My Email to Ven. Roger, 19 February 2019
In late February, when it looked impossible to achieve a working relationship with the EC, I sent a report on the situation as I currently understood it. In that report, I outlined what I would do if I somehow got the chance to serve Rinpoche again at TI. Below is an excerpt so that you know Rinpoche knows what he is approving if he again approves Frank and me to head Tara Institute.
I understand you are in Dharamsala for HH teachings so I know that it’s not going to be easy to deal with this. But things have changed here and maybe worth knowing about. Not sure how much they’ve changed but I thought it was worth checking out.
For the past month people have been hassling me to have a special general meeting to vote out the EC, as allowed in the Rules of the Centre. I have resisted on several grounds; I don’t like that votes mean winners and losers and I am not comfortable with splitting the place with a heavy hammer. (Yes, me)
In December, when I was first given the CD job, I worked hard to get the EC on side because I intended to work with them. But after the January from hell, I no longer want to work with any of them. Nor does Frank, nor does Gil and apparently I am told Allen also does not want to work with them.
For the past week I have been fantasising that the 4 of us selected by Rinpoche should sit down with Gabe and point out how much their actions have reflected badly on GD and have caused the obvious unhappiness in the community so much so that none of us is prepared to work with them. The best thing to do for the Centre is to stand down and let the 4 of us build up the trust again with choosing new people.
I stress that this was no more than a fantasy. I have done no organising with Gil or with Allan. I expected Allen to take over once Frank and I bowed out. Gil rang me yesterday or the day before and told me that he was going to ring Allen to see if he would be taking on the poisoned chalice. I didn’t hear from Gil again.
Frank was ringing to discuss his intention of emailing Gil to ask him to take over the CD role. I heard nothing for an hour so I rang Gil myself to see what his reaction was. He hadn’t seen Frank’s email yet but told me he was still not willing to work with the EC. He told me he had not yet rung Allen but would ring him to urge him to take on the role as CD. I told Gil about my fantasy that this was a great chance to do a reset and that the 4 of us should meet to discuss. He said he was keen for the 4 of us to meet up.
I am writing to you to seek your/Rinpoche’s input on this particular position we are now in.
Frank wants Gil to do it, Gil wants Allan to do it but I want to do it. In my opinion if we can get the EC to step down, Allan, Gil, and I could do a serious reset of the governing of TI. I would resign at the AGM after next so only CD for about 18 months. This is an opportunity that could not be achieved through the course of normal flow at TI. There is wide support for regeneration. I think we could bring in good people if we asked them to carry the load for a short time while we repair the damage and open the place up. No voting.
I want to install experienced TI people at the highest level of the Centre. From Allyse Andrews, Dave Andrews, Wayne Bevan, Damien Busby, Jeremy Cohen, Sally Dudgeon, Adrian Feldmann, George Farley, Mark Fernandes , Suzanne Grenier, Margie Hanrahan, Mark Hebblewhite, David Hope, Adele Hulse, Denis Marsh, Judy Mayne, Alan Molloy, Ross Moore, Alison Ribush, Bob Sharples, Wayne Thomson, Sandup Tsering, Ven Tsering, Gabe Wallace, Hal Young. People who have given years of their lives to TI and have had experience running the place in some important and responsible way. Obviously only a few would take up a role but if it was for a short time, the odds would be better.
According to the legal Rules of the Centre, that top committee would also include the CD, Treasurer and Secretary; those 3 do not have to come from the senior group. That committee would elect/appoint the CD (exactly as is now the case, with Rinpoche’s advice) and if necessary remove the CD. They would be subject to election by the members every year. This is the formality that has led us to having the wrong kind of people in charge of TI because it has always been just a no-contest appointment and not an actual vote.
In my scenario, that committee would empower the CD to either take over the inherited management committee or else to set up their own ad hoc committee to run the day to day activities of the Centre as is presently being done by the EC. In that way, the CD would be appointed by and answerable to one committee but be the boss of the other committee and thus be able to make management changes as he/she sees fit. Without the risk of being fired by his/her subordinates.
In the (current) Rules, the top committee is called the Executive Committee. Up until now, the EC is made up of anyone who is prepared to say yes to doing a management job on the EC. These are not the best people in the Centre and in this year’s case, they are problematic.
I believe this is an essential change that will more strongly protect the centre but I am the only one who understands and the only one who will push to implement it. Do I have Rinpoche’s support for this?