In 2007, as a clergy WNY Conference member, I was asked if I would be willing to become a member of the SLI Trustee Board in a then-empty Conference-representative slot. As pastor of the Perry UM Church at the time, I agreed to take on the added responsibility. After six months, I was asked if I would allow my name to be run in the Nominations Report of the Conference so I could be elected to a slot of my own on the SLI Trustee Board. I agreed and was elected to a 3-year term.
Not long after that, I was asked to serve as SLI Chaplain, and the following August was asked to run for the Trustee Board election to the position of Treasurer. The Trustee Board elected me as Treasurer in more than one election cycle. I retired from the full time ministry in 2009 (for health reasons) and wound up putting all of my efforts into my work in the Silver Lake Institute.
Throughout my 31 years in ministry, I had served on several different Boards including the Orleans County Commissioners Public Advisory Board, and served on a number of Ministerial Association Boards in various counties. I was President of the Orchard Park Ministries Board of Directors for seven years. I mention this background in order to say that by the time I began serving on the SLI Trustee Board, I found the SLI Trustee Board to be run appropriately and in good alignment with Roberts Rules of Order.
I had, however, heard almost unbelievable stories of inequities and collusion's which had taken place in prior years and was determined not to serve on any Board that was not up-to-date on its legal and fair practices, and its commitment to both the committee-style of legislating and to Roberts Rules of Order.
There were times I probably would have approached things differently, but I was also aware of the Trustee Board President's discretion, through by-laws, and also the Executive Committee's discretion, through by-laws, particularly between November and March when regular Trustee Board meetings were not occurring, again as per by-laws. In spite of my personal opinions, I witnessed no actions contrary to the organizational Charter or the published by-laws during my time served on the Trustee Board.
I distinctly recall, during the 2009-2010 election year, casting the only "Nay" vote on an issue revolving around the four unsold lots on
When polled, I had agreed to vote yes on their sale, but during the Trustee
Board meeting, additional information came to light which I had been unaware
of, and found myself agreeing with the minority at that time which was not to sell.
After voting "Nay," I was asked what prompted me to do so, and after explaining, the Trustee Board took a vacating/replacement vote and the Trustee Board reversed itself. I bring this forward just to remind all of at least one "Nay" vote which I recalled off the top of my head.
Since leaving my Trustee position on the Board in February, 2016, I have continued to attend all meetings of the Board except for one. I find it helpful to do so both as a resident of SLI and as a news reporter for the News Blog. As an investigative reporter, I am always carefully examining the process, the end results of Trustee Board votes, and the election of Trustees and Trustee Board Officers, so as to accurately represent both the Board and the community residents as the meeting minutes are approved and as the News Blog stories are prepared.
I am deeply saddened by some of the events in our SLI history brought about some very selfish elected officials acting contrary to the SLI Charter and By-Laws. I wish their illegal and unfair actions had never taken place. I believe it is because of those past indiscretions that I am so determined to fight for the right and get to the bottom of issues.
Of course there will always be differences in opinions, and sometimes those differences represent themselves in both fair or unfair charges against others. Ultimately, it is up to the members of the SLI, the property owners, to vote in good leaders and vote out poor leaders. If we fail to do this, we participate in the very thing in which we rail against. If we do not like the Nomination Committee's Report to the Annual Members (Property Owners) Meeting, we must speak up and be willing to nominate someone we do trust as an alternative.
I must ask . . . are there others who can actually give current examples of “retribution,” “hand-picking of Board members,” and/or intentional withholding of “democracy”? If so, we certainly need to hear from you also.
I would be remiss if I did not commend the current Executive Committee of the Trustee Board (the Officers) for their love of the Institute, their commitment to it and its residents and workers. They mean well and try hard to accomplish the good which they seek to bring about. My personal "Thank You" and appreciation.
This year's Annual Meeting is Saturday, July 8, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. in Epworth Hall. We will publish the Nominations Report prior to the Annual Meeting so all may come prepared.