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Monday, March 1, 2010

"SaintsVoice?" NOT!

On page 4 of the February and March Spotlight, there is a new e-mail heading on the list of contact information called SPEAK OUT. Next to this heading is a newly created e-mail address that was recently announced in the Cyberline. The address is also publicized on page 29 and states "Speak out on the Saints and get a response." There is no explanation that e-mail sent to this address goes directly to the President, Andy Lingras, and no other board member. I believe that establishing this e-mail address and publicizing it as the place to express one's viewpoints about the Saints is deceptive, an attempt to cut the board off from the membership, as well as self-serving. As many of you may have heard, Mr. Lingras' two year term will be expiring on May 31st, and if he wishes to stay on the board, he will have to run in a contested election.

The establishment of this address did not receive board approval and is another example of Andy Lingras’ abuse of presidential power. Mr. Lingras already has at least three active e-mail addresses that are publicized in the Spotlight - one with his own name as a Board Contact, one as the CSO Coordinator, and one as the Cyberline contact. One would think that people have enough ways to send an e-mail to the President. But Mr. Lingras has created an additional e-mail that appears as though it is the primary vehicle for voicing one's opinions about the organization.

Two members of the Board, Jim Venskus and I, have had our names removed from the Contact List on the website. That is 25% of your Board's voting directors. When asked about the fact that two elected board members are not listed, Mr. Lingras' response was that members could look for our e-mail address in the Spotlight.

I think we have an answer to the question – Democracy or Dictatorship? Take the extra time to send your e-mail to each of the eight board members if you want your voice to truly be heard.


  1. It was evident at the recent membership meeting that many members were under the impression that this "new" email address was a convenient way to address the entire board. Andy finally had to admit that this email address only went to him. His justification was that this was to protect the members identity and eliminate any fear of retribution for expressing their opinions. The implication being that only Andy could be counted on to hear members complaints without fear of payback. If I were any of the other board members, I would be extremely offended by his implication.

    If a new email address was needed it should have been one to contact the entire board with a single email. The current email program on the ClubExpress website is very user unfriently as the drop down menu only allows you to select a single contact person at a time & there is no mechanism to email Deb & Jim from the website. Maybe some of the board isn't interested in hearing from the membership, but I know for a fact that is not the case for all board members. Every computer has a nifty key on it labeled [DELETE], if a board member wasn't interested in hearing what the membership has to say, they could just make use of that key.

    Unfortunately, this is yet another example of the way some on this board have attempted to limit members access to the board as a whole & discourgage conversation with select board members.

  2. I am very interested in hearing from the membership - and all points of view. I have asked Andy Lingras to restore Jim's and my name to the website but he refuses to do so. He says that our failure to sign the confidentiality agreement is his reason. I believe that it's a form of control. I was elected in the last election in a contested race. My vote on the board counts as much as anyone else's and people have a right to communicate with all of the board members.

    I don't understand why Mr. Lingras feels he has to protect people from writing to someone if they choose to do so. Anyone who knows me knows that I am very careful about protecting confidentiality. In fact, he has frequently pressured me to provide him names of people who have written to me, and I have refused unless I have their permission to share their name.

    There is a way to send e-mails to the entire board but some of our Board members don't want it to be set up that way. You may have noticed that the e-mail addresses of most coordinators and committee members have been removed from the Saints' official website.

    I prefer to think it is an innocent error - but I tend to doubt it.

    The Club Express services, which we all pay for, can provide many features that are not being utilitized by our organization. There is a capability for electronic voting (we could still mail ballots to those without computer access), a membership forum, easy ways to populate your e-mail with addresses of board members and coordinators, and much more.

    Upon request, I will provide any member links to other Club Express sites so you can compare them with ours. Of course, you will be limited to viewing only those portions available to the public but you will quickly see that those sites provide far more information to the general public than our site provides to our dues paying members.

  3. It has become clear to many of the members that the president of the Saints believes the misguided idea that he 'runs' the Saints - when in fact his role is to accomplish the approved goals of the Board of Directors of the Saints; not the other way around.

    Many thanks to the many, many members who are writing to the full board with your comments and commenting on your displeausre with recent actions inappropriately taken by the president.