LAB Reform meeting with members of LAB Board

Jasper, IN, Sept. 4, 2004
Notes taken by Bill Hoffman

Attendance: Board: Chris Kegel, Preston Tyree, John Allen, Joe Stafford
LABReform (LR): Fred Oswald, Bill Hoffman, Steve Gottlieb, Chuck Smith, Mike Abrams

Chris chaired the meeting and again called for respectful dialogue, as he has at previous Board meetings. At the outset, we decided to focus on the toughest issues rather than those on which agreement seems most likely. It was understood by all from the start that whatever we agreed upon would have to be approved by the full Board at its October meeting at Interbike.

John said that the Board needs orientation in order to gain a history of the League and better understand its traditional mission. Director responsibilities and obligations should be posted on the website so prospective Board candidates know what's expected of them before deciding to run.

Chuck proposed Mike for the vacant appointed seat. Fred said that we want someone acceptable to LR for this seat, since it is essentially a substitute for the Region 4 seat Fred likely would have won except for interference. This was eventually accepted.

Fred said that LR didn't start the fight with the League; it responded to decisions the Board made. Preston asked LR to take some issues off its website, saying that they were damaging to the League and were roadblocks to serious negotiation on LR's issues. Fred reminded Preston that he was asking for a very significant concession and that we would need a solution for the problems that led to LABReform. Fred said that LR would accept the outcome of a member referendum on the 2003 bylaws changes.

John said that safety and supporting cycling organizations were removed from the mission statement. He also stated that Martha Roskowski has a conflict of interest due to her work with Thunderhead. Not only did Martha opt to attend the T-head retreat this weekend instead of the Board meeting, T-head has taken on some advocacy functions that the League had been doing, which created the conflict.

Bill said that LAB needs a mission statement and a statement of purposes. The former should be one or two sentences that explain what LAB does, and the latter should be more specific. The purposes should be fleshed out first, as it will guide the development of the mission statement, and the statement of purposes should be vetted by the membership.

Chris responded that LAB could ask the members whether it's doing what they want. Preston said that LAB has to reach out to non-members as well.

Steve said that the League membership in affiliated clubs is so low that membership could easily be doubled without promotion to any other "market".

Mike said that power has been taken from the members by the Board. That led to the question of who should be directors-active cyclists or people from the "outside" who might have other attributes the League desires.

Bill mentioned the idea of an appointed advisory board for such people, with active cyclists occupying all the regular Board seats. Such a setup would reduce the burden on the advisory directors, who might be able to help establish and maintain partnerships with other organizations but who are not as technically savvy about cycling as the Board members should be and who don't have time to be involved at such a deep level.

Steve read from notes saved on his laptop from his tenure as Nominating Committee chair. Whenever possible, there were two candidates for each seat and NomCom did not endorse any. Steve said that his preferred candidate didn't always win, but that's how democracy works. Bill said that we'd accept all qualified candidates being on the ballot, not just the Board's and LR's nominees.

Fred offered to remove the contentious parts of LR's website if its candidates are placed on the 2005 ballot and if members are offered a referendum on the bylaws changes. It did not matter to LR if Mike was accepted for the Region 4 or an at-large appointed seat.

Chris said that the bylaws changes were enacted to prevent a "hostile takeover" of the League, and that he favors a mix of elected and appointed directors. He wants an on-going honest dialogue with LR and proposed that the ad-hoc committee chaired by Preston be made permanent.

Preston later asked Bill for a list of about three names of non-Board members for this committee, which might be called something like Member Advisory Committee since it would no longer be ad-hoc. The people currently on the ad-hoc committee (Preston, Brenda Pulley, John Allen, John Schubert, Fred, and Bill) would remain if they wish. Geographic diversity was also desired in order to better represent the members.

At the end it was agreed that:

  1. Chris will recommend Mike or a candidate of LR's choice for the vacant appointed seat.
  2. All qualified candidates will appear on the ballot.
  3. Chris (or his designee(s)) will obtain membership feedback on the 2003 bylaws changes, and will propose improvements to the election procedures. One improvement will be the availability of the membership list for a one-time use.
  4. The current ad-hoc committee chaired by Preston will become a permanent committee called something like "Member Advisory Committee".

Postscript

Here's how the agreement above panned out:

  1. The vacant seat was filled by another appointment.  Michael's appointment was delayed until the following spring when Brenda Pulley had to leave the board because she moved out of the region she represented.  In other words, this promise was only partly kept.
  2. All qualified candidates did appear on the ballot.  This promise was kept.
  3. There was no membership feedback on the sneak bylaws changes of 2003. The rules adopted for use of the membership list strongly favored board candidates. This promise was mostly not kept.
  4. The Member Advisory Committee never met.  This promise was not kept.

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See www.labreform.org to join LAB Reform.
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Last Revised 9/11/08.