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 Cable Television Advisory Council

Established in 1990, we are the Cable Television Advisory Council for Hamden, New Haven and West Haven. While we are appointed by our local governments, we are not political. We represent the interests of all members of our three communities.Our authority is derived from the State of Connecticut, through the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), previously the Department of Public Utilities Control (DPUC). Our function is to report to and advise PURA on the policies, actions, and activities of Cable Television systems, and the cable access channels, available to the public in our local jurisdiction.   If you have a Complaint, please use our Comment entry link for the Council to review it.
The Council is a member of the Alliance for Community Media. Read our By-Laws to understand our function.
Our next meeting is on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 6 pm. The meeting location is CTV studios,  843 State Street, New Haven, CT, and is open to the public.
Currently we have the following vacancies in the Council. If you are interested in serving, please
Contact Us or your Mayor’s Office.
Hamden:   Representative at Large (1), Board of Education (1)
New Haven:  Representative at Large (1), Board of Education (1)
West Haven: Representative at Large (3), Board of Education (1)
 

December 7, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven

Meeting Date: December 7, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at Carmine’s Restaurant at 1500 Whalley Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:44.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Laurel Coleman (H), Johnes Ruta (NH), Peaches Quinn (NH), George Alexander (H).

Minutes from the October meeting (as corrected) and from the November meeting were accepted.

Comcast report was provided in absentia. Comcast has asked PURA for a rate adjustment to become effective on December 20. It has added Sling TV to the X1 platform providing additional streaming content options. Customers on the X1 platform in many locations will be able to view their Netflix content over X1.

Members voted 5-1 to drop the age group 20 and over from the CTAC Video Excellence Awards contest, thus leaving two age groups 14 and under and 15 – 19. There will be a total of two prizes of $1,000.00. One prize will be awarded in each category. If none of the entries is worthy of recognition, no prize will be awarded in the category..

Members voted to exclude employees of Comcast, Frontier Communications, CTV and members of CTAC from eligibility to enter the contest.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Don Levy, CTAC Secretary.

November 2, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven

Meeting Date: November 2, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, November 2, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:00.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Laurel Coleman (H), Johnes Ruta (NH), Peaches Quinn (NH), Ashley Sklar (NH),George Alexander (H).

Comcast Representative Sharon Codeanne, Frontier Representative Steve Gimmell, CTV representative Joe Schofield.

Minutes from the previous meeting were discussed and will be amended and voted on at the next regular meeting.

Steve Gimmell of Frontier noted that CTV programs had been cablecast on Channel 99 for about three weeks. Any Frontier subscriber in Connecticut can now receive CTV programming by scrolling through the offerings on Channel 99. The CTAC members thanked Frontier for finally securing access to CTV programs for its local subscribers. Frontier is also currently programming a local sports channel and is encouraging high school students to volunteer to cablecast programs featuring their schools. Frontier has agreed with Yale University to become the prime media sponsor of Yale Athletics. Additional home shopping channels have been added to Frontier offerings.

Sharon Codeanne of Comcast said her company has expanded its low-cost “Internet Essentials” program to qualified families receiving HUD assistance. All such families who had not had access to Comcast internet for three months or longer may request the service. Comcast was recognized by the national Points of Light program as one of The Civic 50 companies based on its involvement in improving the quality of life in its service areas. It was also recognized locally by the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven.

Sharon also said with regard to the Comcast equipment upgrade program announced last month that subscribers could request a new cable box and Comcast service reps would install it free of charge.

George noted that the upgrade to the website cannot be completed until the video contest forms have been finalized. The members decided to hold a special meeting on November 9 to put forward a final document outlining the rules of the video contest. The entire Council will vote on this document at its next regular meeting in December. The December 7 monthly CTAC meeting will be held at Carmine’s Restaurant at 1500 Whalley Avenue, New Haven, beginning at 5:30.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:10.

p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Don Levy, CTAC Secretary.

October 5, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven

Meeting Date: October 5, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding.
Minutes taken by Johnes Ruta (NH) Meeting called to order at 6:10 pm.

Members in attendance:
Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), George Alexander (H), (NH), Peaches Quinn (NH), Johnes Ruta (NH), Ashley Sklar (NH Library System), new member Laurel Coleman (H).

Joe Schofield, CTV Executive Director (non-voting). Steve Gimmell, Frontier Field manager (non-voting.) Comcast not represented at this meeting.

CTV Report given by Joe Schofield, CTV Executive Director.

CTV is still waiting for Frontier to connect CTV. Frontier has indicated that while external output lines are installed, the final internal connections are not complete

Joe Schofield raised the question regarding written draft decision that from PURA wants CTV to provide more Educational programming, based on a complaint ostensibly received from the NH/WH/H CTAC. Joe asked if anyone from CTAC had filed this complaint to PURA – but
no one on CTAC has filed such a complaint. All 2016 and 2015 CTAC Official Minutes, inspected by Peaches Quinn, show no such motion or suggestion from our CTAC. Joe will request clarification from PURA on this point.

PURA has also directed CTV to produce more educational programming, but Joe Schofield also indicated that the school systems have assigned proprietary privileges to private video companies, which excludes CTV from recording and showing those events. Joe also noted CTV requires written Parental Consent Releases to record minor-aged students and that some schools choose not to be bothered with that process.

Introduction and welcome to new member Laurel Coleman and all current members to her.
Review of September 2016 Minutes. Johnes makes motion to approve Motion seconded by Peaches Quinn. Vote for approval is unanimous.

COMCAST Reportgiven by George Alexander who received CTAC correspondence by U.S. Mail from Comcast. Sharon Codeanne is presently in Albany and unable to attend. Announcement letter from COIMCAST regarding old HD boxes, offering customers 3 choices for free exchange of their old boxes for new, under plan to cut service to customers old boxes after a certain date:
1. Customers can visit COMCAST Channel 1995 for fill-in form for mail delivery and mail-
return shipment of updated HD Box. Customer would install own HD Box.
2. Customers can call 1-800-XFINITY to schedule COMCAST Tech professional installation
of new HD Box, for a $29.99 service charge. 3. customers can visit COMCAST Store in
North Haven for personal exchange of old HD Box for new HD Box to be self-installed.
There would be no transfer of DVR stored programs to the new HD Box.

Peaches Quinn talked about her personal experience with a Comcast service call for this purpose, stating “I am glad that they did this complicated installation. It did not look easy for a customer to perform.” Peaches describes the language in this letter to customers as “bullying.” Johnes makes a Motion to report this “bullying” language in the letter to PURA if no response from Comcast is forthcoming. Peaches seconded this Motion. Comcast representation is absent from this CTAC meeting, so Tad Weinstein (Chair) indicates to defer vote on this issue until Comacst rep is present. Laurel Coleman asks for clarification on this Comcast policy, and shares a similar experience of her elderly mother and her limited use of technology. Official response from Comcast is desired, not just Comcast Rep response.

Frontier Report given by Steve Gimmell, Frontier Field Manager.
Community Relations: 1. Frontier sponsored JDRF walk at Yale Bowl. 2. Frontier sponsored the Connecticut Family and Music Festival on September 10th at East Shore Park.
Marketing:
Frontier launched “Vantage Sports” on regular channel 60, and HD channel 1600, a channel dedicated to Connecticut sports, predominantly High School, and some College. This channel is run by Noah Finze, formerly of WTNH TV.

Frontier continues build-outs in the New Haven area footprint for Vantage service, including the newly announced “Fiberhouse” service, a direct fiber-to-the-home service with speeds up to
1 Gigabit in the CTV footprint. The first geographic roll-out is in North Haven.

Technical:
PEG Programming update: The acquisition of FIOS properties has better defined the Frontier process of adding and managing the PEG channel process. Frontier expects movement on adding CTV to their line-up within weeks. Statewide Frontier Channel 99 presently has all Connecticut Access programming. New Haven CTV is not yet activated due to technical issues.

Question from George Alexander: “How can spam calls be blocked?” Steve explains the customer process to block unwanted numbers.

Old Business: CTAC Website status:
1. All content from the previous Joomla website had been successfully migrated by Johnes Ruta to a new WordPress website by the April 6, 2016 CTAC meeting.
At that time, George Alexander expressed dissatisfaction that the format and functionality was not identical to the previous Joomla site.

2. Only one Work Proposal has been received for the redesign of the WordPress format and the addition of a Forms entry and Database facility for the CTAC Grant Program and public contest entries. The proposal, from Alexander Design & Photography, is reviewed in detail by the council members. The Proposal Estimate is for $1,000 to $1,200. New member Laurel Coleman asked about the CTAC Budget Allowance for the remaining web design work to be done; Johnes gives a short history of the conversion of the dysfunctional former Joomla website to WordPress (from November through March, for a payment of $225 for 5 months labor.) There is debate over the awarding of a contract to the family member of a CTAC representative. The debate is deadlocked until 7:25, when Tad Weinstein, CTAC Chair, states that a new website is needed quickly in order to accommodate the Grants Forms Entry facility. Johnes makes a Motion to accept the Alexander Design Work Proposal as a contract; Seconded, voted
and carried. Laurel Coleman and George Alexander both abstained. Johnes will provide WordPress Admin and GoDaddy login info to George.
(
Postscript: this info was conveyed by email to George Alexander at 9:51 pm that evening.)

Meeting adjourned at 7:32 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Johnes Ruta (NH).

September 7, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: September 7, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, September 7, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:04.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Johnes Ruta (NH), Peaches Quinn (NH),
George Alexander (H).

CTV representative Joe Schofield was present.

Minutes from the previous meeting were adopted.

Joe Schofield reported that CTV was not yet being cablecast over the Frontier system. He said that one new cable must be laid within the building to get CTV up on the Frontier system. Joe said he sent an email to Frontier representative Steve Gemmell expressing his frustration that CTV had not yet been added to the Frontier system despite more than two years of promises to do so. Joe also noted that volunteer training had been resumed. He also said that CTV had made a personnel reorganization which eliminated the position of the Front Desk attendant. He also said that CTV had put a new computer system in place (Dimeo.com/CTV) which would make it easier for viewers to request retransmissions of CTV programs at times convenient for the viewers. He also said that the new system for retransmission of CTV programs would allow people who took part in a program to make copies of the program for themselves at no cost thus saving CTV resources. In reply to a question by Johnes Ruta Joe said that CTV has the capability to tape or to stream events of public interest in the three municipalities live. Joe said that people seeking to cablecast their events would have to provide CTV at least two weeks notice.

Council members noted that no progress had been made to finish the upgrade of the CTAC website to facilitate ease of use. George pointed out that the CTAC Cable Television Excellence Grant program could not move forward until the grant pre-application was posted to the web site. Peaches Quinn encouraged all Council members to seek out web site developers to hire in order to meet these dual requirements of the CTAC web site. People interested in working as contractors were urged to submit bids in writing which satisfied the Request-for-Proposals which George had generated.

Tad noted that the current one year terms of CTAC officers was about to expire. The Council voted to appoint Johnes Ruta and Ashley Sklar to act as a nominating committee charged with putting forward a slate of candidates for the upcoming year.

The Council voted to hold the annual CTAC Dinner meeting at Carmine’s Restaurant at 1500 Whalley Avenue, New Haven on December 7 beginning at 5:30 pm. Don volunteered to make reservations for 12 people. The Council agreed with Peaches Quinn’s proposal to invite former CTAC member Jenn Sacco to attend as a guest.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Don Levy, CTAC Secretary.

July 6, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: July 6, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:03.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Johnes Ruta (NH), Peaches Quinn (NH),
Ashley Sklar (NH).

Comcast representative Sharon Codeanne and CTV representative Joe Schofield were present.

Minutes from the previous meeting were adopted.

CTV was not yet being cablecast over the Frontier system. Joe Schofield said that one new cable must be laid within the building to get CTV up on the Frontier system. Joe said that per custom no training of new volunteers was being conducted during the Summer. He also said that CTV was in the process of completing its PURA audit. Joe said he would forward the 2015 audit as well as the first quarter 2016 audit via email. Tad indicated that he anticipated that the 2016 PURA audit will seek CTAC input. Due to a short timeline for CTAC input Tad said he would poll members via email for their input.

Sharon presented the Comcast report indicating contributions to the New Haven Public Schools as well as the City of New Haven Youth@Work Program. Comcast awarded scholarships to nine high school students from our area at a May 31st ceremony at the State Capitol.

Because Babz was absent no action was taken on the CTAC Video Grant program. CTAC has been delaying action of hiring someone to work on the website pending a report on this issue which Babz and indicated she would make. Johnes said he would continue to post meeting minutes to the CTAC website.

Tad renewed his call for current council members to be more active in recruiting for the many open positions on the council. Council voted to cancel its August meeting and to meet for its next regular meeting on Wednesday, September 7.

Meeting was adjourned at 6:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Don Levy, CTAC Secretary.

June 1, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: June 1, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:04.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), George Alexander, Treasurer (H), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Johnes Ruta (NH), Peaches Quinn (NH) (6:45 pm8)

Ashley Sklar

No representatives of Comcast, Frontier, or CTV were present.

Minutes from the two previous meetings were adopted.

CTV was not being cablecast over the Frontier system. A CTV worker indicated that progress had been made to add CTV to the Frontier system.

The CTAC website is not yet capable of accepting preliminary applications for the CTAC Grant program. Babz Rawls-Ivy was absent so she could not update the Council regarding whether or not she was able to move this project forward. Johnes said he was too busy to upgrade the website.

Tad renewed his call for current council members to be more active in recruiting for the many open positions on the council.

The Council decided to convene the July meeting as scheduled but did not decide regarding whether or not to hold a regular monthly meeting in August.

Meeting was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Don Levy, CTAC Secretary.

May 4, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: May 4, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:08.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), George Alexander, Treasurer (H), Don Levy, Secretary (H),
Ashley Sklar

Joe Schofield, CTV, Steve Gimmell, Frontier

A quorum was absent therefor no official business was transacted.

Joe Schofield said that a Frontier engineer have made a site visit to CTV in preparation for laying fiber optic cable to provide Frontier subscribers with CTV programs for the first time. Steve Gimmell from Frontier said CTV programs ought to be available to Frontier customers prior to the June CTAC meeting. On behalf of CTAC, Don Levy expressed the Council’s gratitude that CTV programs will soon be available on the Frontier cable system. Joe said that CTV programs are now being produced in High Definition. He said, however, that viewers are only able to access these programs in Standard Definition. Joe asked Steve to look into the possibility that the Frontier system would be capable of cablecasting CTV programs in HD. Joe also said that PEGPETIA equipment grants for the state of Connecticut would no longer be available due to the state’s budget shortfall. Joe indicated that he was spearheading a move in concert with other community cable operators to change the ongoing funding mechanism for the cable operators to provide equitable funding and to provide additional funding for equipment as well as to establish consistent and predictable financial support in light of the shrinking customer base of cable subscribers in general.

Steve Gimmell spoke about Frontier’s new download of the Vantage software. No advance notice of this download had been given to Frontier customers. Because the Vantage software changed many of the at-home cable functions this caused a great deal of confusion and concern among the customer base. Don pointed out that if CTAC had been alerted to this download and had the CTAC website been up and running the CTAC website could have alerted Frontier customers of the change. Don said this missed opportunity to provide service was the most glaring failure of CTAC during the time he has served on the Council. Steve said that once customers learned how to navigate using the Vantage download they would experience enhanced programming opportunities including being able to watch as many as four programs at the same time.

Ashley Sklar said that the mayor of New Haven had told the library director that the Mayor would be informing the Council of her new appointment to fill the CTAC seat vacated by Martha
Brogan.

Meeting ended at 6:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Don Levy, CTAC Secretary.

April 6, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: April 6, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:05.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), George Alexander, Treasurer (H), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Babz Rawls Ivy (NH), Peaches Quinn (Vice-Chair, NH)

Ashley Sklar

Sharon Codeanne, Comcast

The minutes for the March meeting were approved as corrected.

Sharon Codeanne of Comcast said the 15th Annual Comcast Cares Day will be held on Saturday, April 30 at New Haven’s Lincoln-Bassett School. Peaches Quinn inquired as to the status of Comcast resolving its dispute with the YES Network. Sharon said that the matter revolved around the fact that the cost of the YES Network was too high relative to the number of Comcast subscribers using the service.

The Council voted to pay Johnes the second half of the payment for work he did to migrate the CTAC website to the WordPress platform. CTAC will be exploring other options to add an online application for the CTAC Video Grants program. Babz and Peaches said they would reach out to their contacts to determine the cost and time required to perform this task. Don will forward the draft online application form to all to facilitate this addition to the website. George will provide Babz with administrative status on the website to allow her to analyze the steps required to make sure the website is functional and searchable for community members wishing to use it.

Tad indicated that he had hoped Joe from CTV and Steve from Frontier has been present to update the Council on the much discussed and long delayed attempt to have Frontier add CTV programs to its network.

Don indicated that the Council still required a communication from the New Haven Mayor in order to add Ashley Sklar to membership on the Council

The March regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

March 2, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: March 2, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:00.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH),
George Alexander, Treasurer (H),
Don Levy, Secretary (H),
Johnes Ruta (NH).

Ashley Sklar

Joe Schofield, CTV, Sharon Codeanne, Comcast, Steve Gimmell, Frontier

The minutes for the February meeting were approved as submitted.

Sharon Codeanne of Comcast said the 15th Annual Comcast Cares Day will be held on Saturday, April 30 at New Haven’s Lincoln-Bassett School. Other Comcast outreach activities included sponsoring the Urban League Youth Forum in New Haven as well as the United Way New Haven “Read Across America” event on March 2. “Al Jezeera America” will be shut down on April 12. Steve Gimmell from Frontier said no progress has been made in cablecasting CTV programming over the Frontier system. Joe Schofield said he would reach out to the local Frontier office to express hjs and the Council’s disappointment in this regard and to seek a strong commitment to get CTV programs on the Frontier system as quickly as possible. Steve highlighted the fact that Frontier was sponsoring the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade as well as the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk on May 7. Joe Schofield indicated that parking in the CTV lot has become difficult and that CTV will be installing a mechanized gate in order to maintain open spots for CTV personnel and visitor. Joe also indicated that the state budget shortfall was once again pirating funds paid by cable subscribers which had been earmarked for equipment grants via the PEGPETIA mechanism. Joe was also working with his colleagues statewide to establish (via new state legislation) a better formula to provide more consistent funding for the efforts of community cable program producers.

Johnes Ruta said he was about 90 percent finished getting the CTAC website migrated to the WordPress system. He was unable to indicate his charge to add functionality to the CTAC website so that community members could use the site to apply for the CTAC Video Excellence Grants to be awarded during 2016.

The March regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 7:09 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary

February 3, 2016 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven and West Haven
Meeting Date: February 3, 2016

Call to order: A regular monthly meeting of CTAC was held at CTV Offices at 843 State Street, New Haven, Connecticut, on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. President Tad Weinstein presiding. Don Levy Secretary. Meeting called to order at 6:11.

Members in attendance:

Tad Weinstein, Chair (WH), Peaches Quinn, Vice-Chair (NH), George Alexander, Treasurer (H)
Babz Rawls Ivy (NH), Don Levy, Secretary (H), Johnes Ruta (NH)

Ashley Sklar

Steve Gimmell, Frontier

The minutes for the January meeting were approved as submitted.

Steve Gimmell from Frontier said that although CTV programming is not yet available to Frontier cable customers Frontier has acquired the equipment necessary to add CTV programming to its channel line-up. Frontier needs to test the new equipment before it can be put in place. Steve anticipates this will have been accomplished by our March meeting.

Johnes indicated he was pleased with his progress on migrating the CTAC website to the WordPress platform. He acknowledges there were a few kinks remaining to be worked out. The Council decided that each member would examine the new website and submit feedback to Johnes by Wednesday, February 10. Once these final issues are resolved the Council expects to vote on providing the remaining funds to Johnes for his work on the project, perhaps as soon as the March meeting. Johnes also said that he would provide a new estimate of the cost for him to add functionality to the CTAC website so that community members could use the site to apply for the CTAC Video Excellence Grants to be awarded during 2016.

Chair Weinstein presented the 2015 Advisory Council Annual Report to be submitted to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. The council accepted the report as submitted. Chair Weinstein also submitted the 2016 Proposed CTAC Budget. The Council approved the 2016 Proposed Budget.

Don indicated that he would forward the draft press release to Babs Rawls Ivy as soon as the website was capable of processing grant applications.

The February regular meeting of CTAC was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by D. Levy, CTAC secretary