URTV board will meet tomorrow: sweeping changes to bylaws proposed

While it’s not announced on the public-access channel’s Web site, the URTV Board of Directors will meet tomorrow at 6 p.m. A number of controversial topics could be on the board’s agenda, including major changes to the current bylaws that would eliminate the current membership structure and place more power in the board’s hands.

The meeting may also see the board take up the removal of outspoken board member Richard Bernier, who has sharply criticized the station’s management and what he sees as a lack of transparency in the board’s dealings.

The board will meet in the Buncombe County Television offices at 199 College St. The meeting is open to the public.

The proposed changes to the URTV bylaws would eliminate the current station’s membership structure, and states flatly that “URTV shall have no members.”

Instead of members, the Board of Directors will create categories of “associates.”

“Associates of URTV shall not have the right to vote in any matter(s) brought before the Board of Directors,” the new bylaws read. “Associates are considered URTV clients who should have a venue for input to the facility operation and activities.”

However, the new bylaws make no provision for membership meetings. They also radically change the make-up of the board. Instead of 11 board members, there would be 15. Seven of those would be appointed by the sitting directors, two each by the city and county and four “associate members representative of the group of URTV clients or users of the services.”

There will be no member-elected board members, and the four associate members “shall serve indefinite terms at the pleasure of the Board. … There are no provisions for the election of Associate Members.”

The new bylaws would also vest far more power in the board’s Executive Committee, composed of the station’s officers. That committee could not approve new members of the board, change the bylaws or dissolve URTV, but otherwise “shall have and may exercise all of the authority of the Board of Directors between Board meetings.”

URTV has seen considerable controversy in recent months, most recently in a membership vote to remove Davyne Dial, another board member who has criticized the running of the station. Dial has questioned the legality of the vote. Other controversies include a confidentiality clause in an oath (later repealed), a memo from board President Jerry Young directing Board members not to talk to the press, and questions about if the board properly followed open-meetings law.

Opponents of Dial and Bernier have asserted that the station is running well and that their criticisms are bringing it negative publicity at an important time.

Bernier is also facing a removal attempt, and the Executive Committee voted to recommend his dismissal (and that of Dial) in February. However, both members took their seats and voted normally at the directors’ March meeting. After that meeting, Young declared that they were both suspended from their seats. Both have challenged that move, as URTV’s current bylaws don’t mention that the Board President has that power.

Under those bylaws, URTV board members can be removed by a two-thirds majority of the board.

Contacted by Xpress, Bernier said simply that “I plan on taking my seat.” Dial confirmed that she will attend the meeting.

— David Forbes, staff writer


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9 thoughts on “URTV board will meet tomorrow: sweeping changes to bylaws proposed

  1. URTV watcher

    Good idea. In a town like Asheville where we have way too many “activist” whiners who will complain no matter what, a more centralized leadership situation is definitely due. Constructive criticism is always welcome in a good organization, but sniping, carping, whining just for the sake of it will ruin any organization. I am in favor of this move.

  2. update

    As of last night, I was told that at least one section of the proposed bylaws had been removed after some discussion among board members and the ED.

    This article represents another example of how David Forbes’ ongoing series of biased stories is disrupting the normal functions of the leadership structure at URTV.

  3. Johnny_Lee_House_Jr

    Steve Shanafelt said; “the idea of URTV being a member-supported, community-based organization is going away, being replaced by a board-controlled business with no significant accountability to the people who actually volunteer there or use the service. Is that pretty much accurate?”

    Looks like you pretty much get the picture Steve. There goes Public Acess in Buncombe…perpetrated on the citizens by an ED and Board that was supposed to nurture and grow Public Access in Buncombe. What a shameful thing! Garlinghouse began dismantling URTV the minute she walked in the door, and by eliminating members of the Board who questioned her actions, she’ll prevail in her goal of dismantling Public Access in Buncombe. When a Board Member gives her any opposition or questions she begins a demonetization campaign against them, using her position as Executive Director to turn anyone she opposes into the anti-christ. Most people unschooled in the ways of a narcissits, fail to see that she is the main reason for all the drama surrounding URTV.

    When Dial and Bernier are gone, someone new will emerge as the enemy of URTV. This demonization has been going on since she arrived and will not end till URTV or she is gone. (I predict Dale Joyner, the “Monk” or Lielady, will become enemy #1 next)

    Most people don’t realize what an expert manipulator she is, so they accept her demonizing and join in on the attack. She’s been very successful with this behavior and managed to run off some excellent people with her behind the scenes manipulations.

    At least in this case it’s been a public battle, and the people she targeted this time were able to get a lot of public support, as some shrewd observers have wised up to her ways of dealing under the table with anyone who doesn’t completely agree with her.

    Bottom line, if you’re sitting in the ED’s camp, you’ve been had by a master manipulator.

    URTV ’07 Bylaws stated:

    MISSION The Mission of the Corporation is to empower every resident of our community by providing equal means and opportunities to create and present television programming in keeping with First Amendment principles of free speech.

    PURPOSE: The purposes of the Corporation shall be as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation and these bylaws, including but not limited to:
    Operate a public access channel which will include programming produced by members. Protect and utilize the First Amendment right to freedom of expression on the Asheville and Buncombe County cable systems; Promote citizen involvement, awareness, and education by providing a forum for the dissemination of information of civic importance;

    In the new bylaws “Mission” is eliminated and purpose uses the following vague wording that could be construed to mean a host of different actions far beyond simply supplying a medium for Buncombe County residents to put on programming pertinent to their community.

    is organized for educational and charitable purposes, to coordinate and develop media activities
    available for the citizens of the City of Asheville and Buncombe County (and outside Western North
    Carolina when beneficial to URTV), through media franchises licensed to operate in Asheville and
    Buncombe County. URTV, a non-profit organization, independent of the City and County, shall act as
    public trustee in the administration of this resource in the community interest. In order to accomplish this purpose URTV shall among other things: (see link above provided by the Dr., for complete re-write of bylaws)

  4. “While it’s not announced on the public-access channel’s Web site, the URTV Board of Directors will meet tomorrow…”

    Yet another violation.

    These people can’t seem to put a foot right.

  5. cwaster

    In my opinion… should fire or disband the whole board and directors and start over.

  6. GreenryDiet

    Love this community and drink learned so much upward of the practice of this week lawful alongside viewing other people’s threads and comments
    Since we are in the temper fit sharing I contemplation I’d ration something with you members of this forum. A position where people can forth the public tv show not all there men
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