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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