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Cascade’s Board has the power to fix the club’s woes

Don Volta explains his recent resignation from the Cascade Board

Unlike the annual Cascade Bicycle Club member meeting in October, the club’s town hall meeting last night was one of calm, shrewd reason. There is still a lot of member anger over the Board’s firing of long-time Executive Director Chuck Ayers and their terrible handling of the fallout, but people who were emotional and angry a month ago have had time to more clearly articulate their reasons and come up with some reasonable suggestions for how the club can move forward.

The ball is almost entirely in the Board’s court. The only choices club members have are to either swallow what has happened and forget about it or recall the whole Board (what people at the meeting began referring to as “the nuclear option”). The Board, however, has the power to make things right and put the club’s focus back on bicycle advocacy and education sooner and with as little added drama as possible: Some, if not all, Cascade Board members should resign and put their names in the nominating pool for the March election.

If the Board oversees the Executive Director, and the members oversee the Board, then the members have delivered a performance review at least as negative as the Board’s review of Ayers. The fact that the Board did not formally interview club staff when evaluating Ayers’ job performance is an egregious failure in its own right, and this point came up several times during the meeting. One Board member, Don Volta, has already resigned, stating at the meeting that being a spokesperson for the Board during this time had strained relationships with his friends in the club.

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The Puget Sound region needs a strong advocacy force. If the membership meeting in October was a sensational battle of egos, the meeting last night was a reasoned assessment of the best ways the club can remain powerful. The club will remain split until a Board is elected that the membership feels they can trust. All that will take, I think, is for at least a few Board members to put themselves up for reelection.

There are currently nine members on the Board, but the size of the Board will expand to 15 after the March elections. If just two Board members put themselves up for reelection, then the Board majority will have been newly-selected. The Bike Club Rescue Squad has called into question the legitimacy of the one-year reappointments of President Chris Weis, whose term they say should end Dec. 31, and member Joey Gray, whose term they say should have ended in October (for those who care about bylaw stuff, the argument appears to be over interpretation of the word “initial”). Perhaps the two of them would be willing to put themselves up for a vote.

Basically, I don’t care how it happens. I don’t have any horses in this race. I am a person who rides a bike, and I need better bicycle facilities and laws. A club that has grown as large as Cascade cannot be held up for much longer in this fight. The club’s work is far bigger than any one person’s pride. This appears to the be best solution in just about every way. A few potentially bruised egos and the club can move forward. Every other option will either drag the process out or weaken membership unity.

Interested in running?

From Cascade:

The board of directors requests that members submit suggested names of candidates to run for director positions to the nominating committee for consideration for inclusion on the slate of candidates for director.  Interested members should act promptly to volunteer or submit their recommendations by the end of December as the nominating committee must submit its recommended slate to the board no later than January 10, 2011.  Email your resume or recommendations to [email protected].

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