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Archiver > APG > 2007-12 > 1197006955


From: "Jake Gehring" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Board, EC and Management Relationships
Date: Thu, 06 Dec 2007 22:55:55 -0700


Richard, et. al.,

In hopes of shedding some light on the discussion, let me provide answers and some explanation to Richard's "yes or no" questions:


Q1. Did the Executive Committee accuse, try, convict, and suspended a member "in absentia behind closed doors"? Yes or no.

A1. No. [I am assuming that the situation referenced here is the result of a formal complaint and a corresponding APG Professional Review.] I covered some of this in an earlier e-mail, but formal complaints on ethics issues are routed to a professional review committee, who reviews cases according to strict policy and procedural guidelines, then makes recommendations to the EC (and the APG Board in more serious cases). The process is designed to be private to protect the parties involved, but it does involve mandatory mechanisms for communication with and ideally mediation with both parties as well as an appeal process which involves the APG Board.

However, this professional review process is carried out by written correspondence, not by in-person meetings, so in a sense the "in absentia" comment is accurate. But the committee does seek contact and clarification (and ideally resolution) with all involved parties as a matter of course.

Finally, I do believe that periodic review by the APG Board of these processes and how they work in real life is helpful. We last had such a review 2-3 years ago and perhaps another would be timely for the next term.

Q2. Did the Executive Committee take an email sent to this list and censor it "so that it never appeared"? Yes or no.

A2. Not to my knowledge. I've asked Kathy (APG Executive Director) this question too and she answered that we have not. RootsWeb Mailing List functionality theoretically allows our webmaster to do this, I think. In response to complaints, we have monitored postings from an individual more carefully, in one case that I am aware--but no censorship. The prevailing opinion on the EC and the Board seems to be that APG-L subscribers themselves are the best mechanism for asking for clarification, making counterarguments, self-policing, etc.

Q3. Did the Executive Committee kill an article by a "well respected author" just before publication in the APGQ because it "didn't like it"? Yes or No.

A3. Yes and No. Over the years, and a few times during my own tenure on the EC, the APGQ editor, in consultation with the Publications Advisory Committee (PAC) and the EC, has not included an article for publication that was originally intended to go there. In the cases I'm thinking of, the articles were all written by "well-respected authors." The reasons for not including them have varied a lot, I think--requests for rewrites, too long or too short, poor thematic fit, etc. I would say that most have appeared in later editions of the Q.

None were pulled as soon before publication (or under review as long) as the most recent example--an unfortunate and awkward case, where the PAC, EC, APGQ editor, and author discussed article concerns for some time, and the EC finally decided not to run the article in the December issue. The issue is now going to the full APG Board for discussion early this next week.

Q4. Did the Executive Committee pull "a nationally known speaker" out of a banquet talk "after the publicity and syllabus was out" because something he or she "was expected to say was 'unapproved' by the Executive Committee"? Yes or no.

A4. Not to my knowledge. Again I've asked Kathy about this and she has responded that we have not.


I hope that the above information was helpful. I expect to be able to provide some kind of an update on the issue described in A3 after the board discussion next week.


Jake Gehring
APG VP



>>> "Richard A. Pence" <> 12/06/07 1:37 PM >>>
[Since I am not sure what, if any, part of this topic involves ethics, in
particular those involving professionalism in genealogy, I have changed the
subject to something more to the point.]

I have had one over-riding question while reading this thread. Are we
dealing with things that have actually happened or things we are afraid
could happen?

Persecution is one thing; paranoia is quite another.

Specfically,

1. Did the Executive Committee accuse, try, convict, and suspended a member
"in absentia behind closed doors"? Yes or no.

2, Did the Executive Committee take an email sent to this list and censor it
"so that it never appeared"? Yes or no.

3, Did the Executive Committee kill an article by a "well respected author"
just before publication in the APGQ because it "didn't like it"? Yes or No.

4. Did the Executive Committee pull "a nationally known speaker" out of a
banquet talk "after the publicity and syllabus was out" because something he
or she "was expected to say was 'unapproved' by the Executive Committee"?
Yes or no.

Did any of these things actually happen?

If they did, then I suggest that the proper procedure be that specific
complaints should be filed with the the full board of directors so that the
issues can be reviewed and possibly resolved. If that process fails, then it
would be time to raise the issues publicly.

Otherwise, let's confine the discussion to the sole issue of whether the
Executive Comittee has been granted too much authority and rely on actual
events to back up our arguments.

I spent many years working for nonprofit organizations and a good deal of
what I dealt with involved proper (and successful) board-managment
relationships.

Based on that experience, here are some observations on the four points
above, real or hypothetical:

The incident described in point 1 should probably not be entrusted or
delegated to an executive committee. It should either be a matter for to the
full board or, at a minimum, automatically reviewed by the full board. It
goes without saying that "the accused" should have the opportunity to be
heard and his or her accusers and the specific charges fully revealed to him
or her. Aside to Kathleen Flynn: While the by-laws of APG specifically give
the power of expulsion to the executive committee, I would lsuppose that
"due process" is implied and that the incident as described obviously did
not provide due process.

The issues involved in points 2, 3 and 4 are not matters in which neither an
executive committee nor a board of drectors should be involved (no matter
what the by-laws say!).

A basic premise of good administration is that the board sets policy and
hires managers (and editors) to make the day-to-day decisions. Neither a
board nor an executive committee should be involved in the individual
choices that the employees make, so long as those choices are made within
guidelines laid down by the board. The board - and an executive committee,
if so authorized - has oversight and its recourse is to point the employees
in the right direction or to terminate them if it is not satisified.

Questlion: With respect to Point 2 above, I didn't know that anyone - let
along an executive committe - has or is reviewing in advance any message
intended for posting in this mailing list. Are messaes here ever reviewed
and cleared in advance? (I have not seen or heard of any evidence of this.)
If not, then the gremlins of cyberspace are the ones causing this paranoia.

In this world of instant communications, too often we make instant judgments
based on only a smattering of infomration. Let's not get immersed in the
"hypothtical."

Rlichard P.
Fairfax, Virginia






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