Two posts I made to the Free Spirit Forum today, that may be of interest to FSA members who don't follow that list.
[name and address elided] writes:
> If one of the (reasonable) concerns about FSA and FSG leadership is
> transparency, it'd be valuable to have information like this posted/
> specified, rather than referred to.
I think that the concern with transparency and openness gets to the core of the idea of changing the rules for membership -- because it hits on why people choose to become or not to become members. If people feel that members are not being informed of what's going on and not being given a proper chance to participate in decision-making, why would they choose to become or stay members?
Unfortunately, from my time "on the inside", I believe that some of the current Trustees and Officers may have a preference to keep the membership from being too involved or informed. We shall see, I suppose.
I wrote this morning that:
> Unfortunately, from my time "on the inside", I believe that some
> of the current Trustees and Officers may have a preference to keep the
> membership from being too involved or informed. We shall see, I suppose.
I thought that was something that "we shall see" in the months ahead, from the new leadership's actions. But I've in fact gotten a direct answer: I've been asked by President Fred to "stop stirring the Pot!" and told that I should "come to the board if there is some thing you want to talk about!"
Because, in his words, "if we have every body saying something nothing gets done".
Perhaps I'm alone in strongly disagreeing with this; maybe folks are happy to have an organization where the board prepares proposals without much discussion or input, without taking a consensus-building approach, and just submits them for a minimal yea-or-nay by the membership, all in the supposed name of "getting something done".
If there's a consensus that we're not interested in consensus, then I'll just be the guy off in the corner ranting. I'm used to that. :-)
But I've been "stirring the pot" in various ways since the Great Upheaval. Before I held office in FSA, I tried to increase member involvement. As VP and as President, I tried to increase member involvement. And after holding office in FSA, I intend to keep doing it, hopefully more effectively now that I have a greater knowledge of the process.
I believe that dialog within the community is a valuable thing. I reject the notion that "if we have every body saying something nothing gets done". I believe that only when we have every body saying something can we best figure out what needs to be done. (That doesn't mean it's easy, or that I always successfully live up to that ideal of listening myself; but I try.)
And I believe that greater openness and transparency could have prevented some of the serious problems that FSA has had over the past few years in its financial and business affairs.
I'm sorry that this will apparently put me at odds with our new President. But it does not change my opinion, or my intention to continue to discuss these matters.
So if you're an FSA member -- or a potential member, any member of the Free Spirit community -- who's interested in a more participatory approach to directing this organization, I'd like to hear from you.