As many of you know, SNG’s former Executive Director, Sam Taitel, resigned on March 31, 2021, after five months with the Seward Neighborhood Group. Before resigning, Taitel filed a complaint against two members of the Seward Neighborhood Group executive committee, alleging that certain actions they took that made it impossible for her to do her job.
At that time, SNG contracted with Tabitha Montgomery, Executive Director of the Powderhorn Neighborhood Group, to investigate this complaint and to assess the situation. Tabitha submitted a preliminary and final report, but given the large number of resignations from the SNG board during the spring and summer of 2021, the board was unable to consider and act on the report until recently. Because much of Tabitha’s report deals with specific personnel issues that impact the privacy of several individuals, we do not believe that it is appropriate to release the entire report, but we are providing this summary of how the SNG board is responding to the report’s findings and suggestions.
Tabitha met with representatives of the board and our interim executive director in September to discuss her findings. She found that the root of the complaint centered on the board of directors and the executive committee not understanding and following SNG’s bylaws and the fundamental principles of how the governing body of an organization should interact with its executive director. Tabitha’s report also cited gaps in SNG’s governing documents that created ambiguity that contributed to the conflict. Specifically, the report found that the board never reached a clear consensus for determining the executive director’s duties and how to supervise their work. This resulted in unilateral actions by individual board and executive committee members that led Sam Taitel to resign and file a grievance.
Over the past few months, the SNG board of directors has begun to review the bylaws and several other policies with an eye to amending them to clarify how the executive director will be hired and supervised. In addition, the board has committed to providing initial and on-going training for all new board members so that board members understand the fundamental principles of how the governing body of a nonprofit community-based organization like ours should work with its staff to accomplish the organization’s goals.
Lisa Boehlke, President
Seward Neighborhood Group