by George Eynon,
we have taken on a responsibility to represent the members
in our constituencies, and we need your input. I know we are all
busy people, but we do need to hear from you. At the end of my
column in the January Delegates' Voice I asked you -- the
Delegates, (and Members, too) -- to tell us what you think about
the fact that candidates for Office and Honors and Awards have
been the targets of character assassination during discussions
under the protection of executive session in the AC in
the past. I received only a handful of responses, most
thanking me for raising the issue. I also received one phone call
and one e-mail -- both from Denver-based past presidents who are
current members of the AC -- in favor of the use of executive
session. Ray Thomasson called to comment that I only presented
one side of the issue, and Robbie Gries sent an e-mail. (As well,
Rick Fritz tells me there have been several questions of him asking,
"what is going on with the AC?")
is the gist of Robbie Gries' response, in favor of continued
use of executive session…
should keep the option open to have (AC) deliberations in "Executive
Session." People do not accurately repeat statements made...
they give it their own inflection, their own emphasis...the
old "gossip" syndrome. If AC members are free to discuss what
someone else said…it is very likely that they, either inadvertently
or intentionally, can "misquote" or "imply" a meaning that was
not at all suggested… This can do an immense amount of harm.
By having…an Executive Session… we can avoid gossip and misquoting
In my experience on the AC, I have been very fortunate to have
not heard anyone making… an "assassination of character". I
am sorry that was your experience. …I have seen some of the
highest awards go to members for whom there was back and forth,
pro and con, discussion regarding their merit. Statements made
which …strongly questioned the member's merit did not sway the
majority… decision to give the award. ‰We have a pretty intelligent
and knowledgeable group here. They can almost always sort out
what seems to be relevant and not relevant.
The AC is not required to go into "Executive Session. They choose
to…by a majority vote, as is directed in Roberts Rules of Order...by
which the AC…is governed.
the problem is with some of the procedures employed -- and
ignored -- in AC deliberations, and not usually with the people
we elect to the AC to represent us. Two years ago an AC sub-committee
on Confidentiality made four recommendations that were unanimously
accepted and included in the AC guidelines for conduct of business.
One of the most important was…
Advisory Council affirms that the privileges of executive session
bear the responsibility of appropriateness of discussion of individual
candidates, and requires the Chair provide appropriate control
of discussion and censure of abuse of those privileges.
non-adherence to these tenets that caused problems in the past
-- inappropriateness of comments, poor control of discussion and
lack of censure of those who abused the privileges of executive
session. The three past presidents who serve on the AC chair its
various functions and are therefore responsible for controlling
discussion; it is their job to make sure this doesn't happen 9gain.
Our elected AC representatives must all object to inappropriate
comments and behaviour.
the AC voting procedure for Honors and Awards and officer candidate
nominations probably needs to be changed. As it is now, the
procedure lends itself to abuse by negative voting -- placing
a name at the bottom of the list in order to advance a second,
rival candidate and contributing to the failure of the first.
A positive voting mechanism -- simply rank-ordering only
your top one-third candidates, for example -- would prevent that
folks we elect to the AC are quite capable of managing their own
affairs; if they do that properly it will preclude the need to
legislate a solution.