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TS - Opening up the Board Meetings - Doable

Jan 16, 2009 10:45 AM
by MKR

Opening up the meeting of governing bodies such as the GC and National
Boards of TS, can be the first step for not only demonstrating but also
implementing transparency which is much needed today after the events we
witnessed last year. In the recent statement posted on Internet, the TSA
President states:

"The number of observers does have to be limited, yet if we are to be a
representative democracy, there should be some inherent fairness in
determining who may be allowed to attend our proceedings."

Why? The thought of limiting the number of observers, is not good. There
should not be any limit. I believe, that any member who is uptodate with the
dues should be allowed to attend the meetings as observers. If logistics of
space is an issue, the meeting can be moved to a larger venue.

In the USA. the logistics of open meetings has been worked out. In public
bodies, the procedure is simple, at least in Texas. All meetings of public
officials have to be open by law under the penalty of criminal prosecution.
Executive sessions are allowed for discussing litigation issues, legal
advise, and personnel evaluation. Even for executive sessions, the subject
must be clearly specified so that public knows what issues are discussed.
Also all public meetings have a slot of time allotted at the beginning of
the session for public to address any issue. Anyone can sign up before the
meeting to address the meeting. Each is allowed three minutes time. The
person who wants to speak does not even have to disclose what he/she wants
to talk about. There is also no limit on the number of people who can speak
up. If 100 people sign up, 300 minutes will be taken up for this slot. That
is the cost of transparency. After this initial time slot, the observers
cannot participate in the discussions. By the way, I have personally
appeared before local boards and talked about several issues in the 3 minute
time slot. So I have seen it work well.

I hope, TSA will be the trailblazer in opening up their Board Meetings to
members who are uptodate on their dues. Then it can be adopted by other
Sections around the world and finally the GC. This is a radical change for
the leaders who are used to conduct business behind closed doors.  The
transparency generated by the change, will go a long way to rebuild the
trust the leaders have lost due to the events during the past year.

Let us all keep tuned and hope for the best.



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