Published: Feb 16, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Feb 15, 2013 12:26 PM
There is a troubling pattern of behavior by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA Board of Directors, i.e., a failure to communicate, much less consult, with its membership.
There appears to have developed a corporate attitude that regards its membership (read shareholders) as irrelevant to its decision-making process. That attitude isn’t new, however, since under the direction of the former executive director a dismissive posture regarding membership views and concerns prevailed. I write as a former Board member, having served from 2009 to 2011.
Early into my board membership I proposed two steps to improve relations. The first was to create a marketing committee with membership drawn from the general membership. The idea was to involve Y members in the development of greater awareness among the general public. That proposal gradually developed into the idea of a committee that would bring members and board members together to air concerns and otherwise provide for a continuous exchange of views. The second was a proposal to create a board program committee that would hear reports regularly from Staff about issues concerning various Y programs.
Nothing ever came of these suggestions, partly because the executive director did not support them and partly because the Board leadership didn’t believe they were important enough to take action and expect staff to staff them.
The recent decision by the Board of Directors to eliminate its racquet ball courts is a case in point. Dozens of members who play racquetball regularly are outraged by this decision. Apparently, there was no effort by the board to consult with members, especially users, about the proposed decision. No, the decision was handed down without any prior warning. Subsequently, the president of the board met with 20 or so racquetball players to hear their concerns, but that appears to have been pro-forma. The board subsequently reaffirmed its decision.
Having been a board member, I cannot believe that the idea came from within the board itself. I suspect, rather, that it came from Y staff or, more likely, from the YMCA of the Triangle professionals. That would not be surprising now that the local Y is being managed by the Triangle YMCA. Now the local Y is simply one unit of a multi-headed organization with headquarters in Raleigh.
If this pattern continues, my guess is that community financial support for the needed physical improvements and expansion in Chapel Hill and Chatham County will not develop to the level required. I may be dead wrong, but I am not encouraged by recent actions. A change in attitude and greater inclusiveness would help.Samuel H. Magill lives in Chapel Hill.
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.