Board Meeting 2-11-09

The board meeting on 2/11/09 was, I thought, pretty boring…and that is a good thing.  For the first time in a long, long time, the board focused on business and got things done.  Amazingly, the things that were decided were decided unanimously.  Consensus was achieved.  That doesn’t mean that there weren’t different points of view, but everyone listened to one another and came to consensus.  New committees were formed:  Finance Committee, Livability Committee (to plan the first general membership meeting to be held in a long time–not counting the annual meeting where board members are elected), and a committee to put together a board training session.

There were tense moments.  Every time the front door opened, a little alarm beeps, and everyone cast anxious eyes toward the front to see who was entering.  It was clear that neither the board members nor the community members were  used to a quiet, peaceful meeting.

It was also clear why the board needs training.  A number of suggestions were made that were outside the scope of the organization or that were the same as, or similar to, programs Jordan already has in place.  The new board needs to become familiar with the bylaws (the real bylaws approved by the community in November  2003 –and posted on this site).

Encouraging:

  • There was no lack of volunteers for the committees that were set up.
  • During the board meeting, community members were allowed to speak occasionally to the issues being addressed.  I would hope that this becomes a structured part of the board meetings, with a small amount of time being allotted for the community to speak before the board votes on most decisions.  I would envision that prior to a board vote, for example, the chair might ask if there are any community members who wish to speak to the issue.  If there are, then the chair could allot time for four community members to speak for one minute each, two in favor and two opposed.  In this way, community begins to feel once again that it is the real reason the Jordan Area Community Council exists.

A little discouraging:

  • Some board members, while willing to speak about the committees, did not volunteer for any committee.  This may be because the committee they want to serve on was not on the table yet (the Block Club, Youth Initiatives, and Public Safety Committees were not discussed at this meeting).
  • The habits of the “old majority” were evident among board members who joined the board while the “old majority” was in power, including the tendency to pick a board member to chair each committee.  The board was reminded by a community member that except for the Finance Committee, which is chaired by the board treasurer, committees are supposed to elect their own chairpersons.

This meeting accomplished a lot in terms of returning JACC to a sane and sensible organization, one that welcomes the participation of residents and values their opinions.  JACC, at last, is coming back to the community it represents.

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