(For those who came in late, Part 2 and Part 1 are below)
What does it say when Seven Professional Voiceover Artists finally decide they no longer want their names associated with the executive board of an Association of Professional Voiceover Artists. (That’s a rhetorical question.)
It’s one thing if you want to have your own private club with your own rules. No problem. Enjoy. But before its implosion yesterday, SaVoa’s executive board was meant to be more than a single person’s domain.
Why does it still bug me? That’s not rhetorical. And here’s the rest of it:
Several weeks ago, a special conference call was requested by members of the executive board and convened by me, to discuss the validity of concerns (mentioned in Part 2). And while it was eventually agreed the most recent case in point was not worth a huge fight, it did expose some existing tensions, and resulted in motions to request that our founder relinquish his office of Secretary/Treasurer. After some awkward and testy exchanges, I did probably the only presidential thing of my whole blessed term and suggested a compromise of asking the founder to stay on as Treasurer but turn Secretary duties over to another member, an idea which had been offered by our then-Vice President and with which I agreed.
The protestation was made that we did not have enough North Carolina residents to satisfy our charter, unless I was willing to take over another office. Further discussion was avoided when our attorney advised us that there was actually no such restriction on a certain number of officers being residents of the state.
Further proposed shufflings were proposed. And our founder was, justifiably, ticked off…feeling he was being given the Captain Queeg role in our own version of “The Caine Mutiny”. Raw nerves were exposed, tempers grew thin. And when our still- Secretary/Treasurer moved we table the conversation until a later time, I lost my temper. Rightly or wrongly, I hotly stated we were already in a meeting with the authority to discuss the issue and I was tired of hearing complaints from board members yet having to stand by — powerless to do anything either way. I lost all diplomacy and, as us old folks still say, I lost “my cool”. And it’s all there on the recording I was making for the group as meeting minutes and provided them with later…unedited with my blow-up intact.
A vote was taken, and the Secretary and Treasurer’s jobs were split, our founder promising to hand over the seal, membership database materials, and website passwords to another member who stepped forward to act as temporary Secretary.
I regained my composure somewhat for the remainder of the meeting, apologized for my outburst…and later that evening informed all concerned that I was resigning my position as so-called President. I had seen and heard for myself what had happened when I had tried to assert the authority I was supposed to have had. And it was a character I did not want to see ever again.
The board members, to a man (and one woman), assured me I was overstating my embarrassment…that they took no offense…and wanted me to stay on. One or two even complimented me for being one of the few to finally say something everyone else had been thinking.
I let my resignation stand, writing a lengthy explanation to the board as to why I felt they had a better chance of making great changes to SaVoa without me at the top of the roster.
I even stated for the record that I gave the group’s creator the benefit of the doubt…that I had not been recruited and put in place just so I would be the “reputation” and “friendly face” of SaVoa while the inner workings stayed with the status quo. But I told them that true or imagined, I sure felt that way.
The next week, as a courtesy, I was informed that new officers had been selected and voted upon in an emergency conference call. New members were being brought up into the executive board. Looked like things were finally ready to take off…progress to be made…benefits to members realized…faces saved . I was asked if I’d like to retain my shield and the designation, Friend of SaVoa…which I gratefully agreed to.
I told my friends I would withhold public comment about the recent dustup. No need to air the dirty laundry, now that it appeared the washing machine was working.
Now comes the “spin cycle”.
Now I learn that the creator/Treasurer has re-thought his relinquishment of power. I am informed that he’s consulted outside attorneys to fight his “ouster”. The control of the savoa.org website will not be relinquished, nor its database of members. (While the claim of the founder that he paid for the establishment and upkeep of the site is absolutely valid, one of the last decisions I presided over was that he would be reimbursed for all his expenses to date with our thanks.)
With this, and all the talk of “lawyer-ing up”, I think I’ve changed my mind as well. No longer am I willing to give SaVoa’s creator the “benefit of the doubt” about anointing me as a mere figurehead for my supposed reputation, so he could stay in control.
And I resent the hell out of it.
Mind you, this is all from my perspective. This is my experience and these are my opinions. You will doubtless hear or read other accounts, if you’re not too fatigued to follow them. I have deliberately gone out of my way not to name names. They’re easy enough to find for those who want to dig.
This is about MY name…and how I feel it has been misappropriated and misused.
All I can attest to is what I feel.
What I feel is “used”…used for my name – my reputation – to put a false front on something that could have really truly been a good thing for freelance voice talent.
Instead, it has imploded on itself, and given credence to some of its most vocal critics who originally dismissed SaVoa as just one good ol’ boy’s private clubhouse.
— over and out —