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Letters To The Editor - April 27, 2024

Dear Sir,

The Lake Chapala Society Board of Directors would like to respond to the “Good Trouble” Views & Voices column by Dale Palfrey in the April 13 edition.

The column highlights presentations made at the LCS board meeting on April 9, by long-time LCS members and volunteers Danielle Pagé  (Director, LCS Children’s Art Program) and Garry Musgrave (Webmaster)—representing their concerns and requests—as well as those of some others, including past LCS Executive Director Terry Vidal.

Danielle requested that board meetings be communicated to members either by email, posters on campus, or by posting on the LCS website. For the past two years monthly board meetings have been held regularly at 10 a.m., every second Tuesday of the month as evidenced by the meeting minutes posted on the LCS website. With that said, the Board has already posted board meeting dates and times to the LCS website home page, along with agendas and minutes, where the information will now permanently reside. As has always been the case, all board meetings are open for members to attend, a fact that each of these folks is aware of.

The agenda for each board meeting can only be confirmed 24 hours before each meeting, as any member can request to be added to the agenda up to 24 hours in advance. The agenda will be sent to the LCS webmaster for posting once each agenda is confirmed. We would hope that the Webmaster will waive his customary three business day edit turnaround time for this particular monthly posting.

Garry presented concerns regarding transparency and governance issues, which, according to Ms. Palfrey, boiled down to questions about the extension of President Balfour’s term until August and consequences for the next president, and the legitimacy of his appointment as interim CEO (ending by August 2024, or sooner), which she suggested could not be verified in board meeting minutes.

Based on input from legal professionals and the Board’s interpretation of the Constitution, the Board believes that there’s not been any recent extension—or shortening—of any board member terms, including for its current president. See LCS Constitution 9.04 f, posted on the LCS website. Further, the Board notes that the term of its previous board president, Carole Wolff, was extended in 2020 without an extraordinary meeting due to Covid-19, which is the cause of this current question being raised.

On January 20, there was a closed, executive meeting of board members, during which there was a vote to create a temporary CEO position to monitor LCS operations, based on ongoing staff performance reviews. Since this meeting was mostly about personnel issues, it was appropriate for it to be a closed session, although as mentioned at the recent board meeting, minutes do exist. Since the objectives of the temporary, volunteer CEO position have been accomplished related to personnel issues, President Balfour has appropriately resigned from that position.

In response to Ms. Palfrey’s implication that there’s somehow been a new “jaw-dropping gag order” imposed on the Board, we’d like to point out that all board members have been required to sign a confidentiality agreement for more than ten years now. The topic was addressed at the last board meeting with the introduction of three new board members.

It’s wonderful that the Reporter has an opinion columnist, as it certainly increases readership and gets tongues wagging. However, in the name of responsible LCS membership and responsible journalism, the Board respectfully requests that if anyone in the future has questions or concerns about governance, transparency, or any other issue, they be raised through proper channels rather than waging a war of public opinion—without first researching the facts. Hurling innuendos and unfounded allegations does nothing but hurt an organization which we can all agree is vital to our community.

In closing, Ms. Palfrey’s allusion to Congressman John Lewis, who spoke of  “Good Trouble,” was clever, but not without irony. While the Civil Rights leader firmly believed in freedom of speech, he was also vocal about the responsibilities that go with that freedom.

LCS Board of Directors:

Stephen Balfour (President), Yolanda Martinez Llamas (Vice President), Timothy Boardman (Treasurer), Mike Abe Platt (Secretary), Hunter Johnson, George Radford, Christy Caldwell, Greg Custer, Greg DiStefano, Madera Elizabeth Glenn, Linda Lou Goman, Stephen Dewitt Graham.