Questions to ask before you vote 

November 24, 2015

Dear Members,

Your vote on December 2nd is VERY IMPORTANT. I ask all of you to ask yourself the following questions BEFORE YOU VOTE ON December 2nd for Executive Officers and Board of Control Members:

  1. Why have the incumbent board members who wrote Proposed Changes to the "League's" Constitution and By-Laws said NOTHING in all their email letters to the Membership DEFENDING their Proposed Changes? Ask yourself : why aren't incumbents using this time to defend/explain the proposed changes they want made to our Constitution and By-Laws?  What's the secret?

    If the BOC put this in writing side by side you may not vote for them! Please take time to review it section by section THIS WEEK BEFORE THE DECEMBER 2nd VOTE.

    What I see at a quick glance of Proposed changes are: added powers to the President and Treasurer while reducing Membership voices (e.g.: quorum numbers are lowered to cast votes approved by less members), Extended BOC Member terms to 4 years -- Totally unnecessary: Remember current by-laws say if Members want to serve more than one year- they only have to get re-elected again!  Why wait 3-4 years to find out a sitting BOC member hasn't done what we elected them to do?  Keep 1 year terms. What if incumbents aren't voted into office again?  -- This is the time for them to defend their proposed changes!

  2. Why has the current President and many of his "email supporters most of whom are paid instructors" consistently been so verbally aggressive attacking candidates that run against him?  Cause for alarm folks!  What are they afraid will be revealed?

  3. What have each of the incumbent Executive Officers (President, Vice Presidents (2), Treasurer, Secretary (2)) done personally during this past year to increase revenues and benefit the League Members that deserves our vote of confidence in them on December 2nd?
     
  4. Who is the League's Treasurer? The Treasurers' Report I received with my ballot wasn't signed nor a statement attached to it from the sitting Treasurer. For that matter, who is the sitting Secretary? The poster of incumbents in the Lobby doesn't say!

  5. Why hasn't the membership received AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS for Fiscal Year 2015, with Financial Notes attached explaining the variances in numbers from year to year along with details behind what the numbers stand for just like other non-profit and for-profit organizations provide their members / shareholders with when they want their vote?

  6. Also, how can Members vote for an incumbent candidate December 2nd without financial evidence (of what they did in the last 12 months since they were elected? (Evidence being: Outside audited Financial Statements with notes explaining decisions made and evidencing costs and having the accounting company available at meetings to explain different items to Members?). Member Artists are smart people! I understand that it is common in organizations of our size for a Treasurer's Report to be prepared monthly, in order to keep the Executive Officers up to date on the financial condition of the organization - so it is not difficult nor expensive to do.
Yes, Audited Financial Statements are required by State Law and are to be filed with the Attorney General's office -- so they must have been done.  Why aren't Members who pay dues provided this information at each meeting or at least one month prior to each annual meeting?? 

Audited financial statements instill confidence - Receiving only an unaudited financial summary raises questions about the finances and accounting practices at the League!

We as members should know details about what our elected officers are doing to protect our financial interests.  Financial Statements prepared by League Accountants and Audited by an Outside Independent Auditor would be respected by everyone; especially respected by Big Donors that we should be seeking funds from - where are these Donors?  
If we re-elect the people who wrote the Proposed Changes to our By-Laws and Constitution, proposing to give themselves more power/control without coming to the membership to make decisions about financial matters, we are fools.

Remember bullying is a tactic usually used because of a lack of knowledge and experience; let's not make that a winning strategy! I simply want Members to become more informed and receive facts before voting.

It was a very eye-opening article May 19, 2014, that James Lance McElhinney an Instructor (attached) wrote in his blog about being enlisted by our Executive Director to help get the League re-certified. It wasn't the Certificate program that disturbed me it was the secret hiring of personnel without disclosing it to the Membership for approval and the idea that the incumbent Leadership would consider making us (the League) an outsourced college credit institution! Well I can tell you that perked my interest in what may really be going on behind the scenes here at the League. Oh and directly after I asked others' in class if they read it - the article was pulled down. Thankfully, I have a copy attached for all of you to read.

I have other questions related to this issue:
Under expenses please note that Salaries have risen to almost $3 Million (including taxes and benefits in May 2014) not including Instructors and models? This increase doesn't include any raises since in June 2014. It rose 200,000 from 2013/14 fiscal to 2014/15 fiscal. This rise is without the Proposed Changes to the by-laws and Constitution. How much will it have risen by May 2016?

Point of information: I had no trouble applying my League art classes toward college credit for Art Classes in CUNY Schools even without a Certificate from the League. Proof of taking the studio classes and descriptions of the classes was all that was necessary. I believe all schools operate this way.

I only ask you all to think deeply about the changes that are being proposed and how your membership dues and possible bequests may be used under such current leadership.

Please do not attack people who want to open the windows and let in fresh air -- cherish them. They are self funded and working hard in your best interests providing you with the information you are/should be, entitled to before you vote. 

The incumbents haven't done that yet, nor have the incumbents given you a side by side comparison of their changes to evaluate, and we have a little over one week before the vote, what does that tell you? 

 Voting in ignorance is not a wise decision.

New Leadership can give the League a boost in the right direction, prove themselves as worthy of your sustained support and give us a new start within one year as your CURRENT By-Laws wisely recommend. You can vote-in incumbents again and again if you believe they have served you well- I for one no longer believe they have served us well.

We as a membership don't need these proposed changes along with their expensive consulting costs. We need Artists and Advocates for Membership in leadership positions. If there are changes that would benefit Members, let's cull them from the rest and introduce them slowly.

And a larger BOC with longer terms. Is it really what the League Membership wants? Do you want to have to obtain 10% of membership to call a special meeting when now you only need 15 members to do the same thing? Why would the BOC want to change this?

Do the incumbents anticipate a lot of questions and pushback about their future decisions and want to make it harder to make themselves accountable to Membership through special meetings? 

Reducing quorums and increasing number of membership required to call a meeting suggests they do not want membership participation! 

As far as I know, there haven't been a lot of special Meetings in the past except over the Cantilever and that was an important issue. 

Please think about these questions and care enough about our precious "League" to actually come in person to cast your vote for a change in Leadership! 

Art Schools of our kind are diminishing, coming to vote will make a huge impact on the results and our future.

With thanks and gratitude,

Marilyn Rogers,
League Member













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