Mateel has an ethical duty to all of us

To the Editor:

I was unable to attend this [last] week’s annual meeting of members of the Mateel due to health problems. But I hear that Mateel treasurer Katherine Boose was asked by Jim Lamport whether or not he could come in and look through the details of the Mateel’s accounting records. He says she told him that he was welcome any time to copies of the organization’s profit and loss statements and balance sheets. But she says that she doesn’t know of any other non-profit which allows unrestricted access to the books. And, says Boose, they’re looking into whether they are legally required to open the books. What’s the official position of the board of directors? Open the books only if it’s legally required, not because it’s the right thing to do for the community?

John Rogers says that when he was on the board, the Mateel had an "open-door" policy.

It sounds to me that she wants to keep the books closed to members if she can. I have to wonder why. What’s in the books that she doesn’t want people to know? If there’s nothing funny going on, why keep information secret?

When Doug Green, Jackie Pantaleo and Alden Akselsen ran successfully for the board of directors two years ago, Doug proclaimed that a centerpiece of their campaign was to bring transparency to the actions of the board - openness he said was not the policy of the previous board of directors.

I think the community has a right to know the gory details, if we want to spend the time looking through them. History at the Mateel tells me that keeping the community informed about the details of what goes on behind the scenes at our community center is crucial to keeping control of our center. I further believe that state law requires complete openness of the books to members, although I think it should be more than enough to say that the Mateel has an ethical duty to all of us regardless of the legal system.

Bob Stern


Previously board treasurer of the Mateel Community Center