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Letter To The Editor - March 16, 2024

Dear Sir,

An open letter to Lake Chapala Society members:

With the LCS AGM looming on Tuesday, March 19, we feel that the whistle must be blown. Serious constitutional abuses might be being perpetrated by the current LCS board. We believe that the basis for success for any legitimate non-profit is its adherence to its constitution – including mission, vision, and values.

LCS has two standing committees – the Nominating and Audit Committees. There is currently NO audit committee, and the nominating committee is failing to uphold the value of transparency called for in the constitution, as no slate of new board candidates has been forthcoming.

We’ve learned that the President’s position will not be voted on at the AGM, but will be extended without doing the same for other board members or his successor. Regardless of the board’s rationale, this model is not provided for in the constitution.

Perhaps most disturbing of all, is the alteration of the agenda by the President to remove the receipt of the annual audit report.

The original agenda for the AGM was posted on the LCS website on February 15. Three days later it was replaced with an updated agenda with one item deleted: “9. 2023 External Audit Report and ratification of external auditors.” The LCS Constitution (By-Laws) requires the audit report to be an AGM item – it must be on the agenda. Why was it removed?

In our opinion, the response from the board was dubious at best, and perhaps outright untrue at worst. The constitution requires an annual audit. The board not producing one is a blatant failure to execute their duties.

There has been no report from the Audit Committee since April 2022, it is inactive, and there appears to be no effort to revive it. This committee is a cornerstone of LCS financial governance and oversight.

While there could be a plausible explanation for these apparent abuses, it is worrying that there is no transparency or communication with the membership – LCS’ ultimate authority. Look for a more detailed exposé of this on social media, since we are limited by a word count in this letter to the editor.

If you attend the AGM on Tuesday in-person, speak up and ask questions. If you attend in-person or by Zoom, consider voting “NO” to these motions (do not abstain – this has no effect!). While it may not be in your nature to make waves or rock the boat, your quiet enjoyment of the beautiful LCS gardens, along with the many great activities and programs, is at risk if the Constitution takes a back seat to personalities and egos.

Garry Musgrave (LCS Webmaster), Terry Vidal (LCS Life Member, former LCS Executive Director), Marianne O’Halloran (LCS Life Member), Karen Schirack (Long Serving LCS Volunteer), Danielle Pagé (Manager, LCS Children’s Art Program)