CAG Annual Meeting: Remote, But ‘Better Together’

Normally held in May, the annual meeting of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, at which new officers are introduced and plans for the new year shared, instead took place virtually on Sept. 22. The presentations had been professionally and beautifully recorded on video, mainly at historic Dumbarton House on Q Street. Reports by CAG officers and committee chairs were snappy and newsy. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 2 Council rep Brooke Pinto made brief appearances.

“We are all better together,” said newly elected President Tara Sakraida Parker during her introductory remarks.

“2019 was a good year for CAG financially,” she said. “The small 2019 surplus allowed us to sustain the organization so far during this year of the pandemic shutdown — with little new revenue because we had to hold off our usual fundraising events.”

“But if the situation continues, it would be unsustainable for us,” Parker added. “Thanks to continued efforts by staff and volunteers to develop new and expanded donations, however, many of CAG’s services and activities have been able to be continued and even expand this year.”

As one example, CAG’s public safety program added a second patrol officer and extended the mobile patrols to seven nights a week after several protest marches and demonstrations sparked confrontations and looting. The expanded program will be in effect at least through the end of the year.

The role of the patrols is to observe and report crimes and suspicious behavior on Georgetown streets at night, according to CAG. The CAG staff and the 50 or so block captains are kept aware of ongoing, potentially dangerous incidents by the officers, who provide escort services on request for members traveling on foot.

Similarly, CAG’s Trees for Georgetown program, which has for decades monitored and maintained old trees and planted new ones throughout Georgetown, will continue into next year. “Casey Trees will contribute and plant all the new trees that we had planned for this coming year,” announced Betsy Emes during the meeting. “That is good and big news for us.”

CAG’s historic preservation and zoning activities will also continue into 2021, Parker said. “But we will significantly need your support to continue.”

In addition to Parker, the organization’s officers are: Susan Dabbar, vice-president; Jerry Libin, treasurer; and Amy Kuhnert, secretary.

Two of CAG’s three full-time staff positions currently are vacant: executive director and business manager. (Contact CAG to apply for these jobs.) Longtime Executive Director Leslie Maysak announced her retirement this summer in order to spend more time with her family during this period of homeschooling and other pandemic-related demands.

CAG also postponed its annual appreciation awards, as board member Jennifer Romm said, and will be held when the time arrives for safe, in-person gatherings.

Many meeting “participants” felt that something else was missing. In the past, the annual meeting at Dumbarton House included time for questions — especially of city officials—along with refreshments and lots of visiting. This time, of course, while the presentations by CAG board members were full of adjectives like “exciting,” “incredible” and “amazing,” and looked and sounded good, the lack of interaction made the proceedings seem very, well, remote.

There will be a chance for interactivity, when CAG holds its annual fundraiser — a fun-filled virtual event on Nov. 13.


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