Letter to NCVA re: Board Nominations (volleyball)
note: The following is an update of the Parent Group's correspondence with the NCVA. AFter some discussion, the group realized that there were some ambiguities in the bylaws with respect to getting parent members of the board nominated. The Parent group is interested in nominating three members of the group for the board itself and felt it was important to address this before the next board meeting. text follows
Dear Ms. Mazzei,
Ms. Donaghy was kind enough to let the parent group know that the NCVA would be getting back to us about our recommendations made at the June board meeting. We look forward to the region’s response, but it also occurred to the group that there were a few minor matters to pursue.
- As you are aware, one of our recommendations was that parents should constitute at least 25% of the board. We were looking at the bylaws and noted that the only identified way to add a board member would be for a member of the current board to nominate someone thirty days (30) in advance of a board meeting.
We do not know when the next board meeting is scheduled to take place (Ms. Donaghy didn’t mention one in her most recent e-mail), so the group would like to nominate three potential board members, and we are specifically requesting your assistance in moving this along (assuming that you are willing to help us, if not please pass this request on to the other current board members). At least one member of the parent group may have been nominated already, but there doesn’t appear to be any way to confirm when such a nomination occurs.
In any case, the group feels that it has three individuals who have a mix of experience and skills that should serve the region and more importantly our children well.
We do understand that the current board has the minimum 5 members and no current member of the board appears to be a parent. We recognize that the board has not yet determined that it will designate seats for parents, but given the 30-day issue and the fact that we don’t know the board’s meeting schedule we hope you can work with us.
- There does not appear to be a policy at this point about the publication of minutes, at least not in the bylaws. We’d like to request a copy of the minutes for any meetings from the last two years (2005 and 2006). If it is a matter of NCVA policy not to share its minutes with its constituents, could you please let us know that specifically?
Would it be possible for NCVA constituents to know when and where board meetings are held and what the public agenda items are in those meetings? If it’s the Region’s policy not to reveal the time and place of its meetings, please let us know that that’s the case.
- We did get an e-mail from Ms. Donaghy mentioning that we should keep working with region staff around “operational” matters, while the board would respond to us when it came to matters requiring board authority. The group does have some concerns and seeks clarification around both the issues of background checks and the Region’s due process procedures described in the handbook. We’re not sure if these are “Board” matters or “Operational” matters.
- In our first meeting with Region staff, Ms. Donaghy let us know, much to our relief, that there have been no problems with sex offenders or molestation issues in the region. We have received some information since our meetings that such issues may have come up in the fairly recent past within the region. As parents interested in protecting our children, we would like to get some clarification on this.
I recognize that this is delicate and involves multiple confidentiality issues, but are parents entitled to know how many incidents or even accusations there have been within the region over the last ten years? Is it the policy of the region not to release any information about these concerns? If so, how can parents take care in cases of individuals who might not be say, on Megan’s list, but who have been accused in some way that does not meet the criminal standard or even the NCVA’s standard, but possibly meets a parent’s standard for concern?
I noticed from the handbook that the background check provisions were implemented in 2003-2004, some 8 years after the due process issues came up in the Midwestern case. Did the region have a background check policy in place prior to 2003?
In any case, have there been any accusations made in the last 5 years against people associated with NCVA clubs? We do not need specifics, but given that we have no way to communicate directly with the board, we are asking the question in this way. If there have been, how often has the NCVA’s due process system been used since its inception?
- As a second matter, this was not in the Powerpoint presentation, but was discussed in our meeting with staff at USF prior to the board meetings. While there does seem to be a due process system in place, there is no defined system of how one makes a complaint that guarantees some level of protection for the accuser. It’s not even clear at this point to whom one may make a complaint to with some assurance of an investigation.
We would like to know if this is a board matter or an item to be worked out with region staff. Finally, we’d like to work with the Region on this critical level of protection for our children. There was a recent case in Palo Alto that reminds us how difficult it can be and how much more prevalent the problem is than most imagine. As we said, we were glad to hear that the region has never had problems of this sort. Personally, it makes me feel a bit over-cautious to worry about this sort of thing, but as someone charged with the welfare of the thousands of children who play in NCVA, you most certainly understand our interest in having the most effective system possible in this area. In particular, I have regular dealings with the Department of Human Services in my county and would be happy to help the region develop reporting procedures based on the way other agencies handle them.
- Finally, we would like to request a copy of the NCVA’s articles of incorporation. There remain some details of how the organization works that still remain unclear to us. For instance, now that we have the bylaws it appears to be a membership organization with the board members being the only members, but do the articles that create the organization make it a membership or non-membership organization? It’s hard for us to tell without the articles themselves.?
Obviously, the question of what the rights of NCVA constituents happen to be has been on the group’s collective mind. In particular, USAV appears to have policies calling for “democratically” run regions. The parent group is trying to get a clearer idea of what that means to the current board and staff. Since we don’t at this point have minutes or any say in nominating board members, we are left to request a written response on the precise “meaning” of the term within our region.
In any case, we hope you are doing well. We look forward to working cooperatively with both the staff and the board (maybe some day very soon some members of the parent group can join you on the board). I’m sorry to make these requests in such formal sounding fashion, but we thought it might help clarify some questions that didn’t get touched on in the 30 minutes we had before the board back in June, before we did hear from NCVA.
Cc: Jon Lee, Donna Donaghy
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