Look Ma’ – No Board!

And then there were none. Tonight’s NENA meeting ran nearly four hours, in part because the people running it decided to make over 120 neighbors sit (muted) through two hours of rudderless procedural theater, before allowing them to comment on THE central issue: the matter of the member vote that effectively recalled five sitting directors.

Ninety percent of almost 800 verified members voted to remove them, but based on their agenda of minor issues, they yet hadn’t gotten the message. By the end of the meeting, they’d lost two more important votes, as board veteran Anne Hausrath and newly elected director Chrystal Allen both resigned their seats. Others resigned from key committees, like recruitment and historic preservation.

Eventually, comments and questions went on for almost two hours, with most neighbors asking the same basic question, each in their own way: “When so many have voted against you, stepped back from working with you, and asked you to leave… why do you insist on staying?” Mostly, the answers given seemed to look back and blame someone else, especially past board members and volunteers.

Some commenters implored the recalled five directors to step aside. Others drew distinctions between what’s technically allowed and what’s necessary to be good neighbors. There was talk about looking forward, the backlog of important work and issues piling up, and provisions in the bylaws for emergency situations, like when there are suddenly no credible board members remaining.

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Probably the biggest eyebrow raiser of the night was Sarah Foregger trying to explain why it was okay that she personally fronted some of the money for the legal “expert” the board has relied on to invalidate the member petition and vote. Call it “a donation to NENA” she says, of her generously fronting some of the money for the out-of-town lawyer who says she can keep her board seat. (Uh… thanks, but no thanks?) And, why does his vote count (and cost!) more than hundreds of member neighbors?

The full video should be posted in a day or two on the NENA website, and linked here.