URTV board meets, addresses controversies, station operations

URTV board meets, addresses controversies, station operations-attachment0

•••CORRECTION ADDED MARCH 22, 2009: The original version of this article included a statement, now removed, that said not all of URTV’s board-meeting minutes are on the station’s Web site. At this writing, the minutes are online and can be accessed here.***

Outspoken URTV board members Davyne Dial and Richard Bernier kept their seats — for now — despite a recommendation from the public-access channel’s executive committee that they be dismissed. The board also voted to increase the number of annual meetings and scrap a controversial oath.

Over the past month and a half, there have been ongoing controversies about questions of transparency and management at the channel. Below, a summary of the main developments tonight:

• Board President Jerry Young revealed that the channels’ executive committee had met on Feb. 9 and voted to dismiss Bernier and Dial, who have both been critical. He noted that the meeting place had been changed at the last minute to Trinity Baptist Church, where Young is a pastor, to accommodate his schedule.

“We changed the venue, as I was required to be at my job,” Young said. “We do have audio of that meeting, and I’ll be glad to let anyone listen to it that desires to. So that’s my report for right now.”

Treasurer Joe Scotto asked that, “Being that the meeting was called on such short notice and that didn’t give everyone a chance to attend, can we move that we disregard what happened at that meeting and reconvene at another time?”

“No,” Secretary Ralph Roberts replied. “I wouldn’t support that.”

“No,” Young said. “We met and we had the meeting.”

Board member Sandra Bradbury asked what had happened at the meeting, noting that “I haven’t seen any minutes.”

Young answered that the executive committee had gone into closed session to discuss “possible legal issues from the recent press about URTV.” Upon the board going out of closed session, he said, they made a motion to recommend the dismissal Dial and Bernier.

“These are reports,” Parliamentarian Bob Horn said after Bradbury asked whether the whole board was needed to vote on such a dismissal. “You report and then move on. Items of discussion are the things on the agenda.”

However, no motion to dismiss Dial and Bernier was brought up at this meeting, and both of them made motions and voted on matters before the board as usual.

• A motion by Bernier to pull a controversial oath that required board members to keep URTV dealings confidential succeeded on a 5-3 vote. Dial and Bernier were joined by Scotto, Horn and Bradbury, while Roberts, Young and Board member Pam Silvers voted against the motion.

“URTV’s cornerstone is to be transparent and open,” Bernier said. “I have sworn several oath of offices and when I read [URTV’s], it appeared to be a secrecy oath.”

Roberts stated that he had no problem with it.

The board will now devise a new oath.

• A motion by Dial to expand the number of URTV meetings from six a year to eight — the number originally detailed in its bylaws — passed, with only Roberts voting against it.

• Executive Director Pat Garlinghouse was absent from the meeting. Young stated that she was “out of town today.”

* Also absent was Asheville City Council member Bill Russell, who was listed as an official guest for the meeting and had previously said he’d show up to “have some pretty frank, open discussions about their charter and bylaws.”

• Two suggestions by Bernier to discuss questions about transparency and the state’s open meetings law—on in the meeting proper and one during public comment—were shot down by Horn, who noted that such an item was not on the board’s approved agenda.

• However, transparency was a concern of more than one person speaking during the public comment section of the board’s meeting.

“This community got a lot of bad media, specifically from articles in the Mountain Xpress. I think some questions have been raised and I haven’t heard anyone address those questions,” West Asheville resident Gillian Kearns said. “There are a lot of people, at least in West Asheville, my neighbors, who have a really bad feeling about all of this. Any nonprofit, if they make an agreement with a government body has to abide by that or they’ll get their money pulled.”

Kearns mentioned that perhaps the city or county should look into the matter, as “this has brought a really bad taste in the community, and I don’t see anyone from URTV addressing it.”

Local activist Jerry Rice said the meeting resembled “a kangaroo court” and took issue with Roberts asking him not to film the board prior to the meeting.

“It shouldn’t be. It should be respectful and meaningful and respectful to the citizens,” Rice said in noting that Roberts had approached him.

“I still think you’re out of line,” Roberts replied.

“This is a public building and you can video all you want to,” Rice continued. “It ought to be a standing thing to get trained on what open-meetings law is.”

He added that “I think a lot of the things we’re hearing in the negative is not because you’re not good people, but because you’re ignorant. You’re not educated to what you need to be doing. Get yourself in order before you start telling everyone else how to do it.”

Xpress Multimedia Editor Jason Sandford also called for transparency, and noted that neither URTV staff nor Young had yet responded to a Feb. 2 request — repeated multiple times — for the minutes of the board’s meetings.

“I am just speaking to you, the board, to urge you to be as open and transparent as possible,” Sandford said. “State open-records law requires some response from you guys within a reasonable amount of time.” (Editor’s note: The minutes have been made available at the URTV Web site; click here to see the documents.)

He added that “we really urge an open line of communication. We want to talk with you, we want to hear from you and we haven’t had any formal response.”

• Also in public comment, URTV producer Dale Joyner attacked Dial, presenting a petition signed from 26 URTV producers calling for Dial’s dismissal.

“Dial has brought undue negative publicity and false rumors to URTV that have served to bring URTV negative press at a very critical period,” Joyner said, adding that she believes Dial has “openly defied polices of URTV as a seated board member — and this is Mrs. Dial over here. Mrs. Dial doesn’t represent me as a producer or does she represent the producers who have signed this petition.”

However, as Joyner returned to her seat, producer Robert Howland noted that “I didn’t sign that because I’m opposed to your viewpoint.”

“Your name’s not on there,” Joyner replied.

• URTV producer Matt Howard made an impassioned plea for the channel to get past its difficulties.

“I’m of the opinion that to pick unnecessary fights is an impediment to productivity,” Howard said. “There has been behavior and judgment on the part of both sides that has just made things worse. The most important thing to me is that the money is supposedly going to run out come July 2010. The most important thing to me is that in August 2010 URTV has a ‘still-on-the-air’ party. Everything else comes in second place.”

— David Forbes, staff writer

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23 thoughts on “URTV board meets, addresses controversies, station operations

  1. Present: Jerry Young, Ralph Roberts, Davyne Dial, Richard Bernier, Joe Scotto, Sandra Bradbury, Bob Horne, Pam Silver.

    When asked to stop whispering by Don Yelton, board member and secretary Ralph Roberts replied, “This is our meeting, not yours.”

    Pat Garlinghouse was scheduled to make an Executive Directors Report but was absent. She was observed to be present at URTV studios just hours before she was a no-show at the board meeting; reportedly having said, “I just can’t deal with these issues.” She was reported to be “out of town.” No hard-copy report was received by the board.

    Ralph Roberts made a motion to table a review of the secrecy oath. The motion got lost in the mix.

    Jerry Rice singled out Ralph Robers for his shows of disrespect saying that, “respect goes both ways.” When Rice asked for Roberts’ name, Roberts added, “I still think you’re out of line.” To which a member of the audience replied, “He didn’t ask for your opinion.”

    Davyne Dial was appointed to the Nominating Committee.

    John Blackwell spoke during public comment saying that certain good ideas offered by members, such as implementing caller ID on station phones, were routinely passed over out of prejudice.

    Horne, the designated parliamentarian, chastised the public on several occasions for speaking during the meeting saying that, “you are here as our guests,” but then addressed all of his comments to the audience.

    The meeting was filmed by four attendees, one of whom, Dale Joyner, claimed to be filming on behalf of URTV. She was later reminded that if it were not for the transparency advocates such as Davyne Dial, whom she attacked in her public comment, she would not have been allowed to film the proceedings.

  2. Davyne_Dial

    Ms. Joyner did single me out for some rather harsh judgments. I’d like to point out that the issue of transparancy was reiterated tonight by URTV”s attorney who was present at this meeting. He stated adamently that URTV is required to uphold open meeting laws. The fact that “negative publicity” has occured in the media is because of the opposition to abide by the to transparency laws. The flagrant violations has brought this “negative attention.” Personally I’d like to see URTV get way beyond this basic concept that for some reason has been hashed and rehashed again and again…to move on toward obtaining future funds and longterm sustainability for URTV.

    The public has a right to scrutinize every aspect of what occurs at URTV; openness in their meetings is a good beginning URTV is our TV…it is a public soapbox of everyman. If my insistance that URTV abide by the law makes me a disapointment to some URTV members than so be it. The fear that this scrutiny will result in URTV being dismantled is a red herring…I’ve seen the same tactic used in other public access stations across the nation when they have been in a similar situation as URTV. I see it as a ploy to control members and keep them silenced.

    Mr Peck is correct, Ms. Joyner would not have been able to film this meeting were it not for the transparency advocates who have pushed for strict adherence the law at URTV. Her suggestion that I depart is not the easy answer she believes it to be. If I resigned then I would really be free to speak openly.

  3. Atlas Shrugged

    I find it disheartning that URTV is “bogged down” in all these “political” issues. While I certainly feel that this oath issue should be addressed, I have to conclude that, in my not so humble opinion, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    The contract with Charter is going to run out soon. Hint: much of the money to run URTV comes from them. From what I can see, board members bicker back and forth. The rates have increased, etc, etc. Bottom line: if the board (and members) get so wrapped up in the “small” stuff, how are they going to continue to run a television facility? I don’t see a unified plan.. I see personal agendas and a whole lot of he said, she said.

  4. Illuminatti_01

    >”Treasurer Joe Scotto asked that, “Being that the meeting >was called on such short notice and that didn’t give >everyone a chance to attend, can we move that we disregard >what happened at that meeting and reconvene at another >time?”

    >“No,” Secretary Ralph Roberts replied. “I wouldn’t support >that.”
    >“No,” Young said. “We met and we had the meeting.” _________________________________________________
    Ralph Roberts and Jerry Young continue to disregard the bylaws. Below is a reprint of URTV’s bylaws regarding “special meetings” meetings. Why are board members who are speaking out for upholding and adhearing to the laws being cited for dismissal and these two yahoos are secure in their positions? The two members Young and Roberts voted to dismiss are working toward more sunshine on URTV’s practices, policies, and expenditures….what is wrong with that, why are they trying to get rid of them??????? What are Roberts & Young who voted for the dismissal, needing to hide?????

    Meeting rules from URTV bylaws:
    Article 5.

    2. Special Meetings. A special meeting of the Directors may be called by the President of the Board of Directors, or by four (4) or more Directors, and shall be held at such time and for such purposes as may be specified in the call for said meeting. Schedules and notices of Special Board Meetings will be prominently posted at least five (5) days in advance of such meeting at the facilities of the Corporation and notices of Special Board Meetings must be mailed by first-class mail, or distributed via fax or e-mail, to each of the directors at least seven (7) days before such meeting.
    ___________________________________________

    Only certain directors were informed of this “special meeting” ….wouldn’t all boards like to cherry pick a certain segment of the board to hold a voting session??? How do you think our country would run if this was the law of the land????

  5. dale joyner

    Ms.Dial

    Take the advice from yourself of the lasted line of the lasted paragraph.

    I wish you all the best.

    Dale Joyner

  6. elaneon

    First of all, my thanks to all who attended- board members, URTV members, and citizens from our community. I deeply appreciate all of you for your support and concern for URTV.

    I, like many, was expecting a motion to dismiss two board members and am relieved this did not come to pass. Such an action would serve no positive purpose, but would fuel more negative publicity and bad feeling within the membership and our community.

    Similarly, I have much respect for Ms. Joyner. I believe that she has URTV at heart in all that she does. However, I disagree with her belief that a petition to dismiss Ms. Dial is the answer to all or any of URTV’s woes.

    I was mystified by her numbers too. 26 producers represent closer to a tenth than a clear majority. The only thing I can conclude from this exercise: Ms. Dial has an approval rating of about ninety percent.

    I, like Mr. Howland and the vast majority, did not sign that petition. Personally, I would vote tomorrow to retain or re-elect Ms. Dial as my representative on the board. Ms Dial has done exactly what I expect of her or of any other board member. She abides by the law, the URTV bylaws, and URTV’s argreements with City and County- and follows her own conscience from there. I can only hope that she and Mr. Bernier will continue to serve on the board as role-models for others.

    I especially wanted to commend Mr. Scotto for championing URTV bylaws (in direct opposition to other board executives) with his motion to disregard the meeting at Trinity. Mr. Scotto, I was moved by your character and integrity. You are my hero of the week.

    I believe that Mr. Bernier, Ms. Dial, and Mr. Scotto and all those board members who shot down the secrecy oath embody the ideals that represent URTV’s best chance to achieve and celebrate that “August 2010 still on the air” party that Mr. Howard aptly focused on. It is my hope that all who are passionate about URTV can unify, or at least find more constructive ways to disagree, so that we all have a long and productive future at URTV together.

  7. Illuminatti_01

    Well done MtnEx…..shows the struggle of some members to get the Board to follow it’s own bylaws…and also clearly demonstrates how some “select members” met in secret without proper notification of all members to vote to remove two members, this was a clear violation of proper meeting notification of all members of the board. They are trying to get rid of members who are advocating obeying URTV’s own bylaws and NC Open meeting laws.

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=urtv+board+meeting&hl=en&emb=0&aq=f#

  8. dale joyner

    Correction: Type-O

    To: Eleanon

    Mr. Robert Howland was never asked to sign the petition.

    Mr. Matt Howard is running for a seat on the Board.

    And I don’t recall asking you to sign the petition.

    Sincerely,
    Dale Joyner

  9. dale joyner

    Tim

    I also would like to say that as I read what you stated. And keep in mind I was standing right beside you filming at the Board Meeting and you said.

    “A member of the audience replied”, “He didn’t ask for your opinion”, That Was You Tim!, you said that, not someone else from the audience. I even have you on camera your voice and I turned the camera on you.

    State the truth no one reminder me about any such transparency advocate.

    Yes, I was there filming on behalf of URTV hopefully you will see it on my next Wed. show, The Dale Joyner Show Live Wed. at 7:00 p.m. uncut.

    Good job Tim.

    Dale Joyner-URTV Producer

  10. dale joyner writes: “’A member of the audience replied’, ‘He didn’t ask for your opinion’, That Was You Tim!, you said that”

    Damn straight! And one of my prouder moments.

    Mr. Young did not ask Roberts for his opinion and I properly called him out on it. As should have the others as well. This was a petty reaction from Mr. Roberts and one that you seem to excuse.

    Thanks for bringing this important and relevant detail to our attention.

  11. Tired

    Gosh Tim, do you not get enough attention on these forums?
    You have to actually refer to yourself as “a member of the audience”, and then quote YOURSELF?
    How very Fox News of you.
    Glad to see you are a member of something related to URTV!
    I hate you all didn’t get the dramatic removal of the board members you wanted. Please put down the pitchforks and torches for now.
    Better luck next time.

    Also, a member of this forum said earlier “Better luck next time” I completely disagree with that statement and I personally don’t wish them any luck at all!!

  12. Tired

    Really?

    Tim Peck March 22 1:24pm:
    “dale joyner writes: “’A member of the audience replied’, ‘He didn’t ask for your opinion’, That Was You Tim!, you said that”

    Damn straight! And one of my prouder moments. ”

    Your words, Pay attention!
    You must really have a thin list of proud moments.

  13. Tired

    At least “us people” don’t quote ourselves as though we are someone else!

    No, we are not lost at all, We support our public access station as always. We will continue to defend URTV against non-member attacks from the likes of “you people”.

    I am very glad to see Richard and Davine continue to participate in making URTV BETTER! I wish them and the whole board and staff the best of luck and success.

    Good luck to you Tim, Peter and the other “you people”. I hope you all find something to lash out at, or rage against soon.
    I’m sure this less than dramatic outcome has been quite a disappointment.

  14. How can you claim to “defend URTV” while ignoring the cause of its problems?

    You can’t fix a problem if you don’t acknowledge and understand the causes. And you clearly don’t

    You people are truly amazing.

    Thanks for all of your input but you’re not helping URTV. I am.

  15. thank you elaneon… i think you have cut through all the bs,to see what are the facts… it was moving to see that some one is on the money…

    “I believe that Mr. Bernier, Ms. Dial, and Mr. Scotto and all those board members who shot down the secrecy oath embody the ideals that represent URTV’s best chance to achieve and celebrate that “August 2010 still on the air” party that Mr. Howard aptly focused on.”
    thank you..

  16. elaneon

    Ms. Joyner,

    Your petition was on view at the front desk at URTV. Any member could have signed or not as we pleased, as is the nature of a petition.
    I did see it and made my choice not to sign. I have no idea whether or not Mr. Howland saw it there or how many others producers did.

    I was not aware Mr. Howard was running for the board but don’t see what that has to do with my comments or his. Nevertheless thanks for the information.

    Since I have your attention, your petition is a mistake. You can’t call for the dismissal of a board member over an issue of free speech at URTV an organization which supports free speech. Isn’t going to happen- but if it did, it would bring eternal shame on URTV which is worse than a bit of bad publicity.

    I urge you and all the others who signed the petition to give all aspects of this issue some more thought before the vote on this. As I stated elsewhere in the forums, if Ms. Dial is as rotten to the core as you think, find a real reason to dismiss her- not because she exercised her right to free speech.

  17. it is coming up soon.. now is the time to get on the phone,or the email,and get all good members out to vote at the meeting.. as you may know we have no email list,so everyone must call who they know…
    please help stand for free speech at urtv…

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