An acquaintance of mine told me a while back that the POA is ruled by a small group of people. He said that there were about two hundred of the leadership elite and he fancied that he was in the group. I don’t think that he realized that members of this self styled elite group use simple things like a smile and a handshake, a friendly glance to gain your loyalty. You may volunteer to clean up after some function; you may even develop an email list to distribute the elite’s opposing emails. I’ve recently received two emails referring to the “so called” Alliance for Better Government. It’s a subtle way for them to dismiss the group as naive, unlettered and ill equipped for the rigors of leadership.
The latest email doesn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between fact and fiction. The author states as “Fiction” the Alliance for a Better Community’s claim in their flyer that “…87% of S&P’s 500 now have annually elected boards.” The only thing he offers as a “Fact” is his opinion that the POA Board can’t be compared to a “for profit” business. Nonsense!
His second “Fiction” claims that the ABC flyer’s position that staggered terms produce entrenched boards that are not responsive to shareholders, in this case we the members, is wrong. He offers as a “Fact” his accusation that the Alliance for a Better Community uses articles that appear to support their cause. This is actually true, because the ABC wanted to support our proposal for improving the POA Board with evidence. He also attempts to bring the stature of the Harvard Business Review to bear by referencing its April 2014 publication. He claims that the article says that the worst performing companies had either five or more director turnovers or no turnovers in a three-year period. He doesn’t explain how either director turnovers or no director turnovers refute the ABC’s position that staggered terms produce entrenched boards that are not responsive to shareholders.
In his last argument of the second “Fiction”, he makes reference to another Harvard Business Review article, this one unnamed, saying that the average S&P 500 Company has eleven board members. He continues presenting as “Fact” his view that using staggered terms is “just common sense” in that it is cost efficient and provides operational continuity. “Operational continuity” is simply a euphemism for the leadership elite maintaining control.
His third “Fiction” is that the ABC’s position that every member of a board over seven reduces the effectiveness of decisions made by the board is wrong. He references an unnamed study that says larger boards ensure accountability. I’ve attended many POA Board meetings where some board members did not seem knowledgeable at all and others were fighting for their small constituency at the expense of the general membership.
Proposition 3 offers a real opportunity to make the changes that we have wanted, but have not gotten. Too many rank and file members sit on the sidelines at election time. The old guard counts on this as they collect the proxy votes that swing the election their way. Please vote in person on June 20th, or complete either a Directed Proxy voting your choices or complete a General Proxy checking off Option 3 to allow a member of the Alliance for a Better Community to cast your ballot. Remember, you have a voice.