A huge controversy has surrounded the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) in recent weeks. The Board of Directors proposed that all 5,000 members be booted out of the organization, save for the fifteen people who sit on the Board of Directors. That's right: the proposal stated that there will only be fifteen members, and they alone should run the society. The fifteen people will not be answerable to anyone else. Today's treasury, library, and all other assets will become the sole property of the very small genealogy society, controlled entirely by fifteen people.
The proposal generated a huge uproar amongst members, complete with accusations, questions and shouts of... well, all sorts of shouts. For details, read my earlier article entitled NYG&B Proposes to Implode at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/07/nygb-proposes-t.html. I'd suggest that you also read the roughly 40 comments at the end of the article, all posted after the article was published. Most of the comments came from NYG&B members. Maybe I should call them "soon to be ex-NYG&B members." One comment was posted by Waddell W. Stillman, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. As you might expect, he defended the proposal.
The official meeting and vote was held Thursday at NYG&B headquarters in New York City.
According to attendees, a proposal to delay the vote was made and seconded, then ignored by the chairman in violation of Roberts Rules of Order. Other questions were asked but not answered. I am told that the chairman simply smiled, and, in response to most questions from the floor, said "he really didn't know."
In the end, the proposal passed. NYG&B now is an organization with fifteen members. The other 5,000 members have been booted out by the Board of Directors. Even Life Members are now ex-members.
Dick Hillenbrand was at the meeting and wrote an eyewitness report of the proceedings. All members (make that "former members") of NYG&B should read his report at http://ny-genes.blogspot.com/2007/07/report-on-bylaws-changes-voting-at-nyg.html. Others may also find that Dick's article is interesting reading.
I suspect you will be hearing a lot more about the NYG&B Board of Directors' actions in the next few weeks. Litigation by disenfranchised members is now almost guaranteed. I suspect this bombshell will not be solved within the next two or three years. Numerous (former) members are now talking about banding together and asking the New York State Attorney General to investigate the recent events at this not-for-profit organization that has abruptly been wrested away from its legally constituted members.
This should be a fascinating story for a long time to come.