Tuesday, August 11, 2009

more board meeting stuff

Board meetings, fire fighting, and eating chicken legs all share one thing in common: for complete success, you have to get your hands messy. You can poke and prod a chicken leg primly and properly and tease some of the meat off the bone, but about two thirds of the way in though, you chuck the utensils and dive in with both fists. Firefighting is the same . . . don't bother trying to look refined, just get in there and do it. If you don't need a shower or two afterwards, you probably didn't do the job very well.

Board meetings are prim and proper events at first glance, but don't be deceived. Roberts Rules, etiquette and manners are great, but if you really want to get stuff done, you banish the paraphernalia, look at the facts, and make a decision. That's the good thing about Upsala Volunteer Firefighters Association meetings. These are all folks that would rather be making hay or running a business or spending time with their family than sorting through quotes for Amkus spreaders. Not that they make light of spending five or ten thousand dollars of public money. All of them are taxpayers, and half are also volunteer firefighters, and they know they'll be on the working end of whatever equipment we buy. But they aren't going to spend one more minute at decision making than is absolutely necessary. Thank goodness.

All that to say that my gloomy, pessimistic predictions turned out to be utterly false, and we pulled off the meeting this evening as scheduled. Four board members took an hour and a half out of their hectic lives to sort through a stack of paperwork and agree on something that impacted their personal lives about as much as the Queen's choice of tea. They aren't super heroes, but I don't know what we'd do without them.

Rules and etiquette are fine, but when you're hungry or have fire licking at your elbows or are putting four heads together to make one decision, keep it to the bare bones. It's a gift, believe me. The higher up you go on the pyramid of power, the easier it is to complicate everyone else's lives. Click here for a story about a guy who complicated someone's life a little ridiculously.

If you are still interested in the DJ Harper story click here and here for updates. Click on "journal" at the top of the page to get latest update.

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