Thursday, November 30, 2006

Do you read all the comments?

A recent comment:
Why don't you just go to a guild meeting and publicly demand an accounting in a forthright manner? Keep going and politely demand an accounting until something is done. I think your behavior is passive-aggressive: an anonymous blog that rips someone to shreds is not going to accomplish the goal.

Valid, perfect valid.
Let’s go through line by line.
Why don't you just go to a guild meeting and publicly demand an accounting in a forthright manner?
This has been done. Not once, not twice, but repeatedly.
Members ask why we aren’t receiving treasure reports and other information, and Madam President curtly replies. “this is not open for discussion now” If an other member repeats the question, her reply is “asked and answered” (but, in reality, the question hasn’t been answered, its been ignored.)
Ask again, and Friends of Madam President chine in and say “You are disrupting the meeting!”
After a while the questioner gets disgusted and quits. 200 member have quit in 2 years.
--(did you see The Wormy Apple: An Apple Polisher Speaks up? (see November archives, Nov 1st entry) Former board members who have worked with the current Madam President ECHO, this Pip’s concerns. They don’t stand up to defend her.

Keep going and politely demand an accounting until something is done.
Madam President won’t even give an accounting to her other members of her board.
One board member called for a special meeting to address the Pip’s (and other pip’s) concerns, and Madam President refuses to have a meeting.
We’ve tried polite. It got us no where.

I think your behavior is passive-aggressive: an anonymous blog that rips someone to shreds is not going to accomplish the goal.
Am I ripping her to shreds? Have I called her a thief? NO.
Am I suspicious? Damn right I am. If she has nothing to hide why is she hiding not just from general members but at this point from her own board?

As I said above, a board member approached Madam President and attempted to set up a Board meeting to discuss issues raised by the Pip and others and Madam President refuses to attend such a meeting. And Board meetings that used to be regularly held just before General meetings are not either not held, or held in secret.

How is a member suppose to raise this issue quietly and politely when, for 7 months there were no Board meetings to raise it at? And when a board meeting was final convened (after the Pip pointed out there had been No meetings!) it was held in secret. (With a scant 24 hours notice to board members?)

How is a member supposed to accomplishing anything when for 3 (our of 10 general meetings this year) Madam President hasn’t even shown up?

How is a member supposed to accomplish or ask anything when at the October meeting, THERE WASN’T A SINGLE MEMBER OF THE BOARD IN ATTENDANCE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEETING?

The By-Laws BAR an executive officer from holding 2 posts, yet when the duly elected Treasurer resigned, Madam President had her name added to the Guild’s bank account, --and simultaneously stopped having Board meetings!

She set her self up as ‘treasurer’ and took hold of the Guild funds, and stopped meeting with the board. She sends out notices for guild functions (and runs ads for her business in the notices!) and directs members to send money’s to her.

So she collects, she deposits (hopefully!) and she writes checks, and she answers to no one.

The Pip is a nom de plume, but it is an open blog.

Your comments have value (and you are not the only one who has expressed concern that this is not the best way to deal with the BAKG issues.--just the first to offer them as a comment in writing. ) But other avenues have been tried.

This is not the first choice, nor the second choice, it is a last ditch effort to get something done.

Madam President has at her disposal many means to address these issues.

The BAKG has a Yahoo message group (only open to BAKG Members)
She has meetings, she is responsible for a Presidents Letter in every issue of the CityPurls, (the guild newsletter). She could post a response here.

The Pip didn’t delete your comments, --the Pip is not interested in censorship.

She does nothing
......--except sit back and wait for members to quit.
President
, of this organization, of almost any organization,
is a term of office that is SERVED.
.....Her responsibility is to MEMBERSHIP.
.....She is not acting responsible.
.....She is not serving the members or the guild.
.....She, more than anyone else, has shut done all means of
.........communication.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Every Single Penny

should be accounted for--Don’t you agree?
Madam President, we are still waiting.
Your self imposed deadline has come and gone, and still we are waiting.
You can stall, you can delay, but we are not going away.

Every day there are more and more members reading what this little pip has to say, and every day, more and more members are squeeking along with this pip. (Did you see the counter? Lots of people are looking, there are lots of silent pips.)

Our Madam President? I guess she is still engaged in her creative writing exercise.
I mean a treasurer report is pretty simple.
It shows income (membership, workshops, the retreat , the luncheon)
It shows outgo, (members services like meeting notices, room fees, CityPurls)
Its shows gain or loss.

In a year, The BAKG can’t be writing more than 100 checks.
12 months to the year, but there is no meeting in August, so 11 printing fee checks, 11 postage checks, 11 labels/printing labels checks, That’s 3 checks every month for meeting notices.
7 times a year, room fee checks--since twice a year the meetings are at Mickie’s, and 1 month there is the luncheon, 1 month is the retreat.
6 times a year (or in this year 5) 3 checks, (printing, postage, labels) for CitiPurls

Once a year, a half checks for the retreat. One each for the deposit, a partial payment, a full payment, and finally compensation checks for the instructors. Don’t forget we’ve already counted the checks for printing, postage and labels for the retreat flyer as part of the meeting notices.
The luncheon has the same half dozen checks required.
Count them up--that only 75 or so checks.

Of course both event do generate income, and deposits, (and these checks too, need to be recorded and accounted for.) The retreat, with options, is the most complicated, but, still that was only 25 or so checks this year. The luncheon is a lot simpler--every income check is identical, and there are a few checks associated with that.

There are once a year fees too, like the fee to maintain the BAKG web page.
What else? Speakers fee? --Did we have speakers?
Do we com'p guild members? Some of them?
Well that's another whole discussion.

The BAKG is not a huge multi division conglomerate. It’s a small organization.
A competent person should be able to have a decent report together in a few hours.
If they used Excel or QuickBooks, it would take less time.

But CREATIVE WRITING, well that is hard. Accounting for miscellaneous stuff is harder still. Remember, last year there was over $1,000 in miscellaneous stuff? Well, that’s not going to fly this year. I think, after all this time, we are entitled to know where every single penny went. Don’t you agree?
I intentionally left out the income from the auction. That fund raiser generates a lot of cash payments. And I think we should plan on looking closely at how much income it generated last year.
PS--You do know The Wormy Apple has gone public, don’t you?
There are posts with links on Knitty, Craftster, the TKGA, and lots of other places.

Monday, November 27, 2006

More pip's keep adding to the pulp.

A BAKG member who asked to remain (at least for now) anonymous wrote the Pip
(and referred to a comment in Other Pip’s squeek, too, blog entry.)
The Pip said:
We don't seem to be attracting the new young upcoming designers. Just look at Debbie Stohler's books Stitch and Bitch and Stitch and Bitch Nation. Many of the designers featured in those books live and work in the NY area--but they are not members of the BAKG. These designers often have on line Knit alongs that attract hundreds of knitters.. but they are not being invited to run workshops at the BAKG.

Another PipSqueek said:
when it comes to something’s that were posted on the blog.
1) it's about the young and upcoming designers and the increase in interest in knitting. as stated, the BAKG is not reaching out to younger knitters. as far as i know, there is 1, yes 1 member who is under 25 (correct me if i'm wrong). and now that i think about it, i haven't seen her there in a while.

Yes, this Pip is no spring chicken, and this member is so right. The BAKG is a semi geriatric organization! (Is menopause an unspoken requirement for membership?)
She(he?) continued:
2) what determines membership? is it paying the fee at the beginning of the year and leaving it at that? or is there more to it.
in an organization, all fee-paying members should have a say in things. it seems like here it's not.

for example... meeting place? i mean come on! that is a trip for EVERYONE except a few, and on top of that it costs.

another member told me " We used to meet in libraries all over the city.
We got too big for most library spaces and LaGuardia was free. Now they are charging.
We keep suggesting that we look into other spaces for the same or lower cost but we are ignored. It is a short bus ride for madam president"

i'll have more rants for you later.

Pip would like to point out, one of Madam Presidents passive aggressive ploys here.

If you attempt (as has been done) to speak to her, She “dumps” responsibility, rather than sharing it. She says “Do it” but never discusses what the BAKG can afford (and since there is no communication on the budget or the treasury, it’s not as if this is common knowledge)

There are consideration too, (handicapped accessibility comes to mind to start) and there are no doubt others. But they, too, are not discussed. There is no opportunity for discussion. A members suggested is not treated seriously.

And if a member knew about an other meeting place, would they be empowered to just ‘sign us up”? (Well they shouldn’t be!) Could it be discussed at a Board Meeting? Well, maybe--If we ever had Board Meetings!

There is never an open discussion of why we meet at LACC, and what other options exist. A quick glance at the member’s directory shows several members with EDU email addresses.


Could they be taped to arrange something at their institution? --Perhaps--Maybe there is something is available at the same (or even a lower cost) Something that is perhaps more convenient to a Majority of the members, not just to a select few.

Could we arrange for a more central location? Who Knows? It’s not something Madam President wants to discuss (and again we must ask ourselves, WHY?)

No discussion (passive behavior) results in HER WAY being the only way (aggressive behavior!)



Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Emperor’s New Clothes.. Or how a con works

You know the story--
Visitors come to town, with many amazing things--jewels, and novelties, and Wait, special, just for the most important person (the Emperor!) some wonderful fabric
Not only is it beautiful, but its is magical.. It can only be seen by those who are truly suited to their position in life…
And out comes NOTHING.
But no one will admit it. The emperor won’t, nor will the minister, nor will the master of the wardrobe, nor will the royal tailors, now the royal maidservants.
NO ONE want to admit, that perhaps they are not the best suited for their job.
Finally --it takes a fool.. A nobody, who has nothing to lose to point out there is nothing there.
But by then, the con artist are long gone.. And everyone, from the Emperor on down, has to admit to being taken in--every one, including the Emperor has to admit, I was a fool.
------------------------------------------
In real life, the police will tell you, no one wants to admit to being taken in. No one wants to play the fool on their own. And there is no Emperor to admit it first.

Con artist don’t just take money. They rob their victims of a sense of self worth.
Money is easy to replace. But our sense of self, our personal belief in our own good judgment, our sense that we are smart, and world wise, the we know good from evil, that we are not fools--that we value even more than we value money.

Why hasn’t Madam Recording Secretary joined in and public seconded the PIP’s request for a Treasurers Report? Why hasn’t she stood up and said, “This is not Right.”?

THE BAKG has an elected board, and they each have their responsiblities, and its not right that Madam President is SOLE arbitrator of everything.
So Madam Recording Secretary, are you still going to stand by, and do nothing, when by now, it must be clear, things are not right?

Are you embarrassed? Have you realized you've been conned? Have you found yourself marching down the main road, clothed in NOTHING. Have you, like the Emperor, realized, There is no magic fabric.

This Pip thinks, our Madam Recording Secretary has been robbed of her confidence of self. She has been lead astray. And now, when faced with the facts, she will join a huge number of FFOC (former Friends of Madam President.) The number is legion.

Likely, she’ll drop out of BAKG. (look how many who have served with Madam President have)
She’ll be come closed mouthed. Not because she doesn’t have anything to say, but because its will be too painful to recount. You have to look far and wide to find a FFOC's who is still a member of the BAKG.

Con Artists count on that. When the police investigate cons they find victim after victim, but few (fewer on average than 1 in 7), is willing to come forward and publicly admit-- “I was a taken in by him/her. I allowed myself to get played”. They have lost money. But more than that, they have lost self confidence, self esteem. They have no desire to publicly admit to their misguided beliefs. No one wants to stand up and say, “I was a fool”. It’s too embarrassing. Better to just cut and run, tail between their legs. They accept their loses, and try to hide from their embarrassment.

Former treasurers, former VP’s former what ever’s.. So many of them gone.
So many of them, once active vital members of the BAKG, now hiding out.
Now resigned, not just from their former office, but from the BAKG entirely.
I am sure Madam President has an explanation.. “disgruntled, negative members”
(Unless they are crazy or worse.--or maybe they are just jelious, or sore losers, or anything at all but right!) And just how did they become that way? Do you think maybe they were conned? That maybe they were played the fool?

So Madam Secretary, are you, too, becoming too embarrassed to show your face?
Will you cut and run? Or will you stand up?
The BAKG board is elected to serve the membership.
You still have 1 year in office.
......Will you stand by and do nothing?
.....Will there be another 7 or 8 months with no Board
.......meetings?
.....Will there be another 16 months with no treasurers
.......report?
.....Will you be the ONE--that stand's up and bears
........testament to being conned?
Or are you one of the seven who refuse come forward and publicly admit, I was taken in.
All of us have foolish moments. We hope and trust you can get over it.
You might have been played a fool for a short while, but this PIP doesn’t think you are a FOOL, even if you were fooled.
You aren’t a fool, you were just played by a con artist. It happens to the best of us.
Even the emperor was taken in.

And what should we do with Madam President?
Should we let her go on her merry way, do we let her take our dignity, and our money?
Or should she be called to account for her actions?

.....Let's start with a Treasures Report. It is long overdue.
.......And along with that, a through review of all the BAKG bank
.......accounts.
.....Let's see what the balance of the BAKG accounts stand at
.......--not just what Madam President says they stand at.
.....Let’s see who’s been signing checks--and for what.
.....Let’s see if all the money’s due to the BAKG has
........ been deposited in the BAKG account.
.....Let’s see who’s been receiving the BAKG bank
....... statements.
.....Let’s see what the BAKG money is being spent on, and if there
.......are receipts to justify those expenditures.
.....Let's stop pretending that
......."Things are fine."

They aren't. 16 months and counting, and no Treasures Report is not fine.
These are not the radical ideas of some disgruntled member. These are sound practices of any well run organization.

This Pip has been a fool in the past. But not anymore. Who else has been fooled?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Day has come, Madam President.

Madam Presidents favorite little jingle goes something like this:
.....Delay, procrastinate; procrastinate, delay
.....
If I stall them long enough, maybe they,
.....
(And all their questions) will just go away!
Alas, MP, its not going to happen.

Remember the last general meeting? Remember your words?
“There will be a treasurers report in 2 weeks”
Guess what? Two week have gone by! (Amazing isn’t it how fast times flies!)
Just think, its been 16 months (a calendar year and quarter and month!) since there has been a public treasurers report. But now, we member are going to get the facts.

Should I sit by my mailbox waiting for the delivery?
Do you think I will be disappointed?

Did you know that MP shared (with some members) some paperwork on NOV1st--that perportated to be the treasurers report?
(Which reminds me to ask; JUST WHAT WAS THE PRESIDENT DOING?
Isn’t a TREAURERS REPORT, by DEFINATION, prepared by the TREASURER?)

And here we are 24 days later, (16 month later), still waiting?
(always, later, alway, not now, but soon; alway delay.
Delay, delay, till the questions go away)

What are we waiting for?
If there is NOTHING TO HIDE, then show us the money!
After all it is OUR MONEY, not Madam Presidents.
And it’s sure not being spend on our behalf.
Its not going to members programs
Its not being spent on printing an mailing the CityPurls.
Its not working to make the BAKG a better organization.
Just what is being done with our money? And who is doing it?

If you won't say, this Pip has to wonder WHY?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Other Pip's Squeek, too

It's not just this pip squeek who's making noise... Have you read the comments that have been added to various posts? here there are.

From So many tracks to cover...
Anonymous1 said...

It seems that madam president has plenty to hide which is why she WON'T produce a financial statement.
Has madam president already emptied the treasury?
If so, producing a financial statement would expose her scheme!
She needs secret meetings to either cover her steps or to get any remaining funds out of the bakg and run.
Producing a financial statement is only problematic when there's something to hide.
Why are you members so apathetic? Organize and kick her the hell out.
REMEMBER, IT'S YOUR MONEY SHE IS TAKING!
Never would I have thought that madam president was such a THIEF. Could the D.A. get involved and investigate bakg?

Anonymous 2 said...
Madam President also mentioned the January yarn auction. I remember when it was a yarn swap that was much easier on the checkbook. I know I was never consulted about the change in policy. Since I don't know where the funds raised are going, I am not going to contribute much this year. I have just been giving my excess yarn to those who need them and they have responded in kind. 12:39 PM, November 13, 2006

From Our Treasurer....
Anonymous 1 said... This fiasco sounds like the wolf guarding the hen house!!!
What do you think about calling the D.A. to investigate?
How do you think madam president would look in stripes? Of course, they would not be knitted.
3:42 PM, November 14, 2006
Anonymous 2 said...

What a funny comment. I do agree that something needs to be done. That's really sad that all this is happening. I'm not around NY anymore, but I did enjoy the meetings when I was.
Why not start a new group after you investigate this?
4:34 PM, November 14, 2006


From Twinkle twinkle

Anonymous1 said... Most of the members may not be interested in an instructor but they are only a small percentage of the knitters in NYC. Workshops are not announced early enough or announced outside of the BAKG.

Yes, that is a very good point. It used to be, with so many members, (over 500 just a few years ago) that the BAKG represented a huge portion of NYmetro area knitters.

Now, membership is down, and many long time members have left. And at the same time, there are many new knitters in the BAKG. It's natural, with the increased popularity of knitting that we should have many new members, and that many of those new members are younger, hipper knitters, and that their needs and desires might be different than the previous demographic.

I like to think of the old girl scout song.. Make new friend, but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold. We seem to have lost our 'golden' members. and are not providing for the needs of the silver, either.

We don't seem to be attracting the new young upcoming designers. Just look at Debbie Stohler's books Stitch and Bitch and Stitch and Bitch Nation. Many of the designers featured in those books live and work in the NY area--but they are not members of the BAKG.
These designers often have on line Knit alongs that attract hundreds of knitters.. but they are not being invited to run workshops at the BAKG.

For many years, the BAKG was the only knitting group in the NY metro area. Now there are groups in every boro, in all the out lying suburbs. Knitters reach out and meet each other through yahoo group, through knit lists, through knitting BB's.

What is the BAKG doing to reach these knitters?


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Twinkle, twinkle little star….

How I wonder where you are!

Has anyone ever met Staryl Casey at a BAKG meeting? Does she exist?

In all my years attending BAKG meetings I have never met her.
And I’ve asked others--the information I get is “She’s really tight with Madam President”
D’oh! As if this Pip didn’t know Madam President hand pick a board of “Yes’M”!
(Yes’M’s are like yes men, but they are ladies.)
Starly has a stellar record--she didn't attend (from what I can see in the minutes recorded in the CityPurls) any meetings last year, and the same this year. Our Star is a black hole!

Well who is she you might ask? Why should I care?
She is, supposedly, the Program Chairperson.
Think about this year, and the programs.
Remember all the Workshops we had in first Quarter?
No? well don’t worry, you’re not going senile, there were none.
And the meetings this year? TBA’s --for months. NO PLANNING.

But what does Staryl care? She never comes to meeting anyway!

And remember last’s years workshops? They all lost money. It just takes 5 attendees to make a workshop break even. But none of the workshop generated enough interest to attract a scant 2% of the membership. Do you think maybe she is out of touch with the membership?

This year, some workshops are again having trouble attracting attendees.

So lets see, last year, a workshop run by Instructor X failed to attract enough member to make it break even. .. So this year, invite Instructor X back again.
And again, the workshop that fails to attract enough members to break even.

Ok, the workshops aren’t/should be fund raisers.
So lets return the price to $35*--and have full classes of 10-- $350 will more than cover the costs. But 3 attendees at $45 won’t.
----Just who (and when?) authorized the increase in workshop fees?

If Madam Instructor is “so MUCH in demand” that we are going to pay her even if we cancel the class, then there should be no trouble selling out her class.

You can’t have it both ways--IF she is in demand, people will sign up and attend.
If people don’t sign up and attend, there is no demand for this instructor or her classes.

Maybe she is Wonderful instructor..
And the membership is just saturated.
We’ve had our fill, (perhaps just temporarily) of her.
Why do we have the same few instructors time after time? Rumors hint there are ‘irregularities’ about how they are compensated. Any one know the facts?
PS. There is more to the workshops than meets the eye.. Discerning readers will see that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Our Treasurer: Susan Schlager Simon

Do you know her? Personally or even just by sight?

This Pip knows her, just barely by sight. But knows nothing else about her.
Other member’s (the Pip asked at the November meeting) don’t even know her by sight. Well Madam President knows her.
She was the BAKG Treasurer from 2003 to 2005.
So we can get to know her by her reputation right?
We can look in back issues of the CityPurl, and see her work there, right?

What!? You don’t save all the issues of CityPurl? Well in any normal organization, there is a record. Just ask Madam Secretary to refer to her notes--and to the record she has (of previous years) or ask Josephine Colmenares (former CityPurls editor) to verify.

If anything here seems to outlandish, unreal, something so strange, it seems the Pip must have made it up, DON’T TRUST ME. Read the back issues of CityPurls and see for yourself.
2004
The Jan/Feb issue (2004) issue of CityPurls contains the Board Meeting minutes from November 2003. (Item 1 on the minutes, a treasures report)

Mar/Apr issue, the Board Meeting minutes from the XX Meeting.
4 items of business, but nothing from the treasurer.
(this doesn’t bode good does it?)

May/Jun issue has 2 sets of Meeting Minutes
-- The March 11 2004 minutes has -6 items, not one is a treasurers report.
-- The April 10 2004 starts also has 6 item, and start out with a treasurers report.
This is first we hear from Madam Treasurer Susan Schlager.

Jul/Aug issue has June Meeting minutes, and while the success of the retreat is discussed (Item 1) there is no treasurers report to be found in the 5 items of business.
--How do we measure the success of retreat?
--Isn’t financial success one measure?
--So how successful was the retreat? Do you know? I don’t.

Sep/Oct issue No Board Meeting minutes at all.
Nov/Dec issue the October Minutes appear.
5 items of business. No treasurers report.
On to 2005
Jan/Feb 2005 issue.. Here we find the November Meeting Minutes, and treasurers report. (and Susan Schlager is in attendance at the meeting)

Mar/Apr issue--What? I misplaced this issue? Well there was (a very short) report of the Minutes of some meeting.. (I’ll track down the info and update as soon as I can!)
One thing for sure, it didnot contain an end of year treasurers report, nor was one presented at the annual meeting in September 2004.
May/Jun issue has the March 11 and April 9 2005 Board meeting minutes
These are interesting board meeting.
On March 11th only 2 members are present. (madam President and Madam recording secretary. Is that a valid meeting? Don’t the By-Laws call for a quorum?
(oh silly Pip, Madam President doesn't have to abide by the By-Laws does she?)
April’s meeting--just 3 members, Madam President, Madam Secretary, and the “Member at Large”--Again not a quorum. But business is enacted anyway.
The items of business are down to 4, no treasurers report anywhere in sight.

Jul/Aug issue has the June 11th Minutes 4 board members attended--but madam treasurer is not among them.
First order of Business, is the Preparation of a Financial Report for the Annual Luncheon Meeting--well here is a bit of good new!
Second Item of Business---Preparation of Nominating Form to be included in the July Issue of CityPurls. (more on that later!)
Sep/Oct Issue No Board Meeting Minutes, but a Note about irregularities of the nomination/election.
Nov/Dec Issue (again, I just can find this issue right now.--but I will find it, and I will update this post)
Now it clear, Minutes lag behind--how else could it be?
So lets go to the 2006 issues of CityPurls and find what other business occurred in 2005, (looking for Minutes from Novembers or Decembers Board Meetings.)
2006
Jan/Feb 2006 2 sets of Minutes, Oct1 and Nov 19th
4 members at the Board Meeting at the October 1st meeting.
Item 1 is labeled “treasurers report” is list 3 recent check written for the BAKG business.
3 Members at the November 19th meeting. (is this a quorum?)
Item 1 is labeled “treasurers report” it notes a check being written for the retreat

Mar/Apr 2006 has the minutes of the Jan14th Board Meeting. Item 1 is treasures report prepared by Susan Schlager. She is not present, but the newly elected Treasurer is.
NO INFORMATION ABOUT THIS REPORT HAS BE PRESENTED AT ANY GENERAL MEETING
NOR WAS THIS REPORT EVER PRESENTED IN CITYPURLS

If we go back to 2003, we find the March Issue of the CityPurl not only has Board Meeting Minutes, but a end of year statement of the BAKG finances.
Something that has not been seen again in the CityPurl.

Now to be fair there was a hand out at the 2005 Annual Luncheon meeting, that was later mailed to all the members.
----It purported to be a Annual Report.
----It had a end date but not a start date.
----It was a collection of numbers, half a treasurers report, and half a balance statement.
----It had $1000 in unaccounted for Miscellaneous expenses.
----It was UNSIGNED.
----It was purported to be from the Treasurer.

This is what I know about Susan Schlager Simon.
If I were a supervisor rating her performance, I would give her a failing grade.
She doesn’t show up at Board Meeting --which as previously noted, are held just before general membership meetings-so she doesn't attend general meeting.
One can only guess she wasn’t at the secret November 8th meeting, since Madam President said there wasn’t a treasurers report available for the November 11th meeting.
And she wasn’t at the November 11th meeting either.
The record showed she failed to produce regular reports to the Board. And the Financial Report purported prepared in 2005 by her was sloppy, inadequate and poorly organized. There is no record of any Financial Report ever being produced in 2004. (NONE was presented at the 2004 annual luncheon)
So Madam Treasurer,(or should I say Madam Quasi, Interim, Acting Treasurer?)
Please answer some questions:
When where you first introduced to the BAKG Board?

When was your name added to the BAKG Bank Accounts?

Who was previously signing checks and acting as Treasurer?

Did you receive a proper accounting of all BAGK funds at the time of Transfer?

Why didn’t you have a Treasurer’s report available for the November meeting of the BAKG Board (held somewhere Wednesday evening Nov 8th? )

And why wasn’t it ready by November 11th?

How are the BAKG records kept?
----- Are they in a book?
-----Or do you use an electronic register, such as QuickBooks or Excel?

Do you have reciepts for all recorded expenses?

And Finally,
What reasons can you give me to have confidence that your performance, --one that is clearly inadequate as demonstrated by your 2004/2005 record--will improve?

Members, this is your money. It’s there to provide members with services.
Its not there to be spent and not accounted for
What is being done with the money? Its not being spent on general meetings
There are so far, only 4 issue of CityPurl, not 5, (and the question of the Nov/Dec remains open).
Well-- there was the raffle at the November meeting.
Whoop-de-de!
There was a raffle of pencils and pads of paper. Reminds me of my history lessons.. As the Roman leadership became more and more corrupt, there was beer and circus’s for the common folk at the coliseum.. To placate them.
Wow! Did you win a pencil? What about the BAKG treasury? Who won that?

Monday, November 13, 2006

So many tracks to cover, and so little time

As mentioned, Madam President has been busy at the meeting on Nov. 11th,
HG asked: Who is the Treasurer?
Madam President answer: Susan Schlager Simon

HG: She’s been introduced to the board, and approved?
Madam President answer: Of course!

Not asked: When did this take place?

Back in the beginning of September, Madam Recording Secretary, when asked a question about the new madam treasurer, stated:
There hasn’t been a BAKG board meeting since March.

Since then, she has sputtered something about meetings being held.
I’d like to see the minutes of those meeting. And to know when and where they were held, since other board members have stated the same--no board meeting from March to September!

So lets run a time line:
The BAKG board meets in January --that meeting was held, as it was common for years, just before a general membership meeting. There are Minutes of this meeting in an issue of the City Purls.
February; another meeting. Again, this meeting took place before a general meeting, and the minutes of the meeting where published in the CityPurl.
March; a meeting. This we take Madam Secretary’s word for, but there is no public record of the meeting--guess there hasn’t been room in the CityPurls--but I am going to go out on a limb here, and guess, it too, was held just before a general membership meeting.

April; the retreat,--no meeting at the retreat, (since not all board members attended the retreat) and no other meeting.
May; --no meeting
By May, its become common knowledge that the newly elected Madam Treasurer, Germana, has relocated, and resigned her office.
June; No meeting--a board member who re-arranged her schedule to get to LaG CC early to attend the board meeting was a bit ticked. (Foolishly, she had presumed there would be a meeting --well we all know what happens when you presume!)
An other special feature of the June Meeting--Madam President doesn’t attend.
July; another month with no board meeting, --and another General meeting that Madam President doesn’t attend.
August;
there were, in years past, summer picnic meetings, but now there is no general meeting in August. And for at least the past 3 years, no regularly scheduled board meeting in August. So, no surprises here, no board meeting.
September; 2 general meetings really, the Annual Luncheon Ggeneral meeting, and The Knit Out.

I think we must consider the Knit Out a special meeting of the BAKG.

The Craft Yarn Council promotes the BAKG as a co-sponsor of the NY Knit Out, and provide a booth (well, 1 side of free standing booth) to the BAKG. Other participants (yarn stores, etc) paid as much as $400 for the privilege of having a booth.

But neither of these general meetings are conducive to board meetings--still, Madam President does have the right to call a board meeting anytime--and with the publication of the CityPurls, that meeting could have been announced publicly, as to day, time and place--but there wasn’t any notice.

There was the September surprise--there in CityPurls, not a notice of a Board meeting, or Minutes of recent Board meeting, but instead, there is a notice that Susan Simon is the new treasurer.
When did this happen? Who approved it? The By-Laws provide that Madam President can replace (with the approval of the Board) an officer who leaves, but since there was no board meeting, how could there be a new treasurer?

As for the Treasurers qualifications, well that is the subject of a whole separate essay!

More to the point--who’s been signing checks since May? Who is the authorized signature on the account? And who authorized the changes?
October; Well the October meeting was a special one. Not only was there no board meeting, but come 1:00 not a single member of the board is present. Nada,not a one.

Well, to quote her, “the quasi acting treasurer” is there, but she stood around acting as useful as tit on bull. She didn’t stand up and introduce herself, nor did she call the meeting to order. Members come up to HG, not once, not twice, but repeatedly asking when the meeting is going to start.

HG was not prepared (nor is it her responsibility) to call the meeting to order.
And to be honest, she didn’t--she didn’t hand out a sign up sheet, she didn’t ask for members to share show and tell, she didn’t have a treasurers report, or other news and information about the BAKG. To make it perfectly clear, she didn’t run the meeting.
But then, it wasn’t her responsibility was it?

November; -- the Pip has started squeeking.

And the response? A secret, last minute board meeting.
Now, remember, the By-Laws do provide that Madam President can call a Board Meeting when every needed.As the November general meeting approached, Madam President must have realized some members might have been reading the Wormy Apple.
And so the cover up begins.

A last minute, secret meeting. If everything about the BAKG is on the up and up, why a secret meeting? Just what is going on,, that the first Board meeting in MONTHS has to be at a special time, in a secret location, with less than 24 hours notification to board members?

And this secret meeting means there was no board meeting before the general meeting.

No public board meeting means there is no opportunity for a member to ask questions of the board--Not just of Madam President, but of all the board members. Is this a Board of a public organization, or is it a Star Chamber?
Just what is being hidden?
If nothing, why not a meeting at, what for years, was the usual time and place?

Wouldn’t it have been interesting to be a fly on the wall for that meeting?

We know something about it--
There wasn’t a treasurers report! If there was, it would have been available at the general meeting, and as previously noted, Madam President told HG, the report will be available ‘shortly’ in 2 weeks or so--(don’t hold your breath waiting for it!)

So our so called “treasurer” is not off to a good start. But then maybe its not her fault. Maybe she is really only a quasi treasurer .

I think an audit and examination of the BAKG’s bank account is in order.

Let’s see what checks have been written, when, and who signed them.
Let’s find out who’s name is on recorded as the signature for the BAKG Fund’s, when changes were made, and by who.
And BY WHO’s AUTHORITY? It couldn’t have been by the BAKG Board’s authority, since, as the time line shows, there hasn‘t been a board meeting to discuss or authorize anything in months!
Forget the Treasurers report; Let’s have a report on Who Is The Treasurer?
We have a right to know--Who’s got the money? And what have they been doing with it?
And if the Board doesn’t see the need for this, well, maybe we need a totally new board, not just a new treasurer!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Truer Words are seldom spoken!

Today when HG had the nerve to ask for a treasurers report (What? A member wants to know what going on, the nerve!) Madam President had a moment of truth..
Her reply to HG was it will be ready in 2 weeks.. To wait.
The clincher? “The Big Apple Knitting Guild isn’t going any place!”
True, true. Sadly all to true.
More on the meeting next week--but this little apple pip thinks madam president has been visiting the wormy apple, and reading the reports here. She looked busy covering today, it a lot of work to to cover so many tracks--so busy she didn‘t have time to whip up something that looks like a treasures report--Even though she started to work on it more than 2 weeks ago or so a little bird told me.
(Which raises the question, why was madam president hard are work on the treasures report?)
PS. there more to this report than meets the eye.. ask your friends if you don't know the secret.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming In.

The problems with the BAKG can’t all be laid at Madam Presidents feet, but her behavior is a major part of the problem--she has her had pick Greek chorus as members of the Executive committee, and she has disentranced the other elected members of the board.
But we the membership and stood by and let this happen.

Yesterday the general electorate of the US sent a message and we’ve change the HOUSE and SENATE. Its quite possible for the membership to change things at the BAKG too.

MOST important, is that all the apple pips make a squeek’s--otherwise, Madam President will stand there, lips drawn, eyes down cast, a perfect ‘poor Claire’ face, and ignore this. She’ll claim, if pushed, it’s the work of one disgruntled, disruptive member.
She claim it’s normal to have fluctuation in membership, and sure people left the BAKG, but that’s normal, and she’ll claim that everyone is perfectly happy with the way things are.

So, if case you missed these comments, from other pip squeaks, I present them here.
And I’ve made a change. At the end of each post, there is a envelope icon. You can click on it, to mail a link to any you think might be interested--so share this site, and if you have a blog of your own, link to it.
Click on the word Comments to add your own comments.
If you’d like to contribute an essay, not just a comment, send it to
a_pip_squeekATyahoo.com. Just replace the word AT with an @ sign.

Anonymous 1 says:
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 attendance 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.
Anonymous 2 says:
When wse vote with our feet,we leave the surplus in the treasury for her to spend as she pleases. No wonder she wants the complainbers to quit.
Anonymous 3 says:
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?

Anonymous 4 says:
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.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Leadership Vs. Dictatorship

There is a difference! Leaders work with others--they encourage participation, they listen to other’s ideas, they build cohesiveness.

Dictators are only interested in doing things their own way. They make all the decisions, they shut others out, they work by being divisive.

Leadership shows up in all sorts of ways.
Take the BAKG web page.
Ask your self (or madam president)
Why? Why does the BAKG have a web page?

Her answer (if she doesn’t just stare at you lips tightly sealed!) is because. Because why?
No doubt if pressed, she'll its because we have to have a web page. Everyone has a web page. Its important to be one the web. In other words, she has no idea.

It's really not a fair question, since many people madam presidents age don’t really use the web or understand how to use it. Its even hard for the Pip, since the web is growing and changing so fast, and usefulness changes by the day.

Still there are some things the web and web pages are useful for:
Web pages can function like brochures, and provide basic information

  • Web pages can function like stores and sell things
  • Web pages can be informational resources like libraries
  • Web pages can be interactive like person to person meetings
  • Web pages can be like snap shots, and show a single image of something


      So how does the BAKG page measure up?
      Well until this year when we got a new webmaster, its was pretty unchanging.
      It functioned as a snap shot of the BAKG from about 2002. Nice picture, but like an organization, the BAKG is not the same as it was in 2002.
      (nor should it be, it should be growing!)
      A snap shot is nice.. But it becomes dated quickly.

      The web master has been busy doing a good job cleaning up old out dated links and making all the links look better, and work better, but its not a web masters job (well it could be, but its not in the BAKG) to define the purpose of the Web page.


    1. What do the Members want it to be? I dunno. But then, neither does Madam President, because she never asks.

      I know some of the things I like it to be. And I bet, there are plenty of ideas besides mine.

      First I would like the BAKG to be current.
      If the page is going to have photo’s, they should be current photo’s.
      Why aren’t there any? Madam president often brings piles of snap shots she has taken at the retreat or the luncheons, but these never make to the BAKG web page?
      Why not? Back in the last century, in the early 1990’s, the discovered you could get digital images when ever you developed a stand roll of film. Back then, the digital images were a few $’s extra, now days, they are often free.
      Why doesn’t Madam president get digital images as well as snap shots?
      Certainly, the BAKG could pay what ever extra it cost to get the digital images.
      Maybe even pay for the film, and developing too, and then the BAKG would own the images! I think that’s fair. And maybe it should be Madam presidents job.

      Maybe she should find a photographer in the guild. I bet there are members who would be willing to take digital photo's for the web and CityPurls.

      But that's not what happens. What happens is, Madam President takes photo’s, gets hard copies, and while she sometimes shares them, they end up in her living room, not in the CityPurl or on the web page. Old fashioned photographic images are useful, but digital files that can be shares are infinitely more useful.

      Madam president doesn’t have to be a computer wiz kid to get a CD made as she develops her photographs, all she needs to do is check off a box.
      Having current photo images (and not images from 4 years ago!) would help the web page. If the web page going to function merely as photo book, at least it should be an up to date photo book.

      But why stop at that? Why not make it an interactive page?


      • Why can’t people who visit the page join the BAKG on line, using PayPal?
      • Why can’t members and visitors sign up for classes and workshop the same way?
      • Why can members and visitor register for the Retreat on line?

      Its not hard to get web pages to do this.
      The web master can’t make all these changes (well, actually she could if she chose to act like a dictator, but she doesn’t) on her own. The Executive board exist to provide leadership. But if the board doesn’t meet, then the business of the club becomes the decision of a single member-- the current dictator, Madam President, and she isn't able or willing understand what a web page can be, and why is should be more than a snap shot.
      Madam president announced back in May that a contract has been signed to have a retreat next year. She announced who the instructors would be. DO you know? Does anyone know? Why not? Why isn’t this information on our Web page?
      The BAKG web page only has information about the 2006 retreat --not the 2007 retreat.
      (and there are no photo images of the 2005 retreat to be seen anywhere--not in CityPurls, not on BAKG.org, not on the Yahoo site.)

      The reason Why? Well, partly because the web master, is not a mind reader.
      If Madam president make decisions, and sign contracts and does it all her self, with out the board, well, its all in her head. And not on the web page.

      But what is the Program chairperson doing? Shouldn’t some of this be the programs chair job? Isn’t part of being president working with others, giving them responsibility, developing their leadership? When madam president acts as madam Dictator, (poor Claire, burdened with every job, doing it all, with no help and not a lick of thanks!) she undermines the entire leadership of the organization.

      And unless the Dictator knows everything, about everything, the are bound to do a poor job.

      The program chair should be involved with planning the retreat, and part of that job should be getting information, by hook or by crook, to the web master, who can then add the information to the BAKG web page. The information should just be on the web page.
      It should be out there, on every SnB group page, on Crafterster and other TKGA and every other knitting BB-- there are lots of knitters who’d love to come to a knitting retreat in NY. We should be turning knitters away, not canceling classes as we did this year because of the poor response.

      But that is not likely to happen. The old retreat information will hang out on the BAKG page, old, dated information, until a few weeks before the next retreat. Then the information will be mailed out, to the members. And finally, the webmaster will be able to post it, (after she retypes it in, since chances are it won’t come to her in electronic format)
      And the BAKG web page will continue to be tired, dated sort of scrap book. And the BAKG will shrink a bit more.


      Sunday, November 05, 2006

      CityPurls

      Remember the CityPurls? Miss it? I do!

      It’s a fount of information..
      Just look at the March/ April edition--oops-- I mean the May/ June edition. (read the dateline in on footer of the June issue and you’ll find both dates referred to!)

      In fact, in the dateline footer is the only place you’ll find a reference to the March April edition. but that's another whole seperate mess.

      Still the June issue is such interesting reading. Here are some nuggets that struck me..

      Tucked into the Presidents letter is a plug for one of her bus trips. Yes, she seems to have trouble keeping track of what is BAKG business, and what is her personal business. Could it be early onset Alzhiemer’s? -I don’t think she is stupid, so there must be some reason she has trouble separating the two.

      Of course it could be that she thinks the BAKG is her personal business. And that she really doesn’t have any responsibility to the membership. She often seems to behave that way.

      Then there are minutes of the February Meeting, on page 3.
      In September, Madam Recording Secretary said that March was the last Meeting of the Board, --since then, when challenged-- she has sputtered something about there being regular board meetings, but it they have been held, they have been held in secret! February minutes are the last made available to the BAKG Membership. (and here it is, NOVEMBER!)

      Meanwhile back on Page 3 of June issue of CityPurls, there are some interesting notes.
      Item 1.
      The signatories have been changed on our bank account to reflect the new Treasurer.
      Presumably, this transfer was to Germana Martincigh.
      Since then, Germana has moved out of state, and resigned her office.
      Who signs the check now? Who knows? Okay, you’re right, that’s beating a dead horse.

      Item 2 (or if you prefer, II.)
      Notes that there is only one BAKG tote bag left.
      Is it just me, or has accounting for the tote bags (and income from the sale of them) been just glossed over in the past 3 years? I think an audit of tote bags sales in in order.

      Item 5
      referred to a discussion about the ongoing revisions to the by-laws--AND to A CHANGE of the by-laws.
      The minutes report that the board members present voted unanimously to change the by laws, and that, in the future, only the four officers (President, VP, Treasurer and Recording Secretary) will be allow to vote.
      That’s interesting. The Current by laws require that all changes to the by laws be presented to membership, and that the general membership have to approve them before they become part of the established by-laws.
      So tell me, members, have you been asked you opinion on this change to the by-laws?
      Do you approve of this change? I know I don't.

      We elect not just the four officers, but others. We expect them to have a vote. By disentrancing these elected official, WE MEMBERS are being disenfranchised.
      Talk about a lack of representation!
      We now have fewer board meetings then ever before, with fewer officers, and less and less input by the members..
      I know what this reminds me of--George Orwell’s Animal Farm.. You know, where every animal is equal, but some are MORE equal. --you remember, the PIGS were “more equal”.

      Item 8
      refers to the BAKG renting a post office box for a central mailing address for the BAKG.

      That hasn’t happened. So it’s nice to see the board is actually doing something --NOT.

      The September issue of the CityPurl had neither Board meeting minutes or a treasurers report. Interesting reading wasn’t it? Obviously, we members are just getting in the way of the board. If they could just get all of us to send in dues, and then quit, the place would be ideal for them. They could spend all the BAKG money, with out bothering with meeting or pesky members.

      Friday, November 03, 2006

      An other pip squeek pipes up.

      from anonymous,( for right now). a pip squeek had added some notes in orange


      1) Claire started organizing bus trips to various knitting shops and events. She uses City Purls to advertise her trips without paying for the advertisements. Claire keeps the profits for herself. Rightfully, those profits belong to the BAKG.
      Madam President recently (September) send out a BAKG mailing about "up and coming events" and include two of her scheduled bus trips.

      I can't tell you how many peoeple think these trips are BAKG events.

      They are not, as many of us know. They are Madam President's personal business.
      It a fine business, and it fills a need, but Madam President needs to seperate her business (a for profit business) from BAKG business. They are not one and the same.

      It is total unethical for Madam President to advertize her business in BAKG mailing (unless of course she is paying HERSELF for the printing & postage.) Its fine for a business to plug a not for profit (even an unincorpated not for profit) but its not fine for Madam President to use BAKG funds to plug her business!

      2) There should never be only one signature on the BAKG account. Claire controls the treasury and spends BAKG money as she pleases. What's really infuriating is that it's our money that she's controlling. No financial statements, no voting on how the money is spent and no disclosure!! Dues was raised to pad the treasury for her use.
      Hmmmmm......


      We can only speculate.. (remember, there haven't been any Treaurer reports, so we don't know for a fact that there has been abuse.
      Though, if something smell rotten, and looks rotten, and feels rotten, we can only guess that there is something rotten about how the Big Apple guild is being run.

      3) PEOPLE WAKE UP! Get rid of Claire before she depletes the entire treasury then steps down from the presidency.

      4) Charity.... BAKG used to have a wonderful Charity Chairperson. Lots of sweaters, etc. were donated and thank you notes were in City Purls.
      Now, BAKG does very little for charity. Two charity meetings per year are scheduled and very little is collected. What charity is the recipient of those contributions?
      Even though BAKG is not incorporated, charitable organizations still send "thank you" notes. Has anyone ever seen them?


      Well, every once in a while, burried in the president's letter in the Citypurls, there is a comment about a thank you from some organization about recieving donations from BAKG. But these are far and few between.

      There have only been 3 issue (not the scheduled 5) so far this year, and Madam President wasn't at the June, July or October general meetings, so communication between the president and the membership has been rather sparse!

      To be fair and honest, Madam President has read 1 thank you note from someone (to be honest, i forget who it was from)this year. So the donations being made to BAKG for charity's are getting to some, at least some of the time.

      PS--the first posting of this blog has received several comments. Scroll down and read them.

      Thursday, November 02, 2006

      Charity Begins at home

      The BAKG has a charitable function.. Remember, that one of the goal listed on the BAKG web site and in CityPurls.
      But the BAKG is not incorporated as a not for profit organization. It is an unincorporated group. (Remember, that was one of the comments the Greek chorus provide as a defense of madam presidents behavior)
      So, any contributions of charity knitting (or funds like last year’s fund raising for Habitat for Humanity) made to BAKG can’t be declared on your taxes.
      Now, I know, most of us don’t have the kind of income that puts us into a position of making charity donation JUST for the tax write off. Most of us contribute to charities with if not purer, at least more generous motives. We do it to help others.
      Still, most of us have to render unto Caesar what is Creaser’s.* When we give to a recognized, incorporated, not for profit organization, we can get a break on what we owe to Caesar in the way of taxes, and we like that!
      (*FYI if you are unfamiliar with this phrase, it from the new testament (gospels) and refers to the fact that we live in a civil world, even if we are also religious--and that tithing, does not absolve us from paying taxes.. We must pay our taxes as surely as we pray!)
      Word is --from one board member-- at the October General meeting of the BAKG that our new members project will be knitting scarves for the Seaman’s Institute.
      2 Issues
      1--When was a new members project discussed? When did the City Purls have an article asking for idea for a new members project? When did the members get to have a say?
      What kind of Membership project is this!?
      2--If a BAKG member knits a scarf for the Seaman’s Institute, and donates it directly, they can receive a receipt and tax credit for their donation.
      If a BAKG member knit’s a scarf for the Seaman’s Institute and donates it to the BAKG --and the BAKG donates the that scarf (and many others) to the Seaman’s Institute, than no one gets a tax credit or deduction.
      The pip squeek is not against charity knitting, or even against the idea that for the next year or so, we devote most of our charity effort to making scarves for the Seaman’s Institute.
      But is this charity work a membership project? is a membership project something different than working toward the genearal goal of the organization?
      And don’t the members get a say in a Membership Project? And if the BAKG is concerned (and our goals say we are) about Charity work, shouldn’t we incorporate as a not for profit organization?

      Wednesday, November 01, 2006

      An Apple Polisher Speaks up

      The pip squeek got this in the mail: it is presented unedited, (the pip squeek couldn't improve this message--even if they made an effort!)

      I have never posted to a blog, and am not too sure from the email how to post, so I'm sending you an email instead. Hope this works for you. I was very happy to see your complaints, and think that they are long overdue.

      This would have been my posting:

      It is sad to hear what has become of the BAKG recently, and to infer where it is headed.

      I speak from a position of one who attended the birth meeting at the Grand Army Library, Brooklyn; there may have been twelve of us in the little meeting room talking about a purpose, a name, dues, and meeting agendas. Grace Shanahan, a librarian, became our first president, and me subsequently met at various libraries.

      Until 1999,
      - there was a real board of directors, and regular board meetings, and a board who actually answered to the members;

      - treasurer's reports were presented to the board monthly; they were printed in City Purls twice a year. At any meeting curious/interested persons could ask to see the monthly report;

      - well-known knit/crochet teachers/fiber artists/designers/authors were paid to make presentations at eight or nine meetings a year;

      - there was a constant struggle to find larger and larger restaurants to accommodate the crowd that wanted to attend the annual luncheon;

      - the retreat usually had three or four nationally known knitting teachers who attracted many members and turned a profit;

      - the meetings were technically informative, intellectually stimulating, and socially rewarding; and

      - the board adhered to both the spirit and the letter of the mission statement and worried about satisfying the members.

      When Claire became president, I stopped attending meetings and let my membership lapse. I am wondering how the membership became so apathetic that it allowed undistinguished people to become unresponsive to the membership.

      From the former multi-year treasurer, Renee Katz


      PS You can sign it with my name when you post this. Thank you for starting the blog. I really miss the old BAKG.