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AAW Ethics Complaint response

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AAW Ethics Complaint

<snip> I'll allow the PDF post , not the editorializing.

The principles involved have deemed this matter settled and closed. -- JV





Bill Nelson
AAW member # 2682
Curtis Thompson
AAW member # 15049
 

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  • AAW Ethic Complaint_Nelson&Thompson.pdf
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Would it be possible to see a copy of the Ethic Committee's report? The two sentences you quoted may not give us the full flavor of what the committee had to say.
 
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Ethics Committee report

Mr. Thompson and Mr. Nelson,

In October/November of last year 224 AAW members were given a one-sided view of history in the form of the complaint which they signed on to.

The Ethics Committee has responded to the complaint. You have just now printed selected extracts of their report which you received two weeks ago, with your own one-sided commentary on it.

In the interests of the transparency which you and other members of the WTF have so frequently demanded of the AAW Board, will you be providing the text of the full unabridged Ethics Committee report to the 224 individuals who signed on to the complaint?

Malcolm Zander
 
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MZ

As soon as the the moderators approve the PDF attachment in my original post, you can read the actual e-mail message.

<snip> -not gonna have it Curt - that matter is closed - JV

Curt
 
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Publicising the Ethics Committee Report

I ask once again, Mr. Thompson: will the 224 signatories be shown the full report, or be given a link to the PDF of it?

MZ
 
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Malcolm,

All the supporters received the same communication that Nelson and I did regarding the BoD's response to the ethics complaint. We sent it out yesterday. It's a very short half page e-mail message. If you are referring to the full report, then I ask you to post it as the message we received doesn't include any such report. Maybe you've seen something we haven't seen?

We have asked the ethics Committee for the investigative fact sheets use to come to their decision. No answer yet. Maybe you can help us with that issue?

You can see the PDF document we received, on the Woodturners forum, if you care to.

Curtis Thompson
 
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Curtis,

The only PDF I can see on the WTF appears to be the text of the original complaint, not the Committee response to it. And I cannot read it.

I am not asking about the BoD's response. I am asking about the Ethics Committee's response to the complaint, which you quote twice from, in your first post, above.

I am asking if the full text of this Ethics Committee's response which you quote from has been or will be communicated to the 224 signatories of the complaint.

Malcolm
 
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It seems that you two have seen the full report and it's still to be sent to Nelson and I.

The "full report" of which you speak is the Joe Dickey email you have received. There is no other report, so please stop referring to some other document. What you see is all there is. Thanks for posting it, as I had not read it until now. Case closed.

Post Script: A question has been posed to me with regard to my statement about the EC's 1-page report being "final". My information comes from listening in to the April 5th open Board meeting during which Mr. Pho, the Board liaison to the Ethics Committee, reported that he had received the document that was to be sent to (and now posted by) Mr. Thompson. Any member who chose to take the time to register for the call-in would know exactly what I know and have stated on this forum. Unfortunately, I was the only member willing to take the time to attend that meeting. No "insider" knowledge or back channel "cabal" communications involved here.
 
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The "full report" of which you speak is the Joe Dickey email you have received. There is no other report, so please stop referring to some other document. What you see is all there is. Thanks for posting it, as I had not read it until now. Case closed.

This reminds me of how Enron "resolved" questions about their activities...
 
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How can an (any) ethics committee resolve issues raised, with transparency, about ethics and transparency, by not specifically responding to any aspect of any part of any question raised?
How can persons with clearly stated specific concerns accept a nonspecific non-responsive edict of this nature without any backup documentation?
AND how does the statement by the "ethics" committee arrive at "case closed" with any kind of transparency?
 
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How can an (any) ethics committee resolve issues raised, with transparency, about ethics and transparency, by not specifically responding to any aspect of any part of any question raised?
How can persons with clearly stated specific concerns accept a nonspecific non-responsive edict of this nature without any backup documentation?
AND how does the statement by the "ethics" committee arrive at "case closed" with any kind of transparency?

You are laboring under the serious misconception that you have some right to see everything and hear about everything in the name of "transparency."

You Don't.

Ethics matters are always handled under confidential methods in order to encourage people with knowledge to submit evidence when they might otherwise "not want to be involved."

BTW, your reference to the criminal conspiracies involved in the ENRON matter may border on defamatory to the people involved. You'd be well advised to more carefully consider your analogies.
 
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BTW, your reference to the criminal conspiracies involved in the ENRON matter may border on defamatory to the people involved. You'd be well advised to more carefully consider your analogies.

The response from the ethics committee was akin to:
"What time is it?"
"Day time, now don't bother me."

Notwithstanding the criminal conspiracy aspect of the Enron thing, the appearance of a resolution without information only leaves dissatisfaction and invites further investigation.
In that way, this reminds me of that.
In what way might I have actually defamed anyone?

And, in what capacity am I being advised? Are you representing AAW and/or the BOD and/or the ethics committee, and/or any specific members thereof?
Does this advise come as a friendly suggestion or veiled threat?
 
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The response from the ethics committee was akin to:
"What time is it?"
"Day time, now don't bother me."

Notwithstanding the criminal conspiracy aspect of the Enron thing, the appearance of a resolution without information only leaves dissatisfaction and invites further investigation.
In that way, this reminds me of that.
In what way might I have actually defamed anyone?

And, in what capacity am I being advised? Are you representing AAW and/or the BOD and/or the ethics committee, and/or any specific members thereof?
Does this advise come as a friendly suggestion or veiled threat?

What "information" you are seeking is a mystery. Complaints alleging serious ethical violations, which normally result in sanctions being imposed upon those found guilty, must be based upon actual facts submitted and established by competent proof; they are not devices to obtain facts which go by the rubric of "fishing expeditions", and can, in certain circumstances, be deemed unethical in their own right.

The complaint alleged violations of AAW ethics principals. The Committee determined that no ethical violations occurred based upon the Complaint and proof that was submitted. Simply put, the complainants failed to submit competent proof of their allegations, which were, after all, based upon hearsay taken from internet chatroom rhetoric rather than being based upon actual facts "testified" to by persons with actual knowledge of the events. Moreover, most of the allegations, at best, concerned alleged failures to follow one procedural rule or another, rather than actions taken in actual bad faith with evil intent. The complaint was, therefore, properly dismissed with the short statement that no bad faith or unethical conduct was proven on the part of the six Board members who were the targets of the document.

If you'd like to play investigator, feel free to do so. But you really should start with the actual people involved, if, that is, you can get any of them to talk to you. That means directly, one-on-one, not posting messages in some chatroom.

Now, let's make sure this is perfectly clear, I represent neither the AAW nor its Board of Directors nor any AAW member. Moreover, I am not advising you, Mr. Guadiane, in any way, shape or form, on any subject or issue whatsoever. I used nothing more than a common figure of speech which you, characteristically, have misinterpreted. It was neither friendly advice nor a threat, veiled or otherwise, but rather a mere observation.

If you'd like more information about defamation in the Internet Age, consult with an attorney who can explain it and its many forms to you. I did not say you defamed anyone. However, someone who loves to parse words as much as you do, might take your ENRON reference the wrong way. Do not, however, let anything I might have to say deter you from your chosen path.
 
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Re: the EC response and the response to that response

I'd like to share some thoughts regarding the Ethics Committee's response and on some of the reactions to it:

Brevity is not always the essence of wit. Like many who've commented here and elsewhere, I was disappointed at the brevity of the Ethic Committee's response to the ethics complaint filed by Mr. Nelson and Mr. Thompson. Ideally, like a well written opinion handed down from a court of law, the Committee's response to that complaint should have addressed in detail each allegation made by Nelson and Thompson. However, while that would have been the ideal, I don't believe such a response was possible. Nor, upon reflection, do I believe that the "ideal" would have be desirable.

A detailed response may not have been possible because it may have required the dissemination of facts that the AAW has promised Mary Lacer, et al, to keep confidential. (I don't know this from any personal knowledge and freely admit this is an educated guess.) This is hardly an unusual situation for an ethics complaint of this type. Ethics complaints frequently deal with matters that are, by their very nature, highly confidential. As a consequence, my experience is that it is more often than not the case that the resolution of the complaint is far from satisfactory in terms of the detail it provides. That's typically not the fault of the ethics committee; it's just the nature of the beast.

Even if it had been possible to provide the kind of detail many of us crave (if only as we might crave more detail about a train wreck), I do not believe it would have been wise for the Committee to provide that detail. Many on this board and elsewhere have called for each of us to work toward healing the AAW. That requires forgiving and, in many cases, ignoring slights and wrongs. How would another summary of the facts help that cause, particularly when both sides are likely to disagree with the parts of the summary that makes them look bad? For the healing to start, the bickering has to stop. Why not here? Why not now?

In the end, none of us who were not in the room will ever know the full story of what happened last June. Even those who were in the room don't have the full story. (Since one of the allegations is that person X acted without caring how X's actions would impact person Y, how can anyone know if that allegation is true without being able to see into X's heart? Not even those in the room know, for sure, what everyone was thinking and feeling, so not even they have the full story.) It will always remain a he said/she said/they said kind of thing. Another version of the facts, this one from the Ethics Committee, would not have changed that.

How many reputations should be destroyed to save one? If you had been asked to serve on the Ethics Committee, would you have placed personal affection above duty and honor? I think most reading this would answer "no" to that question and I hope most would follow through on that commitment. Serving on an ethics committee is serious business and most people I've seen serve have taken their duties seriously. It's an important, yet frequently difficult and thankless, job. Even if you don't know well the accused, and even if the evidence points to a violation, natural human empathy makes it distasteful to embarrass the person by pronouncing him or her guilty of an ethics lapse. Yet, most ethics committee members I've worked with over the years faithfully fulfill their responsibilities.

So, before we pronounce the resolution of this particular complaint a "whitewash" or a "cover up", shouldn't we acknowledge that such labels are the equivalent of saying the members of Ethics Committee lacked the integrity to do their sworn duty? Would you want your honor, honesty, and integrity publicly called into question on such slender evidence? The Ethics Committee had access to information that most of us did not. The Committee's conclusion differs from our own, and our first explanation is that the Committee was corrupt? We won't even consider the possibility that the Committee knows something that we don't (and cannot) know? That bespeaks a lack of humility and a willingness to judge others in a manner we undoubtedly would find unfair if the tables were turned. It also takes us farther away from our goal of healing the AAW.

Some may point to a friendship that may or may not exist between one or more of the Board and members of the Committee to justify their refusal to accept the Committee's conclusions at face value. Fine. Just remember that works both ways. Many of the original supporters of Mary Lacer were her close friends. Many of those who continue to keep this issue alive by posting here and elsewhere (mostly elsewhere) are close friends with those who were very vocal supporters of Mary. If we cannot accept the Committee's conclusions because friendships may have blinded them to the truth, how can we accept the factual assertions and arguments from the friends of Mary (and from the friends of Mary's friends)?

Again, since we cannot know the "truth" of what happened, isn't it best that we forgive and choose to get along with each other? It can be over if we'll allow it to be. For that to happen, we have to let it go. In that spirit, this will be my last post on this or any related topic.
 
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There is Hope

Should be a really interesting members' session on Sunday morning at the St. Paul Symposium. That is, of course, if more than 5 people show up for the meeting. :)

Members will have the opportunity to openly and honestly discuss their concerns without the "distance of the Internet" engendering mere rhetorical "hit 'n run" tactics that do more to hide real information than discover it.

Just booked my flight. Now I've got to get my lathe operating and some stuff done.
 
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I like David and many others would have preferred to have a much more detailed response to the specific allegations made in the Ethics Complaint. I would have been OK without details but just a brief explanation as to why the EC felt why each allegation was erroneous. We were presented with a short statement by the EC and now it is over. However that does not mean we can not disagree with their findings. I still feel the BOD acted unethically, but that comes from my own internal code of ethics. There were certain behaviors we felt were codified in the BODs internal documents concerning ethical behavior. I have since learned that the BOD can effectively ignore these rules because they are meant to be internal and not used by the members against them. That is unfortunate, we as members really had no standing to make a ethical complaint using the BODs internal rules. Hopefully this can be rectified in the future. The only people that could possibly have used those rules against the BOD were other BOD members. This seems unlikely as the 6 members acted as one in this matter. IMHO I still feel that the BOD violated ethical rules, but these rules are based on the rules of a civil society and how people should treat others not the rules of the board room. The AAW is going more corporate all the time, many on the BOD are from the corporate world and use corporate ideals to run the AAW. Is this bad? For many it is and for me it is. I know we can't be run like a local club anymore but I kind of hoped for more from the BOD that represents me.

I do feel that the EC ran off the rails in their scope of work. The whole complaint was based on activity before and during the infamous BOD meeting not anything that came after. In the ECs response they state that the two parties had come to an agreement, to me this was irrelevant. That agreement did not mitigate the actions that preceded it. In a criminal court of law should the guilty go unpunished because they made a deal with the harmed? I'm in no way saying that the BOD was criminal in their actions I'm just making a analogy, so please do not get your unmentionables in a knot.

Not being privy to all the legal mumbo jumbo and actions that could be taken against the BOD if they were to do so, I feel that a true heartfelt apology to all the members of the AAW and a acknowledgment of how those action harmed the AAW could have avoided all that has transpired.

All the above is nothing more than my own humble opinion as flawed as it may appear to others.

William Nelson
 
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An honest and well written posting, Mr. Nelson.

We may disagree on some things, we may actually agree on more. Hold on to your personal values and your sense of right and wrong; they will serve you well, I'm sure.

I hope you'll come to St. Paul. I hear the local brews aren't bad.;)

Peace
 

AlanZ

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Mr. Nelson's words also express my feelings. Well said.
 
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The choice to follow one's own head and heart is all under our own control.

I'm not suggesting that anyone needs to do anything that they don't feel, but I know how this whole thing sat with me and I made my own adult decision.

Perhaps one day, with enough time and distance from 2010's events, I will revisit the decision, but for now, I know I've done what's right for me.

Steve
 
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All the above is nothing more than my own humble opinion as flawed as it may appear to others.

William Nelson

To the contrary, yours is the delicate essence of what I intended to impart.

Well said
 
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