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Friday, March 19, 2010

Change in Leadership

The board meeting scheduled for the morning of March 6 convened with a quorum but three board members, all of them officers, did not show up. They had sent their resignations to the Saints membership during the night. Those of us who came to the board meeting had not received an agenda from Mr. Lingras, although we knew that there were many time sensitive issues that needed attention. Many of us had submitted agenda items to the President, and we expected him to be there. Some of the agenda items included setting dues for 2010-2011, selection of an election commission, passing a budget, and getting an update on the financial reports which are long overdue.

The Board of Directors advised the many observers that we would begin with a brief executive session. Observers were asked to please stick around because they would be invited back to observe our meeting as soon as we had finished selection of officers and an election commission, which will become operational if there are more candidates than board vacancies. The board elected two interim officers, Hugh Spencer as President and Jim Venskus as Secretary. No Treasurer has been appointed yet, however discussions and contacts have been made. Hopefully, the position will be filled at our next board meeting. In addition, we appointed board members and a coordinator to handle certain responsibilities on an interim basis – The appointments are as follows:

CSO Coordinator – Hugh Spencer
Grant Committee Liaison – Jim Venskus
Membership Coordinator – Deborah Granite
Coordinator Liaison – Deborah Granite
Cyberline Editor - Ray Rasane, a coordinator for 16th Street

Mark Jeffries will continue as Communications Chair and Spotlight Editor, and Lorraine Edelstein will continue as Program Chair. She will also manage the Appreciation Event.

The five board members in attendance (Hugh Spencer, Jim Venskus, Mark Jeffries, Lorraine Edelstein and Deborah Granite) voted to keep the dues at the same amount as last year - $45 for renewals postmarked or paid by credit card before June 1, and $65 for new members and renewals postmarked or paid by credit card on or after June 1. Rates for mailed subscriptions to the Spotlight have not yet been determined.

We are still in the process of obtaining the information necessary to ensure a smooth transition. Bank account access needs to be transferred, a Treasurer needs to be appointed, and information from those who have handled the above responsibilities for the past nine months needs to be transferred to those of us who will see that the organization continues to operate smoothly. This is the busiest time of year due to membership renewals, influx of new members who want to join at the beginning of the fiscal year, decisions regarding the awarding of grants, preparation of next year’s budget, elections, as well as an annual meeting for coordinators, the annual membership meeting, an appreciation luncheon, and the BJ Nelson Memorial event. Those who attended the last board meeting are working diligently to make sure that everything is handled but we will need patience and support from the membership. We also hope that the board members who resigned as officers will help ensure that both this transition and the May 31 transition is seamless.

Members need to step forward and run for office (it looks like there will be six vacancies on the board – five two year positions and a one year position). Andy Lingras has stated that he will not be seeking re-election however we have not heard from all of the board members whose terms will expire on May 31, 2010. Letters of intent are to be sent to the Saints President no later than April 1. Instructions for submitting a letter of intent are contained in the March 19th Cyberline and on the Saints website.

I am hopeful that the official Saints communication sources which include the Cyberline, the Spotlight and the Saints website will be your primary information source. I am also hopeful that the forum option on the website will be activated as soon as our Board re-convenes and has a chance to discuss the process for moderating it. Until then, feel free to post your comments here or on the Volunteer Ushers' Discussion Group - Saints. There is a link at the top of this site, and you can also subscribe to receive e-mails when there are posts to the Discussion Group.

In addition, I am hopeful that we will establish clear guidelines regarding the appropriate use of official Saints communications. The membership directory has been used by certain individuals without going through proper channels. For right now, I want to encourage people to communicate with all board members by logging onto the Saints website, and clicking on “contact us” at the top of the home page. You will now be able to send an e-mail to all of the board members by selecting “Board of Directors” in the drop down box.

Also, be sure to attend the general membership meeting on Monday, March 22 at 7:00 pm at Northeastern Illinois University Recital Hall. Our speaker is a terrific actor, Karen Aldridge, who you may have seen at Chicago Shakespeare, Next, Goodman, Steppenwolf or Writers' Theater. You may sign up for ushering opportunities, ask questions of the board, meet coordinators, and meet fellow Saints' members. Parking in the indoor garage is free. Refer to the Cyberline or the Spotlight for additional details.

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