First Thoughts on Tonight’s (9/28) NENA Election

UPDATE (10/1): Over 300 ballots were cast in-person and online. Results posted at NENA website. Congrats to Amy Allgeyer, Drew Alexander, Nola Walker, Julie Varin, and Julie Madsen. See below on why 6th place Laurynda “Ryndy” Williams should be named to fill even-year seat vacated earlier this year by our friend Chrystal Allen. Thanks to everyone who stepped forward to run and right the NENA ship!

Thanks to everyone who came out to vote tonight! I know many people stood in line in the cold for well over an hour. I arrived at 6:45, voting started after 7:30, and I was the last person to vote when it must have been after 9:30.

Having run two very clean election processes for NENA in the last year, I asked early on if I could ask some questions of the (unidentified) person hired to run the election. He promised to answer my questions when the voting was finished. But when the time came, he refused to give his name, answer any questions about how the counting would be documented (like we video’d the counting of recall ballots in March), and got hostile even as I repeatedly asked to have a calm conversation about the process.

Then he declared that his contract was with the board, that he would certify his findings to them, and that the only information available about the election would come from the board.

He refused to offer his name, any clarification about his business name, had no business card or website. When we google the business name we find only a “consulting and agriculture” outfit in Idaho, which kind of makes sense as his role is really starting to smell like a ranch, if you know what I mean.

In March, we counted hundreds of recall paper ballots in three hours, in a public place (13th and Alturis, no less), with many people, on video. Fully transparent. Online votes can be counted in minutes, and take a bit longer to double check for duplicate votes, all documented automatically by GoogleSheets.

I can imagine no reason the counting should not be done (and documented on video) by the end of business tomorrow. Yet the results have been promised in a couple, or few, days. I hope it won’t take that long.

I’m especially interested in who will finish in 6th place. There are six open seats, but only five were decided by tonight’s voting. This board will fill that sixth seat – but will they fill that seat before or after they certify tonight’s five winners? Either way, will they vote to ignore the sixth place finisher on hundreds of ballots tonight – and choose somebody else instead?

There were many good people on the ballot tonight. I thank them all for their willingness to run and do the work. I don’t think the neighborhood will lose tonight’s vote – in spite of those running this election, not because of them.

I just hope we can get the name of this mystery vote counter, get his documented results soon, that the previously removed board members certify those five quickly, and that the new members will make quick work of refilling the rest of the board with more good people, prepared to do the work in skillful, transparent and gracious ways the removed five have shown over and over again that they cannot understand, much less embody.

Once seated the new board members should (1) vote to remove, per the bylaws, the two recalled directors who’ve missed three consecutive meetings, (2) vote to stop spending neighborhood money on lawyers working to dismiss the legitimate recall vote (by over 90% of almost 800 members) last March, and (3) vote to accept the results of that recall vote directly. This is how we get a truly clean slate and move on.

Long live NENA and the spirit of the North End, which came out, onsite and online, in droves tonight! Thank you all! –Michael Herman

NENA Board Election – Now Certified, Still Challenged, Meeting Tonight, Link Below

Following October’s Annual Meeting and board elections, a number of formal inquiries have been presented to the NENA board, by NENA members, regarding the election process and legitimacy of the results – including a petition signed/submitted by 180+ members (update: now 258 members) which was presented at the November meeting. October Zoom Video | November Zoom Video

The issues raised by these inquiries are being investigated. Election results have not been certified and a new board has not yet been formally established. The current board must ratify (or not) the results of the election and the current board remains in place until a new board is selected and ratified.

This process was unanimously approved before the election because the bylaws are silent on how to conduct the election. Ratification must now also include consideration of the issues raised by NENA membership about the legitimacy of the election process.

UPDATE to what was announced at the November meeting: Tom Banducci (Boise attorney and mediator) has volunteered to facilitate a discussion between board election candidates and other interested parties (including association members supportive of the recent petition), with the aim of exploring possible solutions. To that end, Mr. Banducci plans to meet with stakeholders and other interested parties, in advance of the December 13th meeting, in a non-binding confidential mediation process.

UPDATE: Days before the scheduled special meeting, threats of legal action have necessitated the withdrawal of our volunteer mediator and scuttled, at least for now, the chance for a mediated solution. The board is still working to restart the mediation process, which would now require finding a new mediator. We may or may not have a meeting agenda posted in advance of this meeting.

UPDATE: The petitioners have been heard, the election results certified, but a new petition from members has been presented. At the special meeting on December 13th (interrupted by Zoom capacity issue that limited attendance) and then its continuation on January 10th, the original petitioning group brought concerns and questions for sitting board members and recent board candidates. Board members and one candidate addressed all questions put to them. The election results from October were certified as required by Idaho state law, with protests noted. Three board members announced their resignations during the session. December Zoom Video | January Zoom Video

A new petition from members was announced at the end of the meeting. The special meeting to address that petition will be coupled with the next regular monthly meeting, on the evening of Tuesday, January 26th has now been postponed. Updates will be posted here, as they become available. Here is the full text of that petition:

Demand for Special Membership Meeting of the North End Neighborhood Association

In the event that the North End Neighborhood (NENA) board certifies the October 27, 2020, board election, we, the undersigned, as member of the NENA, pursuant to Idaho Nonprofit code 30-30-608*, are demanding a NENA special member meeting for the purpose of removing the following board members: Tory Spengler, Sarah Foregger, Carlos Coto, Daniel Foregger, and Sitka Koloski.

*30-30-608. Removal of directors by members or directors. (1) The members may remove one (1) or more directors elected by them without cause.

Please join us – February 23rd, at 7-9pm – for the next regular monthly board meeting.

Click Here to Join the Zoom Meeting

Link and other meeting info will be posted 15 minutes before the meeting starts

Meeting ID: TBD
One tap mobile numbers: TBD

If you missed any of these meetings, you can catch up here:
October Zoom Video | November Zoom Video | December Zoom Video
January (1/10 Special Meeting) Zoom Video | January (Regular Meeting) Zoom Video