Response To Statements Made by Speakers at August 16th Select Board Meeting Regarding TV9
The following statement is a response to the allegations by the three women that appeared in "Community Speaks" section of the Seekonk Select Board's August 16, 2023, meeting.
Seekonk Cable Access (TV9) is a private non-profit entity 501C3 corporation. It was formed in 1986 when Massachusetts Cablevision entered into an agreement with the Town of Seekonk to be its cable provider. Years later Massachusetts Cablevision became Comcast/Xfinity. From 1986 to the present Seekonk has asked other cable providers to bid on Seekonk, but only Comcast made the commitment. Comcast and Seekonk signed a series of 10-year contracts and most recently signed another 10-year agreement in 2021.
In 2019 (?) the previous board, on a motion by the secretary, voted to change the bylaw so that the board could vote for themselves and for anyone else they wanted to put on the board. This was against the basic rights of the members/subscribers as stated in the bylaws. This amendment, which was unlawful, also removes any opportunity for checks and balances that would ensure that the board acts in the best interest of the corporation. The current treasurer argued against such a decision and was outvoted 5 to 2.
All corporation bylaws and amendments must be sent from the Board of Directors to Massachusetts Secretary of State for approval. Approval is based upon amendments and bylaws conforming with Massachusetts General Law.
The first speaker at the Seekonk Select Board meeting stated that she was in contact with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office (AG), and they told her that her and the two other women had been removed from the Board improperly. The AG would never offer opinion over the phone. They would require documentation not hear say. Also, their decisions often can take months. But more importantly, the AG would have told the former secretary that she needed to talk to the Secretary of State's Office as that's where all corporation issues are decided.
The entire TV9 Board of Directors had been seated illegally based on the Bylaws as well as Massachusetts General Law(Please refer to MGL C180, C17 Corporations for Charitable and Certain other Purposes Also, sec GA, Section 2, 16, 17, 18and l0C). Two years ago the secretary made a motion for an amendment that would allow for the sitting board to elect its own members. The board vote 5 to 2 in favor of the amendment. She also made a motion for an amendment that would forgo terms for board members in favor of lifetime appointments. All of those amendments were and are in violation of its bylaws.
The Seekonk Select Board asked the previous president of TV9 to appear before the Select Board, with other board members, to answer questions about their election practices. Several Select Board members stated their disapproval ofTV9's election methods and asked that they consider returning to a more ethical process. TV9 President stated that the TV9board would consider their recommendation. That was the last time the previous TV9 president had anything to do with TV9, because he never attended any more meetings.
The Board of Directors has been misled for more than a year, by the secretary (the first woman to speak at the Select Board Meeting), as to the reasons for his absence. She finally admitted to misleading the board about the reasons for his absence. The board decided to vote the current president into that position, as well as other members, which is also in violation of TV9 bylaws.
The secretary failed to send Annual Director Reports and updates to the Secretary of state, which was her responsibility. When discovered the treasurer sent all reports for the corporation to keep good standing with the state and to retain our 501C3 status.
A remark made by the former secretary that she asked for financials for three years, but never received them is a complete fabrication of the truth. Financials were shared at every board meeting and explained thoroughly by the treasurer. In fact, the treasurer emailed the board every time he paid a bill and deposited a check. Furthermore, the current sitting Chair of the Seekonk Select Board witnessed these actions first-hand as he was appointed by the Select Board to be a liaison to our board based on false accusations made publicly about the TV9 financials and other issues, without any confirmation.
In 2023 the secretary called a meeting, which she did not have the authority to do, unless the board authorizes her to do so in the absence of the president. The board never authorized her to do so. When pressed by board members to state what the meeting was about - she refused to do so. When further pressed she answered that it was a personnel matter. (Copies of the emails are available, upon request.) This too was a fabrication as her meeting had nothing to do with personnel. She was looking for a way to compromise the sitting president. She told the two members that attended the meeting that because the president had driven the company vehicle, he jeopardized all board members as well as the town of Seekonk. However, She didn’t have a problem when the previous vice president used the vehicle on a regular basis. Also, when the current president asked the board if he use the company vehicle both the secretary (1st speaker) and the then vice president (last speaker) stated in an email “Use it any time.”
The secretary said the president "accused her of stalking. That wasn’t an accusation, but a fact. She handed the president at a recent board meeting - photos and a timeline of his driving the vehicle. A complaint of stalking was filed with the Seekonk Police Department, by the current president and that report is on file with the Seekonk Police Department, which is a matter of public record. The accusation was indeed fact. She also stalked and photographed a former executive director of TV9 causing him to resign. A former TV9 president quit in the middle of a meeting because he could not tolerate the misleading information from the secretary.
TV9's Board meetings became increasingly dysfunctional. The president did not have any trust in the secretary, as well another specific members. Personnel Staff were as wary and frightened that if they gave their opinion, when asked, the secretary would make working there unbearable if they disagreed with her.
The removal of the board had nothing to do with anyone's gender. The current president tried for a 18 months to seat two women wanting to serve on the board, but couldn’t get the secretary and and vice president (two women) to vote in favor.
The woman who failed to get a seat decided to look at reasons why she could not join and discovered that the entire board was seated improperly based on TV9's own bylaws. She and another interested party, also a female, decided to do things correctly and organize a Members (Subscriber's) Meeting. In following the By-Laws, they petitioned, set an agenda and conducted their meeting on July 24, 2023.
All directors were informed of the petitioners scheduled meeting but chose not to attend. Eighteen residents/subscribers, including 2 Board of Directors, met at TV9 Studio to hear the petitioners concerns and suggested action to clean up the ongoing Board of Directors problem.
All information contained within this statement can be found through copies of Mass General Law References, TV9 By-Law Document dated 1986, emails, meeting minutes and more in the office of TV Studio. Any questions residents have may be addressed through email or stamped mail sent to TV9 Studio, 580 Arcade Avenue, Seekonk, MA 02771.
Lastly, it was discovered that in November 2019 the secretary (1st speaker) went to Pawtucket Credit Union and started a $73,000 CD with TV9 monies and put her name and the then vice president’s name on the CD. She didn’t have the authority, nor the board votes to do such a thing. Monetary issues are the responsibility of the treasurer. This is highly incorrect because all financials should be in the president’s and treasurer’s name. Unfortunately, the vice president passed away more than a year ago leaving just her name on the account. It was discovered by the current president, and it took a lot of legal processes to correct this problem, which could have resulted in a financial nightmare for TV9.
This is not about gender, or whether members like each other. It is about doing the right thing and working within the bylaws and Massachusetts General Law.
Acting TV9 President
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