Over the past few weeks, I can't help but see that the Board of Directors for ADF (aka Mother Grove, MG) is going down the same path that caused major headaches only a few short years ago. What I have seen is that once again, the MG is not living up to the reforms they stated they were making. They are once again doing what they please, and not involving the membership in significant decisions for the organization. They are also not approaching the membership with calls for resumes for open appointed positions, as they said they would. I wish this was an isolated instance, but it has happened 2 times in the last 2 weeks.
Before I go any further, let me state clearly that I am not commenting on the qualifications of the people that were appointed. I am only commenting on the process. I also want to state that I am only writing this after hearing privately from many members about this topic, all of similar opinions and that this should be discussed by the membership at large.
At the end of October, ADF as a whole suffered a loss with the death of the long term Office Manager, Hugh. For all of us that knew him, myself included, condolences have been extended, and prayers for his family have been made. This being one of the most important positions within ADF as far as members are concerned.... the position is the person who processes membership applications, and answers basic questions or directs them to the appropriate person when the office is mailed or emailed... they are very much the initial organizational face that members meet.
Because of the importance of this position, we needed a replacement ASAP. This meant that Selene, a member of the MG, was appointed to the position. She used to be his supervisor, it does make sense. This appointment was only for a maximum of 6 months. What this does though is create potential conflicts of interest. Selene's sister is the Administrator, who is the Office Manager's boss. Selene is on the MG, making her part of the Administrator's boss. Let's also remember that the Office Manager is one of 3 paid positions, the others being the Administrator and the Arch Druid. If Selene is accepting a salary for this temporary appointment, that raises other questions as she has a vote in the compensation she gets. It just is a quagmire of questions that needs to be resolved. We were told that there would be a call for applications for the position forthcoming, but as of this post, 1.5 weeks later, no call has been made.
What was done with the Office Manager, due to the urgency, I can understand and somewhat excuse. What I cannot understand or excuse is the more recent announcement with regards to the ADF Preceptor. This position is the person who is in charge of making sure that the study programs work, and to run the Council of Lore, the group that oversees all the study programs. With ADF's focus on training, this is an important position. It was announced by the AD that Carrion was stepping down and that Rowen Grove was being appointed to the position, followed a couple days later that she had been approved by the MG by a 7 to 2 vote.
This was a matter of someone was stepping down, and I had heard rumors about it mid October, so it was not a sudden thing. There was/is plenty of time for the MG to put a call out for people to apply for the position. No call happened. When this was brought up by the leaders, the AD had the following to say:
Since the Preceptor needs to oversee the Clergy Training Program and the Initiates Program, it seemed to me that the candidate for Preceptor should be both a Priest and an Initiate because I think it would be impossible to oversee either program without experience of it.
First off, using the logic that they need to oversee the CTP, that means to me that the best qualified people for that role would be those who have completed it, which are the senior priests (third circle). Rowen is an ordained priest (first circle). Even if we were to limit it to all priests that are also initiates, which is a very small number of people, there was no call for applications to that group. This was an appointment of Rowen without any chance for anyone else who was qualified, possibly more qualified, to apply for the position.
The argument that it should be clergy is also not a good argument. Many years ago when Raven stepped down, the role of the ADF preceptor was changed by policy adopted by the CoL (if I remember correctly, if not it was the MG) that made the position purely administrative. The only time the ADF preceptor had to get involved with reviewing a course is as a last hope as nobody else can do it. We even have precedence that the review of courses by the ADF preceptor can be appealed to the full MG. The responsibilities of the ADF Preceptor per the policy are to basically run the CoL (votes, reports, etc), and make sure that the CTP, IP, GSP, and DP preceptors were doing their jobs. They were actually forbidden from reviewing work with the exception of being a last resort or on appeal, a situation I am only aware of happening once since the policy went in place around 2010.
So, what we have here is a an appointment of someone that was not an emergecy, and without any chance for the membership to voice their opinions, nor apply for the position. This appointment was also done against the promises of the MG that they would be putting out open positions so that members can apply. We have the AD adding in requirements that they be both a clergy and initiate to the position. What this whole thing has done is give the appearance that 7 members of the MG and the AD don't care about the opinions of the members, but will continue to give jobs to people they know well. This gives the appearance of the "old boys club" mentality in action. With the Office Manager, it also gives an appearance of nepotism as it's a family member supervising a family member.
I call on the MG to rethink their actions. I don't expect these appointments to change, but I want to see it become an official policy that ALL appointed and paid positions with the exception of elected paid positions, be open for all qualified members to apply for, and that the entire membership is aware that the position is taking applications prior to an appointment or hire being made. Not doing so will continue to tell us as members that our skills and our opinions don't matter. If the MG continues to make the members feel this way, that is the surest way for the organization to lose members.