Minutes of November Meeting

13 people attended the November meeting of the Massachusetts Consumers’ Coalition.

Chair Cindy Matloff called the meeting to order at 12:35 with an introduction of members.

· 2017 Membership forms were distributed and members were encouraged to return their form on or before the January meeting. In 2016 we had 10 paid organizations consisting of 18 members and 1 friend. We are hoping to increase our membership in 2017. A membership form is attached.

The Coalition checking account balance is $2,138.63

Website Update: The Coalition web site is up and running. It is on a WordPress platform and currently managed by Edgar Dworsky. Thank Edgar! The website is structured to allow the input information and to make it more interactive for members and visitors.

Election of Officers: Elections for the Coalition were held and it was voted to re-elect the following officer for another term: Cindy Matloff, Chair; Laura Nichols, Treasurer; and Jeanne Foy, Secretary. Shannon Desmond was elected to serve as Vice Chair. Welcome Shannon!

Meeting Dates: We are pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has generously offered the Coalition use of the conference room after their monthly CARD meetings. A discussion was held on whether or not the Coalition should increase the number of meetings held in 2017. Motion by Jeanne Foy to schedule four (4) meetings for 2017 on the following dates:
January 11
March 15
May 17
Fall date TBD
Motion carried.

Lunch: The Coalition was advised that the Massachusetts Consumer’s Council could no longer fund or subsidize our meeting lunches. A discussion was held on if we should continue to offer lunch at our meetings. There was consensus among the group that the lunch meetings make the transition from the morning AG meeting to the MCC meeting easier, attract more people, and keep the meetings to a manageable time frame. There was concern about the financial burden of paying for the lunches. It was suggested that members could RSVP for lunch with the understanding that they would pay $5-$6 to subsidize the cost. Motion by Jeanne Foy to have the Coalition pay for the next three (3) lunch meetings (through May 17th) at which point we would revisit the issue. Motion carried.

Future Meeting Ideas: The group discussed speakers that we would like have present at upcoming meetings. Organizations we plan to contact include: MASSPRIG; Debt Collection Clinics; Access to Justice Project; Stephen Weisman, an attorney who is a well know identity theft expert; John Paul/AAA, Federal Reserve Community Development Program, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Members with additional suggestions or contacts should email Cindy at maconsumerscoalition@gmail.com.

Consumer Agency Updates:
Mass Department of Telecommunications and Cable. Corey Pilz updated us on some of DTC initiatives. This fall in conjunction with National Preparedness Month DTC presented at the Mass Association of Councils on Aging 2016 Conference and various senior centers on telecommunications technology changes and keeping seniors connected in the digital age. DTC also distributed handouts on Lifeline Program changes starting December 2, 2016.

Meeting adjourned at 1:44 pm
Next Meeting is Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Guest Speaker: Steven Weisman