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IBMA Board Turmoil Continues with Second Resignation

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IBMAThe International Bluegrass Music Association's Board of Directors is again the focus of IBMA activity as Vice Chair Craig Ferguson of Planet Bluegrass has resigned his position on the board. This comes just after the Executive Director, Nancy Cardwell, tendered her resignation just a few weeks ago. Jon Weisberger, Chairman of the IBMA board wrote us yesterday with more information regarding this latest resignation.

Apparently, difficulties between Weisberger and Ferguson and their ability to work together due to absences by Ferguson caused by the flooding of his Planet Bluegrass and the major reconstruction required to get his business going again. Weisberger, adhering to the IBMA bylaws, noted that two consecutive absences had occurred and directed the Secretary to send to Craig the notice described in the Bylaws. He acknowledges this was his action.

Weisberger communicated with the Board of Directors saying he could no longer work effectively with the vice chair. He gave his reasons to the board and stated that he was willing to resign should that be the board's will. The reasons were strictly business related.

The response from Ferguson was, "In the spring, I missed two consecutive meetings, thus, pursuant to Section 6 of the Bylaws, I was 'removed' as a Director. Though the Board COULD HAVE excused my absence, and likely could have due to my well documented 'act of god' here at disaster central, the board did not. Consequently I was at that point removed as a Director. What logically follows is that when the Board elected me to "vice-chair", I was not eligible and the board now recognizes the vacancy."

Weisberger followed up saying, "I regret the action I took, which was based solely on my understanding of the Bylaw’s meaning and made without consultation with the Executive Committee or the Board, especially since it turns out that there are differences of opinion in how to interpret its provisions. In retrospect, I would have preferred that the Board direct its attention exclusively to considering the real questions of how and with what leadership it wanted to move forward, rather than to give any attention to what has ultimately been a distraction."

While protocol was being followed, 20:20 hindsight prevails. As Weisberger noted in an email to us, that he believes that Ferguson would have retained his seat as Vice-Chair and that any appeal may have excused the absences for rightful cause. It is odd that this came up when it did as Ferguson was nearing the end of his term on the board anyway.

This latest upset is consing a great deal of concern within the board. Other board members are seriously evaluating their options. Some are considering resignations or even cancelling their membership as a result of this recent and unfortunate scene of events.

Now, the IBMA is focusing on the future. As Jon wrote to us, "The IBMA and its Board have a lot of work to do - as our Treasurer, Elizabeth Wightman mentioned yesterday, complete financial reports on World of Bluegrass are coming soon; an Executive Director must be hired; and there are a number of other key items that need quick progress -and a lot of opportunities as well as challenges ahead. It's time we get going to meet them, and that’s what we’re going to do."

There is still activity within the IBMA and we wish the IBMA well and hope the recent actions are quickly and can be positively resolved.

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