Wednesday, October 25, 2006

reports from a pip squeek on the wormy apple

There is something rotten in NY.. The Big Apple Knitting Guild has grown to be a rather wormy apple.
Last year, (an election year) the ballots defined the responsibilities of elected officers.



  • The Presidents job was to hold regular monthly meetings.
  • The Treasures job, to present reports at every meeting (to the board) and quarterly reports to the members.
  • The secretary job to record the minutes at meetings.
  • The vice president presides at meeting that the president misses, and assists the president in performing duties.

(are these requirements a surprise to anyone?)

There are other posts, program chairs, membership chairs, an editor of the newsletter (city purls) a webmaster, a librarian, and a few others.
The By-laws of the guild require that there be 4 individuals in the top four executive positions.
(A VP can’t also be a treasurer--but a VP could be a webmaster. Or a membership chair could also be (and right now is) a webmaster
The By-laws also require that, for both board and general meeting , Roberts rules of order be used as a guideline for how to conduct a meeting.

Really is any of this radical? Unusual? Difficult to understand? I mean I tend to think knitters are superior thinkers. And besides, these rules are ones most of use are familiar with from PTA’s or Co-op/Condo boards, or other civic associations.. Even church organizations tend to have similar rules.
Now as for the BAKG.. Well the president hasn’t held a meeting of the board for over 7 months.. (yes, that’s right SEVEN months.. OK, to be fair, we don’t have a regular (general membership) meeting in August, so maybe we should let that one month pass.
Still there were no meeting of the governing Board in April, May, June, July, September, and October.
Did I mention that the By-laws state that any executive member who misses 3 consecutive meeting is deemed to have resigned (unless there are special circumstance to consider.) So when the President fails to convene meetings for 6 months, it would seem, to a general observer, that she (or he) has resigned, right?

No meeting means there have been no treasurers reports for these months, and none have been made available to the general membership, either as a report to review at a general meeting or published in the membership newsletter.

These are clear cut, easy to document facts.

Oh by way, the president hasn’t bothered to attend the last 3 general membership meeting . She did attend September’s Annual Luncheon.. (a guild activity that cost another $35 over and above the general membership dues) where she no doubt attended free.
(Actually, I think she should be comp’ed the lunch, since as a hostess, she is really required to “work” during the meeting.. I just think that it should be recorded in the minutes (that is, recorded after someone has made a motion to that effect, the motion has been seconded, put to a vote, and passed! I mean, isn’t that the standard way thing are done?)

It gets worse. The elected treasurer resigned. --life happens.. A job transfer out of state made it impossible for her to attend meeting.

What happened next? Well obviously, the board didn’t meet to discuss, nominate and appoint a new treasurer.. (remember there haven’t been any Board meetings.)
Instead, the president (contrary to the club by laws) had her name added to the guild’s checking account. --and the she announced (with out discussing it with anyone) that the former (previous term) treasurer would be the new treasurer.

Well, that might work---except the former treasurer failed for the 2 years of previous term (Jan 2004 to Dec. 2006) to present any treasurer reports (she might have had telephone conversations with the president, but nothing was presented in writing. She also didn’t attend any meetings (she too, had moved out of state!)
Well, to be fair, she might have sent reports but if there was any thing ever presented, it was not mentioned in the minutes of meetings. Certainly, nothing was ever presented to the membership (not even an end of year fiscal report.) and nothing was printed in the newsletter.

So the “treasurer” has a well documented history.. (and its not a good one.)
And to be honest, I heard her describe her self as “Sorta, quasi, acting treasurer” (talk about modifying adjectives!)
So while we ‘sorta’ have treasurer, the real power (the check writing and signing) is in the hands of the president.
And she reports to no one.
So basically the elected board of the guild is non functioning.

Any attempt to raise these issues are considered a personal attack on the president.
Her close friends and supporters (a small cliché of women) maintain she doesn’t have to report to the board or to hold board meetings.
Nor does she have to follow the by laws. And what’s more, when someone confronted her, the direct responce from her cohorts was "if (they) didn’t like the current state of affairs, to quit" other options included being told to “shut the F*** up” , that she was crazy (psychotic), that she was an A**H***, and saving the best for last, that she was from Queens. (oh yes, a transplant from the south, thinks the that people from Queens don’t quite rate as a NY’er. (no doubt she rates herself a real NYer.)

Isn’t that a nice piece of work! These comments obvious reflect a well thought out position, and shouldn’t be construed as personal attacks--yeah, that’s right, asking elected leadership to do the job they have taken on is a personal attack, but name calling is OK.

What does the general membership think? I mean, am I just disgruntled pip squeek?
Well 5 years ago, there were over 500 general members. Now there are just under 250 members .

5 years ago general membership meetings had 75 to 100 members in attendance. You had to get to the meetings early to get a seat.
Now, we consider 35 a good crowd! Some recent meeting have even had 25 members in attendance.

At a time when interesting in knitting is growing by leaps and bounds, the BAKG is hemorrhaging members.

Is the general membership dissatisfied? I think we can safely say they have voted with their feet!
I suppose I could too, but then, why should I? After all, don’t I have a responsibility to the organization to help make it run right?
What have your experiences been?
Afraid of retaliation? Post anonymously.
Do you support the current leadership? Feel free to say why.
Profane and vulgar remarks will be edited or removed, but all opinions are welcome.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is reassuring to read your words
about the BAKG, and apparent takeover by the President. I am one of the members who has "voted with her feet" and let my membership expire, since the comraderie and general sense of women coming together to share their craft was not visible in the meetings. Since Inever attended Board Meetings I felt I hadn't the right to complain about leadership that is essentially volunteer. However, if there is suspicion that monies are not accounted for, and by-laws are being ignored, how is it that no one else has been elected to be the new President?

2:52 AM, November 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, some one has exposed the bakg. HOORAY!!
I have served on the board B.C. (Before Claire). The early board members worked very hard to establish the guild, find great guest speakers, plan the retreat and get the best teachers available. The retreat was always profitable and attendence at the luncheon grew to 100+. Members looked forward to guild activities.
Why haven't the majority of guild members called a special election for a new board? Do they even know about the by-laws or been given a copy?
Who monitors the honesty of the elections? Who verifies that ALL candidates are on the ballot? Candidates names have gotten lost in the past couple of elections.
At my last attended meeting, I wanted to know what the justification was for raising dues when, at that time, there was about 16k in the treasury. The only response I got was from Claire's cronies who stood up and called me "hostile".
I've had to ask several times for a financial statement. When one was finally produced, it was incomplete. What were they trying to hide? Since I could never get a straight answer, I had had enough and dropped out. If there was nothing to hide, then why resist disclosing a full financial statement.
I miss the old bakg days.

10:07 AM, November 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not get rid of claire....I was a member that left, as many others have for the same reason..she should know she is not wanted, we can then have a good BAKG again and all get back together.

9:38 PM, November 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen Griffin delete these lies.
Helen Griffin remove this blog.
Helen Griffin knitting designer
Helen Griffin also Golden-Apples on Facebook
Helen Griffin of golden-apples.blogspot
Helen Griffin pattern writing
Helen Griffin socks
Sign your name to this Helen Griffin
Make your name public please

10:11 AM, April 10, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen Griffin did you win this?
Helen Griffin knitting designer are you proud of this nonsense?

10:13 AM, April 10, 2013  

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