URTV will hold a special membership meeting April 29 to vote on the dismissal of board member Davyne Dial, who’s been outspoken in her criticism of the public-access channel’s management.
According to a notice on the station’s Web site, the meeting will be held Wednesday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in Studio A, and all URTV members in good standing as of Feb. 28 of this year may vote.
“It is my hope that those members who want URTV to be the beacon of openness and free speech it was established to be will show up and vote against my removal,” said Dial in a written statement to Xpress.
On Feb. 9, URTV’s Executive Committee recommended dismissing Dial and Richard Bernier, who has also criticized the station’s management, particularly what he sees as a lack of transparency. The April 29 meeting will deal only with the proposed dismissal of Dial, who was elected to the board by URTV’s membership.
At the last URTV board meeting, producer Dale Joyner presented a petition signed by 26 producers calling on the board to discuss Dial’s removal. The petition asserted that she’d caused “undue negative publicity and [spread] false rumors to URTV that have served to bring URTV negative press at a very critical period.”
Asked by Xpress to clarify the meeting process, URTV attorney Scott Dillin wrote in an e-mail: “The special meeting was called by the members, at the last board meeting, via [Joyner’s] petition. Under the bylaws, such a petition would constitute a request by 10 percent of the members (I recollect approximately 26 were said to be on the petition) for such a meeting.”
In fact, however, although the petition Joyner read at the meeting did call for Dial’s removal, it did not expressly call for a special meeting.
URTV bylaws require a two-thirds vote by the board of directors to remove a member, and this is what they’ve done in the past. State law does allow the members of some nonprofits to remove board members they’ve elected.
“Other positions on the board, such as Mr. Bernier’s seat, are appointed by the board itself or Asheville City Council and so on, and are not subject to removal by the members,” Dillin explained.
In her statement, Dial was blunt in her criticism of some of the current board members.
“What has happened to Mr. Bernier and myself when we have tried, as members of the board of directors, to abide by the bylaws and management agreement with the city and county has been months of bullying, harassment, intimidation and grief, in an aggressive attempt to coerce us to resign, by certain board members—usually [Secretary] Ralph Roberts and/or [President] Jerry Young and [Treasurer] Joe Scotto.”
In recent months, URTV has faced a number of controversies, including: a confidentiality clause in a now-repealed oath for board members; a memo from Young instructing board members not to speak to the press; and questions about whether the board has adhered to the state’s open-meetings law.
Dial and Bernier have also criticized what they see as a lack of efforts to expand the nonprofit’s membership and forge new partnerships before URTV’s agreements with the city of Asheville and Buncombe County expire next year. However, some producers have voiced their support for management, asserting that many improvements have been made over the past few years and that URTV is generally working well.
“In the end,” wrote Dillin, “[the special meeting] is probably a positive for all parties involved, as it requires notice be sent to all members, giving all parties with an interest in the proceedings an opportunity be present and cast their vote reflecting their position on the removal of the member.”
To view video of Joyner presenting the original petition, go to www.mountainx.com/topics/find/urtv.