Important Notice - Proposed By-Laws Amendment and Nominations for New IPNA Officers


by Neil Kinkopf, Nominating Committee Chair

As you may know, the IPNA by-laws require that in April of each year the Nominating Committee bring a slate of nominees to the membership.  The slate of nominees will fill the Board positions whose terms expire in June.  This year those positions are President, Treasurer, Vice President for Zoning, and Vice President for Planning.  Additional (which is to say competing) nominations may be made from the floor at the April IPNA meeting.  By the end of the April IPNA meeting, nominations will be closed and an election will be held at the May IPNA meeting.   

This year the Nominating Committee is pleased to put forward, with the approval of the IPNA Board, are very strong slate of candidates.  I want to thank my fellow committee members, Natasha Gullett and Brian Roof, for their hard work.  For President, the Committee nominates current President-elect, Amy Higgins. For Treasurer, the Committee nominates Kay Kirsche.  For Vice President for Zoning, the Committee nominates Regina Brewer.  And for Vice President for Planning, the Committee nominates Pat Pontius.  Their personal statements appear below.

We wish to note a by-laws issue that has arisen in connection with the Treasurer nomination.  Kay Kirsche is presently serving in that role, having filled in when our last elected Treasurer, Jeff Oliver, moved out of the neighborhood.  Jeff held the position through one budget cycle and Kay took over several months later.  Nonetheless, Kay assumed the Treasurer position before the first calendar year of Jeff's term had expired and Article 5 of our by-laws provides:    "a.  persons confirmed to fill unexpired terms during the first year of the two-year term for that office may not run again for that office for the succeeding term.  b.  persons confirmed to fill unexpired terms during the second year of the two-year term for that office may run again for that office for the succeeding term."  

The Nominating Committee believes, and the Board agrees, that Kay does not fall within the spirit of the prohibition.  Although she has served for slightly more than one calendar year, she has only served through one budget cycle, which is the relevant gauge for the term of a Treasurer.  We would also note that Kay stepped in when the Board was having real difficulty filling the position and that she has done an outstanding job.  As her personal statement below indicates, she is eager to continue doing the job.  All of these are qualities we believe the neighborhood should value and promote at even the best of times.  We add that in the present circumstances of uncertainty surrounding our budget (given the persistence of the public health emergency and the requirement that Festival be postponed), it is more crucial than ever that the neighborhood have continuity in this position as we confront new budget realities.

It is our view that the prohibition in Article 5 of the by-laws does not apply where a Treasurer has filled an unexpired term and served through only one budget cycle.  As the Supreme Court put the principle, "[i]t is a familiar rule that a thing may be within the letter of the statute and yet not within the statute because not within its spirit, nor within the intention of its makers."  Rector, Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892).  The circumstance we find ourselves in is, in substance, much more akin to the circumstance where a Board member has served less than one year of an unexpired term, because of the unique way in which the budget cycle applies to the position of Treasurer.  Indeed, were we not to understand the by-laws in this flexible way, they would impose a perverse incentive on future boards -- suggesting that a vacancy on the Board should be held open and appointment of an interim board member be held until the first year has elapsed so as to allow the new appointee to run for a successive full term.  

If the membership does not agree with this interpretation, I wish to propose that the by-laws be amended to allow Kay Kirsche to be nominated and elected as Treasurer.  Specifically, I propose adding an Article 5(P)(4)(c), to read "notwithstanding the prohibition in subsection 4(a) above, the person serving as Treasurer on April 15, 2020 may run again for that office for the succeeding term."

Candidate Statements

Amy Higgins (President)  I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as IPNA president. Of the 25 years I have lived in Atlanta, 18 of those years have been spent in Inman Park – first in the Inman Mews townhomes and now in a house a block and a half down Spruce Street. My husband, Mike, and I married at the Trolley Barn and are raising our two boys (now high school-aged) in the neighborhood. I began volunteering with Inman Park Tree Watch when my kids were little and was touched by the warmth with which I was received by my neighbors. Before long, in addition to learning all about trees, I developed an appreciation for the history of the neighborhood and its “can-do” attitude!

In addition to my day job as an architect, I’ve spent recent years volunteering, along with many of our neighbors, to revitalize Springvale Park. It’s a delight to see the park in use by all ages from toddlers in the sand box to teens and adults on the bocce ball court. Although Park Pride, the City of Atlanta, and Trees Atlanta have all certainly contributed to that effort, most of the improvements in Inman Park wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for neighbors leading the charge. As part of my tenure on the IPNA board, I hope to recruit some of our newer neighbors to bring their time and talents to sustaining the neighborhood. 

Regina Brewer (Zoning):  I am delighted to be nominated for the VP of Zoning for the Inman Park Neighborhood Association Board of Directors. As a self-proclaimed “zoning geek”, I am really looking forward to serving in this role for the neighborhood. I’ve served twice on the board, the first time as the VP of Historic Preservation (1999-2001) and then as President (2010-2012). I think I’m just going to make the rounds and serve in every board position except Treasurer (I would be an epic failure as Treasurer). My goal is to create a zoning committee to help navigate the zoning process and educate neighbors about zoning and its impact on our neighborhood. I am thrilled that Jonathan Miller (current VP of Zoning) has agreed to be on this committee. Jonathan is another “zoning geek” and I am going to rely heavily on him for his zoning expertise and institutional knowledge.

Professionally, I am a Preservation Planner and own my own business, Intown Vintage Homes.  I prepare federal and state preservation tax credit applications and I am a preservation driven general contractor. My husband, Joe Castellano, and I moved into Inman Park in 1996 and we have 3 children – Angelora (19), and our twins Sam and Genevieve (17). We chose Inman Park and then searched for 9 long months to find a house to buy. We love living in Inman Park and volunteer for Festival, Education Committee, IP Pool Board, and the Trolley Barn board. We love this neighborhood and cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Kay Kirsche (Treasurer):  Hi neighbors. I have had the privilege of serving as IPNA Treasurer for the last year when I finished out the term for Jeff Oliver who moved out of the neighborhood. I have a Finance degree and have been working in the banking industry for over 30 years. The board has asked if I would consider staying on for another year to complete one more budget planning cycle, and I would be delighted to do so. 

My husband, Jaime, and I are empty nesters with two grown children, Eric (28) and Emily (23).  We moved to Inman Park 2 years ago and the welcome that we have received could not have been more warming. We have made so many very good friends and are fully invested in helping this lovely neighborhood continue all the wonderful work and traditions that have been established over its long and storied history. And please, if you are ever strolling down Mid-Sin (Sinclair) and you see us our porch at 389 Sinclair, we hope you will stop and say hello!!

Patrick Pontius (Planning):  I hail from Richmond and spent most of the last 20 years in LA and DC. By Inman Park standards, I'm in diapers having moved here at the end of 2017 to reunite with my old boss and mentor for a job at the Federal Reserve. It was a hard move knowing only him, and I set a goal to survive one year and ideally make it to two. Atlanta and I aren't natural dance partners (Philly, DC, LA, RVA get my urban affection); indeed I once said, "I could never live in Atlanta." Yet I've eaten those words and found things I love about this city--our amazing neighborhood and great neighbors, the historic cluster of pre-car "in-town" neighborhoods where I spend most of my life on foot or bike, the BeltLine, shooting the Hooch, the Clermont Lounge, lemon pepper wings, East Atlanta Village, all the international restaurants on Buford Highway, the great day trips to nature and small towns, the poignant civil rights legacy, all the murals, the edgy grit, the amazing airport, MARTA when it works, and the general feeling that Atlanta is on the cusp of something pretty awesome. I'm grateful for all the work people did to preserve our neighborhood and I'm excited for the opportunity we have to remain vital and evolve as our city re-densifies and starts to rethink how we want to live and what type of city we want to be in the future. My background includes undergrad at UVA, grad at USC in urban planning and real estate development, and work ranging from teaching 3rd grade in Compton to six awesome years as an Obama appointee at HUD. My hobbies cover flanning (see flaneur/flaneuse), architecture, history, travel, Star Wars and ST:TNG, trying to learn the piano, and always sitting at the bar, ideally with nachos or wings. Thank you for the opportunity to get involved with you in this amazing community.


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