Friday, June 27, 2014

Guest Post: Transparency 2.0

Today's post comes from Michael Cornell, CA Board Rep from River Hill.


Transparency 2.0


Recent events at a CA Board meeting have revealed more than a few kinks in the system.

Minutes into the meeting on June 12th, a motion was made to amend the agenda. The item being added concerned the Inner Arbor Trust – a non-profit corporation created by CA to develop the Park in Symphony Woods. Added to the end of the agenda, discussion started rather late. A motion was made at approximately 10:40 pm to declare the Trust in violation of the easement agreements. If passed, the motion could lead to delays or cancellation the development of the Park.

Protocols outlined in our governing documents were collectively ignored, skirted, subverted or abused – by those who ran for office on the rally cry of transparency.

Actions taken last minute, off agenda proposals made in the wee hours, are by the very nature anathema to transparency. Transparency is now something dragged out when a determined minority cannot get their way. Transparency is told to go to its room and be quiet when that minority sees an opportunity. Transparency is being used as a tool, a convenient ideology, as a means to an end.

And that’s wrong.

A few of us were adamantly vocal about what was happening. A few others remained silent, waiting and watching to see how things played out, confident of a voting outcome.

Those who are silent are all culpable when bullies force items onto an agenda, when motions are made and voted on without public notice, knowledge or discourse. The public suffers when new members of a Board can undo work begun under previous Boards. When no decision is ever final, when no issue is ever resolved, when no organization can look to CA for stability, reliability or consistency, there is no foundation for trust, partnership or progress. When an organization is undermined by its leadership, it has the wrong leadership.

Make no mistake; this was not some rookie misunderstanding by someone who didn’t understand Board processes or protocols. This was the action of some attempting to stop development by the Inner Arbor in part or in whole. It is tyranny of the minority. And those who allowed it to go forward are complicit.

How does this happen?

In part because they think no one is watching. In part because it’s easier to tear down than it is to build. In part because it’s safer to do nothing than to speak out.

Whether opponents of the Inner Arbor will succeed or fail is almost irrelevant. The damage has been done. They have shown their intent and true colors. They have lost the claim to actions for the sake of transparency.

Transparency be damned.

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