Mr.Ansu Sanoe of New York
TOP NEWS STORIES
The National Board of Directors Disposition
The National Board would like to make the following clarifications as it relates to the constitution vis-à-vis the $13k, the medical mission, among other issues.
Why the national Board of directors held the funds from the last convention which has since been returned to the Executive leadership, and lately rejected implementation of the medical mission to Liberia -
Whereas, as per the Federation’s constitution, which was recently modified through a communiqué between the Board and the Executive leadership, the Board of Directors serves as the highest decision making body on all issues in the absence of the National convention of the federation with specific responsibilities, not limited to and including the approval of all project proposals by the executive, and performing confirmation hearing of all appointments of steering committees’ members by the president. The Board recognizes the importance of all the legal implications associated with the 5013c status of our federation, and the attempt by the Executive leadership to provide services to the community. The Board is also cognizant of the executive leadership authority to run the day to day operations of the federation, which include among other things, the implementation of projects and the nomination of candidates to serve as starring committee members’ chair, including other functions outlined in the constitution.
The executive leadership knowing its constitutional responsibilities took the following actions, which has undermined the effort of the Federation: the president commissioned a group of community members and requested that the Board submit a comprehensive copy of the Federation’s constitution for a review at a national constitution convention on July of 2010. The Board adhered to the president’s mandate and submitted a copy of the constitution, which represented the views of the member states. The president’s group of constitution committee chaired the constitution convention, and recorded all aspect of the discussion. The debate was characterized by sentiments and at the end of the 12 hours plus period; on July 3, 2010 , a consensus was developed as to the make-up of the constitution for the federation. But this gain was not upheld by the constitution committee members, as they either misplaced the notes from the deliberation or did not take notes at all. The overwhelming view is that there was no note recorded by the committee during the debate. An evidence of that was the ring-binder used by the committee chairman was left in the hotel room with no indication of any note on the published copy distributed by the committee’s chairman for the debate. As a result, the constitution could not be made available and the federation was left without a working constitution from July 3, 2010 to October 2010. After this, a joined communiqué adopted some corrections in a reconfigured constitution initiated by the Board. This left a vacuum that could only be filled by the Board decisive action to protect the integrity of the Federation. Prior to the constitutional convention, the federation had operated with out an operational Financial Secretary, and a Treasury and a specific fiduciary for financial transactions.
Back ground: In the absence of a Financial Secretary, Treasurer and specific fiduciary for the Federation, compounded by an allegation of misappropriation of the association’s fund, the National Board of Directors in a Special Session (held on June 17, 2010) unanimously agreed to set-up a committee to oversee the conduct of the Finances for the July 2010 constitutional convention. This committee chaired by Hon. Mohamed Bility of Pennsylvania was charged with the responsibility to liaise with the executive Leadership to ensure the smooth conduct of the convention. This arrangement was necessary to ensure chapters’ dues payment in order to facilitate the 2010 national convention of the federation.
In fulfillment of the Board’s commitment to the Chapter leaders, the committee was instructed that all funds from the convention be held by the committee until there was a working constitution with a specified Fiduciary to ensure proper accountability. It was the expectation of the National Board of Directors that the constitution discussed in July 2010 would have been adopted and available for the various states’ representatives’ signature at the end of the convention or a week after the convention. But unfortunately, due to the inaction of the Executive Leadership represented by the Constitution Review Committee and its inability to submit a revised version of the constitution reflecting the view espoused by delegates at the national convention, (which is the highest decision making body of Felmausa) a stalemate ensued. But instead, Chairman Kromah and Hon. Konneh of New York, who spearheaded the deliberation on behalf of the Board, after two and half months of waiting without a constitution, initiated contacts with President Dukuly and other members of the defund constitution committee regarding the status of the constitution. The President admitted that the notes from the constitutional convention was misplaced and was entertaining suggestions for a resolution to the stalemate.
After series of dialogues between the executives and the board with attempts to remediate this unfortunate gridlock, it was agreed that Hon Famod Konneh shared with the executive Leadership’s review committee, notes representing the Board’s interpretations of the constitution discussed during the referendum. That note was sent to the executive on September of 2010 with the understanding that after the executive contribution to the document, the Board would have had the opportunity to adopt the document, since it was not the actual document coming from delegates of the National convention. The adoption by the National Board of Directors of the document under the prevailing circumstances was legitimate because of the Board’s constitutional responsibility as “the highest decision making body in the absence of the national convention”( ). But after the executive added its concerns to the document, it was decided contrary to the previous agreement (to subject the document to further review by the Board), to publish it as a final document. This exacerbated the stalemate. Both sides through surrogates had made series of representations, providing different sides of the story. The funds from the convention remained with the Bility’s committee pending the resolution of the constitution crisis. Because the recreated constitution was contentious, it became necessary for the Board Leadership and the Executive Leadership meet. It was against this background that the Board set up a three man committee to liaise with the executive leadership to solve this issue.
Reconciliatory conferences were held between the Board leadership and the executive leadership.
A Communiqué emanated from the joint Board/Executive reconciliatory conference, but was unauthorized and posted without the collective view of other members of the board. Consequently, the Board called an extra ordinary section to resolve the contradictions created by the premature posting of the communiqué. The following clarifications were made by the Board:
1. The three men committee was dissolved by the Board of Directors for the unauthorized and premature posting of the final communiqué that derived from the join Board/Executive committee negotiation.
2. The new constitution submitted by the executive leadership will govern the affairs of the Federation pending a new revision of the constitution in the upcoming July 2011 convention, and thus with the inclusion of the provisions of the Communiqué;
3. As a result, the 2010 convention funds in the possession of the Board will be released to the executive leadership.
4. The President and his executive team will submit Financial Report as described in the communiqué.
The Board Reaction to the “Medical Mission”
The executive leadership made public a project initiative to take medication and some equipment to Liberia . The executive leadership took this action with out any reference to the Board of Directors. They subsequently met with the president of the republic of Liberia and announce a medical mission to Liberia without going through the constitutionally mandated procedures. On a Saturday, January 22, 2011 meeting with the Board of Directors, the president reminded the Board representatives of a letter/proposal the executive leadership had send to the board. The Chairman of the Board of Directors requested that the president resubmit the proposal because there no trace of a letter from the President. The chairman acknowledge that if a letter was send, it most likely may have end up in his junk mail; therefore, it was agreed that the president resubmit the letter.
On January 24 2011 at 6:41pm, the Board leadership received email from the secretary general of FeLMAUSA with an attachment from the executive leadership. The email was forwarded and appears to have been originally sent to the Board chairman on January 18, 2011 (4 days before the PA meeting). As a result of this letter, on January 28, 2011 , President Dukuly invited the Board leadership to a conference at 9pm to discuss the Medical mission trip and the up coming convention. This meeting was attended by some members of the Board leadership. However, the meeting was cancel for the following reasons:
1. Not enough board members were present for the meeting to be conclusive because other states were not represented. Thus, the leadership did not realize that the meeting was not plan ahead of time. Although few of the board members in attendance asked for the meeting to be held, but the leadership insisted the meeting be re-scheduled.
On January 29, 2011, the Board of Director invited Mr. Frances Duwana to a confirmation hearing, as required by article 8.8 of the constitution. The meeting was scheduled to be held on January 30, 2011 by means of teleconference. The Board did not hear from Mr. Duwana neither was any form of communication send from the executive leadership. However, on February 9, 2011 at 12:01am, the President sent an email with an attachment rescinding the Board’s authority to confirm Mr. Duwana for the Position of Chairman of the Publicity committee citing article 9.1 in the constitution. As a result of this letter, the board called an emergency meeting on February 9, 2011 to discuss the content of the President’s letter. From the meeting, it was agreed that the leadership be invited to discuss the President’s letter among other issues.
The president was invited by the Board to discuss these issues and his unilateral attempt to appoint Mr. Francis Duwana as chairman of the publicity committee of the Federation without the consent of the Board and to discuss the letter calling for the Board’s support. Unfortunately, the meeting ended up into a standstill as a result of the president refusal to address the issues listed on the board agenda, which included among other things the Medical mission trip and the constitutionality of the board authority vis-à-vis article 9.1. The meeting was adjoined after numerous failed attempts by the Board to convince the president to address these serious issues.
However, the Board waited for almost three months after the first public announcement and the solicitation of financial and material contribution from the public and almost one month after the president and his team met with the president of Liberia regarding the venture. The president was informed at the time to provide a comprehensive analysis of cost and benefit of the project so as to further inform the public.
Meanwhile, on February 20, 2011 at 7:05pm , the Board of Directors extended another invitation to President to discuss the medical mission trip among other things. Because the board did not receive a respond from the president, a second letter was send to the president on February 21, 2011 . This letter was follow by subsequent letters to the president on February 27, 2011 . Up to the time of the Board’s last deliberation; the president had not sent any response to the Board’s request.
Another manifestation of the Executive’s breach of protocol was made a few weeks ago, when the listserv moderator without any consultation with the Board, publicly announced the solicitation of chapter dues. According to the Felmausa constitution as quoted by the listserv moderator (Article V; “Subject to approval of the National Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, through the membership committee, shall determine annual dues for Chapters. In addition, another continues breach is the president unilateral decision to appoint Mr. Duwana outside the mandate of the constitution. Thus, as of this date, the Mr. Duwana has not been confirmed by the Board of Directors and therefore does not represent the federation in its capacity as chairman of the publicity committee.
In summary, there have been no official documentations sent to the Board members in the form of a project proposal to provide an opportunity for the community to see what is being proposed in the name of the community. This proposal would have allowed the members of the community to have a transparent and open evaluation as to the cost and benefit of the project. On March 4th 2011 , the Board sent a letter to the Executive Leadership that all donations and contribution to the Medical Mission be ceased pending submission of a detailed proposal to the Board. However, the board is open to further dialogue to address this issue. The Board does recognize the efforts and work that have been employed in planning and organizing this Medical Mission trip but the process must be followed. For the benefit of the reading public, the Board has inserted excerpts from the constitution below:
8.1 The National Board of Directors shall be the highest decision-making body of FELMAUSA in the absence of the National Convention. Legislative powers of the Association shall be vested in the Board of Directors herein after referred to as Board. The Board shall have oversight responsibilities over the national administration of the Association. In the absence of the National Convention, the Board shall exercise all powers and take all decisions reserved for the National Convention under this Constitution, except the amendment of this Constitution. Its decision shall, however, be subject to a review of a General Assembly, regular or emergency.
8.8 Among others, the Board shall have the following additional powers:
1. Charter (or give cognizance to) all chapters of FELMAUSA, consistent with this Constitution.
2. Confirm appointments of officers and members of autonomous commissions.
3. Impeach and remove elected officers from office for cause and consistent with this Constitution.
4. Approve elections guidelines for FELMAUSA elections for the national administration.
5. Approve the Annual and all Ad Hoc Budgets of the Association.
6. Direct audits of officers and members entrusted with the finances of the Association.
7. Approve membership dues and other fees as shall be proposed by the Executive Committee
through the President of FELMAUSA.
8. Approve all contracts with a financial obligation of $1000 (one thousand dollars) and above,
And ratify all agreements between the Association and other entities.
9. Cite officers and members of the Association for cause.
10. Create additional standing committees and autonomous commissions.
9.5 The National President shall appoint, for confirmation by the Board, all officers and members of standing committees; he shall also constitute ad hoc committee when and where necessary. His/her duties shall include but not limited to the following.
Signed: Ishmael Komara
Chairman of the publicity committee
FELMAUSA Board of Directors
The Board of Directors