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Many CCA members concerned with results of January meeting

By Staff | Feb 5, 2009

During January’s general membership meeting of the Captiva Civic Association, several by-law changes first listed in a member’s letter dated Jan. 15 were put to a vote.

While several members voiced their concerns over the proposed changes and two of the major amendments were voted down, many members were left reeling by what they felt was an unfair voting process and poor treatment from CCA officials throughout the meeting.

“I think the issues that were being discussed at the meeting were extremely important to Captivans [and] I don’t think a thorough discussion of those issues was entertained,” said part-time Captiva resident and CCA member Art Kaemmer.

“It was an improperly run meeting. There was a call for civility at the front end of the meeting and was followed by personal attacks from the president at the end of the meeting. It was a dichotomy,” said member David Nelson.

“When I tried to speak, it was usually prefaced by some kind of a snide remark from Tobe Deutschmann (CCA President) and then I was, typically, cut off and not called on very often. And I had opinions on every by-law change that was being proposed, but I didn’t speak out on every one because I wasn’t being called on,” former CCA board of governors member Mullins explained.

“I felt that it was a complete violation of Robert’s Rules of Order. Robert’s Rules were still governing the meeting and I don’t think the meeting was conducted according to Robert’s Rules,” Mullins explained, citing several incidences throughout the meeting which he felt violated Robert’s Rules.

Mullins, Kaemmer and other members present particularly took issue with the proposed change to CCA Article XI which amended the phrase “Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the meetings of the Association and those of the Board of Governors.” The word “govern” was officially changed to “guide,” which many members in the audience disagreed with, though there weren’t enough nays to vote down the change.

“To me, it was an extremely contrived and illegal process that they went through,” Mullins said, adding that he feels members should have had more time to discuss the by-law changes before voting on them (the letter that was sent to members, notifying them of the proposed changes, was postmarked Jan. 15 and the meeting followed just under two weeks later, on Jan. 27).

“These policies are so radically changed that they ought to have at least been discussed and probably – at the very least – been put to a vote by the membership,” he continued. “But instead, there’s a cabal of people who feel they know what’s good for the island and what’s best for people, and I think that they’re not really listening to their membership and a lot of their membership saw the way that meeting was conducted and saw what they’re up to, and I think that they’re not in concert with the membership of the CCA, let alone the island at large.”

“What was really distressing was that the president conducting the meeting acted as though the meeting was only supposed to last a certain amount of time, and that it had gone over that amount of time,” Kaemmer continued, noting that he was disappointed that many speakers were not given a chance to present their information.

Kaemmer did note that he was happy to have been able to at least hear the presentation from Joyce Slaughter of the Lee Memorial Health System at the very end of the meeting because if she hadn’t been able to speak, he would not have known the LMHS “Blood Mobile” would be coming to the island, as Kaemmer wanted to donate.

Many attempts were made to contact other members present at the meeting for additional statements, but could not be reached by press time.