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March 23, 2021 Board Meeting

Present: Bruce Adams, Nicholas Arrindell, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Lorna Forde, Alicia Lynn Hannon, Sabrina Hsu, Matthew Lee, Michael Mills, Joy C. West, Jeannette Noltenius, Ashwani Jain, Clemmie Solomon, Roman Santillan

Excused: Eunmee Shim, Nan Qiao Absent: Yasin Yimam.

Staff: Susan Hoffmann

The quarterly meeting via Zoom was called to order at 6:05 p.m. by chairman, Mumin Barre. Mumin Barre welcomed Dr. Jeannette Noltenius to the board.

Mumin Barre acknowledged the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) with respect to the rise in hate crimes and discrimination. As we stand in solidary with AAPI, he requested a moment of silence to offer our condolences.

The board joined in a moment of silence.

Joy moved to put out a statement condemning the violence and showing support.

Matthew suggested to reference the County Executives statement released on March 19, 2021 in the draft statement.

Joy agreed to draft the letter and send to the board for review.

Approval of the Agenda

On a motion to approve by Michael Mills, seconded by Matthew Lee, the agenda was approved.

Approval of February 16 Minutes

On a motion to approve by Matthew Lee, seconded by Lorna Forde, the minutes of the February 16 meeting were approved.

Financial report

Treasurer Roman Santillan submitted the report on March 23, 2021 to the board. Mumin provided an overview and reported that MSC has $11,097.79 in the bank but that $6,680.77 of that is being held in trust for the El Salvador country committee leaving $3,369.42 available for general purposes. January – March there were no expenses. On a motion to approve by Joy West, seconded by Matthew Lee, the financial report was accepted as is.

Update: County Government (Budget/Policy, COVID Vaccine rollout/Staffing/ FY21 & FY22 Grants)

Susan Hoffmann reported updates related to the county budget, COVID vaccine rollout, and FY21 and FY22 grants. She informed the board that the RY2020 grant will roll over to the new year and does not have to be spent in full.

COVID Vaccine Rollout

Susan reported on COVID numbers within the state and county. As numbers climb in the state of Maryland, Montgomery county remains conservative, thereby keeping our numbers flat. The county numbers are at 100 new cases a day, and we have not seen a spike as of yet. Susan stated that there will be a new major vaccination center at Montgomery Community College (MCC) in Germantown. A date has not been confirmed. The county is ready to move to Tier 1B and 1C which includes individuals 60+, essential workers, and young people with underlying disease/complications. Everyone is advised to preregister at the county level as well as the state level to increase your chances of vaccination. The Governor gives the county clinics only 1/3 of the county allotment of vaccines. The remaining 2/3 of the vaccines goes to CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, etc.

The Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) is working on getting more information out into diverse communities to encourage them to pre-register. OCP is reaching out and providing resources at food distribution hubs, and communities that do not have direct access to healthcare.


Susan will be staffing the sister city board until a dedicated liaison is assigned. OCP does not have a set date on when this will occur.

FY21 and FY22 Grants

Mumin reported that the fiscal year RY22 grant will be in the budget. Susan will follow up to confirm if the grant has been assigned to MCSC as of yet.

Mumin clarified that the FY21 grant of $20,000 that is available is only on a reimbursement basis.

Mumin raised the need to authorize payment of fixed expenses. The fixed expenses include website maintenance, accounting firm ($1,500), liability insurance ($749), and membership for Sister City International ($2,280). Last year prior payments in parenthesis. Bruce moved approval of authorization for the accounting firm expense, liability insurance expense, and sister city internal fees. Clemmie Solomon seconded the motion. Authorization was unanimously approved.

Regarding the website, Mumin suggested to update and revitalize the platform to be more interactive. Susan recommended Shane Scott who is a local developer. He sent a proposal and she will send to the board for review. Susan shared her screen and walked the board through the proposal highlighting the following:

o The website domain will remain hosted by GoDaddy.

o Shane recommends developing the website on WIX ($22-23 per month). o Shane’s cost of $2,200 for the new website branding includes the cost of consulting, design, content updates and branding cohesion.

o Shane requires 25% down payment, 25% half-way, and remaining balance once complete.

Bruce motioned to accept the proposal of $2,200 to move the existing website to a new platform and upgrade the quality of the photos and also to pay the annual WIX website charge in advance. Clemmie seconded the motion for discussion.

Alicia asked the board if we are okay with approving the proposal as is, or should we request to view a mobile version prior to approval to ensure compatibility.

Matthew suggested to view his current work and compare the mobile view to confirm if the websites are mobile friendly.

Susan provided two websites for the board to review: and

Susan took the action to follow up with Shane to confirm if the proposal includes a compatible mobile friendly version. Following that discussion, Shane will send Roman, Mumin, and Susan his (4) invoices. MCSC will respond by sending him his checks and working internally to receive reimbursement from the grant.

The motion was approved by the board.

Montgomery College Television:

Bruce Adams reported that a meeting was held with MCTV station manager Melissa Pace. The group agreed to begin with a 30-minute pilot program featuring El Salvador. The consensus was to include elements of a Sister City history, and showcasing people who have come from our Sister City. The goal is to complete the pilot by summer or early fall. Melissa will be working closely with Jeannette to produce the project.

Carolina, MCTC staff, has drafted an outline for the production video. Bruce and Jeannette will review and share with the board.

Sister City Committee Reports

India Project/ New Mayor: Bruce Adams reported that a letter has been drafted and prepared by Sanjay. Aruna Miller reviewed the letter and is in support. Bruce will send to the draft to Diane who will then move it forward to the County Executive. The letter includes recognition and congratulations of the new Mayor, introduction to Montgomery County Sister Cities, and a request to connect via zoon for a formal introduction and discussion on an upcoming trip.

Bruce requested the board to review the draft and provide feedback.

China: Sabrina Hsu reported that an event will be scheduled in within the next 6 months on mental health education for Montgomery county residents via Zoom.

S. Korea: Matthew Lee reported that S. Korea official responded to his email and agreed to send a video greeting to the committee when a special event is being held. Matthew suggested to host an event in May during Asian Pacific Heritage month. Matthew plans to contact the committee by first week of April.

El Salvador: Jeannette Noltenius reported that she will call a committee meeting to convene and gather updates on what is currently going on in the community. She noted that there was a recent change in Government officials in Morazon. Once the meeting is scheduled, she will follow up with the board via email.

Ethiopia: Tracey-Alexis Dixon reported that Yasin is still in Ethiopia. The committee plans to host a meeting by next week to discuss latest news related to COVID. Tracey-Alexis and Yasin contacted Dr. Asefa and Dr. Geb to speak on COVID vaccination outreach, resources, and health related data, but currently waiting on a response. Once a guest speaker is finalized, the team will move forward with scheduling the call.

Old/new business/announcements: None.

The meeting ended at 7:10 p.m.

NEXT ZOOM Tuesday, May 4, 2021 @ 6 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Tracey-Alexis Dixon MSC Secretary

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