Greetings Unto the Board of Directors for the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc, from Edward and Thyra, King and Queen of the East,
We write this missive to follow up on our earlier discussions (electronic, and in person at Gulf Wars) regarding the recent R&Ds and subsequent appeals in the Kingdom of Atenveldt. Based upon multiple discussions and the available documentation, we have signed our names to petitions to impeach Directors Denise Hundley, Lisa May, Mark Faulcon and Max Nelson.
Our concern is not with the R&Ds themselves, but with how the BoD appears to have conducted itself during and after these proceedings. We understand that the duties and responsibilities of the BoD are weighty. We believe that the named members are good and honorable individuals serving the SCA to the best of their ability; however, they have alienated a significant number of the populace and undermined the public’s trust that the BoD will administer sanctions and appeals in accordance with the rules and procedures of the SCA. For this reason, we have signed these petitions to demonstrate a vote of no confidence in the present leadership of the BoD for the SCA and to call for more transparent governance.
When we first wrote to the BoD on this matter, we asked if any evidence could be provided documenting that the SCA’s processes and procedures had been followed in this specific case. No evidence was provided by the BoD. This response is symptomatic of communication problems and a lack of transparency.
Sanctioned individuals have provided documentation which makes a strong case that procedures were not satisfactorily followed.
In the Richardson’s reply to the BoD dated 3 Nov 2011, they cite both “Corporate Policies Of The Society For Creative Anachronism, Inc.” (II.D.3) and “Board of Directors Policies & Procedures Manual” (II.C.1) which call for a clear timeline to discuss the matter and for specific cause(s) for action to be provided to those under investigation.
The BoD chose to wait for more than a year (Jan 2013) to dispute the legitimacy of the “Board of Directors Policies & Procedures Manual” with the sanctioned individuals. This demonstrates the appearance of impropriety, even if the removal of this document itself was not improper.
The allegations provided in the 2 Feb 2012 letter from the BoD were so broad as to be indefensible and which occurred over the course of 3 decades.
When misunderstandings and miscommunications arose regarding the process, instead of providing the complete text of the current policy in use, the BoD’s response became defensive.
From the outsiders’ perspective, these sanctions were frighteningly harsh, especially when no laws or rules were broken.
We understand that the sanctions process is undergoing review and hopefully will be made concise and transparent. This is admirable work, and will hopefully address many of our concerns. We would suggest that an updated process would contain these elements:
Provide all the current and applicable policies and procedures to all parties involved in sanction proceedings at the onset.
Clearly define the scope of each step of the process.
Maintain a checklist for each individual sanction proceeding, as public record that the current and applicable policies and procedures were followed.
Behavioral sanctions must adhere to corporate norms (i.e. providing documented notice, opportunities to dispute and correct the matter, escalating punitive actions, etc.)
The BoD’s recent actions in these R&Ds created at worst an appearance of impropriety and at best the impression of incompetence. The subsequent erosion of trust has elevated this problem beyond an isolated R&D case. Trust is critical for a volunteer-driven group. This trust requires transparent and responsive communication as its foundation. When people mistrust the leadership of an organization, they do not volunteer, they do not fill offices, and they leave. We have signed the petitions because the breach of trust in this particular case can only be resolved with new leadership.
Edward & Thyra
Rex & Regina Orientalis