HECA - Accountability to Membership
The March 17 announcement by Cheri Barad, that Barbara Rapaport resigned from the HECA Board of Directors and that Claire Cafaro was asked to resign, has left many questions unanswered.
It appears that there was no due process for vacating the prior election; as HECA members we feel strongly that the HECA membership is entitled to an explanation of the steps that were taken, and the reasons the HECA bylaws were not followed. Several of us have requested clarification from the HECA leadership, but have been told that they could not discuss this matter as it was a Board issue and they had been advised not to share details. We are concerned about the secrecy of the proceedings; without transparency, we cannot have confidence in the decisions that were made.
We insist that the Board provide evidence that no Bylaws were violated in the process that resulted in the announcement made on March 17. It appears to us that Bylaws 3.7, 3.8, and 5.4 have been violated. We also find it curious that the Bylaws were subsequently removed from the website. Please provide documentation of the steps the Board took to avoid violating the Bylaws when they vacated the election by asking two board members for their resignations. What evidence exists that the actions and behaviors of the board members rose to the level of malfeasance that Bylaw 4.8 describes as reasons for the dismissal of an elected official such as crimes or embezzlement? If the Board members committed such serious transgressions, why hasn’t the Board suspended or terminated their HECA memberships? Finally, while we are aware that Barbara Rapaport did, in fact, resign, we have been informed that Claire Cafaro has not opted to do so. Therefore, in our opinion, she remains the president-elect unless and until the Board provides the evidence requested, above, or until she resigns.
Furthermore, we request an explanation from the HECA Board regarding the ways in which ignoring the Bylaws and undoing an election benefits the members of HECA. Do the votes of the members no longer count? The Board’s actions have disenfranchised our members. Since Claire Cafaro was elected president-elect in 2019 to assume the presidency in June 2020, what procedure will be followed if she does resign and therefore cannot assume her role as president? Will a new election be held? If so, when, and according to what procedures? Will Pauline Godfrey, current president-elect, assume the position of president this June? If not, who will be the president next year? The members should vote on that; as per the Bylaws, it should not be an appointed position.
In our opinions, the Board’s actions have contributed to a negative HECA culture, where members are in the dark, votes mean nothing, and legitimate questions are not answered. Are our dues being spent on legal counsel as it appears Bylaws have been broken? We hereby request that you send out the HECA annual financial report for review by the membership prior to the June 17th annual membership meeting.
Since the conference has been cancelled and the next board meeting will be held on Zoom, will this matter be addressed? The voices and wishes of the membership must be respected. Undoing an election and taking action in the dark are the antithesis of the HECA culture and association we joined.
We want a say in the future of HECA leadership. We want the voices and votes of members to count. We want honesty, accountability and transparency from our elected leaders.
We are concerned about the future of HECA, and have lost confidence that the current leaders are acting in good faith on behalf of its members.