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Where Are We Going and How Are We Getting There

Discussion in 'AAW Information' started by Stuart Johnson, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Stuart Johnson

    Stuart Johnson

    Feb 28, 2009
    Location (City & State):
    Red Oak, Texas
    In many ways the BOD / AAW is no different than congress/ federal government. Very few members/citizens vote for any number of reasons. Apathy is probably the leading factor. Give me a nice magazine (I know it's a journal), a club where I can talk to other turners and not have to do anything and all is fine. I don't give a hoot who runs the show because they are all the same. Keep me employed, let me take my 2 - 6 weeks of vacation with my bass boat/ motor home, a nice roof over my head, food on my table and all is fine. I don't give a hoot who runs the show because they are all the same.

    Now something goes wrong. Mary is fired, unemployment hits and the first thing we do is yell throw the SOB's out. The BOD fired Mary, toss them out. Congress allowed unemployment, toss them out. Both groups might need and deserve to be tossed but that alone will not fix the problems. How did they come about? What is a short term fix and then what is a long term fix? This forum isn't large enough to solve the issues with congress so to bring it back the AAW.

    In my opinion Mary Lacer being fired was the tipping point. This issue turned the spotlight on the BOD and caused many (myself included) to take a look at just what and how things seem to be run. If her removal had been handled much differently I doubt if there would be much if any discussions on AAW or if this forum would have been needed or started. So what are we going to do and where are we going? How do we determine what is wrong and how do we go about fixing the problems?

    1. Was the BOD justified in wanting to make an ED change?

    I can't tell from all of the posts I've read. Maybe there was a legitimate business reason. There seems to be a consensus from everyone but the BOD that they went about it wrong. The charges seem to be more of a way to justify the action rather than the cause.

    2. Should the entire BOD resign?

    I don't know if that would be a good thing or not. In any event it's not going to happen.

    3. Is the BOD the entire problem?

    This I think is the heart of the matter. The current board didn't just appear they were elected over a period of time. The members that cared enough to vote are the ones that elected them. Unfortunately I don't think there is enough information available to make a reasonable selection. Candidates are vetted by a nominating committee that has been vetted by the sitting board. There was some talk that the bylaws committee is going to add something to allow membership nominations. This alone won't do anything but add a personality contest. They should be allowed to campaign. Let them tell the membership why they want to be elected.

    4. What is the purpose of the BOD?

    Is the board there to manage or guide AAW? In my opinion the board should be charged with keeping the AAW on a path directed by the membership. If this is correct just how can the membership easily inform the board of their desire? I would like to see monthly poll in the membership area. Each journal could show the upcoming polls with the notation only members will be allowed to vote. I know the journal is sold retail but it is a membership journal and this might even pick up a few members.

    5. Will the bylaw revisions solve anything?

    I don't think the revisions will actually accomplish much as such. The board has shown they can be ignored.

    6. Would a stronger ethics committee be helpful?

    Unless the committee has investigative authority and some way to enforce their findings I don't think it is meaningful.

    7. How can the AAW forum be improved?

    In my opinion the administrator, moderator and web master need to stay out of controversial threads. The administrator should have the authority to lock a thread but not remove it once it has had a response. The reason should be specific and the last post. "This thread has gotten out of hand and is closed" is not being specific. " Al vs Al and their personal arguments need to move to email and a new on topic thread started" would be reasonable (sorry Al). There should be an unbiased avenue to protest a ban.

    These aren't the only things or questions that need to be resolved but I do think we need to start looking for a road out of this mess. Name calling, baiting, bashing and gloating won't do the trick. We need to come up with positive steps to get AAW moving in the direction we want.
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Apr 27, 2004
    Location (City & State):
    Lakeland, Florida
    Home Page:
    One thing I hope to see is more folks stepping up to serve on the AAW board.

    In the past five years on at least two occasions there were less than 6 candidates as late as 1 may with a closing date of 15 May.

    Basically in those 2 years if any qualified member had applied and coerced two freinds into wrting recommendation letters they would have been in the election. Kind of sad. To get to six the board and the nominating committee had to beat the bushes and twist arms to get to 6 applicants.

    It isn't always so dire. About 3 years ago there were well over 20 candidates which is probably too many.

    it isn't as bad as finding officers for the local club yet!

    I think one of the big drains of AAW board candidates are the regional symposiums which have top quality potential board members working on their boards.
    These folks don't have the time to give to the AAW board while they are working on the regional and when they get off the regional symposium board they need a break.

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  3. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

    Jun 16, 2004
    Location (City & State):
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Home Page:

    I’m going to go ahead and violate your item 7, assuming this is considered a “controversial thread”.

    First, and for the record:

    - I do not speak for or on behalf of the Board. This is just me talking

    - I do not have any control over the administration or moderation of this forum. I do have the technical ability to pull the plug on the forum, but that’s it. If I see something that concerns me, I may have a talk with the mods, just as anyone else may do, but the decision on how this forum runs is solely the mod’s responsibility.

    Now, with regard to the Board, some of you I’m sure have picked up on this, but then some may not – it's my observation that the Board has made a pact among themselves to not get involved in any forum discussions that are related to any of the controversies since late June. No tit-for-tat, no public arguments, no ego indulgencies, no defensive posturing. Nowhere on this forum will you have seen a post made by a Board member who was seated on June 20, 2010, that responded in any way to any post made by another person. I also know that many of the Board members purposely do not read the forums, specifically to avoid the urge to get involved in public squabbles. Rightly or wrongly, that is their decision.

    As for change, my personal hope, and I think the hope of many informed members, is that AAW hires a thoroughly qualified, competent and aggressive Executive Director, who is both able and willing to effectively assume all aspects of control over all non-policy related functions within AAW. The ideal ED IMHO would relieve the Board of much, if not all, day-to-day responsibilities. Board members may still be called upon to do stuff that’s not policy related, but only in the context of volunteers who have a work assignment under the direction of the ED.

    The fundamental problem with AAW in my view, and just about anyone who has spoken to me will have heard this before, is that it is totally dependent on volunteers. The nature of these volunteers, from the AAW staff’s perspective, is that it’s a revolving door and you never know what’s coming through that door. Every volunteer Board member, has their own background, life experiences, biases and pre-conceived notions – all of which the staff must deal with. Some of us are better at it than others. But in the end, the Board’s level of involvement in AAW’s operations is directly proportional to the capabilities (real and perceived) of the ED. If the ED is strong and trusted, then the Board backs off. If the ED is not strong or trusted (in truth or perceived), then the Board will feel compelled to get involved. That’s just a fact of human nature.

    In an ideal situation, the ED is responsible for all operations, and I mean all. The Board’s responsibility is oversight and policy. One of the many reasons that this dividing line is so important is that Board members come and they go. Most do not have visibility or first-hand experience into past decisions. If you ask a current Board member why the AAW website’s background is blue and use to be yellow, they probably won’t have a clue – of what decision was made, why it was decided to go that way, who made the decision, how much it costs or any of the historical details – that’s where the staff comes in. We generally have some continuity, and can answer those historical precedence questions and hopefully, avoid reinventing the wheel every time a new player comes onto the Board, or one of its committees.

    So in my view, our future lies with the new ED, not the Board. Once that new ED is hired, a cascade of decisions and events should occur, all of which will over time, set the AAW boat right.

    My personal game plan is to support the new ED 110 percent, and do whatever I can to insure that person is successful. I hope all of you feel the same way…
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010

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