Supension Letter
TO: 15th Medical Battalion Association Members
FROM: Murray Gibbs, Past President
SUBJECT: My Suspension as Webmaster

By now, you have probably heard from one of our elected officers, through the grapevine, or in seeing the new
website, that after
13 years of service that I am no longer the 15th Med Association Webmaster.

You may also be aware that there is a certain amount of controversy and consternation over this situation. I would
like to explain what has occurred.

I will say up front that from time to time organizations do change and evolve for very healthy reasons – new blood
comes in with fresh ideas – that is why we elect officers each year to the Executive Committee, and whose terms
do expire.

With regard to appointed positions like the Treasurer, Secretary, and Webmaster however, the 15th Med
Association members who have served in those positions have been pretty stable over the years – those
functions usually require more detailed work where the experience gained over time in those positions has been
valuable to the Association in making sure those things are done smoothly and well. And, quite frankly, those
positions are also ones that not too many people have volunteered for:

-        Jim Calibro has been the Secretary for quite some time and does it well, making sure the minutes and all the
paperwork gets completed.
-        Bob McKinley was our Treasurer for many years, and keeping track of all the financial records is a task
requiring both time and diligence.

As important as those functions are, the responsibilities of the Webmaster entail constant attention and monitoring
– just keeping track of software upgrades, licenses, fixing bugs, new technology, posting additions, and just
visiting and monitoring the website almost daily consumes countless hours every year.

I do not take issue with the current Executive Committee, or for that matter any Executive Committee who
periodically wants to appoint new people into various Association positions.

What I do take exception to however is how your current Executive Committee violated the Association
Constitution & By-Laws that were:

-        Unanimously endorsed by the Executive Council in office in Sacramento.
-        Unanimously voted upon and approved by the Association in Sacramento.

This memo, or open letter to the Association, is to inform you of what transpired, both at the Boise reunion last
year, and since. I will simply state the facts regarding the events that took place, and if anyone would like further
details, or, the actual emails that have been exchanged (because I save everything), I would be only too happy to
provide them to you.

From my perspective, I believe that when we elect new officers to the Executive Committee, that we expect, and
are entrusting them to conduct the affairs of the Association with professionalism, integrity, and transparency,
otherwise, why would they have put their hand up when nominated, and for you to have voted them into office?

Boise:

During the Executive Committee Meeting, a motion was made (and passed) that the Webmaster no longer be a
voting member on the Executive Committee.

1.        Our Constitution & By-Laws clearly states in Article VIII, Section 1, Paragraph B that any requests for
changes or additions to our Constitution & By-Laws be submitted in writing to the Executive Committee at least
sixty (60) days prior to the Annual Business Meeting. This is prudent and common practice in organizations for
two reasons:

(a) It provides the Executive Committee adequate time to consider those changes or additions to make sure they
are in the best interests of the organization, and to render an opinion to the general membership during the
Annual Business Meeting so that a motion can be properly made, seconded, discussed, and voted upon.

(b) This prevents emotional last minute and not well-thought additions and changes to the Constitution & By-Laws
from being hastily enacted that the organization may regret, causing unnecessary and undue harm.

2.        Additionally, there was a total lack of professional courtesy and transparency in this illegal move. One or
more of the Executive Committee members concocted this idea off-line, and never approached me before the
meeting for my opinion or a simple heads-up regarding their thinking or position on the changes they wanted. With
all the great emphasis these same individuals talk about with regard to our “brotherhood” from Vietnam, this was
pure and simple a backstabbing ambush that was then rammed through with an Executive Committee vote and
subsequently the Annual Business Meeting.

Having never encountered this kind of deceitful behavior in the Association before, and knowing that I could no
longer work in good faith with members I did not trust, I decided to immediately resign my position as Webmaster.

Past President Leo Williams was appointed in my place, which immediately caused me great concern. During his
term as President he did not answer emails, did not publish a single President’s Corner message to the website,
made no other contributions to the website, held no Executive Committee meetings by telephone (of which I was a
member), and for the better part of five months complained that his computer had been, at various times been
hacked, compromised, interfered with by “the government,” or was down. Mind you, at the same time:

1.        He had access to his wife’s email address but did not use it temporarily to conduct Association business.
2.        He did not make it a priority to secure access to either a new computer or email address in order to resume
both his personal life and his obligations as the Association President.

It was common knowledge among the Executive Committee that Leo Williams was an absentee President, merely
occupying the position and title of his office for an entire year, and yet the Executive Committee entrusted him with
the important duties of Webmaster, an individual who could not even get his own computer fixed or back up and
running.

After Boise:

Beginning in September there was a great flurry of activity and telephone calls to me about access codes
because Mike Smith, the President since April, could not get into the website and notify members about the
upcoming reunion.

My hesitation in providing anyone at that time with what they were asking for was that with Leo Williams as
Webmaster (I didn’t know otherwise), and in knowing his obvious lack of computer skills, I did not want an
amateur inside our website with the chance that all our accumulated history and links would be lost, deleted, or
compromised. Although I was no longer the Webmaster, I still felt an obligation to protect our Association website.

After much wrangling and name-calling back and forth, I was informed that the Association had a new Webmaster
who did these things as his business. Okay, all well and good at this point.

Wanting to insure that the website would be in good hands, I asked to see the minutes from the Executive
Committee authorizing this move, and a copy of any written understanding, agreement, list of duties or
expectations, and how the arrangement would be terminated and the website turned back over to the Association
if the deal did not work out. I was refused.

(After all, I had been accused of having too much power in controlling the website and having a vote too. It
seemed reasonable to me that the Executive Committee would surely want to prevent such an occurrence ever
happening again with someone else they barely knew and have everything in writing.)

The name-calling and personal attacks escalated from there. I was accused with extortion and holding the
Association ransom to my “totally unreasonable” request to see the dated Executive Committee minutes for what
they were asking me to do, which unless done correctly could jeopardize the website data, and, for the written
“arrangement” with the new Webmaster. I was refused.


What is incredibly ironic is that when the new Constitution & By-Laws were passed in Sacramento, there was a
provision in the job descriptions of the various officers that the President obtain all the relevant documents, codes,
passwords, pin numbers, etc. so that if the Webmaster was hit by the proverbial bus that he would not represent a
single point of failure for the Association.

President Corky Walsh never asked for that information while in office.

President Leo Williams never asked for that information while in office.

Given that two Past Presidents had either not read the Constitution & By-Laws, or had and either not understood
the provision or had not taken their responsibilities seriously, this alleged “extortion or ransom” could have been
totally and completely avoided!

Just as with their illegal motion, the Executive Committee did not have a plan or think things through. How did I
know that procedures with the new Webmaster would not be just as slipshod?

Expulsion:

In his apparent exasperation, President Mike Smith decided to “suspend” my membership. Again, when I was
informed of this there were no accompanying Executive Committee minutes from the Special Business Meeting
that would have taken place in accordance with the Constitution & By-Laws.

When the President gets upset at someone, or perhaps calls one or two but not all of the Executive Committee
members and decides to act out of spite and without transparency with all the Executive Committee membrs, this
is conduct unbecoming and unprofessional of an elected Association Officer.

Of course, when I asked to see the dated emails regarding what would have been a Special Business Meeting
and to see the detailed reasons related to this very serious decision, none were provided.

I checked with Past President and Parliamentarian Art Jacobs who wrote the Constitution & By-Laws about this
provision for suspending or expelling members. This is what he wrote to me:

“No Constitution & By-Laws can anticipate every unique situation or contingency. When something appears to
be unique then common sense, wisdom, fairness, and adhering to the spirit of the passage is what is called for.
The intent of Article III, Section 5 and 6 is to describe the behavior, conduct, or expectations of Association
members. Section 6 in particular is there for the Executive Committee to protect the reputation of the
Association when a member does something egregious. When I wrote that passage I had in mind someone who
had broken the law, committed fraud with our money, or, as has happened with other organizations especially at
reunions; assaulted another member, member’s guest, or hotel staff or patron, caused negligent damage to the
hotel, or had been arrested for of one of those acts.
The passage was certainly not intended to settle scores when members disagreed on something. This would be
an abuse of power if a sitting President or his Executive Committee decided they didn’t like someone, their
personality, or their point of view, and decided to be punitive, to intimidate someone with the threat of expulsion,
or embarrass that individual with the general membership for personal reasons.

If, however, the Executive Committee believed that expulsion was in order, it can be done in one of two ways as
detailed in Section 6, Paragraph A, Sub-sections 1 and 2. In Sub-section 1 (Expulsion Under Agreement) this
means that the member wishes to keep the matter private and does agree to abide by the Executive Committee
vote to be expelled. The expulsion and the reasons will not be announced. This places a great responsibility on
the Executive Committee members to be discrete and trustworthy with what could be sensitive issues. In Sub-
section 2 (Expulsion Under Disagreement) this means that the member has the right to have the matter
presented to the general membership at the next Annual Business Meeting, a motion made, seconded,
discussed, and voted upon. Although it is not specifically stated, it is customary for that individual to have the
prerogative to request a secret ballot for obvious reasons when there may pressure by some to vote a certain
way.”

President Mike Smith has claimed that he “inherited” this problem. He is correct on that point. But, he was part of
the cabal inside the Executive Committee that made the illegal motion (or tolerated it) in the first place. He has
now decided not to follow procedures in attempting to suspend (expel) me without due process and in violation of
the Constitution & By-Laws.

I have watched for almost two years now as President’s Leo Williams and Mike Smith have either not done their
duty or overstepped their authority. This is not what the Association deserves in its elected officers.

Both have stated on may occasions that we are just meant to get together for brotherhood and not have so many
rules. President Mike Smith has even said he wants to completely do away with the Constitution & By-Laws.

If that is his personal desire or goal then he:

-        Should have stated that as a platform in seeking election so that the general membership knew his
intentions and true colors. To not do so is deceitful.
-        Should follow the motion and voting procedures in the Constitution & By-Laws that were unanimously
approved by the members to see if he can garner enough votes to eliminate the Constitution & By-Laws.

If not, then he should faithfully follow the Constitution & By-Laws as was the expectation of the general
membership who voted for him.

In my mind it is perfectly okay to just want to come to reunions, focus on the brotherhood, and not have to worry
about how an organization is supposed to conduct its business matters behind the scenes.
If that is the case, no problem, do NOT run for office, do NOT say you are going to be a responsible officer and
then shirk your duty or abuse your authority.

In conclusion, I am appealing to you, the general membership, to:

-        Tell President Mike Smith to rescind his position to suspend (expel) me.
-        If any motion is made to expel me at the Annual Business Meeting, to not second that motion, or, if the
motion is made, seconded, and discussed, to vote that the motion not be passed.
-        If President Mike Smith persists, and I exercise my right to petition the general membership to be retained as
a member, to make a motion, second, discuss, and vote in favor of my continued membership.

It saddens me to have to tell you about this depressing affair, but I thank you for your careful attention to this very
serious matter.


   Murray Gibbs

Past President & Webmaster