Friday, September 18, 2009

Where’s the Beef ? Mr. President

No elected officer, including the President of a democratic body is, or for that matter should be, immune from criticism on their job performance by any member of the body that was responsible for electing them. When you were a candidate for your present office, your campaign letter which was mailed to every A.O.H. Division, was replete with criticisms of the sitting president as well as grandiose promises of better days to come if you and your “team” were elected. Frankly, Mr. President, I have seen very little, if any, of the promises in your campaign rhetoric coming to fruition. That is what has prompted these criticisms of your job performance.

You were openly critical of your predecessor for choosing to communicate with the membership via e-mail and through his column in the National Hibernian Digest rather than by telephone and teleconference calls. What you failed to say was that the latter two methods are very expensive and the former is very efficient, instantaneous, and free of cost. Since you took office, you have conducted numerous teleconference calls in which the business of the Order was discussed. Unfortunately, that business which affects the entire body does not filter down to the membership. May I suggest that the secretary be instructed to record the minutes of future meetings and post them on our N. B. webpage in a timely fashion following the calls. If security is a concern, it could be addressed by making access available by password only.

The heading on your campaign letter is emblazoned with “A Vision for Unity, Participation, Progress, and Communication”. I will address each of these items as I see them.

1.)A Vision for Unity– Your campaign and the results of the New Orleans Convention caused this Order to be transformed from a national organization to a northeastern states organization. Your National Board appointments only served to exacerbate the problem. Once again, the South, the Midwest (beyond Ohio), and the Western States were all but ignored. I have serious doubts whether your recent attempts to pacify these areas with, what are for the most part, meaningless appointments and alleged promises of support in Cincinnati will produce the effects that you obviously expect. One of those things, I am sure is loyalty, something that you and your “team” were unwilling to give to your predecessor.

2.) Participation – In what and by whom? Please explain.

3.) Communication – As mentioned above, you have conducted several National Board teleconference calls but if the business discussed on the calls was meant to filter down to lower jurisdictions that certainly has not happened.

4.) Progress – I don’t know what your definition is but if it means moving forward we certainly have not done that yet.

5.)In your letter you erroneously state that a program was instituted by Past President McGinley and supported by you to update the National Secretary’s office. I submit to you that the first attempt to do so was made by our late Past National President Tom Gilligan. That attempt and the subsequent one by Brother McGinley proved to be unsuccessful. You go on to say that with the assistance and expertise of the Technology Update Committee the changes “should be totally operational by the end of that year”. It is worthy to note that the year to which you refer was 2007. It is also worthy to note that the Technology Update Committee was not appointed by you or Brother McGinley but rather by your predecessor. Everything was in place a year ago to implement the changes including an amendment to our National Constitution mandating those changes.

They still have not taken place. I was asked recently how long our National office would be inoperable under the current system in the event of the death or disability of the National Secretary. My reply was that I did not know. What I do know is that if the office practices were computerized, it could be up and running in a minimal amount of time. To trivialize the implementation of a constitutional amendment as soon as it is written into the Constitution, as some have done, is absolutely wrong. Is it not a fact that a constitutional amendment becomes enforceable immediately upon acceptance by the body and insertion into the Constitution?

Two extremely important issues have occurred in the last year, namely the fiasco at Notre Dame and the constitutional problem with the L.A.O.H., both of which I believe were intentionally sidestepped and postponed until the 2010 Convention. These problems should have been met head on, dealt with, and resolved immediately and diplomatically, by the National officers who were elected to take decisive action on any issues that occur on their watch. Instead, the Julius Caesar solution was employed and two potentially difficult and unpopular decisions were postponed for someone else to deal with, specifically the delegates in Cincinnati.

I very honestly believe and can say without hesitation or equivocation that it is a sad state of affairs, indeed, when complacency overcomes some of our members with regard to another member standing up to exercise his right to present legitimate opposing points of view to those of the leadership. When we allow this to happen, we are inadvertently giving our blessing to the gradual transformation of a once proud democratic fraternal organization into a “my way or the highway brand of dictatorship”. “For the good of the Order” I sincerely hope that it is not too late to change course and get back on the right track.

If anybody feels that the opinions expressed here are too harsh, mean-spirited, or disrespectful, I would refer them to your campaign letter containing a litany of somewhat less than flattering remarks in reference to the job performance of the previous sitting National President

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