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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Saints Membership Meeting

Last night, about seventy-five Saints members came to a general membership meeting at the Raven Theatre to hear Jeffrey Marks, a Chicago attorney, talk with us about the Jeff Committee. He gave us insight into how the committee works, some of the unique challenges of the Chicago Theater community, and how the Jeff Committee has evolved over the years. We are so lucky to live in Chicago and have access to what many believe to be the best theater town in the world.

Our speaker was followed by another Question and Answer session with the Saints Board of Directors. Prior to the session, members submitted questions to specific board members on index cards. The session was presided over by our Interim President, Andy Lingras. It seemed that he had difficulty reading the many questions that were submitted, and did not provide specifics when responding. Instead, he told members that the board would be making decisions and sharing results in the near future – even though some of these questions have been asked repeatedly for months and months. He also used the time to promote some of his goals for the Saints, one of which is to make the portion of our dues that goes toward funding grants to the performing arts community “optional.”

Andy seems to have forgotten that there are seven other board members, and continues to use the Cyberline and membership meetings to promote his personal agenda. It is sad that the Bylaws were pushed through last year. The haste with which these bylaws were developed, and the limited input from members other than Mr. Lingras, have been obvious to many of us over and over again. Now, rather than follow the bylaws that he crafted, he is proposing that we vote to amend them at our next general membership meeting.

The bylaws do not protect member rights at all. There is no recourse for stopping Mr. Lingras from using Robert’s Rules when he feels like it and ignoring them when he doesn’t, pushing through a takeover of the organization when the Presidency unexpectedly became vacant, calling for executive sessions for inappropriate reasons, deciding who on the board can access information and how it may be used, controlling board meeting agendas, establishing and promoting an e-mail address that can only be accessed by him, and instructing board members as to what they may or may not say to the membership.

Members: If you care about the Saints, then reclaim your organization by asking to attend the next board meeting which is scheduled for Saturday, March 6th at 10 am. Come to the next membership meeting on Monday, March 22 at 7pm. And most importantly, meet the new candidates at the April meeting and VOTE.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Democracy or Dictatorship?

Have you noticed that there seems to be a very strong leadership presence in our “democratic” organization? You don’t hear from two of the eight board members , Deb Granite and Jim Venskus, much anymore, and it isn’t easy to find our contact information.

Today, the Cyberline had a request for you to send your concerns, etc. to our new board President, Andy Lingras, at a brand new address. This new address also appears on the last page of the February Spotlight. He also shared with you his “personal” goals that include making the part of dues that fund grants to the performing arts community optional.

What is the reason that you are being encouraged to circumvent our board of directors, and correspond with the newly elected Saints President directly?

Why does this board member have a direct communication line with the membership, but other board members are advised that it is a violation of confidentiality to correspond with Saints members about anything other than ushering?

How did this individual become the President, and how did each of the board members vote?

What is his past experience and what not for profit "business" did he work for during the seven years that is referenced in today’s Cyberline?

Why is this individual setting up a private mail box rather than encouraging people to share their views and concerns with the board at large?

Why isn't this individual utilizing the forum capabilities on Club Express (it was used to solicit tributes for BJ)?

Remember to send all correspondence to the entire board of directors and not to a single individual. That way, you can be sure that your correspondence will be seen by the entire Saints Board of Directors.