Grand Mesa Nordic Council Minutes: Board Meeting, October 23, 2019  Grand Junction Central Library, Room E 

Meeting Commenced: 5:35 pm Board Members Present: President & Treasurer Terri Stright, Secretary Tina Wilson, Don Metzler Board Members Absent: None

Terri introduced the meeting agenda, which included an agenda item for the Board’s response to a group calling themselves “the Future of GMNC”.

Tina stated “Let’s skip to this item.” [Indicating the Future group]

Don stated “We’ve made a decision.” [Indicating himself and Tina]

There was some discussion of a recent letter from the Future group. The letter contained multiple criticisms of the GMNC board, and requested a meeting with the board in the presence of a professional facilitator. Both the Board and the Future group had recently been in contact with a facilitator who had agreed to facilitate a meeting and to coordinate with both parties on setting ground rules for the meeting.

Don stated: “I make a motion to ask Terri to resign”. No cause was cited. Vote: Tina and Don in favor, Terri opposed. The motion passed.

Terri declined to resign.

Tina stated: “I make a motion to terminate Terri from the board”. No cause was cited. Vote: Tina and Don in favor, Terri opposed. The motion passed.

Terri departed from the meeting.

Following Terri leaving the meeting, Tina and Don continued discussions. Don agreed to call the Forest Service and alert Dave Edwards, District Ranger, to the changes at the GMNC board.

Don agreed to call Rich McCreanor immediately following the board meeting and alert him to the changes at the GMNC board.

Tina agreed to email Callie and the Future of GMNC group the outcome of the meeting. She mentioned she would be out of town November 9th to the 16th.

Had general discussions on a second trailhead entrance at County Line.

Discussed the use of advisory committees for the GMNC interim board.

Meeting adjourned at 6:00 pm.

 

Addendum: Future of GMNC letter referenced above signed by 18 GMNC members including five previous Board Presidents.

We, the undersigned, are a group of GMNC members, former Directors and leaders who are writing to express our concern about the troubling direction that GMNC leadership is taking, and the apparent collapse of the GMNC Board of Directors. If this organization continues its downward trajectory, it will mean the end of a longstanding, well loved and respected institution that’s provided groomed trails, lessons, races and a strong sense of community for skiers on the Grand Mesa and around the entire Western Slope. At risk is a community organization that’s fostered and trained the next generation of skiers and ensured the future of skiing in our area.

Our concerns include the following:

-Lack of Transparency
The current board has shown a disregard for transparency and openness in its operations. Board meeting dates are not posted in advance, and board meeting minutes are no longer available to members or posted to the website as they had been in past years. There no longer appears to be an annual meeting of the membership as required by GMNC’s Bylaws.

GMNC members’ requests to attend meetings have been met with hostility, and some members who have shown up to meetings have been asked to leave without having their concerns addressed. The members who fund the organization have been left in the dark about what’s happening with the organization and how its money is being spent. The posting of an annual report and annual financial summary is a best practice for nonprofits and allows members to see how their money is being spent and how well the organization is fulfilling its mission. That information is no longer being provided to GMNC’s members or the public.

-Board of Directors composition
It appears that the board is currently operating without the minimum number of Directors required by the Bylaws, and a large number of Directors have left abruptly in the last 18 months. This is extremely troubling, because the organization is now being run by only three Directors, with one person holding the roles of both President and Treasurer. Although not forbidden by the Bylaws, we believe a single person serving in both of those roles is an unwise concentration of power that does not allow for appropriate checks and balances. The role of the board has always been two-fold: to accomplish the tasks necessary to run the organization and to ensure that members are properly represented in the leadership. The current board has in fact closed its door to input from its members and does not adequately represent them. In addition, the Bylaws require that the composition of the Board should represent the geographical reach of the membership and there is not a Director from Delta County, where a large number of GMNC members reside. There are no longer working committees as in the past that are tasked with specific activities in order to provide information and input for board decisions.

-Leadership
We recognize that the current board has done valuable work, for instance, revamping the permit with the USFS and installing new signage. However we are concerned the current leadership has created an atmosphere of hostility and antagonism that is driving away good board members and our allies in community and government organizations.

We are also worried about the total disregard and rejection of institutional knowledge that has been accumulated over the GMNC’s 25-year history. We are very open to new ideas, and believe it is good to have turnover on the Board to bring fresh perspective and balance. But we also recognize that GMNC has a long history and that there were often very good reasons why it operated in certain ways. What can look like a good idea to an outsider sometimes turns out to be an idea that’s already been tested and failed. GMNC needs to consult with and include members with deep experience who understand the history of the organization and its operations and can help bridge the gap between past and future. This organization is not a dictatorship, but a community group that aims to serve all of its members.

We are also extremely concerned that GMNC has lost or is at risk of losing most all of the programs that serve the community and that have been built and supported by its members over the past decades — the youth program, the race program, the partnership with the CMU race, trail hosting and the warming hut. Most of these programs are still displayed on the GMNC website which is a misrepresentation of the organization’s activities. The normal day-to-day operations have also faltered — the Summit trail at Skyway was never groomed last season, and despite a banner snow year, Ward was only rarely groomed.

-Values
Over the past two years the GMNC Board of Directors seems to have adopted a new way of doing business that feels at odds with the organization’s longstanding values and mission. The GMNC has always been an organization built on inclusiveness and volunteerism, not profit. But the current leadership seems more interested in hoarding funds and on forcing users to pay fees than on spending the funds that members contribute for programs and operations that they say they want. The current leadership also seems uninterested in outreach to make members and others feel welcome and appreciated. The attitude projected by the current leadership is one of suspicion, mistrust and resentment. GMNC has always aimed to make skiing accessible to the wide community it serves, and without support from that community, GMNC will cease to exist.

We would like to schedule a meeting in the next 7-10 days with the Board or its Executive Committee, in the presence of a professional facilitator, to discuss how our concerns will be addressed.

signed,
Dave Knutson, past President

Annie Murphy, past President

Christie Aschwanden, past President

Christina Stark, past Secretary

Winslow Robertson, GMNC Founder and past President

Joe Ramey, past President

Callie West, past Treasurer & Adult Programs Director

Jodi Peterson, past Secretary

Tom Lambert, The Lambert Foundation; member for 10+ years

Kevin O’Brien, past Director

Tim Carter, member

Kim Roberts, member for 10+ years

Tom Ela, Founder and past Director; Director of Race Program

Lynea Schultz Ela, member for 10+ years

Dan Ela, member for 10+ years

Christopher Morse, past Membership Director; past Director of Operations

Anita Evans, Founder of Skis for Kids and past Director

Helen Carlsen, Ski Instructor and member for 10+ years