JACC: Moving forward with a spirit of unity and common purpose
At Minneapolis’ Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) Saturday press conference to clarify recent board events, including new leadership — a separate piece of propaganda circulated from rivals, characterizing last week’s election of a replacement executive committee as a takeover by mutiny — even though a majority of old and new board members voted them in during a Jan. 14 meeting.
Additionally, the new board and committee has been officially recognized by the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP), which certifies neighborhood associations, and City Council president Barb Johnson and Councilman Don Samuels.
A strange plot twist: The flier that was passed out by some vocal critics of the leadership is signed by JACC board member EB Brown and it refers to her as the “legal JACC board chair” even though she peaceably conceded her seat only days before to Michael K. Browne. Furthermore, EB Brown turned down Michael K. Browne’s nomination to be vice chair. The flier also states that Robert Scott “is still Treasurer,” despite the fact that he publicly resigned during the Jan. 14 meeting. The flier goes so far as to accuse the City Council president, who has recognized the new executive committee and board members, as simply being out of the loop on recent events. “It is obvious that she has been misled…” it reads. (It doesn’t contain a response from Johnson, who was present at the press conference.)
Meanwhile, a rogue board/office has set up shop at Jordan New Life Church, claiming the JACC headquarters had to be temporarily relocated. (This ties in to the above flier.) Coincidentally, right around that time, computers and records disappeared from the JACC office at 2009 James Ave. N. (The break-in is under investigation by police, according to JACC representatives.) In a piece of correspondence to the city, the rogue board/office named Jerry Moore as its executive director, who was fired last week after he tried to rough up some residents.
The flier quixotically reads, “Though this selective group left the meeting this past Wednesday feeling they had successfully taken over this organization; THEY NEED TO THINK AGAIN! The Executive Committee that was legally voted into office for a term of one year is not stepping down nor will allow any harm to come to this organization or the neighborhood.”
At the press conference, newly-elected JACC board chair Michael K. Browne disputed the above allegations, saying that the elections were valid. Board elections were originally to be held in October, “but they were postponed because significant issues were raised.” Following the board election, “It was the board’s prerogative to elect a new executive committee.” Additionally, “We checked with the NRP and city. They said that the bylaws dictate a process.” A November vote regarding the makeup of the executive committee, which the EB Brown flier defends, was done improperly, he said. Back then, the executive committee members voted to extend the committee terms. In essence, “They voted to extend their own terms,” straying from protocols. If anyone has questions about what has transpired recently, board actions have been accounted for in the meeting minutes. As for committee/board candidates, “We applied all of the eligibility requirements to everyone.”
The way things were done on the nominating committee were fair, he said, adding, “There were no shortcuts.” JACC’s newly-installed leadership “will be guided by principles of accountability and integrity, making sure all voices will be heard and the most pressing issues heard … We can’t do it alone. We need each other. To make the North Side stronger, we need to have respect for each other, even when we disagree with each other.” JACC will move forward “with a spirit of unity and common purpose.”
City officials backed him up: NRP representative Stacy Sorenson said in a letter to JACC that she had consulted with the City Attorney on the matter, relating that the new board had the responsibility to elect its officers. Based on this legwork, “the NRP will recognize the JACC board with its full complement of members as elected on January 12 and with the officers elected on January 14.” In a separate memo, she elaborated: “In my view, the elections were run exceptionally well and in accordance with JACC bylaws … After ballots were cast, I counted the ballots along with Bob Cooper and Jay Clark. We were observed by two individuals, one being the chair of the Nominating Committee. Results of the vote were not close.”