively has two divisions: the program services and the Chestnut Hill Local. Keintz said that the Local had an operating budget of about a million dollars last year, and brought in $98,000 in net revenue.

“Last year, the Local had an organizational equity of zero,” Keintz said.

He noted that this was up from previous years, when the organizational equity was “less than zero.” Keintz credited Associate Publisher Larry Hochberger for taking steps to improve the operational efficiency of the paper and said it was these efforts, and not an increase in circulation, that deserve credit.

“It’s getting better at a time when many hard copy newspapers have suffered,” he said.

Keintz went on to set a goal of having $120,000 in a reserve fund for the CHCA. He said that this amount represents roughly six weeks of operating costs. To achieve this, he stated that $2,000 will be put into the reserve fund on a bi-weekly basis, with every payroll, and would result in $52,000 a year.

“Of the $98,000 net income earned by the Local last year, only $10,000 of that was put into the reserve fund,” Keintz added.

Keintz shifted the discussion to the Program and Services division, which he said had a net income last year of $27,000.

“Part of this amount was a windfall of sorts, given that there hasn’t been a community manager drawing a salary,” he said.

Keintz added that the community association would take a $30,000 hit this year because a five-year grant of $30,000 a year is coming to an end. This money has been used to pay the salary for an administrative assistant.

“The program and services division is going to have to come up with some new business models,” Keintz said, suggesting new efforts be made to increase the membership rolls.

Chestnut Hill Community Fund

Jean Hemphill, president of the Chestnut Hill Community Fund, was present to nominate William McGuckin and Susan Bray to three-year terms as trustees of the fund. The nominees were unanimously approved.

DRC recommendations

Larry McEwen, co-chair of the Development Review Committee was on hand to present recommendations to support variances on two residential properties at 16 Newton St. and 515 West Gravers Lane. Both projects, which involve the construction of additions to historic properties, were reviewed by the DRC in May and sent to the board with recommendations for approval. Both requests were unanimously approved by the board.


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