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Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:02 PM

Your Opinion, Please

Question: If you were on a board -- be it a school, town, city, or any similar elected position -- and you were convinced that the majority of other members were engaging in unethical behavior, what would you likely do?

The options, as I see them, are as follows:

A: Quietly serve out your term;

B: Work towards getting other qualified people to consider running, in a five-year plan; or

C: Call the news media to an up-coming meeting, and along with the other ethical board member, make a strong statement about why the two of you are resigning;

There is no “right” or “wrong” answer …..the only potentially wrong one, would to become one with those who are definitely unethical. I appreciate any thoughts that forum members may have.

Peace,
H2O Man

37 replies, 1904 views

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Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply Your Opinion, Please (Original post)
H2O Man Aug 2014 OP
el_bryanto Aug 2014 #1
H2O Man Aug 2014 #4
el_bryanto Aug 2014 #7
H2O Man Aug 2014 #14
denverbill Aug 2014 #2
H2O Man Aug 2014 #6
cloudbase Aug 2014 #3
H2O Man Aug 2014 #9
Solly Mack Aug 2014 #5
H2O Man Aug 2014 #11
mercuryblues Aug 2014 #8
H2O Man Aug 2014 #12
mercuryblues Aug 2014 #22
FSogol Aug 2014 #10
H2O Man Aug 2014 #13
WilliamPitt Aug 2014 #15
H2O Man Aug 2014 #16
WilliamPitt Aug 2014 #31
Zorra Aug 2014 #23
edgineered Aug 2014 #17
Arthur_Frain Aug 2014 #18
TheKentuckian Aug 2014 #19
WinkyDink Aug 2014 #20
tiredtoo Aug 2014 #21
Buns_of_Fire Aug 2014 #24
Luminous Animal Aug 2014 #25
TreasonousBastard Aug 2014 #26
msanthrope Aug 2014 #27
Cleita Aug 2014 #28
KT2000 Aug 2014 #29
Smarmie Doofus Aug 2014 #30
GeorgeGist Aug 2014 #32
KentuckyWoman Aug 2014 #33
JI7 Aug 2014 #34
Rhinodawg Aug 2014 #35
2banon Aug 2014 #36
ScreamingMeemie Aug 2014 #37

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:08 PM

1. That is a tricky one

One possible other option, other than resigning, is to begin agitating for openness in Government. Unless are talking about actual mobster guys, you could simply say "I believe that we owe it to our constituents to ensure that they know exactly what it is we are doing with their money, and on our dime. I believe our meetings should be recorded, and that we should discuss none of our local governments business outside of a public forum. There is no need for it, and there is every need for our citizens to be confident that our Government is working for them, in an open and forthright way."

Bringing it up publicly in that matter might well make headway. Even if the corruptorinos squash it, it can become a campaign issue for method B.

Bryant

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:13 PM

4. Very good.

I appreciate this.

On a related subject, I've been most impressed with your recent contributions to various discussions on DU:GD. You are hitting them out of the park, so to speak. I know that I am not alone in being thankful for what you've been adding here!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:17 PM

7. Thank you for the compliment. nt

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Response to el_bryanto (Reply #7)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:28 PM

14. It's a fact.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:08 PM

2. Aren't there other options?

D:Confront the unethical members, and announce you will go to the press if they proceed with the unethical behavior
E:Talk to a DA, if the unethical behavior is criminal

I think a lot depends on exactly what you think they are doing which is wrong.

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Response to denverbill (Reply #2)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:17 PM

6. Thanks!

I definitely think -- and hope -- that there are options beyond what I'm seeing.

(The DA is my (second) cousin. We talk. And I've been consulting a handful of attorneys and university professors.

I've always viewed the "world" in terms of systems. Family systems, community, business, etc. And I've served on numerous boards. But this one is unreal, and I've been considering getting a divorce. (grin)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:12 PM

3. I'd try to take care of it in-house

while leaving the other options open.

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Response to cloudbase (Reply #3)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:21 PM

9. For three years now,

I have focused on "in house." I agree that this is, as a rule, the best option. Yet, there comes a point where, when outnumbered by those who are consciously unethical, I have to question the benefit of beating my head into a rock. (I've damaged quite a few innocent rocks this way!)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:13 PM

5. I'm for the direct approach.

Lay it out, point by point, and with the media involved. Confront them.

Though "B" might be the smart move. It also might be a move that takes too long while the unethical behavior causes more damage.

I couldn't do "A". I just couldn't.

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #5)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:22 PM

11. I like your response.

No surprise there -- for you have always been a rational, highly intelligent forum member (and friend!).

Thank you -- more than you know at this moment. Way more.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:18 PM

8. I like the

option of quietly gathering evidence and giving it to a few trusted reporters. They live for this stuff.

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Response to mercuryblues (Reply #8)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:25 PM

12. For 40 years,

I've invested energy in developing a network of contacts -- even friends -- within the local/area/regional media. While I hesitate due to the risk of coming off obnoxiously fat-headed, there is no social-political activist around who comes close to having my talents in that area. And it may be the only realistic option for getting Albany's attention.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #12)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:58 PM

22. there was

a case here not to long ago with a corrupt school board. What a tangled web it weaved. Most people use the school board as a stepping stone to state offices. Get the corrupt out with no chance of falling upwards. It has to be publicized.

Here the corrupt were trying to oust the non corrupt with lies, smears and innuendo. It eventually backfired.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:21 PM

10. True unethical or just the appearance of unethical behavior?

True unethical: blow the whistle and let the chips fall.
Appearance of unethical behavior: bring it to the attention of the board and ask for an explanation.

And always do B. Work towards getting other qualified people to consider running

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Response to FSogol (Reply #10)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:27 PM

13. True unethical.

Moral cowardice. Stark, and fucking ugly. I have problems being even semi-associated with it, although I've been consistently opposed to the shit I'm seeing.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:33 PM

15. D.

 

Get in touch with a local reporter and explain the situation in detail, with as much evidence as you can deliver. Have them attend a meeting. After the article comes out, stand up at the next meeting and state that you were the source of the information in the article...and then sit back down and stay where you are.

Here in NH, you literally have to kill someone to get drummed off a Town Selectmen's council. Not sure how it is where you are, but if you turn on the floodlights and remain in your chair/position, you will shake the shit out of things.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #15)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:34 PM

16. Good answer.

Much appreciated, Will.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #16)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 06:40 PM

31. Keep us posted.

 

I have family members with extensive board-service experience. Let me know if a brain-to-brain chat would service the cause.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #15)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 05:00 PM

23. +D. Looks like a solid plan to me. nt

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:38 PM

17. B is always in the cards,

but getting the media to the meeting would be a priority.

You will have a few moments to enumerate your objectives by creating the right distraction first.

To do this you will have to know some weaknesses of the other members. Let's say one is afraid of spiders and two others drive blue cars. Stand up suddenly and state, "Every time there is a flock of Robins shitting on the blue cars outside we end up with spiders in here!".

With your 'targets' off guard quickly say you want to address cronyism, mismanaged funds, and indiscriminate use of resources today. Again, how well you play will determine how much time you have to interest the others in your objectives. Depending on who is there and how you present it you might have a shot. Good luck.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:44 PM

18. Boards still have other entities they have to answer to.

First and foremost you would need undeniable proof of said unethical behavior, and it also has to be illegal, it's not enough for it just to be bad behavior, people behave badly all the time, and they are rewarded for it. Then take that evidence to the boards governing body, don't make it a media event.

Then, remember that nobody on the board (likely on the boards governing body either) will ever be your friend again. In fact, those complicit will probably key your car, or worse, people who behave in unethical ways are not likely to just say they're sorry and go away when you catch them, they retaliate, because they think you deserve it for making them look bad.

If you get sacked for going above their heads, then take your evidence to the media, and air everybody's dirty laundry.

Personally, I don't think options one or two are very good.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:49 PM

19. Well, it kind of depends on what the actual matter is but unless it is trivia

but just something that personally grates then A is not an option under even the best circumstances.

B, I think needs to be a continuous effort even without a hint of corruption but for a lot of gray area/complex issues stuff that the majority of the public glazes over for B might be the only beneficial move.

C, is required if direct confrontation has been fruitless and the matter is beyond the pale then bust them out but I disagree with the ethical people resigning, it makes a statement but leaves the foxes to continue to overrun the hen house and if the tactic works then the board is starting from scratch without the benefit of the wisdom, commitment, and toughness of folks who stood by what is right and the experience that comes with it. Some of the new ones will fall for shit that leads to similar or worse problems that the good folks will see from a mile away now.

No, once you bust them out like that then you are at war in hostile territory and are needed on the front more than ever while you have publicly and on the record separated yourself from the shenanigans. You resign when that isn't much of an option unless you want to be a martyr.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:50 PM

20. D. Inform them and the president of the board.

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:58 PM

21. In my younger years

I would have probably chosen option A or possibly just quit the board. Now that i am older and hopefully wiser i would go more for a confrontational type action. Telling the board what i see and telling them what i plan to do to change it. (calling in the press or whatever works.)
It is really hard to make a definite call with these limited facts.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 05:39 PM

24. When I was younger and indestructible, I would choose "C".

Now that I'm older, carrying the scars and consequences that came from choosing "C" a couple of times, I have to admit that I'd STILL choose "C" -- and I'm one of the least confrontational people I know. But sometimes the inner Popeye kicks in ("That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more".

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 05:46 PM

25. Excellent suggestions here. I lean towards approaching the media.

I am looking forward to the follow up.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 05:51 PM

26. You may be convinced, but...

is there a smoking gun? You have to have concrete proof if you're going to move on this or they will bury you for false accusations. They'll try to bury you even if you have the proof, so you have to have allies, too.

Just how bad is this behavior? Is it really worth the fight and the possible damage to your own reputation?

"B" is always an option, but the other two depend on facts not in evidence here.


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 05:59 PM

27. Document, Document, Document. Be quiet as you document. Then blow the lid nt

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 06:05 PM

28. If my past actions in facing unethical behavior in companies

I have worked at or with co-workers, I'm probably a "C".

However, past experience has also taught me a "burning bridges behind you" aspect to it. Frankly, it never changed things with the exception that most of those companies, or departments of companies in some cases, collapsed underneath the weight of the dishonest practices within a year or two. This leads me to believe that another way would have been preferable considering the outcomes.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 06:22 PM

29. Sounds like the city council

in the next town over. They are repeatedly being investigated by the state's attorney general's office. They pin it on one person who resigns but is replaced by another one of the "in crowd." Meanwhile they all keep getting rich - even the resigned one. That one becomes a consultant and gets the contracts.

But in answer to your question, I would document and submit a complaint to the attorney general regarding all people engaged in the unethical behavior, with special attention to illegal behavior and violations of the organizations charter and by-laws.

Going public as a lone person is generally not successful because most people do not want to rock the boat and you would be accused of being nuts, paranoid, holding a grudge over a personal matter, or an otherwise disgruntled person. If you have supporters then go ahead and make it public with what you know. I would not advise leaving the board to the unethicals - they will fill you seat with more unethicals.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 06:30 PM

30. A is OUT.

 

I'd do C...... depending on my family's overall financial situation.

You have to expect blowback. Make sure you are in a safe place before you blow the whistle.

Remember: most whistleblowers get hurt. Be sure you can survive the onslaught. If you can't, then B.


Good luck.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 06:45 PM

32. I did C along with another member.

They got 2 rubber stamps to replace us. The whole county is corrupt so unethical behavior is quite normal here.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:31 PM

33. Been there done that

Years ago was on a suburban Cincinnati school board that shall remain nameless. Got myself elected in, don't ask me how, and figured out about half the shenanigans. Made a few calls to people I knew I could trust and found some folks at the state level that would put a stop to it. They figured out more shenanigans too well hidden for me to see.

2 school board members went to jail for a few months and had to pay back a bucket full of money. 2 more were voted out and probably earned IRS audits for the rest of their lives. It was a mess for a long time but in the end the school system thrived again.

I went through fucking hell for squealing but could have run again for the board and won in a walk. Instead I gave up city life and came back to the Kentucky homestead in my family since before Kentucky was a Commonwealth.

Would I do it again? YES.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:34 PM

34. depends on what exactly the behavior is

if it's not exactly illegal but more of a personal morals matter i may try to correct it in private.

but if it was something i thought was just wrong and especially if it affected those they had power over i would maybe still try to change things depending on how far it had gone. but if it had reached a certain level i might have to collect some evidence and go to the media with it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:37 PM

35. Quietly talk to news media and let them do the dirty work.

 

and demand anonymity.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:46 PM

36. I've served on committees of an elected board... I've experienced this kind of thing.

 

Option B should be first play..

Then C if B fails to bring about an improved outcome.

But A is NOT the option, in my humble opinion.

Good luck!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 09:02 PM

37. C. Definitely C.

B is a "nobody has time for that" type of thing if the unethical behavior is in full swing. Sadly, I find that shining a light on a festering wound is the only shot at making it go away (and even that doesn't work well as evidenced by all of the corruption at town, city, state and national levels of government).

Best of luck.

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