Member comments at GVEA Annual meetingThere were 17 people who spoke during member comments at the 2008 annual meeting of GVEA, some chafing under the newly imposed 2 minute limit. The draft minutes will be up for approval by the membership at the April 28, 2009 annual meeting with only a general summary of who spoke and that "the topics ranged from the status of HCCP to affordable and renewable energy and made requests for a better dialogue with the Board."
I find this to be a less than complete record of member comments. Those that spoke deserve the recognition of attribution for what they said and GVEA needs to be able to keep a functional record of this for reference and action. It is true that one can watch the member comments on a streaming video, but that's not exactly easily browsed or is searchable. In fact, when I went to watch them, there were several glitches including a missing section that I only was able to detect because I was at the meeting.
I informed GVEA Board Chairman Bill Nordmark, who in turn informed GVEA CEO/President Brian Newton that I had listened to the video recording and prepared a more complete written record of member comments from the 2008 Annual Meeting and that I was prepared to move to amend the draft minutes to include those. They can be found here.
Brian called me today to ask me not to introduce this amendment as he was concerned about the cost of reproducing this on glossy paper ($10,000) and because members wouldn't be able to view it. I had provided it to GVEA electronically so it could be displayed on the overhead along with all their other presentations. He indicated he would not do so.
I reiterated my desire to have GVEA be more transparent and also respectful of those who put themselves forth to speak. I indicated that, despite a suggestion that the board might be more complete in the minutes in future years, this proposed amendment was in order (in a parliamentary sense) and he agreed.
I have to say that, while I sympathize with the challenges of conducting a large meeting, I felt a bit affronted to be asked NOT to exercise one of the few rights that members have to make at an annual meeting or otherwise, besides voting for a board member or a bylaw change.
I will be making at least 500 copies for distribution at the meeting at my own cost. This will remain an issue in future years as long as any future minutes don't fully reflect what members had to say. Board minutes have also been deficient. Mr. Newton seemed to feel that minutes were the same thing as action memos. I referred him to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly minutes/action memos for a model of both, are professionally done and delineate the difference.