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Bob Queen Gets Madison’s MNA Board Talking About Transparency!

December 8, 2017

The controversy which started this past summer and simmered in the local flow of conversations has now been showcased in a city-wide story in The Capital Times.  In a nutshell Bob Queen, a local festival organizer with deep interest in musical acts, has proposed a new festival to be held in June in the Marquette Neighborhood.  The timing of the two-day festival, and where it is slated to be held, all are making for a nasty little dust-up.

There are various ways to view the ins-and-and-outs of closing down a busy street and adding yet more entertainment to a mixed-use neighborhood.  But that is not the reason I weigh into this matter.  Instead, I post the following based on one sentence to the reporter from Lynn Lee, the president of the Marquette Neighborhood Association.

“It’s an MNA event and the truth was we had to make it more transparent and more accountable to the neighborhood,” Lee said.

I have lived in this neighborhood for 10 years.  Over the past few years I have raised, on a continuous basis, the lack of an open process in how the MNA Board does their work.  The issue of transparency in how the board operates is troubling.

The issues that need to be resolved include the lack of making minutes available for their board meetings.  For much of 2017 this had been a problem.

There is not a record made of the aye and nay votes cast by board members on the matters which appear on the agenda at meetings.  How does anyone, as an example, come to a reasonable conclusion who merits another term on the board if the votes cast on a liquor license or development project are not made public?  Yet that is how the MNA Board acts.

When it comes to the annual meetings for election of board members there is no public tally of how many votes each person received.

And to make matters worse when the listserv is notified that the above lapses of the board are needing attention either the excuses pour forth or smug arrogance takes over.  When it is pointed out that there is no governing board which does not disclose vote tallies about agenda items to its members Lee responded that one needs to “show up for the meetings”.

There is also the over-used line the board members are all volunteers and the implication that somehow negates their responsibilities since they have families, etc.  I know the line my mom would use as a rejoinder about completing what you signed up to do!

Often I have noted the discussion over process is not sexy.  Many simply do not care.  But a sound process is vital to any governing body.

Over the years I have had my differences at times with Queen on local festival matters.  But I also have praised him, and perhaps no more enthusiastically than following the Traveling McCourys who simply wowed the largest crowd I have seen at Central Park this summer.  That show was made possible due to Queen.

So perhaps Queen has now served another purpose by starting a desire for real transparency on the MNA Board.  May it be fruitful and multiply as that would be in the best interest of the entire neighborhood.

So thanks, Bob!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2017 11:32 AM

    Third world country–love it! Thanks for comment!

  2. Adam permalink
    December 10, 2017 4:05 PM

    The neighborhood seems to love the festivals and they are always well attended. People should be thrilled to live in a such a popular place that so many want to visit. But on the other hand not recording votes at the board meeting seems like what a third-world country would try to pull off. That should change for no other reason than to stop the embarrassment.

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