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Stalking The Truth

Stalking The Truth

June 14, 2010

GC Corruption


Grievance Committee Corruption

Fact or Truth -- You Decide

The issue of Grievance Confidentiality may resume discussion by the Advisory Board shortly, having been postponed (Motion 2009/10-23) to take care of more urgent business, "Naming of the NWPL SC Representative, the appointment of a permanent Secretary and the approval of the CC/SC Guidelines document...." The Rep was named, the Secretary approved, and discussion of the Guidelines was postponed.

The central issue of grievance confidentiality appears to be some members of the AB, and others in positions of leadership, want to make the entire grievance process confidential thereby hiding issues of corruption within the USGenWeb from the membership. "Out of sight, out of mind" has been a long-standing policy of some leaders as the preferred method of dealing with USGenWeb corruption.

"We must protect the innocent!" is the cry of those who seek to hide corruption. But the sad reality is, "We must protect the guilty!"


Take a look at your local TV news and newspaper. Do they censor news of corruption in your community? Or do they report on it and expose it, to help stomp it out? Isn't doing so sending out a message, "If you're bad, we're going to tell your friends and neighbor's, so you better be good and follow the rules!"


Do members have the right to know of corruption? "Failure or refusal to disclose necessary information on matters of organizational business" is a valid cause for removal from office (Sturgis pg 174). What is "necessary"? One example is the necessity of member's running for positions on the AB to be "In good standing ... demonstrated by ... serving as a good example of the guidelines and standards of The USGenWeb Project" (USGenWeb Bylaw VI).


Do members have the right to report on corruption? From Sturgis page 2: "Parliamentary law is the procedural safeguard that protects the individual and the group in their exercise of the rights of free speech...." Our right of free speech is also guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."


So yes, members have the right to know what's going on in the USGenWeb and members have the right to report what's going on.


The other element of corruption some wish to hide, is corruption of the Grievance Committee itself in the way grievances are handled. This included, but it not limited to; reports of denial of the right to have a Representative during a hearing, denial of the right to refuse a mediator who may be biased, and the denial of the right to a fair hearing.


Grievance Committee Scam

The GC has been caught many times pre-judging a grievance based upon the parties involved, instead of the rules alleged to have been broken. When the GC receives a grievance they are to "assume that the facts stated in the complaint are true, and the determination of the viability of the grievance made based upon the assumption that the complaint is true and a review of the by-laws, policies, or procedures alleged to have been violated." (USGenWeb Standard Rules, Grievance Procedures)


The GC Assistant Chair seems to provide an example of the GC discussing the merits of the person filing the grievance rather than of the grievance itself, in this message of his to the rest of the GC...


> [Original Message]
> From: Joel Newport
> To: usgw-gc@rootsweb.com
> Date: 1/6/2009 1:22:21 PM
> Subject: Re: [USGW-GC] Grievance 2008/09-02
>
> Group,
>
> I am standing by my original assessment that Daryl
> does have a legitimate claim. I realize that I am
> definitely in the minority here and that my opinion
> will more than likely not matter as a majority
> vote is all that is/was needed. I do just want to
> ask that everyone, especially those who know Daryl
> or have heard of him through reputation, make sure
> that you truly believe that he doesn't have a case
> here and that you are not just dismissing his claim
> because of personal feelings toward him. We really
> owe it to the process to be sure that we are fair
> in the assessment of this issue.
>
> Also, please understand that I am not accusing
> anyone on this list nor am I looking to create a
> problem. Just bringing it up to be sure that we all
> take a look at it honestly.
>
> So I guess I will officially make a motion to
> accept Grievance 2008/09-02. I should have done
> that for the record last time, but I did not.


Despite this the grievance was rejected, and upon appeal to the AB the AB upheld the GC decision, thereby the AB upholding the denial of the right to a fair hearing.

So your grievance gets accepted, now what? Does that mean you will receive a fair hearing based upon rules of the USGenWeb? One grievant reports their mediator, Dorman Holub, ignored the rules as written and confessed, "Mediation is a matter of opinion concerning whether the letter of the bylaws should be upheld or the spirit of the bylaws are upheld."


If all members are not treated in accordance with the rules as written, then how can there be fair hearings when different mediators interpret different rules differently? In the above case, Dorman also refused to honor the grievant's right to reject his mediation decisions and proceed to arbitration, hoping to be treated more fairly during that process. But instead, the grievant was railroaded into being forced to accept Dorman's decision, which led to the grievant being expelled from their state.


If the GC or mediator/arbitrator denies you your rights to a fair hearing procedure and you refuse to participate in a corrupt hearing, "Failure of either party to proceed with mediation in good faith is grounds for terminating the process," in which case it goes to arbitration and, "Failure of one party to participate in the arbitration process will result in the decision being made against the non-participating party in accordance with the information presented."


What of the right to appeal decisions of the GC to the AB?
According to the GC Status of Filed Grievances page every single appeal has resulted in the AB upholding the decision of the GC.

What if you decide to reveal what happened during your corrupt grievance process to the membership? You run the risk of being declared a Member Not In Good Standing by the AB, for breech of grievance confidentiality.


And so a goal of total grievance confidentiality is to hide corruption of the Grievance Committee itself, and via Appel the AB sanctioning a corrupt grievance process. It's a Catch-22 situation where if you are not a member of the proper USGenWeb political clique, you stand little chance if any of obtaining a fair hearing.



Mediators/Arbitrators

are supposed to be selected by the GC, not the AB nor the National Coordinator. The intent of this rule was to help ensure a fair hearing untainted by the AB or the NC. That is of course, if you happen to get your grievance accepted in the first place.

> [Original Message]
> From: Sherri
> To: usgenweb-sw@rootsweb.com
> Date: 5/15/2010 3:32:53 PM
> Subject: Re: [USGENWEB-SW]
> The record - Ex-officio Member
>
> .... The AB does not approve the mediators or
> arbitrators. Those are selected by the GC. The only
> one on the AB that would know of them would be the
> NC as ex-officio of the committee.



> [Original Message]
> From: Daryl Lytton
> To: usgenweb-sw@rootsweb.com
> Date: 6/7/2010 1:46:33 PM
> Subject: [USGENWEB-SW] Grievance Committee
>
> > From: Billie Walsh
> >
> > As I've said, the system needs an overhaul.
> > Disband the GC, rewrite and clarify the rules,
> > get them approved, then seat a new committee.
>
> To which I will add ...
>
> #1 There needs to be a way to make the GC follow
> and abide by their own rules.
>
> #2 The AB needs to be removed from the grievance
> process.
>
> The GC was formed to take the process out of the
> hands of the AB. But ... the AB appoints GC
> members; the NC has interfered with the GC
> selecting mediators; the AB hears Appeals which
> often results in the AB upholding the GC breaking
> their rules.
>
> I had thought that when the Grievance Bylaw was
> voted into place, it gave The People an additional
> right to a fair hearing besides such being a Rights
> of Members. I was wrong, some members are being
> denied their rights to fair hearings, and the AB
> has upheld those denials of rights.



> [Original Message]
> From: Daryl Lytton
> To: usgenweb-sw@rootsweb.com
> Date: 6/8/2010 3:02:53 PM
> Subject: Re: [USGENWEB-SW] Grievance Committee
>
> > From: Larry Flesher
> >
> > Daryl wrote, in part:
> > "the NC has interfered with the GC selecting
> > mediators"
> >
> > Daryl, how do you know this?
>
> From the message NC Sherri sent to one of the GC
> members in regards to me applying to be a mediator:
>

> "Yep, I think he'd applied before. I'm sure you know

> where I stand as to whether he's acceptable or not!
> I can't think of anyone in their right minds that
> would seat him! (
shudder)"

Sweeping corruption under the rug, censoring knowledge of it or trying to hide it, is doing the USGenWeb a great disservice and does nothing to help make the USGenWeb a better place for all.


Why is it proper to honor those who served our United States by "Fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way," but proper to do exactly the opposite to those in the United States GenWeb who fight for the same principals by exposing corruption?


Mary White

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

What good is it for the AB to discuss GC rules and clarification of the same, when it seems some are challenged to begin with to follow what rules there are. If simple rules can't be followed in the first place, what good is further discussion of those rules? It looks as if the problem is not with the rules, but a simple desire to follow the rules in the first place. And if rules are not followed by some, and the fact hidden from the members due to "secrecy orders," what good is any of this talk? It's simply a waste of time. Talk is cheap. It's time for actions in seeing that project business is not hidden away from the members, rules and bylaws are followed by ALL and everyone treated the same - in a fair and equitable manner. Why is this simple fact so difficult for some to see?

Anonymous said...

Heck, all they had to do was allow one of their own to make up a private list to use for the grievance then the owner could then edit it for viewing by the AB, This way that can have their grievance and edit it to-Sherri sets them up all the time - and the EC even gets to stick her nose in on grievance she did not belong being in.this type of corruption will continue as long is there is no one honest or strong enough to stand up to the NC-

Charles Barnum said...

That is an excellent article by Mary.
I make one observation based on what Anon observed above:
"If simple rules can't be followed in the first place, what good is further discussion of those rules?"
It is not that the simple rules cannot be followed; it is that the grievance outcomes can be decided formally or informally even before the grievance is heard.
Both my Grievance Adviser and I knew almost immediately in my Grievance against the NM SC that it had been fixed. My Adviser was even told by a confidential source that some AB members had joked about screwing Barnum.
I have screamed my head off since that time, but no one has heard my screams, (just as very few members bother to vote). Does the majority care?
Charles Barnum

Anonymous said...

Does the majority care? I think more folks would care if they felt such goings on directly affects them. That has been a curse at USGW - apathy. Apathy breeds bad behavior and bad management. Some folks seem to do as they please - to hell with rules and regulations because they know they can get away with it - and have usually done so in the past. It's like an attitude of entitlement (I do because I can). The only problem is, this is slowly driving away good decent volunteers over time as more and more have become aware of things going on that are not just right. USGW is but a mere shadow of its once self. With unprofessional behavior by some management, a lack of keeping up with changing technology and trends, a total lack of a cohesive plan for growth and promotion, and with volunteers leaving (and many with bad feelings), and dying off at a rate higher than new volunteers coming in (just look at the growing list of local sites without coordinators in various state projects, and the number of sites with the same coordinator, etc.) the project is going down the wrong path. The AB can talk all they want with rule clarifications, new rules and regulations, and sending such to committees, but until what rules there are, are followed by ALL - including the AB, and all volunteers treated fairly and equally with respect by conducting project business out in the open, this project is on borrowed time.

Anonymous said...

When the internal judicial system itself is corrupt, the USGenWeb sets new standards for corruption. The bar has been lowered so far that even a slimy worm couldn't get under it.

Anonymous said...

Well, well well it looks like the almighty Sherri is going to proceed with this hearing as quickly as she can see the following:

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Sherri"
To: board@rootsweb.com
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 10:37:33 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [BOARD] Disciplinary Hearing Convened - Diane Siniard

A bit of additional information - the hearing will be chaired by Cyndie
Enfinger at my request. There is a separate email list that has been set up
that I will subscribe all members of the AB and Diane to so that they can
participate if they choose to do so. Anyone that chooses not to participate
and/or refuses to agree to follow the requirements that are set by the chair
will be unsubscribed from the list. Cyndie will be sending out additional
information to all involved, I'm sure.

Sherri Bradley
National Coordinator
USGenWeb Project
Information about the USGenWeb Project at http://usgenweb.org
Advisory Board Agenda http://usgenweb.org/agenda2.php

Please take notice that Sherri is the one that is going to be setting up the mailing list just like she did for the GC, incredible isn't it? Looks like Diane is getting ready to be railroaded. However, I see people have been posting some Sturgis info on teh SW list that shows that Miss High and Mighty is clearly in the wrong for holding this hearing like she is doing.
Fact # 1 There were no announcements prior to Diane being told about this so called hearing.
Fact # 2 Obviously they didn't follow the rules or we wouldn't have seen the message from Diane demanding Sherri be removed from office for breaking Sturgis rule pg 174 "Failure or refusal to disclose
necessary information on matters of
organizational business" is a valid cause for removal from office.
Fact # 3 It seems Diane is a CC and not an oficer of the USGWP, so why is the AB going after a CC? Has anyone ever heard or seen this before?
Fact # 4 Why aren't Sherri and Tina being brought up on the same charges because it has been clearly shown and Tina even admitted on the SW list to breaking the bylaws and speaking on the GC private list during a grievance.

So, in light of these facts is this AB really going to let Sherri and Tina railroad Diane in this bogus hearing chaired by one Cyndi Enfinger?

Stay tuned and lets find out....

Anonymous said...

It's time Sherri was brought up on disciplinary charges, but, like anything else in this project, that would be run by her cronies on the AB and obviously Sherri would win. Is their any justice for the members of this project who work to further its objectives? I think not, unless of course you are one of the followers and obey the laws of the power players.

This just makes me sick to my stomach, but I have the solution - write an amendment to the bylaws to ABOLISH the ADVISORY BOARD. They don't work for us - they work for themselves.

If they continue, I think it's time we all took our hard worked hours and invest them in another project.

Anonymous said...

I think the current motion on the table to suspend the "punishment" hearing is a prudent and wise move. It just doesn't go far enough - the hearing should be abandoned - period. This is not a run of the mill situation. The member brought forward evidence where project rules had been broken. And this person should be punished for such? I think not. If there were more folks in the project who would step forward with such, all the secret dealings and such held behind members backs under the veil of "confidentiality" would end. Also are there not laws protecting whistle blowers? If I were the board I would do a little research on the subject, and seek wise counsel before going off on her. And I dare say, she probably knows a lot more about the law on such than the AB has so far demonstrated.

Anonymous said...

News Flash!

Sherri altered the motion to suspend the hearings without consent. Check the regional lists for exact wording of the original motion vs altered and unauthorized version

Anonymous said...

I have shared the link to the SW list and the link to this blog with friends in the project and asked them to share it with their friends. More members need to be aware of what's been going on. They can read for themselves and make up their own mind, from the SW list and here, including those released emails. There needs to be more involvement from the entire membership.

Charles Barnum said...

Everyone seems to miss the point that finally the AB stood up for a CC. They did the right thing. Along the way they tripped by not keeping things confidential; and the AB as usual could not keep it's gd fingers out of grievances and who was to be on the GC committee.
I admit it was dirty politics as usual, but they actually did the right thing for a CC. I do not want to throw out the baby with the diaper.
If we continue down this path, the AB will be dissolved, and the SCs will be able to do as they wish to any CC. USGW will be no better off. The CCs will be worse for it.
Okay, get rid of the AB but also get rid of the SCs by making them webmasters with no authority over the CCs.

Anonymous said...

Seems from what there is online regarding the Whistleblower's Act, there has to be an employee/employer relationship and there must be a "violation of state or federal law, rule, or regulation, fraud, misappropriation of state resources or substantial and specific danger to public health and safety." I fail to see how this would even apply to USGW.

Anonymous said...

In my book it is NEVER ok to break the rules in getting an end result. The end should NEVER justify the means when it involves such. By letting such happen, the next time it may not have the desired results and yet include rule breaking. If you turn a blind eye to such happening in one instance because you like the results, you may as well turn a blind eye in ALL instances. There's a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things, and the right way should be done at ALL times, regardless of the specifics at hand. And I certainly wouldn't want to "win" a grievance when the rules were not followed, as in essence, the whole membership lost because the rules were thrown out the window.

Anonymous said...

I do not condone rule breaking regardless of the outcome. It's simply wrong.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the AB stood up for no CC. Their punishment was based upon a faulty system where concrete evidence has been published that the process rules were broken. And was the punishment vote not even taken on the public AB list as mandated by Sturgis? It looks like the whole affair from beginning to finish was a disaster. Rather than standing up for SINGLE CC the whole affair was a slap in the face to EVERY CC. If one overlooks rules being thrown out the window because they like the end result, then they have absolutely no room to complain when the same happens and they don't agree with the results. And if history is an indicator the same WILL happen again and again and again.

Anonymous said...

Well not only have they Again prejudged a person and not allowed someone sit in on one of their stupid grievance processes,but they discriminate as well, and on top of this they procede with disiplinary hearings on people that have already been removed from the USGW- DELINKED- as in Florida, What a crock,(pun)Where did Sherri and Tina buy their balls from,sears?and the members just sit there,no one else seems to have found the same set of balls from Sears that Tina and Sherri has,and you AB members who sit and wait to hear these balls squeek,what dips you are to allow these 2 women( excuse me) but women do not have balls,So why do you allow them to place the ring in your nose and or elsewhere?And where are the honest GC members,Is Joel not honest,or Ellis, guess we already know about Pat!They tried to kick out David to hopefully shut his voice out of stupid proceedings, his voice is one of the honest.3/4 of the AB members either have rings in their noses or crushed balls,because not one of them have enough of their own to stand up for what is right.

Charles Barnum said...

I'd like W. David S. to come on this blog and tell us about his plan to take over the AB and dissolve it.

Anonymous said...

Well I am just glad they FINALLY made public the vote weeks after the delinking, which SHOULD have been taken on the AB List in the FIRST PLACE, according to Sturgis. I suspect it's a classic case of CYA -well after the fact and they KNOW this vote should have been out in the open to begin with. According to Sturgis, holding organizational dealings hidden away from the membership is a big NO NO and is punishable by removal from office is it not? And look at the votes - look at who voted, how they voted and who were members of FLGenWeb. I've never seen such "management" in all my life.

Diane said...

Well, it seems they are going to proceed with my Witch Trial after all. I still have not been told who my accuser is, the AB has still not answered my repeated requests for suspension or the request for Sherri's resignation based on the fact that she has broken Sturgis when she served me with this so called Hearing notice. The rules and bylaws have been broken since day one with this hearing and yet they continue to march on in the neighborhood.
So, my offer still stands anyone, and I do mean anyone, that would like a word document that contains all of the emails that I have never released before that prove all of my allegations once and for all of of each of the bylaws rules and procedures being broken please let me know. I am calling it the "Sherri and Tina Report".
I will be more than happy to provide you with a complete copy of the document so that you can see first hand how they have broken the rules repeatedly over the past year. It is all documented complete with headers to each and every email with explanations of what the emails are about.

Diane

Anonymous said...

The handwriting is on the wall. Come hail or high water the majority of the AB looks to be getting ready to punish Diane for exposing rule breaking on the GC. Is anyone really surprised?

Anonymous said...

It's funny that Diane S. calls this a witch trial and claims not to have been told who her accuser is. It was only last year when she was the NCGenWeb SC and booted a CC pretty much the same way, irregardless of whether the CC deserved it or not. Where were the rules and bylaws then, the ones she ignored then but cries for now? So I would say this is her karma...what goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

Well if I am not mistaken that CC was let back into the NCGenWeb and she wouldn't follow the rules after she filed a grievance. So she was removed again. Seems like that was the CC's fault not Diane's or she wouldn't have let the CC come back in right? See everyone keeps blaming Diane for things but if you look at what is really going on she exposed Sherri and Tina for breaking the RULES and BYLAWS of the ENTIRE PROJECT! Now she is up for charges for exposing them for breaking those rules. Do you honestly think that is FAIR? I think we all need to stand behind DIane and support her and not trash and bad mouth her like you seem to want to do.

Anonymous said...

The CC who was let back into NCGenWeb occurred later than the one previously mentioned. Diane's past is researchable, if you know the right places to look online. Some like to do extensive research before jumping to conclusions based on only one side of the story.