PACE Trust meeting highlights marketing and members' concerns

The PACE marketing plan was a highlight of the PACE Trust fall quarterly meeting in Salem on Oct. 1, a plan that emphasizes members' role in maximizing service while minimizing costs.

In describing the month-to-month activities in the plan's timeline, OSBA Director of Communications Tricia Yates underscored the importance of bolstering awareness of who PACE is-members who have come together to protect themselves from casualty losses at low cost.

"Saving time and money for members is what PACE is all about," Yates said. "Our marketing plan will help members understand how PACE services stretch their shrinking budgets."

Helpful, responsive and professional

An OSBA consultant described the methodologies and summarized the findings of market research conducted since spring, which made use of an online members survey and focus groups to aid in developing the PACE marketing plan. On the whole, the research found that members have positive views about the Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO) staff and the OSBA staff who serve PACE. In responding to questions, members frequently used "helpful," "responsive" and "professional."

The marketing plan should seek to obtain members' buy-in to their roles in keeping costs down, said PACE staff member Frank Stratton. Trust Chair John Rexford (superintendent, High Desert ESD) stressed the value of using testimonials from satisfied members in achieving this goal, while Phil Wentz (facilities manager, Tigard-Tualatin School District) suggested strengthening the focus on integrating safety into business management.

The Trust also reviewed the new PACE Underwriting Manual, which Stratton summarized, and agreed to defer its final approval until the December meeting.

Other major agenda items

  • Loss control report. Scott Neufeld (SDAO risk manager) described how PACE risk control activities help members minimize and eliminate risk, while educating them about what PACE does.
  • Pre-loss update. Lisa Freiley (OSBA director of legal, labor and PACE services/staff counsel) reported that discipline and dismissal is still a major issue for members, as are Title IX issues. When working with districts on Title IX issues, PACE stresses the need for balance in facilities, practice time and participation by boys and girls.
  • Financial report. Mike Doherty (CFO for SDAO) presented the financial report for the past quarter.
  • Investments report. Lisa Freiley presented a proposal for adjusting PACE's investments to reflect recommendations taken by OSBA to adopt a slightly more aggressive approach to investing. The PACE Trust decided to adopt a similar approach to maximize returns on investments.
  • Business plan. Frank Stratton presented a proposal to develop a three-year business plan that coincided with service contracts of the providers, enabling the Trust to evaluate performance on an annual basis. He also discussed tasks and strategies to address PACE's various action plans and meet deadlines.
  • New legislative concepts. Freiley described the challenge of ensuring involvement by the Trust in the work of OSBA's Legislative Policy Committee (LPC), in order to make certain that OSBA's legislative program reflects the Trust's priorities and concerns. Terry Lenchitsky (incoming president of OSBA and member of the Oregon Trail School Board) suggested including Trust members in the LPC's email list for soliciting input on legislative issues. Rexford proposed allocating time for discussing legislative matters at each meeting of the Trust, while Wentz asked that OSBA include Trust members when distributing its end-of-session legislative report.