Monday, July 14, 2014

SF Pride Members Must Run Membership Meetings

The board of SF Pride hadn't properly planned this year for the one-day respite between Pride Sunday and their regular monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of the month, so the July 1 board meeting was cancelled. No alert was posted at their site regarding the cancellation, they advanced the board meeting into the next week, which then forced the general membership meeting date to change.

We totally understand that SF Pride board and staff were exhausted after putting on a generally fabulous series of events, but it wasn't as though the July meeting dates were unknown to them.

An email was circulated on July 3, without any surveying of the membership, that the board was changing the membership meeting to July 15, but still at the normal time and place, 7 pm at the SF Pride office. Did the board take into account how the new dates would affect the lives of members?

This all raises troubling questions about how the board controls the membership meetings and decided on its own to make radical changes about when the July meeting would happen. We would have preferred for the membership meeting to take place on its normal date and the board meeting held on July 15, but no one asked us for our opinion.

Compare how the board made the date switches with SF Pride's rules about the burdens of getting an issue on the membership's agenda: "Members can add agenda items to the meeting with two weeks’ notice and signatures from three members on a letter addressed to the board president."

No such advance notice or letter needs to be circulated for the board to cancel a meeting and set a new date for the general membership. Not very respectful or transparent by any stretch of the imagination.

Since we cannot be at the July 15 membership meeting due to a campaign scheduling conflict, we're blogging about all this to put out the call for members to consider taking over setting the agenda and running the membership meetings ourselves. We see no reason for the board to control both their monthly meeting and also the members' meetings, where they take up most of the time.

BTW, there is nothing in the by-laws requiring the board president to run the membership meetings.

Members' meetings should be for members, with input from the board, of course, but we shouldn't have to meet the burdens of two-weeks advance notice for agenda items and a letter from other members, and then have the board president consider the items.

Addressing these issues will be a long term process, one that we expect will engage the membership and strengthen SF Pride.

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