This afternoon, I received official notification that my membership has been reinstated by the Saints Board of Directors. I am not sure what this means at this time, and am in the process of making some personal decisions as to how I want to proceed. I am not sure what the sudden change in the Board's position means.
Important Comment: It does not please me to report this but there has been tampering with my e-mail address on the Home page of the Saints website. On the afternoon of Thursday, September 17, someone changed my e-mail address so that e-mails that someone wanted to send to me went to the office e-mail instead (an e-mail address which I can no longer access). Mysteriously, the e-mail was changed back about eight hours later. I was alerted to the "dirty trick" by a fellow Saints member, and saw it myself. I strongly recommend that people be very cautious when using addresses that are being published right now - you might think you are communicating with a person and actually be sending your e-mails to someone else.
You also should note that there is still no contact information for board member, Jim Venskus. In addition, Hugh Spencer's name does not appear at all on the public contact list. I don't like to make people afraid but there is still strong evidence that one must be very cautious and not let their guard down. If you want everyone on the board to know about something, please send it to the entire board. Do not depend on board members to share information with each other because it might not happen.
It is most disappointing to write this but it is not time to celebrate. There is still a need to hold the leadership accountable and get answers to many questions.
A number of Saints members have asked whether the reinstatement of my membership means that I have been reinstated to the board. It is my contention that I never left the board, and the board is aware of my position. The President, BJ Nelson, received a letter with copies to the rest of the board, in July that is still unanswered. In that letter, I asked that they either immediately allow me to continue in my elected role or have their actions reviewed by an attorney. Had they answered my letter, I would not have needed to create this blog or make my concerns public.
I want to encourage people to continue coming to board meetings, requesting minutes and financial statements, and communicating with the board. It will help the organization if more of you step up your involvement. Don't allow my reinstatement to make you complacent, and remember that it was your letters and voices that have already resulted in some significant changes.
This year, only 250 people voted. I am hoping that we will see the number of members who vote increase now that people see how much their vote can matter.
Last night, there were nine observers at the Board meeting (I was not there). Perhaps some of them will post what they observed on this site, or comment on the direction that they hope the Board will take. I am hoping that people will continue being active in the organization and realize that their opinions matter.
I want to thank many of you for reaching out to me and spending time trying to understand all the issues. Some of you disagree with me, and that's fine. I learn from hearing other points of view, and hope you feel the same way about hearing mine. I am available to answer any questions that you may have and ready to listen to your feedback (positive and negative).
People have worked hard to make some changes, and some of them are already quite measureable. But there is still a great deal of work to do. People are still afraid to communicate freely. Many members know that this is about far more than revoking my membership in order to work around the Illinois Not for Profit Act and remove me from the Board - it is about members having the right to express opinions without fear of reprisal. It's about an organization that will be richer for recognizing that there are many points of view. It's about treating members fairly and with respect.
There is a general membership meeting planned for Tuesday, September 29. The speaker will be Robert Falls, the Goodman's artistic director. The meeting will be held at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts at 9501 Skokie Boulevard from 7pm to 9 pm. Please make sure you attend.