BOARD-L Archives

Archiver > BOARD > 2004-10 > 1098513810

From: "Shari Handley" <>
Subject: Stowell Hearing Results
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 02:43:51 -0400

The USGenWeb Advisory Board, in a closed-session hearing of charges
against Tim Stowell, has found Mr. Stowell to be responsible for each of
the charges against him. It is the decision of the Advisory Board that
he is

(1) Removed from the USGenWeb Project for a period of 6 months,
retroactive to his suspension 1 June 2004. Any county sites held in
reserve for him pending the outcome of this hearing are immediately
deemed "available" and may be held open for adoption.

(2) Beginning 1 December 2004, Mr. Stowell will be eligible to apply as
Local Coordinator for any adoptable site within the USGenWeb Project.
His application(s) may be accepted or rejected solely at the discretion
of the State Coordinator(s), and there will be no appeal of the State
Coordinator's decision.

(3) Also beginning 1 December 2004, Mr. Stowell will be considered "on
probation" within the USGenWeb Project for a period of 5 years. He may
not run for, serve, hold, or be appointed to any position higher than
the Local Coordinator level in any state or special project, or the
national project.


A summary of the charges follows:

In his position as SC of GAGenWeb, Tim Stowell has

- violated the Bylaws of the USGenWeb Project and the Guidelines of
- allowed the same Bylaws and Guidelines to be violated by his ASC and
RC appointees
- used unfair, discriminatory, and deceitful management practices
- created an atmosphere of secrecy, oppression, distrust and fear among
GAGenWeb CCs
- ignored his responsibilities and duties in the position of SC
- violated the rights of CC's.

The above violates both the letter and the spirit of The USGenWeb
Project and has done harm to both the volunteers and the researchers of
the GAGenWeb Project.


(1) Mr. Stowell used his position as SC not to further the quality and
purpose of GAGenWeb as stated in The USGenWeb Bylaws and the GAGenWeb
Guidelines, but to insure preferred outcomes. This was achieved largely
by actions that effectively manipulated the vote within the GAGenWeb
(a) County Coordinators were not subscribed to the mail lists and may or
may not have ever received information from the Election Committee.
(b) Despite repeated requests County Coordinators were not subscribed to
the GAGEN-L as required by GAGenWeb Guidelines and USGenWeb Bylaws. At
the same time, people were permitted to remain as subscribers even
though they were not members of GAGenWeb Project.
(c) A number of county websites within GAGenWeb were allowed to go for
years without being updated or brought intocompliance with GAGenWeb
guidelines, thus permitting these coordinators to continue to "hold" a
place or vote. This helped prevent a quorum from being reached when
(d) State Coordinator Stowell continued to adopt counties beyond the
limit of 3 stated in GAGenWeb Guidelines and permitted the Regional
Coordinators to do the same, thus preventing GAGenWeb from bringing in
new CCs who would have held a vote. Other GAGenWeb CCs who met all the
requirements and held fewer than 3 counties had requests to adopt
another county denied or ignored. Numerous people have stated that their
requests to adopt counties were ignored or denied when they tried to
adopt counties that were shown as "Up for Adoption," sometimes for
extended periods.
(e) GAGenWeb Guidelines provide for the use of Co-CC's and Asst CC's
within the project. Requests for the approval of Co-CCs and Assistant
CCs from the Regional Coordinators and the ASCs were generally approved,
but similar requests from coordinators were generally denied or ignored.
(f) CCs were placed who were never announced as new CC's on GAGEN-L, did
not post to GAGEN-L, did not respond to researchers or other CCs, and/or
did not update websites. There are indications that at least some of
these "phantom CCs" were actually existing RC's using an assumed name
and email address to hold a county so that it did not become available
for adoption. Permitting these "phantom CCs" to continue to hold a
place or vote helped prevent quorums on controversial votes/issues.

(2) Mr. Stowell ignored the results of a poll of the GAGenWeb CCs. In
2003, XXXX XXXX started a Guidelines Revision Committee (GRC). The GRC
worked to revise GAGenWeb guidelines to provide further protection for
CC rights within the project, and to establish a grievance procedure
that did not involve the State Coordinator or the appointed ASCs and
RCs. The Committee asked for input from CC's throughout their work. XXXX
XXXX threatened to stop the work of the committee, and did disband the
committee before their work could be completed. Following this action,
Mr. Stowell announced a vote to be taken on GAGEN-L. The vote, which was
counted by Mr. Stowell and AAAA AAAA, indicated that the majority of
CC's wanted the GRC to continue their work, but Mr. Stowell announced
that the committee would not be reinstated, and at that time
characterized the vote as a non-binding poll.

(3) The most recent dismissals of County Coordinators were in violation
of GAGenWeb Guidelines.
The GAGenWeb Guidelines do not state that "feelings that are burdensome
to us as a whole" or feelings of being "extremely disgruntled and
unhappy in the GAGenWeb Project" are reasons for dismissal. Nor is there
a clause sanctioning dismissal for additional, unspecified reasons as
determined by the SC or the GAGenWeb Council.
The following are the only reasons specified in the GAGenWeb Guidelines
for dismissal: Section 14: abandonment of the site (defined in Section
13) and/or violations of these guidelines.
Section 15 Offering Items for Sale on County Sites: "Persistent
complaints to GAGenWeb about failure to deliver the proper items and/or
refunds where applicable could result in dismissal from GAGenWeb. A
coordinator who sells, or solicits items not covered within the
exceptions above will be immediately dismissed from GAGenWeb."
Section 19 (GAGEN Email list): Violation of rules of common courtesy on
the email list "may subject the offender to loss of posting privileges
or dismissal from GAGenWeb for a repeated pattern."
Section 11 Settlement of Grievances: In the event of a disagreement
involving a GAGenWeb site, or a disagreement over genealogical data
stored on, or proposed for, a GAGenWeb site a coordinator has the right
to ask the coordinator in the next highest position to settle the
grievance up through the SC to the GAGenWeb Council. "After exhausting
GAGenWeb's grievance procedures, a party may have recourse under the
USGenWeb Bylaws."

The fact that BBBBBB, CCCCCC and DDDDDD were unsubscribed from the
GAGenWeb list before SC Tim Stowell announced their dismissal and within
"an hour or so" of the time that the GAGenWeb Council was notified
indicates that none of them saw the statement that dismissed them.
Finally, coordinators in violation of any page requirements "will be
given warning and 30 days to correct the infraction" (Section 16; cf.
Section 20f). While "feelings that are burdensome" are not one of the
requirements, the abrupt dismissal of the coordinators certainly
violates the spirit of the stated rights of coordinators.

This concludes the hearing for Tim Stowell.

Shari Handley
National Coordinator
The USGenWeb Project

This thread: