Roll Out the Ad Hominem Attacks

In his blog post this morning, Joe Hodnicki fires a fusillade of complaints about AALL operations, and piles on with attacks on executive board members and members of the association’s staff. [This is where I state that I am a recently seated executive board member. It is not within my duties or authority to respond to his comments about sponsorships or specific complaints about staff. However, as both an executive board member and one of several thousand association members, it is well within my personal authority to respond to personal attacks on board members including myself, and his musings about the nominations process and the rules governing the association. I would also state that in all my dealings with association staff over many years, they have never exhibited anything less than professional and courteous behavior]

Board members may have any number of reasons to give their time to service for the association, just as do committee members, chairs, and other volunteers at association functions. Such service may be personally rewarding in terms of a sense of accomplishment; it may bring one closer to a group of people who share common goals; it may provide experience that is transferable into one’s current or a desired position. In no case, however, is willingness to serve out of a desire for personal fiscal enrichment – all these positions are unpaid. It is in no case a desire to create a fiefdom – ours is a nonprofit organization and there is no profit-sharing plan to reap. And there are no promises, implied or explicit, made by any board member except to carry out one’s fiduciary duties to the association to the best of one’s ability.

I take Joe’s question of “Who created these administratively convenient AALL ‘rules’?” as one he creates to enable him to launch his attack, rather than one to which he genuinely seeks an answer. Of course, our bylaws are ultimately ratified by members and our administrative rules are approved by the executive board, as is the case for nearly all nonprofit corporations.

Reasonable people may disagree about whether any version of bylaws or rules is the best one possible; and members are always free to seek changes to the bylaws and policies; to vote for candidates or withhold voting if none of the candidates is appealing. But let’s not assume that our members in general, including those who serve in elected or appointed office, or our staff are acting because of hidden and ulterior motives.

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