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eHam Forums => Clubs => Topic started by: K4FMH on October 25, 2012, 11:18:05 AM



Title: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on October 25, 2012, 11:18:05 AM
Just taking stock here of how clubs govern themselves...

If you're a member of a local amateur radio club, are your Board meetings open to the membership? the public? or closed? ???

73,

Frank
K4FMH
Assistant Director, Delta Division, ARRL


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: W5DQ on October 25, 2012, 02:30:16 PM
They were open in as much as the room was open for members to enter and wait until the general meeting commenced but the commotion created by the members showing up and chatting in the back of the room created such a distraction that the board chose to close them, asking the members to wait outside the room until the board meeting was over. The board meets 30 minutes prior to the start of the general meeting. I would suppose that anyone that actually wants to LISTEN to the board but not speak would be allowed to sit in the room the board doesn't make financial decision without bringing it tothe membership for a vote for anything over $200. This way the board can proceed thru their agenda quickly and be ready for the general meeting.

Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: KG4RUL on October 25, 2012, 08:59:21 PM
Trident Amateur Radio Club, Charleston, SC, board meetings are held on the first Monday of the month and are open to the general membership.  General meetings are held on the third Monday.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: TF3JB on October 30, 2012, 01:43:22 AM
Thank you for a most interesting topic. I wonder about the open board meetings in Charleston, SC, what is the average attendance of the general membership to the meetings?

73 de TF3JB.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K2QPN on October 31, 2012, 08:19:40 PM
I am a board member of the Burlington County (NJ) Radio Club. Our board meetings are open to any club member. We rarely get any visitors. We reserve the right not to discuss "sensitive issues" with visitors present.

73, Bob K2QPN


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: WB8UDA on November 02, 2012, 07:48:55 PM
We have an open Board meeting and then a membership meeting after. We use Roberts Rules of Order. Check your clubs' ByLaws and also try attending a Board Meeting...if they ask me to leave....OK ... I would not join the Club.
Ask, look around

Fred WB8UDA


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on November 16, 2012, 03:10:48 PM
Any other comments about the "openness" of club Boards of Directors? How about club leadership in general?

Frank
K4FMH


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: KZ6T on November 18, 2012, 04:32:12 PM
Our Club (K6SON) has separate membership and BOD meetings.  The BOD meetings are open to all members however I doubt if anyone would object to a non-member showing up.  We have a regular group of Board watchers show up and except for actually voting they are able to voice their opinions (and they do)  an any subject that is put forth.  We do however reserve the right to go into closed meetings if necessary.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: N4NYY on November 19, 2012, 05:15:18 PM
I was on the board for W2MMD Gloucester County Amateur Radio Club. The board meetings were not open to the public, but we were not sticklers in case someone wanted to attend. The minutes were always read at the next general meeting anyway.

To be honest, we have enough trouble getting 25% attendance to the general meeting, let alone having someone show up to the board meeting.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on December 01, 2012, 03:50:51 PM
Thanks for the replies, all!

What has been your experience with club leadership? That is, what styles of leadership have or have not worked in the clubs you've attended?

73,

Frank
K4FMH


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: NW0LF on January 26, 2013, 11:50:22 AM
I am a Director on the Board of the Daytona Beach Amateur Radio Association.  Our meeting is on a different night then the club meeting.  The meeting is open to all club members, but there are only a very few that attend the board meeting even remotely regularly.

Tom, NW0LF


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: WB6BYU on February 01, 2013, 10:56:29 AM
I think the board meetings have been open for every radio club I can remember.
But rarely were there any visitors, unless there was a specific topic up for
discussion.

Board meetings were nearly always on a different night than the membership
meeting, so there was no overlap.

At one point we did come up with a way to keep the board meetings short:  most
of the board members were transmitter hunters, so we scheduled a transmitter
hunt after the board meeting.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on February 01, 2013, 12:35:10 PM
WB6BYU,

Thanks for the post. One reason I ask this is that I am directly aware of one ARC Board which has an ad hoc (not in By-Laws) rule that no Board business can be discussed outside of the Board meeting which is usually closed except for an occasional committee chairperson or two. Thus far, the posts here have suggested that this is in an extreme minority operating position!

73,

Frank
K4FMH


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: N9AVY on February 13, 2013, 07:59:21 AM
Our club has had open Board meeting, but no one ever showed.  Quite frankly, I think members waste too much time with discussions.  For example we decided to reduce the annual dues for the club's anniversary by 50% - a one time thing for 2013; ever after they would go back to original amount. So, it came up for a vote at the meeting and after lengthy discussion the membership voted for the original amount instead of a 50% reduction for 2013 ! The idea was that there was too much money in the treasury and that was completely missed.   ...  After this I don't think members should be allowed to attend Board meetings unless they have duct tape over their mouths.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: AC2EU on February 14, 2013, 05:53:12 AM
Personally, I believe that board meeting should be open to members who want to attend.
As noted , due to overall apathy, very few if any will show up anyway.
Otherwise, there is the perception that the board acts as a "secret society" within the club.
This can cause a disconnect between the membership and the leadership if a small group is setting the coarse with no input from the rest of the members.
"Absolute power corrupts, absolutely"... even in radio clubs!
I've seen it happen.



Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K1CJS on March 04, 2013, 09:35:49 AM
Board meeting should be open to club membership, and if there is anything that has to be discussed that must be kept to the board members alone, then the board should go to an 'executive session' where only the board members are allowed to be present. 

In the club that I belonged to, such a procedure was carried out, and members had the right--after being recognized by the board chairman--to make one statement on a subject.  No general discussion from non-board members was allowed, however, unless the matter was brought to the attention of the full club at a general meeting.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: WB5ITT on March 04, 2013, 10:40:34 AM
If the club is incorporated, the board meetings have to be open to the membership....unless they go into executive session. Check the Attorney General rules of your state for more info.

They cannot keep out members if they are incorporated. They MAY be able to keep non members out except press members.....


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K1CJS on March 05, 2013, 05:36:15 AM
If the club is incorporated, the board meetings have to be open to the membership....unless they go into executive session. Check the Attorney General rules of your state for more info.

They cannot keep out members if they are incorporated. They MAY be able to keep non members out except press members.....

Depending on the state and on the way the incorporation documents are written, they may or may not be able to keep members out, and the same is true for non-members and the press.  I've underlined the part of your statement that IS true--check with the attorney general's office of the state the club is incorporated in.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: AK4DV on March 07, 2013, 08:35:39 PM
As President of the Roanoke Valley ARC, W4CA our board meetings are open to the public unless we have to go into a closed meeting for personnel issues, voting someone out, and that's it. All of our meetings run by Robert's Rules.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on April 01, 2013, 06:17:32 PM
Seems like a consensus on this....

I recently resigned from the Board of a local club after being accused of "discussing" matters taken up in a Board meeting. Although not in the club by laws, I was told that this was a verbal agreement amongst the Board, although I was never told of it. What it amounted to was crossing swords with an internal power clique and this was their way of maintaining control.

I've never seen a volunteer group work effectively under such a "blackout" mentality.

Frank
K4FMH


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: N0IU on April 02, 2013, 07:24:23 AM
I absolutely agree that board meetings should be open, but unfortunately most of them or more like bored meetings instead of board meetings!

What a shame about your experience with your BoD. As far as these "verbal agreements" are concerned, one of the most valuable business lessons I have ever learned is, "If it ain't in writing, it never happened!"

As far as "leadership styles", it has been my experience that people get elected to high office because they are willing to take the position when no one else is willing to step up to the plate and put themselves in the spotlight, not because they have any particular skill or experience that will best serve the club. With notable exceptions such as mega-clubs like the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, most clubs are small time social organizations... which is what it should be. They should be a place where like-minded people gather to enjoy each others camaraderie and fellowship and work towards common goals.

I am also pretty sure that most clubs are run like the one I used to belong to. I was president of a fair-sized club (about 100 members) for two years and I found that being president of a large club that has been in existence for a long time is like being the Queen of England. Sure, she is the head of the government and theoretically has the final word, but the day to day business of running the country is actually handled by the Parliament. Similarly, most clubs are actually run by the "elders". In many cases, this isn't necessarily a bad thing since they won't let you stray too far off the mark and fall flat on your face.

Some people just take the job too seriously. C'mon, its just a radio club! Lighten up! Sometimes being president or taking some other leadership role of a club can surely be a PITA at times, but overall it should be fun and enjoyable. But that being said, I was not all the sad to turn my gavel of authority over to the next "victim" once my rein of terror was done!




Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on April 04, 2013, 08:17:09 AM
Amen, N0IU!

"Some people just take the job too seriously. C'mon, its just a radio club! Lighten up! Sometimes being president or taking some other leadership role of a club can surely be a PITA at times, but overall it should be fun and enjoyable. But that being said, I was not all the sad to turn my gavel of authority over to the next "victim" once my rein of terror was done!"


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: W2TXB on April 16, 2013, 11:06:46 PM
I cannot image the news media even covering a ham radio club meeting, unless there was something extremely pertinent or the reporters were specifically invited. Sadly (or not), most news media people have no idea what ham radio is.

Board meetings should be open to the general membership, with voting done only by the board members during those sessions. Matters discussed there should then be brought to the general membership meeting per the bylaws of the club.

Another advantage of opening the board meetings is that potential new board members can be encouraged to sit on the board in the future, keeping the board from becoming "stale".


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: AC2EU on April 17, 2013, 08:16:49 AM
Seems like a consensus on this....

I recently resigned from the Board of a local club after being accused of "discussing" matters taken up in a Board meeting. Although not in the club by laws, I was told that this was a verbal agreement amongst the Board, although I was never told of it. What it amounted to was crossing swords with an internal power clique and this was their way of maintaining control.

I've never seen a volunteer group work effectively under such a "blackout" mentality.

Frank
K4FMH

Not uncommon at all, unfortunately.  Radio clubs have their core people who maintain control by appointing  or nominating each other to the leadership positions. It;s an impenetrable barrier that has been forged over time.
I gave up trying to be an "active member" of most radio clubs. The leadership generally frowns upon this behavior.
Either you can roll with what they are doing or quit! No input is accepted.

The inner circle IS the club. They do quite a bit "behind the scenes" with each other that is not to be spoken of to the general membership. That's just the way it is, I guess...


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: VE5EIS on April 18, 2013, 02:00:45 PM
I cannot image the news media even covering a ham radio club meeting, unless there was something extremely pertinent or the reporters were specifically invited.

I'm currently in a ham course for the basic Canadian license.  (I challenged the exam early so I already have my call, but I'm still attending anyway.)

At our first class, three different reporters - from Global, CTV and CBC - came to the class to check it out.  No idea if they were invited or not, or just chose to came, but they all came and filed stories on it.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on April 24, 2013, 08:30:19 AM

AC2EU,

Thanks for the posting. I don't disagree with our shared observation that this is commonplace but I wonder if the way it "is" is due to a lack of leadership experience in other successful volunteer groups? I'd like to think that leadership training on how successful volunteer groups in general function (outside or inside of ham radio) would change things.

The Delta Division of ARRL had its first leadership development seminar, taught for free by the state Extension Service, at the Mississippi Section ARRL annual convention in January. Director David Norris K5UZ plans to hold them in other Division states in the coming months. It's a start!

Frank
K4FMH

Seems like a consensus on this....

I recently resigned from the Board of a local club after being accused of "discussing" matters taken up in a Board meeting. Although not in the club by laws, I was told that this was a verbal agreement amongst the Board, although I was never told of it. What it amounted to was crossing swords with an internal power clique and this was their way of maintaining control.

I've never seen a volunteer group work effectively under such a "blackout" mentality.

Frank
K4FMH

Not uncommon at all, unfortunately.  Radio clubs have their core people who maintain control by appointing  or nominating each other to the leadership positions. It;s an impenetrable barrier that has been forged over time.
I gave up trying to be an "active member" of most radio clubs. The leadership generally frowns upon this behavior.
Either you can roll with what they are doing or quit! No input is accepted.

The inner circle IS the club. They do quite a bit "behind the scenes" with each other that is not to be spoken of to the general membership. That's just the way it is, I guess...


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: AC2EU on April 26, 2013, 03:44:09 PM
From K4FMH
Quote
Thanks for the posting. I don't disagree with our shared observation that this is commonplace but I wonder if the way it "is" is due to a lack of leadership experience in other successful volunteer groups? I'd like to think that leadership training on how successful volunteer groups in general function (outside or inside of ham radio) would change things.

The Delta Division of ARRL had its first leadership development seminar, taught for free by the state Extension Service, at the Mississippi Section ARRL annual convention in January. Director David Norris K5UZ plans to hold them in other Division states in the coming months. It's a start!

Frank
K4FMH

The ARRL has a guideline PDF for club leadership that I perused while I was in office.
It seemed almost pessimistic about how much participation that I could expect.
Sadly. it was spot on.

Also, you may have extraordinary leadership skills, but if you never get the opportunity to be in the forefront, due to a "rigged" leadership structure, there isn't much you will be able to do. Most of them are way too political behind the curtain.

A successful club I have come to believe is not by design, but serendipitous, with the right mix of people that happens to make it work.



Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on April 28, 2013, 05:13:41 PM
AC2EU,

I wish I could argue with you based upon actual data but I cannot! Some of behind the scenes leadership that you speak of seem to think that clubs would be great if not for the membership! ;)

73,

Frank
K4FMH


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: KD8TUT on November 30, 2013, 04:23:37 PM
I'm a baby ham... so I don't have a lot of experience, but much of it has been bad.

I've thought of forming an "association" instead of a formal corporation to focus on just getting new ham's started in the hobby. So after I've got a few more years under my belt, I may just found something specifically aimed at people seeking a license and/or getting started with one.

Keep the focus really tight on just one thing, so results are measurable, and politics kept to a minimum. I spent 7 years as a non profit executive, that seemed to be a philosophy which worked.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on December 02, 2013, 02:33:37 PM
Hi Michael,

Keep it focused on "fun" which it seems like you plan to do....and you've got a great approach. Size, however, tends to let these initial things go adrift though...

73,

Frank
K4FMH

I'm a baby ham... so I don't have a lot of experience, but much of it has been bad.

I've thought of forming an "association" instead of a formal corporation to focus on just getting new ham's started in the hobby. So after I've got a few more years under my belt, I may just found something specifically aimed at people seeking a license and/or getting started with one.

Keep the focus really tight on just one thing, so results are measurable, and politics kept to a minimum. I spent 7 years as a non profit executive, that seemed to be a philosophy which worked.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K6CPO on December 27, 2013, 11:47:27 AM
My club has three officers, President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer.  We have no board of directors.  All of the club business is conducted openly during regular meetings, including expenditure of funds.  Sometimes the officers will meet to sign paperwork or meet with public officials, but any member is welcome to attend these meeting if they so choose.


Title: RE: Club Board Meetings open?
Post by: K4FMH on January 04, 2014, 09:00:51 AM
Thanks to everyone who has responded! It seems very clear that  most all Board meetings are either open to members or are held during a general meeting of the membership. This gives a fair amount of sunlight on actions taken by leadership.

At the time I posted the original query, I was a new board member of the Jackson MS ARC (JARC) and was told that what happened in Board meetings could not be revealed outside of the Board itself. I found this incompatible with the club's Bylaws but was told by the Officers that this was the "way it was".

Subsequently, I raised a question about an apparent effort to oust the long-standing Public Service Chairman when he could not accommodate a special VE session request over the same weekend period as the nearby MFJ 40th Anniversary/ARRL Day in the Park was held and a race event on the Natchez Trace that the club routinely supported was occurring. The special VE session was specifically for a local affiliate of the MS Preppers Association whose State Chairman was on the TSA No-Fly List. When I raised what I felt was a due-diligence question as a Board member of whether the JARC should be training members of a group whose leader is an outspoken anti-government paramilitary advocate, I was asked by certified letter to resign from the Board. I only asked for an open Board discussion of the matter, regardless of the decision.

I initially refused to resign on principle until I had finished my duties as Forum Coordinator for the Capital City Hamfest. I also began investigating the openness of other club's Boards to see how common this 'code of silence' was. No other club that I've found operates this way. By keeping unprofessional conduct like this in the shadows of secrecy, it allows unethical Board members free reign to act as they please. After the Hamfest, I resigned since I had better things to do than try to work with that level of unprofessionalism in a volunteer association.

As an official of the ARRL Delta Division, I've just completed the 2013 Survey of Members. It shows that most clubs are led fairly effectively to the satisfaction of their membership. However, there is a clear minority of clubs with nefarious club leaders who create a hostile inner-circle atmosphere that leads to exiting membership. This report should be posted on the Delta Division's website soon. I believe it would be a good read for all those who have posted here!

73,

Frank
K4FMH