MY REPLY TO THE CLAIMS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE
Focus of the Public Information and Education Committee and Leadership
Outcomes of 8/17 Joint meeting between PIEC and Executive Committee
a. Discussion ensued about negative interactions between the PIEC Chair and Executive Director and possible implication for Human Rights Commission.
Who attended this "special meeting" that was held on 8/17? and what specifically was discussed? what specific examples of inappropriate questions and what was discussed about implications for HRC?
I met with Mr. Wright on two occasions one in April & one in May to discuss my ideas for PIEC and the Commission. The April 2010 meeting was uneventful. During the May 2010 meeting Mr. Wright and I engaged in the type of discussion that has taken place during the Monthly Commission meetings with Mr. Wright becoming defensive about my comments about looking to “improve upon” the work and history of HRC. I about the ED Reports and need to improve them to include more information including historical data comparison, more statistical data, financial data, also discussed having interns in the office, PIEC workshops and Executive Director’s assistance in being the one to run the meetings to which Mr. Wright replied that it was the Commissioners’ responsibility and that more participation from Commissioners was needed.
Nothing I said at that meeting was different from what everyone has heard me saying at the Commissioner’s Meetings.
b. Official requests for information from office staff not related to function of PIEC should go through the Commission Chair unless other arrangements are discussed during meeting of full Human Rights Commission.
I am not sure what this means, as I always make sure to copy the appropriate people in all my communication.
On Thursday, June 10, 2010 I wrote an email which was addressed to the Executive Committee, Mr. Wright & Michelle, where I asked for a budget for the Breakfast and further looking for more information on the way the Commission Funding was structured (6_10_10 Email).
On June 15, 2010 Commissioners received a Trust and Agency Report. I replied asking for a more detailed report. (6_15_10 email). On June 28, 2010 I sent Mr. Wright a follow-up asking for update on report. All along copying the Executive Committee.
After the June 28 email, I tried to contact Mr. Wright via phone call and it took me two weeks to finally connect with him; when we spoke he was short and let me know he had been “advised not to answer any” of my questions. No indication by whom or why. I replied that I still looked forward to making some positive changes within the Commission and he simply replied, “well, we’ll see about that.” That was the end of that conversation.
Since then much has happened: I have tried to speak to our Commission Chair about Mr. Wright’s comment and have left several messages for him at home and work and have also sent him several email requests. As of today, September 15, 2010, I have not received a phone call back nor an email reply addressing my questions.
I had phone conversations with Estelle & Taryn.
c. Rescind decision made during the April 2010 Commission meeting to "hold a Commissioner’s Workshop for us to come together to increase our knowledge in the area of Human Rights, also work on team building. Workshop includes Executive Director." The workshop was not planned, and therefore did not take place during the month of August, as the Committee Chair has repeatedly declined to hold an official PIEC meeting to advance such activities previously directed by the Commission at its April 2010 meeting. The future planning of such workshop will be the responsibility of the Executive Committee and HRC office staff, not the PIEC
The April 2010 minutes read as follow:
Commissioners approved the following PIEC actions:
1. Hold a Commissioner’s Workshop for us to come together to increase our knowledge in the area of Human Rights, also work on team building. Workshop includes Executive Director.
2. Establish scheduled community forums to educate public about Human Rights.
I don’t see how a decision by the Commission body can be rescinded by 3 or 4 people? What is the purpose of voting with a quorum as required by the by-laws if a few people can rescind? PIEC had not made a decision on date for this Workshop.
I have tried to schedule a PIEC meeting as evidenced by my emails to the group.Should people's inability to meet with me be considered a lack of respect as is being suggested of my inability to meet due to my busy schedule?
PIEC will abandon focus and adhere to original role as defined in the notes provided by A & E Consulting, LLC of the January 2010 Planning Meeting.
The Executive Committee will resume the responsibility of oversight and review of office procedures and changes in protocols as adopted in the Planning Meeting Notes (relevant text from planning meeting document is provided below): June Report of PIEC
Was not approved by committee members; the document was disseminated to entire Commission without being approved by the committee. The document was based on the personal opinion of the PIEC Chair.
At the time the document was drafted and distributed, the PIEC had only 1 meeting (March 2010), and 1 official report of the committee had been properly submitted to the Commission and approved in April 2010.
Three out of 4 members (majority) of the committee are required for a quorum to be present as per the By-Laws by which the Commission conducts its business. The Committee Chair used casual conversations that lacked a quorum to be official business and presented them as such without the knowledge of the other committee members.
The June report does not contain any new information, those items have been shared shared during Commissioners’ meeting, the only new information were the updates and meetings.
Tony and I met in May; Angelicia and Taryn were not available. See email. Further, Ms. Angelicia has not been able to attend a meeting, nor has there been any feedback on any PIEC initiative; I consider Ms. Angelicia inactive. Not sure how that constitutes being an official member of a Committee. The report was submitted in June and not until now am I being told this report should not have counted.
Leadership of PIEC
Discussion took place about the current Committee Chair of the PIEC. The committee members unanimously expressed that she has lost their confidence in her ability to be an effective chair due to the contentious events of the past several months and nonfeasance. Committee members stated that there has been a demonstrated lack of respect and due care for both the Committee and the Commission as a whole, as Commissioner Miranda has not respected confidentiality of certain sensitive information, chosen to ignore numerous requests to meet for several months and not respected fellow Commissioners and staff members by personalizing issues with other committee members and staff through inappropriate conversations.
RECOMMENDATION: Removal of current committee chair by general body (Passed Unanimously)
With all due respect, I was voted as PIEC Chair during a regular HRC Meeting and from what I recall the vote was unanimous. If a body has voted me to a position, how would 3 or 4 people vote me out? That does not even constitute a quorum.
1. The committee members unanimously expressed that she has lost their confidence in her ability to be an effective chair due to the contentious events of the past several months and nonfeasance.
Not really sure what this means?
2. Committee members stated that there has been a demonstrated lack of respect and due care for both the Committee and the Commission as a whole,
How is this so? I have handled myself professionally in my verbal and written communication with everyone I come in contact with. I have expressed my opinions about how much more we can do as a Commission and I have been making inquires relevant to my position as a Commissioner. I have kept all PIEC members (even those not active) informed of all my meetings and conversations, and have always copied all Executive Committee members in all my communications.
3. as Commissioner Miranda has not respected confidentiality of certain sensitive information,
What is meant by sensitive information? I am not aware of any breach in confidentiality? Further, I am not sure what information discussed at the Commissioners’ level is really considered confidential especially given the fact that the Commission is funded through Tax Payer’s Dollars and the Commission reports directly to a Legislative Body that responds to constituents. All communication, including emails, meeting minutes, etc. between Commissioners and Staff would be considered Public and accessible through the Freedom of Information Law or FOIL.
4. chosen to ignore numerous requests to meet for several months and
As I have stated in many emails to Executive Committee, I have not been available when the need to have a “Special Meeting” was called. I myself have been trying to hold a PIEC meeting, however, that did not take place because of people’s schedules. How is one meeting more important than the other?
One the one hand I am being told I am being inappropriate because I am asking for action on an activity to take place in the Summer (Diversity Day at Valley Cats) then I am being told I am ignoring requests to meet during the summer and schedule PIEC meetings in the summer. Which is it? yes on working meetings in the summer OR no on being active in the summer months? I am assuming during summer months the Commission does not meet because of people's vacation plans, etc. I was on vacation for the whole month of July, have had many community volunteer events to which I have attended in August and those are continuing now into September.
5. not respected fellow Commissioners and staff members by personalizing issues with other committee members and staff through inappropriate conversations.
There are only two staff persons in the office: to my knowledge, I have not had any inappropriate conversations with either Mr. Wright or Michelle. All questions I have asked have been communicated to the Executive Committee from the very beginning and for this group to now state my questions are inappropriate is simply shocking. I have always treated all fellow Commissioners with respect even when I have not been addressed in such a manner (PIEC.pdf file).
I am not sure what is meant by personalizing issues with other committee members?