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.