Symbolism sometimes does matter, and so does keeping your word

By Greg Nagel

The East Village Neighbors split from EVA about 3 years ago citing a lack of a respectful environment as their only reason.

I have spoken to multiple neighbors and business owners that do not attend EVA meeting because of certain people they feel are aggressively rude or because of a general lack of civility of the group.

As president of EVA, I took initiative to broker the merger of EVN back into EVA. There was no road map for this. These were clearly unprecedented waters. One of the items that I promised the EVN leadership was that I would propose and promote a bylaw amendment on respect.

I felt this would make the EVN people more comfortable while simultaneously truly improving the culture of EVA. I naively thought this was an absolute no-brainer. Who is going to oppose respect?

The EVN bylaws had provisions for not only removing people from a meeting but also expulsion from the group. I felt that was overkill, and felt the simply being able to ask someone to leave a group in an extreme situation would be more than sufficient.

Any rule can be abused but that is why the president is an elected position and that person presumably has good judgment. I feel that the notion that the respect amendment is repetitive or unnecessary as its covered in Robert's Rules of Order is a valid but academic objection.

However, I feel that the amendment would be in the body of the bylaws versus buried in Robert's Rules of Order which gives it far more emphasis and needed visibility.

Lastly, I think this is a very important symbolic gesture that will propel our organization forward. Not passing it will have the exact opposite effect.

As your president trying to change the culture of this organization, I ask for your support on this beneficial change.

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