Board president stays classy

Happy holidays to the vast majority of you.
Happy holidays to the overwhelming majority of you.
Board president Gary Altman distributed a memo today in which he (a) thanks all board candidates for their participation, (b) congratulates the winners, (c) bemoans the lack of competition in the house committee election, and (d) lets slip that Enemies of the Coop have infiltrated the highest level of power at East River.

Altman’s non sequitur send-off:

“The overwhelming majority of the Board of Directors remain committed to always working tirelessly to build up, and never tear down, our cooperative.”

Who exactly are the board members Altman has identified as cooperative vandals? He’s too classy to name names; the policy he prefers is innuendo.

I’m going to go waaaay out on a limb here and suggest that Altman took exception to a letter distributed last month by board members Lee Berman and Peter Herb, “Even directors are kept in the dark.” In that letter, Berman and Herb spoke out about how the overwhelming majority of directors — that is, all nine beside them — have enabled some irresponsible operational habits: monthly financial reports are not provided regularly; the budget, three months late, is approved with no discussion; and major policy shifts are passed with back-of-the-envelope analysis.

Those are specific charges, with which I assume Altman disagrees — if so, I’d like to hear him refute them on their merits and not resort to thinly veiled attacks on the character and motives of Berman and Herb.

Let’s look at the bigger picture here. There are 5,000 people living at East River, and not all of us agree on every single thing. We don’t have to, no one should expect us to. What we should expect is that those disagreements happen with as much adult-sized integrity as we can muster, using respectful words to soften our provocations. Challenging questions incite discussion, not riot; wanting to build the coop up in a different way is not the same as wanting to tear it down.