Secrets and Lies? An Election Process…

Prescription for Failure
Following some of the absurdities outlined in my previous blog, I thought I was about done with that meeting.  It turns out there is more of the same as one turns one’s eye to the latest piece of mail distributed from Yeshivah following the meetings for prospective Directives
Call me naive, (yes, some do), but I consider myself more a cup-half-full person.  I take it as a given that a proper election process should be observed.  Yes, that means lets keep an eye on the election processes as outlined within the constitutions rather than presume that lumbering about with goodwill is a sufficient aspiration. 
In light of the above, cup-half-full as I am, the following Yeshivah correspondence was particularly unpalatable.
My phone began running hot on Friday with calls from attendees at meetings the previous night who had expressed interest in becoming directors.  Further to discussions regarding the Confidentiality Agreements signed at the meetings, there was considerable concern and many queries about the correspondence (below) that had been circulated to all prospective directors Friday afternoon.  

Where does one begin?
Instead of celebrating, acknowledging and thanking the small group prepared to consider a mighty step forward and contribute to a leadership renaissance in the Yeshivah community, what is the first response post-meeting? To send out a letter threatening them with sanctions.

What are those sanctions?  That any individual may have their candidacy vetted and or vetoed on the grounds of a spurious notion of a confidentiality that may have been breached. By the way, one should mention that there has been no formal commitment on the part of any of these candidates as to any organisation they were keeping confidence with!   I’m also fascinated to even begin to imagine how this breach of confidentiality might be determined, (not really because I think the whole business is ridiculous).

Let me give someone, somewhere a hand.  
Take it from me; there isn’t a clause to be found in either of the constitutions providing anybody, an individual running the election, a Director an employee or otherwise with any authority to even suggest ‘recommendations’ be made to Directors regarding the suitability of any prospective candidate’s suitability on the grounds of ‘confidentiality’.  

The email above is more than a matter of typos, more than an oversight and a missive to be corrected.  It is in instances such as these, no doubt without malicious intent, that elections lose their way and come to be seen as tainted.  

A letter such as this suggests that members of the Boards who have no position in regard to the process of the elections have been interjected in the worst of ways.  
To even suggest – as this email did to every single prospective candidate, that members of the current boards would receive recommendations as to possible suitability of candidates going forward can only suggest to the entire Yeshivah community that the Boards would be inappropriately vetting or interfering with nominations, regardless of whether this is the case or otherwise.
Perception can cause huge damage. 
It is a given that many of the current members of this Interim Board will go forward to stand as candidates for the First Term Board.   In good faith they too should be protected from inappropriate suggestions of interference with an independent process.  Such possibilities can damage their own positions and reputations; again if only through error and perception.   For a letter such as this to have gone forward casts aspersions on both individuals as well as the organisation  and corrodes the entire process.

The role of the members of the Boards in the elections is very clear, they have just one crucial responsibility –  to ensure oversight at this delicate time.
Every document circulated at this time, every event and action that occurs should be empowering the community to take a leap of faith in this new process.   It should empower those who feel sceptical to be re-assured and confident; or at the very least justifiably hopeful and confident in the election processes.  

The sense of stumbling from action to action that a letter such as this reinforces just doesn’t cut the mustard and the Yeshivah Community deserve far better. 

…marcia pinskier

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