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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Exercise Your Vote - Don't Become Complacent

If you check the Home page of the Saints' website, you will see that there is no telephone number or e-mail address listed for Jim Venskus or Deborah Granite, and Hugh Spencer's contact information is not there at all. At least, there is no longer an attempt to intercept my e-mail, but it is obvious that we still don't have open government. Directors are being treated differently if they are not part of the "selected board."

I am pleased to see that many of you are reading this blog and contacting me directly. Stay tuned. No one can stop you from reading what is here, even if some board members make it difficult for you to contact us or for us to contact you.

Express your opinion by voting on the survey question that is posted to the left of this posting. There are only a few more days that you can express your opinion about this question. It is my contention that there is a potential conflict of interest if one is both a coordinator and a board member.

A coordinator controls whether you can be signed up for a specific show, and can also stop you from future ushering at the venue where they schedule ushers. There currently are no guidelines as to what actions may cause a coordinator to make a member "persona non grata" (no longer able to usher) at a venue, nor is there an appeal process. As long as these guidelines don't exist, and as long as we hear of inconsistent application of this status against members, we know that a board member might abuse their power as a coordinator. Having such a strike against you can also jeopardize your "member in good standing" status and disqualify you from being a candidate for the Board.

Perception is almost as important as practice - and many of you have expressed fear about your ushering privileges being taken away or negative consequences for expressing a "dissenting" opinion. Speak up and vote on the survey. Post comments. Let the board know how you feel.


  1. I agree with some of what you say, but not on this one. If ALL coordinators are required to follow established guidelines and are held accountable, there will be no conflict of interest if a board member is also a coordinator.

    The problem is that guidelines do not exist. Nobody's fault, really, the number of coordinators has grown quickly over the past few years. ALL coordinators, not just board members who are coordinators, follow whatever they have established for themselves as rules. In my opinion, many coordinators are very fair and are doing an excellent job. Others, I question their rational. Without a forum to question the coordinators or defend oneself, it is unfair to the members. I am talking about ALL coordinators, not just the half dozen or so on the board. Actually, I think it is a good thing if board members are coordinators, too. It keeps them intimately involved with the constant 24/7 responsibilities of the people helping to run the group.

  2. The problem is that if board members are also coordinators, there's no independent arbiter to hold a board member accountable. This requires the board to police itself & that hasn't been too effective as this past year has shown. As long as a coordinators action is absolute, there's no place to which to appeal a personna-nongratae designation & declaration of personna-nongratae leads to one being declared a "member not in good standing" & therefore ineligible to run for the board, the policy is ripe for abuse. When I hear folks saying they won't usher at a venue for fear or getting on the wrong side of a board member & potentially being delcared personna non-gratae, I can only assume that the current system is broke.

    Another problem with requiring board members to be coordinators is that not all of us are retired. Some of us do work - full time & to require people to be a coordinator in addition to their time on the board would limit involvement. You would think that the board would want to encourage more folks to get involved by being coordinators, instead with board members coordinating 8-10 venues themselves, that leave fewer opportunities. If the board really wants to get in touch with their constituency, they can usher more or try listening to what members have to say at membership meetings (now there's a radical thought, actually talk to members, encourage diaglogue at membership meetings!)