CAA practices impinge on boundaries of responsibility

June 14, 2010
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One cannot be amused by the shell game being played by the Convention and Arena Authority since last November, no matter how cagey or “creative” the group becomes in finding solutions to its unceasing issue of member attendance.

The CAA’s most recent maneuvering during its June meeting saw three of seven members vote to adopt the 2011 fiscal year operating forecast and budgets. Those are major decisions and documents ruling the entire upcoming year. The Business Journal does not suggest that each member was unaware of the details of the budgets (though neither can it be assumed that they do), but the shenanigans show disrespect for the community they purport to represent. While the meeting opened with a quorum of four, one member noted immediately that he would leave before any agenda item could be discussed. Instead of postponing the meeting, the group went on about its business even after Mayor George Heartwell left.

It is important to note the current suffering of an economic meltdown, one which began in 2008 with revelations of “minor” infractions by “important” and “knowledgeable” individuals; one which grew to epic worldwide proportion engulfing the world in a Great Recession. Have we learned that “minor infractions” are not? Any manufacturer can testify to the importance of “process.” The world renowned regional design community regards “process” as an art form. Every process has reason. “Common” courtesies and regard for rules and laws create community standards and protections. The CAA’s indifference to even the appearance of improprieties should be shocking to members of this community who are certainly held to such standards by local and state ordinances and process. Business owners who might follow suit and skirt the bureaucracy that impedes their progress would surely pay heavy fines. Non-profit boards have tighter rules for volunteers in service to community, and greater penalties for such indifference.

The CAA’s seven members have barely been able to put a quorum together since its November meeting, at which time it elected to change the date of said meetings. Lack of attendance by members who sought and won appointment has been a problem for them for more than a few years. February and April meetings this year were cancelled for lack of a quorum, and five of the seven were able to get to the table in May (see the story on page 4). CAA legal counsel Dick Wendt has waived off the improprieties with legal detail (and so, too, has he guided the Downtown Development Authority, an issue that must be noted another day). This community cannot be inspired by such lack of regard or respect for process from those considered to be leaders among us. That may also be a point to make in upcoming political races.

It is time to question members about their dedication and ability to carry out the duties assigned to members of the CAA. One cannot accept a position of leadership without the “time” and the desire to fulfill even minimal obligations, let alone express disinterest in providing meaningful example of leadership. If members are unable to fulfill their commitment they must resign. The various entities that appoint members to the CAA must review this issue and take appropriate action.

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