Friday, April 10, 2009

Forgive Them. They Know Not What They Do ...

An examination of the first and second editions of the minutes of the February 12, 2009, Chestnut Hill Community Association Executive Committee meeting at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill showed two renditions of what transpired when the committee addressed the issue of the editor of the Local. In both sets of the minutes, they appear right after the Search Committee section under Old Business. The twin sets of minutes as a whole are identical, except for the section addressing the Local editor "performance review" or "memorandum to the editor," as they are labeled in their respective versions.

Last night the CHCA executive committee voted on which may be deemed the official version of events that February evening. The first is the original take; the second is the rewrite the executive committee approved last night (April 9, 2009). How appropriate the decision (a 3-1 vote - Dina Hitchcock did not cast the tie-breaker as previously reported to us) fell on Maundy Thursday. Were they were meeting in a garden when all this transpired? And who denied what three times?

I can hear it now: "History is what we say it is." It worked for them last year when the CHCA election featured destroyed ballots, voting irregularities and a rebuke of any who dared question the association.

Examine these for yourselves. This is how your community is presented to the world at large. You have an option. It's Chestnut Hill Neighbors United and they will be holding a Town Meeting on May 6. More on that later, as we said in a prior post.

Members of the Chestnut Hill Community: Ask the board who rewrote these minutes. Ask them why the accounts of the section on the editor are so different. Ask them what happened with the memorandum. Then ask yourself if you want to be a part of an organization whose leadership has no sense of right or wrong.

Original Executive Committee Edition.
February 16, 2009
CHCA Executive Committee Meeting. Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
Performance Review of Editor. Tolis [Vardakis] mentioned that all members of the Executive Committee should have signed a memorandum that was sent to Pete Mazzaccaro on February 5, stating whether or not they agree with the content of the memorandum. Tolis also stated that the lack of signatures has happened previously, citing two examples from June 2008 (the action plan) and May 2007 (salary increases). In the ensuing discussion, points that were raised included:
• Two wrongs don't make a right; there never was a meeting to discuss the February 5th memorandum.
• The Executive Committee can only offer recommendations for Board approval for personnel and other matters. In the past, employee terminations have been approved by the Executive Committee. The bylaws state that the Executive Committee must "report its actions"; the implication is that it must have taken actions.
• Three limited instances in which the Executive Committee may act without Board approval were cited from the bylaws.
• The memorandum in question was written with authorization from the Board. • In the interest of transparency, actions regarding the Editor's employment should be taken by the full Board, since the position of Editor is a more public position. The message to the Editor can be considered "threatening."
• According to a statement from the Local's attorney read at last month's Board meeting, the Local is at high risk of having to face legal action for using inflammatory language about people.
• The attorney's statement was "privileged and confidential" and for Board members only.
• The "case" for termination was not well made.
• The Secretary needs to document motions and specific vote tallies for those in favor, those opposed, and those abstaining, but the vote was not tallied at last month's executive session regarding termination.
• Arguments regarding process can be at the cost of enacting changes needed to save the Local.
• An article appearing in the Local in 1977 stated that an annual review of the paper is appropriate.
• Pete has been invited to address the full Board at its meeting on February 26.
• It is proper management to provide timely feedback to employees, with more frequent reviews after a negative evaluation.
• How should risk management and insubordination be addressed?

Mark Keintz then offered a motion to approve and re-issue the memorandum to the Editor and report delivery of this document to the full Board at its meeting on February 26; this motion was seconded by Dina Hitchcock. Mark read from the section of the bylaws regarding responsibilities of the Executive Committee. Ron suggested instead that the memorandum in question be placed on the agenda for the board meeting so that the Board can approve it and then give it to the Editor. Dina then offered a motion to call the question (end discussion); this motion was seconded and passed with 4 votes in favor, none opposed, and 1 abstention (Ron Recko). Mark's original motion received 4 votes in favor, 1 vote opposed (Ron Recko), and no abstentions.

Minutes prepared by Noreen Spota, CHCA Administrative Coordinator, on 2/16/09.

Respectfully submitted on _________ by:
Kristina Sullivan
CHCA Secretary

Alternative History (Winning Entry)

Adjusted Executive Committee Edition.
February 23, 2009
Memorandum to the Editor. The issue of the February 5 Memorandum to the Editor was brought up. The question first suggested was that the Executive Committee members should sign it in order to make it complete since the approval of all except one member was not done at a formal meeting. It was agreed that that was unnecessary now that the Executive Committee was meeting and could again consider the matter. The facts leading up to the Memorandum were brought out. Those facts include the following. The Executive Committee had reviewed the performance of the Editor and in June of 2008 developed an Action Plan for him, of which the Board had been notified at that time and again advised at the January 2009 Board meeting. (A copy of that 2-page Action Plan is attached to these minutes.) The Executive Committee met with the Editor in early December to re-review his progress on the Action Plan. Before the Executive Committee could give its formal re-assessment to the Editor (i.e., some progress, some areas still needing work), another serious employee matter associated with the termination of an employee and with the conduct of that individual witnessed by the Editor and associated with the Editor occurred and it was thought best to bring the matter of the Editor's progress to the Board at its January meeting. At the end of that Board meeting, Cathy Pimpinella volunteered to review the June 2008 evaluation and Action Plan and to draft a Corrective Action Plan, and the Board agreed. She reviewed those materials and drafted this Memorandum. Our counsel then reviewed that Memorandum and suggested certain revisions which were incorporated into the Memorandum which the Executive Committee issued February 5 to the Editor. That Memorandum to him was denoted, "Personal and Confidential." The Memorandum was part of the ongoing process in accordance with the Bylaws VI I a ("The Executive Committee... reviews the job performance of the Association's employees at least once each year.") It was questioned why more than one review is necessary and the point was brought out that an "employee at risk" should be reviewed more often to support that employee in the execution of their Action Plan. At this point after a discussion pro and con, Mark Keintz made the following Motion, seconded by Dina Hitchcock: "The Executive Committee hereby re-issues the Memorandum directed to the Editor issued February 5." After further discussion Dina Hitchcock moved to call the question which motion was duly seconded. The motion to call the question carried by a vote of 4 in favor, 0 against, and 2 abstaining (the President only yes or no votes in the event of a tie). The main Motion was then adopted by a vote of 4 yes, 1 no, and 1 abstention (the President again abstaining because there was not a tie).

Respectfully submitted on 2/23/09 by:
Kristina Sullivan
CHCA Secretary

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Blogger Jeremiade said...

It will take more than revised and fictionalized meeting minutes to cover the unethical conduct of these petty tyrants. After passing a new bylaw providing for editorial independence, these "leaders" are doing to Mazzaccaro what was done to Sturdivant but this time they are pretending to be providing ongoing employee evaluation. It shows how little respect they have for all of us.

Fri Apr 10, 10:48:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And it was quoted:
"Dina then offered a motion to call the question (end discussion); this motion was seconded and passed with 4 votes in favor, none opposed, and 1 abstention (Ron Recko). Mark's original motion received 4 votes in favor, 1 vote opposed (Ron Recko), and no abstentions."

Why don't the affirmatives get named? They never take a stand, do they? Hiding behind whatever is convenient. They're all the same - wussies. That includes Keintz, who's the biggest joke of all. Mark, they're all laughing at you. Especially your neighbors.

Fri Apr 10, 11:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Dina even on the board let alone an officer. She doesn't even live in Chestnut Hill and is the sun that all of the problems revolve around. What does she know is in your closets, board members? What of your dirty laundry has she washed?

Thu Apr 16, 07:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Ed Feldman said...

The dirty laundry is communal. What Dina has is the desire ability to rule without compunction. A discussion of the pathology at the root of this condition is best left to health care professionals.
Ed (I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV) Feldman

Sun Apr 19, 10:34:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Ed Feldman said...

It should be "desire AND ability"

Sun Apr 19, 10:36:00 AM EDT  

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