SF Pride Board Continues Sparring with Members
It was more of the same at the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee board meeting this week: More excuses on why longstanding member motions have not been addressed. More excuses on why pledged work is not done. And more member criticism of the board’s governance.
Several members asked the board at its September 3 meeting why it had not taken action on previously passed motions such as one to resume online membership applications and a motion for SF Pride to post board candidate statements on its website 14 days before the Annual General Meeting. The board again tabled discussion on U.S. military recruiters at Pride and ignored the issue.
Board members offered no reason why these earlier issues were not enacted or discussed save for the often-given excuse, "super short-staffed."
Board President Lisa Williams said she had been working on sponsorships for Pride 2014. She said SF Pride had made $176,000 in grants to Bay Area community partners. Neither Williams nor Treasurer David Currie would give any further details on grant recipients.
Currie, via mobile, said grant recipients were "sensitive" about any publicity, even though many of them attended a party where the checks were distributed and appeared in a photo in last week’s Bay Area Reporter. Board member Kirk Linn-Degrassi said SF Pride’s grant guidelines state that names of grant recipients are not public information. Currie added that no grant recipient received more than $50,000.
This year’s Inside Pride magazine has a list of community partners, who receive the grants, on page 71.
Currie gave his treasurer’s report.
"Pride’s goal was to have a free cash reserve of $50,000 at year end, which looks likely at this point," he said.
The board generated more frustration among community members when it emailed questions to board candidates on September 3 at 4 p.m. with a deadline of noon the next day. Many members considered this unrealistic. In response to board candidate Joey Cain (who is a former board member and chair) and others, the board agreed to extend the deadline to noon Thursday, September 5.
Board members have, for several weeks, wrestled among themselves and with members on how many board seats are open. The board arrived at 10, but Cain and others argued the number should be 11 or 13. Currie said once the new board was seated they could select whomever they wanted if an extra member was needed.
Williams said potential voters at the Annual General Meeting would be 700. She said only SF Pride members would attend the meeting so non-member voting would not be an issue. Any contested ballots, she said, would be managed by the Election Committee. In response to concerns, she assured members the ballots would be in compliance with bylaws.
When several members asked the board to post policies and procedures to the website, Cain volunteered that Pride CEO Earl Plante, who was not at the meeting, had given him a copy. Secretary Lou Fischer said Plante had not distributed the "final version" of the policies and procedures. She distributed paper copies of "Board Nomination and Election Procedures" and said it was the "current version."
Vice President Davace Chin, who confirmed he would leave the board on September 30, asked members for ideas about a theme for Pride 2014. People can email theme suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5 p.m. September 13.
The board asked members to suggest topics for the October weekend retreat. Williams said past topics included safety, entertainment, and security.
"Given events of the past year, governance needs to be a component of the retreat," Cain said after the meeting.
Williams said she was close to announcing a location for the Annual General Meeting, which takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, September 15.
There will be a forum for Pride board candidates Monday, September 9 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Metropolitan Community Church-San Francisco, 150 Eureka Street. The group, San Francisco Pride Members for Democracy, Accountability, and Transparency is sponsoring the forum.