URTV will hold a special meeting of the public access channel’s membership on April 29 to vote on the dismissal of Davyne Dial, a member of the station’s Board of Directors who has been outspoken in her criticism of management.
According to a notice on URTV’s Web site, the meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. in URTV’s Studio A and all URTV members in good standing since before 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,” Dial wrote in a statement to Xpress.
In a Feb. 9 meeting URTV’s executive committee voted to recommend dismissing Dial and Richard Bernier, who has also been vocal in his criticism of the station’s management and a perceived lack of transparency. The meeting will only deal with the dismissal of Dial, who was elected by URTV’s membership.
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 [Board President] Jerry Young and [Treasurer] Joe Scotto.”
In the past few months, URTV has faced a number of controversies, including a confidentiality clause in a now-repealed oath, a memo from Young directing board members not to speak to the press and questions about whether the board has followed open-meetings law.
Dial and Bernier have also criticized what they see as a lack of initiative to expand the membership and forge partnerships before URTV’s agreements with the city of Asheville and Buncombe County expire in 2010. 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 working well.
Under URTV’s bylaws, a special meeting of the membership may be called by the Board of Directors or by a signed request from 15 members or 10 percent of the membership, whichever is larger. No vote to hold such a meeting was taken at URTV’s most recent board meeting. Young and URTV Executive Director Pat Garlinghouse have not yet answered requests from Xpress to clarify when the members requested the meeting.
At the last URTV board meeting, producer Dale Joyner submitted a petition signed by 26 URTV producers calling for Dial’s dismissal, asserting that she’d spread “undue negative publicity and false rumors to URTV that have served to bring URTV negative press at a very critical period.” However, Joyner’s petition didn’t call for a special meeting.
Also under URTV’s bylaws, Board of Directors members can only be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the board—and this is how removal has been handled previously. However, North Carolina law does allow the members of some non-profits to remove board members they’ve elected.
—David Forbes, staff writer