After firing—then temporarily rehiring—popular Cascade Bicycle Club executive director Chuck Ayers last fall and facing a recall effort by several members, most of the CBC board of directors summarily tendered a letter of resignation last Friday. The mass resignation is effective March 22—after the board oversees the election of a new, larger 15-person board.
From the CBC blog:
After listening carefully to members, staff, and the broader community, we feel that a newly-constituted board, elected by membership on March 22, 2011, could more effectively govern the Club going forward.
Therefore, our goal is to continue in our current positions on the board until a new, representative, and skilled board of directors is in place, and offer our resignations at that point in time. In the coming two months, we will work to ensure that board candidates are duly vetted through an open and legitimate nomination process, that members are offered a choice in leadership by being able to consider more candidates than positions available, and that board members are elected by the full membership of the Club on March 22, 2011.
This is a victory for Ayers vision of the club—one that functions as an advocacy group that influences local and state transportation policies. Which means it's a loss for the board, who thought they could push out the popular director, get rid of an agitating (highly effective) policy director, David Hiller, and steer the club away from policy development to become more recreation focused.
So what does this mass resignation mean for interim executive director Ayers, who's temporary term is also set to expire on March 22? It seems as if Ayers will be around for awhile, at least. "The CBC hasn't started the search process, let alone started the interview process [for Ayers's replacement]," says a source who asked to remain anonymous. "He says he wants to stay on and transition out gracefully over the next couple years, which would be best [for the club]. Acquiring a new E.D. and a new board at the same time would be disastrous."
The CBC will be electing at least 14 new board members in two months. One board member didn't sign the resignation letter—Joey Gray, who was appointed to an interim position last January by the board, but failed to appear on the October ballot for a full three-year term (as specified by the CBC's bylaws).
Gray hasn't yet returned a request for comment. Kelli Currie, who's led the effort to recall the board of directors, says, "We don't think she should be on the board." Nevertheless, Currie says her group's efforts to recall all the board members has been temporarily suspended. "We have no plans to turn in [the 700 signatures needed to spark a recall] unless, for some reason, the transition doesn’t go smoothly." Currie wouldn't comment on the number of signatures the group has acquired since last fall but says the group will collect signatures through the March election.
The resignation letter was signed by current board members Emiko Atherton, Tim Hennings, Michael Lazarus, Peter Morgan, Jim Oswald, Mary Schroeder, and Dave White. Other board members, including president Chris Weiss, Renee Duprel, and Don Volta, quietly left the board on January 1 when their terms expired.