Three-minute zero

Dear FCCJ members,

We are an organization that in the wake of the pandemic is struggling with financial solvency, maintaining membership, and perennial food & beverage and human resource issues. We meet as a club membership at most four times a year, when traditionally the board of directors would directly share the state of operations in words and documents, while the membership would offer opinions on matters ranging from the professional activities committee (PAC), to mask-wearing rules and the price of hamburgers.

An Extraordinary General Members Meeting (EGMM) called for November 14 at 7 p.m. at the FCCJ began on time, and was closed by the president at 7:03 p.m. In short, the state of the FCCJ was depicted in three minutes. The election of the new kanji was announced, the floor opened for questions – there weren’t any – and the meeting adjourned in about 180 seconds. No digital or paper reports were distributed, no information on the financial or membership state of the club, no trumpeting of a new post-Covid era for the FCCJ or how embracing transparency in facing our challenges is essential to overcoming them. A letter to the membership was sent the following day, which in three paragraphs captured all that could be said about the value of the November EGMM.

The number of board members who attended in person or online totaled four of nine - almost 50% - while the total number of regular members stood at nine. The exceptionally low turnout could possibly be attributed to a single FCCJ notice about the meeting with a Zoom link, sent on Friday November 11, which was not repeated on the day of the event.

By contrast, there were four FCCJ emails about German wine events and Saturday Night Live concerts over the same period, and no calendar entry for the EGMM on the FCCJ homepage. It is easy to imagine why such paltry participation was inevitable. A cynic who has witnessed such board operating procedures for the last two years might conclude that these gatherings are actually designed to be neither extraordinary, general, involve members, or even be considered meetings, but to end as quickly as possible. That mission was accomplished on November 14.

We as a membership must do better in our pursuit of answers that serve and protect our organization. I look forward to seeing everyone at the General Membership Meeting in March, when serious matters must be discussed, and hopefully time will be measured by a clock and not a stopwatch.


Dan Sloan