Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kicking off a board member for being independent

Sad. Recently a friend, whom I admire, was kicked off a board of directors of a local non-profit, for not conforming, according to him and certain others, to the prevailing orthodoxy of the board Chair and those of like agreement.

His apparent crime - thinking independently, looking into past instances of what could be considered sloppy board management, and putting together, as he was asked to do by the board Chair, a committee of heavyweights commissioned because of their resumes not friendships. Worst of all, he took his issues with board management to the press rather than the board, because he believed the board, and specifically the Chair, would be unresponsive.

Another member of the board, whom I also admire, spoke privately of the need, on any board, for healthy disagreement and the ability to freely discuss issues of interest to the board without recrimination. And yet, when the vote came to dismiss this apostate board member "without cause," the vote was unanimous. Another board member, whom I also admire, was absent at this meeing and a previous meeting at which a move to dismiss this same troublesome board member "for cause" died aborning.

Whistleblowers play a valuable function in our society and they are often castigated, cast aside, and even,in the worst of cases, disposed of for their failure to keep their disagreements with prevailing orthodoxy private and "in house."

It is always a casualty, and in this case it may turn out to harm the objectives of the non-profit and prove disadvantageous to the town.