Skip to content

Pushback On Board At Marquette Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting

October 24, 2019

It was a very good night for the democratic (small d) forces that attended the Marquette Neighborhood Association’s annual fall membership meeting.  Showing off the newly refurbished Wil-Mar Center where a chili dinner was served, friends chatted about everything from news feeds on cell phones to the special session about guns at the statehouse.  Then folks got down to the business of the neighborhood.

One of the contentious issues this year was the re-write of the bylaws for the association.  Some members–your blogger being one–viewed the wording and changes as a way to give the board more power.  For a board that always wishes to say they are volunteers with time constraints, it did seem odd for them to wish to become even more controlling.  As soon as the topic of the bylaws was opened for discussion an amendment was offered to better define a section regarding voting action of the board.  I seconded the motion.

And we were off to the races!

It was then that something quite unseemly took place at the podium with Anita Krasno, who had been front-and-center over the year on re-crafting the by-laws,  as she sternly made it clear she did not see the reason for amendments.  Never mind, I guess, that it was a neighborhood meeting where an up-or-down vote was necessary.  Or that people had the most proper role to play in asking questions and wanting explanations.   Her assumption that the matter of passage was a foregone conclusion soon became very clear.  And it soon became clear that assumption was most flawed.  Watching her being unable to shape the debate or control the membership was far better than the chili.  (It was meatless.)

A motion to table the matter for a year took place far sooner than I had imagined it would.  There was very much a mood from many in the room that the by-laws re-design were flawed.  (That was known in advance.) For months I have heard from passersby that the proposal favored a board that has been acting for businesses with too much zeal, as opposed to the larger membership. The past five years have been a struggle for openness and transparency with the board, mainly due to a lack of leadership capability from the top.

When the vote for tabling was completed early it was time to leave and get on with the rest of my evening. But walking home I outlined to James the three reasons it was a very good night for the neighborhood.

First, people who make up the membership proved to have the ultimate power.

Second, the tabling of the matter was a great move as had that motion not been made, and the longer dialogue proceeded, I suspect there would have been ways for the board to have eventually talked about their volunteer hours spent on the matter and played to those sentiments that it could have passed.   I think they could have swung enough members to their side for a slim by-law passage.  That a motion to table was made so quickly was most remarkable.  The motion played into the hands of those wishing to stop it by slowing it down.

The third reason this was a win is that it gives another year to pay attention to the ways the board should operate, as opposed to the ways they wish they could.  Having a contentious issue in play for the coming 12 months keeps the board in check.

And for my readers from other places all over the world–yes, I have readers from the Middle East and the Philippines every day–the local neighborhood board refuses to record the ayes and nays of votes taken at meetings.  So there is no way to know how a board member cast a vote concerning a local development issue or liquor license.  Talk about a banana republic!

It was a good night as the MNA Board was put back on their heels by the membership.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: