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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.


  1. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. I can't recall who said that first, but Mr. Lingras seems to be heeding that advice. I suspect he wants to gather information to help himself weasel into another term on the board. He is by all accounts the least popular coordinator. And from my vantage point seems a bit to eager to be our "leader" for what appears to be all the wrong reasons. I would strongly suggest to all members to not write to his personal site, and instead write to the board as a whole, or to this blog. Personally, I can't wait for the next election.

  2. Another famous quote by plato: "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men"

    It could easily be stated that we're in the pickle we're in because of apathy on the part of the membership in recent elections in that not enough people expressed an interest in being on the board to require having an actual election. While I may not have been happy with the results of the last election, at least there was one. And I can guarantee that there will be one this year. People are rightly concerned about the state of the Saints. It is not in anyones best interests nor those of the organization to let Andy highjack the Saints to satisfy his own personal goals.

    To read a more lenghthy comment on his missive to the membership, check out the recent posting on the Volunteer Ushers Discusson Group page mentioned in last January posting

  3. Right after Andy Lingras sent out the new suggestions email I send him a suggestion that he resign as Symphony coordinator because he had too much else to do and it was taking too long to get requests filled. He replied asking if I knew of someone who could help him! What a joke. I had thought that email was going to the whole Board until I talked to a Board Member. We need a more democratic Saints org.

  4. I was one of 12 observers at the Feb. 7 Board meeting and the answer to the question, Democracy or Dictatorship?, was painfully clear.

    Andy doesn't run a meeting working with the other members as fully contributing individuals. Instead he rules the meeting and allows no criticism directed toward him. Sadly the current Board has become dysfuntional. But toward the end of the meeting when he posed a question and solicited responses from the other members, he pointedly did not allow Deb Granite to speak, saying that he wouldn't recognize her because she had been disruptive.

    Democracy? Not in your wildest pipe dreams.

  5. When ou guys comment that the board is dysfunctional, consider the members of it. (And my list does not eliminate several descriptions for any one person.)
    (a) does not accept votes and keeps bringing up things which have been decided;
    (b) decides which rules to follow - - our bylaws do not help in this situation;
    (c) spends a lot of time with nit-picking
    (d) is not a team player;
    (e) no sense of humor;
    (f) does not tke justified criticism well;
    (g) tries to tell others how to do their jobs;
    (h) thinks the Saints is a Fortune 500 company;
    (i) more interested in power than helping the organization;
    (j) predictable voter - - no surprises; mind is made up before discussion happens;
    (k) tired of the whole thing; too much like Washington politics, causing stalemate;

  6. It's easy to make remarks, some of which I agree with, and to trivialize some very important issues under a cloak of anonymity. I find it a bit tiring to read posts from people that are not the least bit interested in having a dialogue or serious converation about their observations and opinions.

    Let's talk about the facts rather than sum this up with some superficial, and in many cases, meaningless observations. An election is coming up soon, and it is important to talk about the facts rather than take shots at the board.

  7. This is a followup to a question I asked at the most recent Memebership meeting. The question was directed to Andy Lingras in response his stated goal listed in his email to the membership
    earlier this month (& also discussed at the last board meeting). I asked why he felt the need to effectively dismantle the grants program by making a radical change to the dues structure to allow people to “opt out” of the portion of dues that has gone to provide arts grants, equating it with opting out of the hardcopy spotlight. I also asked why this was something that was listed as a goal to be accomplished by the end of this fiscal year as I was unaware of any hue & cry from the membership to do such a thing, nor was I aware of ever being asked my opinion on this. He stated that “there would be a discussion of this at some time in the future” & that nothing was decided (it was unclear whether this had been discussed with any other board members). He indicated that the Saints had “drifted into our current position of providing grants” & that it was not consistent with our charter. I respectfully & vehemently disagree with this position. Our incorporation with the Secretary of State’s office, list us as a Non-For-Profit Charitable Organization.
    Nothing vague or open to interpretation in that. Our “conversation” got cut short as the meeting was running long. I've posted a letter on this subject (too long for a blog comment) that I sent to the entire board on the discussion forum. If you want to know more about this, check it out. I find it ironic that someone who purportedly doesn't actually usher, wants to change the mission of the organization to be that of a fraternal/social/ushering organization with no grant function. I see this current position as nothing more than a re-election ploy so that he can claim that "he reduced your dues". Do not be fooled by this game that he is playing. The integrity of the Saints is at stake. I also signed it (this blog comment, the discussion forum posting & my email to the board) with my name as I do not believe that anything is accomplished by posting anonymously. If you believe in what you are saying you should have no fear about signing your name.