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American Association of the Deaf-Blind

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Open Board Disccusion

November 20, 2013

On September 19, 2013, a motion was made to open the board discussion list on the closed board discussion group.


In the spirit of accountability and transparency, I, Randall Pope, move that the majority of AADB board discussions be made open online to AADB members and the public.

Purpose of Motion:

Ever since when AADB was first incorporated in 1984, the Board of Directors has experienced many issues in regards to AADB members' access to board discussions. In most cases, members have no clues who made a motion, what is being discussed, or who voted what. This puts members in the dark, not knowing what is going on or not having information of particular board member's voting history when they run for officers or board elections. There were times when the board has suffered accusations after accusations of disloyalty, deception, or other suspicious activities, simply because the online board discussions were not accessible online.

To avoid these accusations and, at the same time, keep our members and the public well informed of AADB business affairs, this motion is asking the board to open most board discussions that will allow everyone to observe and monitor, but not participate in, the board's discussions. The benefits in doing this are:

  • Allow AADB members to see who voted on what issues that are important to them, which helps members become informed voters when it comes time for board elections.
  • Engage members and the public to discuss any issue or action the board takes on AADB-L, Facebook, and other media. This, in turn, will give AADB Board an idea of members' wishes and thoughts before voting on any motions.
  • Encourage more people to engage in other AADB activities in an open and friendly environment.
  • Train AADB members to be potential AADB leaders in the future by enabling them to observe how board business is conducted.

To deal with sensitive issues, the AADB Board retains the right to declare executive sessions that will allow the board to discuss sensitive issues in private. Here are some examples of issues that require executive sessions:

  • contract negotiations
  • grievances
  • legal issue
  • appointing people

Most likely, there will be only a few executive sessions. Other than that, the board online group will be open to the public when the board approves this motion.

Opening the board discussions to the members and public is long overdue in keeping everyone informed of AADB affairs. I personally have been involved in many heated debates, including defending the board from accusations of suspicious activities. Along with the Tampa Bay Times and CNN articles that ranked AADB as one of the worst charity organizations, the need to be more transparent and accountable to our members, Deaf-Blind people, donors, supporters, and the public is fast becoming more urgent than ever before. More to the point, supporting this motion will improve and build stronger relationships with the Deaf-Blind community.

The bottom line is AADB just simply cannot ignore this on-going issue for many years. Thank you for your time and support.

An Update:

The AADB Board has approved this motion on October 4, 2013. A board policy is being developed before the board discussion group will be open to the public.

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