Today the JFNA Board has the ability to take leadership's proposed By-Law Amendments and, by a Motion to Table, send them back for necessary revisions that will reflect history and purpose. Some federation leaders have already suggested that JFNA's own leaders table these ill-considered, poorly thought through Amendments sending them back to the By-Laws Committee. In response, the Board Chair and President/CEO plow forward apparently ignorant of the further damage they are doing to an institution we all value.
Let's look at a few reasons for tabling:
~ The proposed elimination of the Delegate Assembly is another example of JFNA leaders failure to implement the merger requirements for meetings of the Assembly and then claiming that the Assembly hasn't met its responsibilities. The Assembly, aside from its governance responsibilities (which could be assumed by the Federation Members Corporation), was to be the one place where formal representatives of the Religious Streams, JAFI and the Joint, and thought leaders would come together with federation leaders. But, JFNA never bothered. So, their solution -- get rid of it.
~ Then there is the proposed elimination of the Chair of the Executive, folding that position into the Board Chair. We know how this Board Chair has chafed at watching this Chair of the Executive run Executive Committee meetings and sharing microphones at JFNA events. So, the current proposed solution would place some of the Chair of the Executive's responsibilities in a so-called "Executive Vice-Chair of the Board" who would by By-Law report to the Board Chair. Like you, I have served on many non-profit Boards, even chaired a few; never...not once...have I seen a corporate officer relegated to reporting to another. Why not just replace all of the corporate officers and have just one -- a Chair of the Board? That appears to be the goal here.
~ And, finally, the Endowment Committee. The By-Law Amendments would emasculate it and, just as the Global Planning Table is designed to destroy the system's historic ties to and support of the work of JAFI and JDC, the amendments to the Endowment Grant process is a grab of dollars to seed the Global Planning Table with those same dollars. Let me explain: as a result of the merger that created JFNA the respective endowments of UJA (in the tens of millions) and CJF (in the millions) were placed in what is now the JFNA Endowment. To assure that purposes of the donors continued to be met, the Grants Committee was made up of a majority of members appointed by UIA and the Joint. This frustrated JFNA -- just think, they actually had to justify their grant requests; and the UIA and Joint representatives assured that the overseas grants supported JAFI/JDC needs and programs. If the proposed By-Law Amendments are approved, the UIA and Joint will no longer be represented as a matter of fiduciary responsibility, and the very purposes of the overseas endowments will no longer be observed. This is an egregious power grab, it is in ignorance of what fiduciary responsibility means but wholly consistent with the ever-expanding demand of this leadership for control...control...control. That's what it's all about; that's what it is only about.
Motion to Table, anyone?