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The adhoc website committee

For those individuals who read the official minutes for the June ICOIL minutes who might be wondering ...so what happened with the Website Committee? Did Ramona Harvey ICOIL Secretary serving in a volunteer capacity promise to do something and then not follow through? ICOIL doesn't have a website, doesn't Ramona realize the importance of having a consistant place not controlled by the state to post meetings? Doesn't she know that we the people with disabilities are important, and need to be informed?

For those people here is what happened. June 14th I became not only the Secretary, but also the chair of the Ad Hoc Website committee. Unfortunately as I read the bylaws I discovered my duties as secretary would be too time consuming. So I had to resign as chair of this committee.

Here is how that worked.

I sent out the following request


ramona harvey wrote: > Fellow Council Members,

As most of you know, the council decided to have an Ad Hoc Website Committee. As I was the first person to volunteer to be on the committee, I also have the pleasure of being the committee chair. (Though the rest of the council agreed to help me when it comes to finding meeting space and other support I may need...including a call > in #.) >

> The current situation with this committee is as follows: >

> Chair is Ramona Harvey
> Jodi James has agreed to be involved and provide assistance
> Melissa Madill has offered to be on the committee and recommended a > member of her staff she thinks would be good to have involved as > committee members do not have to be council members according to the > bylaws.
> It was also determined at the council meeting that as long as we had a > physical publicized accessible place to hold the meeting that even the > chair could teleconference.
> Melissa has offered ircil as meeting space. >

> As this is an ad hoc committee specifically focused on the website and > related issues...ie who to recommend hosting the website...what > content needs to be on the site, and in what format. >

> My requests: >

> Anyone who desires to be on this committee let me know. I would > request if possible that the Kieth the ICOIL treasurer be on the > committee if he is available and has the time simply because in > discussing who will host this site and whether or not we have a > webmaster, and who that webmaster will be...we will be directly > discussing spending money in the ICOIL budget. I would feel more > comfortable having the treasurer involved if possible. >

> Please let me know if you wish to be on this committee and also please > forward any information you have with regards to putential host and > etc so that the committee can look at that information and make > recommendations to the council. >

> Ramona Harvey
> Chair - Ad Hoc Website Committee


But then I realized there was way more work involved then I would be able to do and still effectively serve as secretary, so I sent the following letter resigning as chair of this committee to Jodi James - the chair of the council - and CCed it to the rest of the council simply to keep them informed, and hoping that someone else would b willing to take up the slack. (my main thing was, I did not want people to find out the next council meeting that I had resigned, because I already saw how confusing it was when the chair of the membership committee - Melissa Madill resigned without informing the council.)

Jodi,

Been doing a lot of thinking and I am resigning as chair of the Adhoc Website Committee. It is just to difficult for me to be able to set up meeting times as I do not have a location for those meetings. You will remember I expressed concern at the meeting.

Teleconferencing initially looked like I good idea, especially since Melissa agreed to help, but because I am not at the location it is hard for me to know when would be a good time and to make sure if anyone from the public showed up they got what they needed. You had a difficult enough time chairing the ICOIL meeting in person over the phone is even more complex. I have done a lot of thinking and I do not feel comfortable chairing over the phone. In addition, I agreed to this duty before I was elected secretary, and I believe that I am of better service just focusing on that duty and serving on whatever committees I can.

As of this point nobody has really given me any information about what the site should contain, though it is generally agreed that it should be accessible.

My personal thoughts at this point is that we do not need anything fancy, just a page to post meeting times to start with would be great. Yes, we want archived information, but think we may be better off just getting something very basic and moving forward from there. As ICOIL the council gets more organized we can add stuff, but it has been my experience that it is relatively easy to move a domain name to a site with more space should we outgrow ourselves....

I hope you understand. Had I known at the time I accepted the position that I was going to be secretary I would have never accepted it.

Thank you, Ramona


I thought that would be the end of it, but it was not. Dee Ann Hart sent me out an e-mail (which I still have) whereby she questioned my resignation and provided me with what she percieved as supportive advice. She explained what she was doing as Chair of the Ad Hoc Training Committee, and advised me to "Take a deep breath! Delegate. Someone indicated they had a website expert at their center use their expertise."

Again very frustrated, I tried to explain myself:

Dee Ann,

I agree that a website is important which is why I volunteered to be on the committee in the first place. We need to be communicating and open to the public.

I am glad that you are willing to put that work forward as a council member chair of an Ad Hoc Committee.

I an CCing this reply because it contains information which may be relevant to anyone who wants to volunteer for the position I resigned from and I do not know who that person will be.

I am very concerned about open door because we are a SILC at risk and I do not want the liability of not following the law, but that is not why I resigned from the Ad Hoc Committee.

Nor is the reason I resigned an inability to delegate. I know how to delegate very effectively. You do not know this but I was a marketing supervisor of two fast food restaurants and I was the supervisor for a very successful federally funded workforce investment grant program. I hired, trained and managed several individuals, I was responsible for making sure services were being provided at 8 seperate locations in 4 different counties....the counties of Davidson (Nashville, TN), Wilson, Rutherford and Trousdale. I worked directly with people with disabilities and career centers as well as business in the community. I provided and made sure training was provided on the ADA, JAWS and TTY's. I made sure classes and materials offered in accessible format and served as a facilitator etc.

My resigning as chair of the Website ad hoc committee has very little to do with my ability to delegate, and in fact is more because I understand how important it is to delegate.

The website is important, but until we organize the information that needs to go on the website, it is going to be of very little use to us other then being a place where we can make sure we are consistantly providing adequate public notice.

Given that fact, and my position as secretary trying to correlate what we currently know with regards to who is on first and who is on second (ie member ledger etc)....my time would be best spent filling those duties.

If there were someone to delegate responsibility to I would do that...but it is not website knowledge that is my issue or concern so delegating to an "expert" in that area is not going to be helpful to me either. There is no way for you to know this because you never bothered to ask, but I myself am very familiar with webpage design and what is involved with building and maintaining a site because I have built several sites and been paid to build sites before.

It is not an inability to plan for the meeting either, in fact, that is a rather easy proceedure. There are very specific things that are needed in order to have a website.

  1. Domain Name in this case insilc.org
  2. Domain Host (btw if the host does not have enough space to meet future needs it is easy to transfer the domain name to another host...either by forwarding or other means.)
  3. Knowledge of what info we want on site
  4. Someone willing to maintain site (And whether at this point we need a webmaster given that we cannot determine our available funds - or just a basic site until we can get more organized. - my recommendation is keep it simple tell we have a foundation to build on)
  5. How to make sure the site is compliant with Bobby and other accessibility issues
  6. Finding someone familiar with accessibility to maintain and make sure ALT tags are in place and that IMAGE MAPS that are not readable are not used, etc.
  7. Making sure that any documents that are placed on the site are in accessible and readable formats.

I do commend you for your enthusiasm and willingness to jump in with both feet and take a proactive role in ICOIL, but know that we have jumped into something that has a very negative history which has put us in the place of being a SILC at risk and lots of potential liability, which is the reason why we need to have all our ducks in a row. Under the circumstances I do not feel I can adequately chair a meeting over the phone when I have no control over what happens at the the actual meeting place. While the website is important, I am in a position where I also have other responsibilities I need to fill as a council member which will help with regards to the content on the page, so I guess I just have to delegate.

But hopefully working together we can continue to move this council forward.

Ramona Harvey


I was frustrated that I had to explain myself, but when I got the following very pleasant reply, I assumed all was good:

Ramona,

It was not my intent to imply that you did not know how to delegate. I have personally found that as a leader it is very easy to forget to delegate. Also, in chaotic circumstances when grasping for process and procedural guidance it is easy to feel that the burden rests on the chairs shoulders.

Thank you for sharing your assets. I see you as very competent and open minded. I was trying to be encouraging not demeaning. I am sory if that is howyou read my email.

Dee Ann Hart


Glad to move on with no hard feelings and determined to make things work, I replied:

That is okay,

I just wanted to be clear. Lets just work together and get this thing done.


But aparantly I was not clear and even resigning from Chairing a committee was complicated on this council because the reply I recieved back (which I have) indicated that Dee Ann felt that I thought she was offensive, and all she was trying to do was be supportive...and share little nuggets of information from her past experiences.

I rolled up my sleeves again and tried to explain my position with the desire that once we were on the same page, we could move on and work together.

Dee Ann,

again, I clarify that I was only tryin to explain my reasons for resigning as chair of the ad hoc website committee were not due to my being unqualified, or not knowing how to delegate. It just sort of sounded in the letter like you felt I did not know what I was doing. I felt like perhaps you were making a judgement about me personally. If you were not, I appologize...if you were I just wanted to clarify that I have a background and experience as well that should not be discounted...and everyone else on the council does as well.

I do appreciate your sharing you input, I just wanted to be clear as to my reasons.

No hard feelings on my end, if there are none on yours. I do think that you have a lot to contribute and do appreciate your nuggets of experience. Just ask that you remember other people have those nuggets as well. :)

Have a good one,
Ramona
P.S. For the next few days my access to the internet will be sporatic.


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