The Fort Smith Historical Society Board meeting was held at 2:30 p.m. on October 21, 2004, in the meeting room of Yoes Plaza building.  There were 11 members and 2 guests present.

Jack Arnold, President, called the meeting to order.  He thanked members for phone calls and cards during his recent illiness. 

Jack introduced the guests, Jim Sanders and Susan Rheel. Jim is interested in writing the local baseball history and in becoming a member of the Historical Society, but he had to leave before he could speak. Susan is the executive director of RSVP, a volunteer organization for people 55 years old or older. RSVP supports the community with members who sign up to volunteer their time and skills. There are currently 760 members in RSVP and her goal is to get back to 900 and these work on behalf of 90 organizations in the community.  Purpose of her visit was to explain RSVP organization and to offer RSVP services to process and mail our Journals twice a year. Society to become a support organization for them to be able to perform this service. 

The minutes of the last meeting were read by Chloe Lamon.  There was one corection — our funding request to the City for 2005 and supported by the Mayor was for $3,000 instead of $2,000.  Then the minutes were approved as read. 

Joanne Swafford was not present but sent the treasurer's report for July-September 2004.  The beginning balance was $13,555.81.  Income totaled $1,750.15 and expenses were $3,005.20, leaving cash on hand of $12, 300.75.  She asked that members turn in all bills for expenditures so they could be paid in a timely manner and records made up to date for any of those outstanding receipts for payments made. 

Jo Tillery gave the membership report.  We have a total of 467 members but to date, only 259 have renewed their membership from the September renewal mail out.

Old business:  There was a discussion of a better way to handle billing. In the past, reminders were enclosed with each Journal, asking people to pay their renewal fee.  This is not working and has caused confusion and some ill feelings among members who feel their renewal is not due yet and for lifetime members who are billed.  Also, some people did not notice the renewals in the Journal. There was a suggestion that we mail out invoices for renewals. A better system will be needed to make this happen. With a new proposed software, it would be easy to keep up with renewal dates. Jo Tillery will look in the current by-laws but a better capability of billing is needed and the by-laws can be easily changed.  No decision was reached at this time.

New business:  Carole Barger spoke of the need to obtain a non-profit organizational software system.  She mentioned some of the uses. Examples: We can go to the screen and pull up information on all members; can be a financial accounting system; can have several screens for each person if needed to track membership status, renewals, payments, and personal data such as mailings, type of membership, etc. It can prepare monthly invoices and print mailing labels. The cost would be several hundred dollars. More discussions later.

There was a question of who is now corresponding secretary. Chuck Raney will be acting secretary until new elections in April. He asked that any member who gets an inquiry, try to answer if they can and let Chuck know about the inquiry or send to Chuck for a reply. We have to track inquiries so no one is overlooked.

Jack mentioned the work Lynn Wasson has done on the Journal and teaching Joe and suggested that we once again give her $300 as a token of our appreciation for her hard work in making the Journal print ready.  A motion was made and passed unanimously to give her that amount.  A check to be given to Chuck for presentation to Lynn. 

Chuck said our office should be cleaned soon and we will need to acquire some furnishings such as chairs. It was suggested we purchase the signage for the door with our logo. Agreed for Chuck to proceed on this tasks. 

Carole mentioned that we need to have an accountant on the board. We need to be in a position to have annual audits if we ever expect to get a grant who normally requires an audit.

A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously that the Historical Society become a volunteer station with RSVP. Jack will send in the signed form. We are reminded (Board) that we should send in individual enrollmentforms and report hous monthly of time spent on Society business. RSVP will maintain the data and track for us.

Jack mentioned our latest membership brochure and asked that we please cross out Art Martin's name and phone number as a contact.  Art wants someone else to be called for society business. 

Rena Westbrook asked if a report of the vandalism at Oak Cemetery should be included in the next Journal. There is an article prepared on Oak Cemetery and there was discussion of adding something about the valdalism. Caole Barger will consider. Carole highlighted those actions the City was taking to improve security in Oak Cemetery.

Carole said that Larry Cantwell brought photos of the Blair-Amis home and family left from the article on the lair house in the last Journal. Society will keep as a reference for future use.

Jack asked Jo Tillery, Joe Wasson and Carole Barger to find, evaluate and report at the next meeting their findings on an organizational software that the Society should purchase.

The next meeting of the Historical Society will be Thursday, January 20, 2005, in the Yoes Plaza building.  Increasing membership will be an effort to be discussed and evaluated.

Chuck reminded the Board that a nominating committee should be appointed at the next meeting for April election of new officers and board members wishing to be replaced. April meeting will be in conjunction with the Frontier awards program. We should get the Journal out early so members can see the nominees and vote if they desire.

The meeting was adjourned by the President.

Chloe Lamon, Recording Secretary.