Friday, March 19, 2010

Latest email exchange between president of CAT board and CAT producer Jim Bemis, etc, at of 6:30 p.m. March 19, 2010

Re: Telecom Board's suggestion on CAT Board Retreat‏
From: Dedra Leaf (
Sent: Fri 3/19/10 4:27 PM
To: Jim Bemis (; don bosseau (; mark warren (; Don Marr (; Frederick Gisler (; Lioneld Jordan (; jim tennant (; marvin hilton (; Aubrey Shepherd (; mike russell (; fred cusanelli (; Lindsley Smith (
Cc: Cat Board (
Dear Jim,
Thank you for your work in trying to ensure public information about the public's interest. I appreciate your diligence and your contributions to the CAT Policy committee. As I stated to Aubrey, you will be welcome to observe the Contract and Policy sessions of our orientation, but you will be asked to leave before the session on Board Obligations and Responsibilities. It isn't that I mean to be rude or exclude you or anyone but that information and discussion should be between the members of this board in order for us to build unity, something we desperately need at this time. I have excluded cameras because, as an educator you must know, hands go down when the camera goes on. I want everyone on the board to feel free to ask whatever questions they may have without worrying about how ridiculous that question may make them sound. I want interaction and that won't happen with the camera on. No discussion or debate about policy will be taking place; it will be strictly informational.
As far as the Policy committee records go, there are digital as well as print copies from as far back as '07, when I began chairing that committee. We're still working on a way to get those old records archived for the public.
Please remember, half of our members have been on this board for less than two months. We are, essentially, trying to build cooperation and unity from the ground level. Please respect that.
If you wish to file a formal complaint with the CAT Board you are welcome to do so according to our policies.
Thank you, Jim.

Sent: Fri 3/19/10 6:16 PM
To: jim bemis (; don bosseau (; mark warren (; Don MarrCity (; fritz gisler (; lioneld jordan (; jim tennant (; marvin hilton (; mike russell (; fred cusanelli (; dedre leaf (; lindsley Smith (
Cc: chuck roberts (
Thank you, Jim. As a member of governor Winthrop Rockefeller's staff before many current people in government or on our local boards were born, you understand not only the reasons the FOIA was created but also why it should not be seen as limiting the amount of sunshine on government action by way of its exemptions and exceptions to the rule.
From: Jim Bemis
To: don bosseau ; mark warren ; Don Marr ; Frederick Gisler ; Lioneld Jordan ; jim tennant ; marvin hilton ; Aubrey Shepherd ; mike russell ; fred cusanelli ; Dedra Leaf ; Lindsley Smith
Cc: Cat Board
Sent: Fri, March 19, 2010 3:42:16 PM
Subject: Re: Telecom Board's suggestion on CAT Board Retreat

Aubrey, Dedra, Lindsley & all --

I hope everyone has a chance to watch the FGC production of the Telecommunications Board meeting last night. It covered a range of topics, all of which would be useful at the CAT Board's retreat last night, and it will be archived for future use in orienting both the Telecom Board members and CAT Board Members, as well as the CAT producers and public.

I regret that the CAT Board was not represented at that meeting, and that President Leaf has to exclude video recording and has declared that the Retreat is not open to the public.

Therefore, I ask that this email note be considered as a formal complaint regarding President Leaf's decision to declare that the meeting is not open to the public and she has chosen not to have it videotaped. My understanding of current policy is that this note should suffice for purposes of making a complaint.

I also have read Lindsley's note of today that relays the City Attorney's opinion regarding the the FOIA criteria that he feels would apply to the CAT Board's retreat. However, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Williams, although I believe I understand his reasoning.

As a "Community Board" member of the CAT Board Policy Committee, I understand that it is my job to inform the community of Board policy deliberations and related discussion by the Board, such as reflected in the agenda for the Retreat to be held on Saturday. Therefore, I will attend the CAT Board Retreat tomorrow, as I indicated at the Telecom Board meeting last night.

I will be recording the proceedings as a "Community Member" of the CAT Board's Policy. Members of the Policy Committee will recall that I have videotaped the Policy Committee meetings over the past three months, as a means of documenting the
actions of the Committee. We have had at least two chairs of the Committee since the first of the year, and the minutes of the meetings have been difficult to recover, either in written form or in digital recordings. Thus, my purpose for documenting the
Retreat will be for my own use as a CAT Committee member and for use by other Board members, if they choose (as indicated in an earlier email.)

I also will produce a video for use on CAT and for later archiving and, based on Mr. William's comments as relayed by Lindsley, I will submit that recording for televising on CAT, using the regular producers request form. I anticipate that the full CAT Board can then consider the disposition of my request, if necessary. Similarly, if there is a need to consider my request as a "test case" regarding the legality of televising the meeting, I will be happy fill that role. I would urge the CAT Board to ask for an opinion on from the Arkansas Attorney General's office. I agree that there may be a need to test on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jim Bemis

--- On Fri, 3/19/10, Lindsley Smith wrote:

From: Lindsley Smith
Subject: Re: Telecom Board's suggestion on CAT Board Retreat
To: "don bosseau" , "mark warren" , "Don Marr" , "Frederick Gisler" , "Lioneld Jordan" , "jim tennant" , "marvin hilton" , "Aubrey Shepherd" , "mike russell" , "jim bemis" , "fred cusanelli" , "Dedra Leaf"
Cc: "Cat Board"
Date: Friday, March 19, 2010, 2:06 PM

Telecommunications Board,

I checked with the City Attorney's Office and explained the type of meeting (non-business/non-voting orientation session)
and FOIA does not require meetings to be filmed, as I explained last night. As to the open meeting requirements
of FOIA, with the facts of this meeting, the contract, and the entity applied in a case-by-case manner, this particular
orientation session is not required to be open to the public under the State's existing FOIA law.

Lindsley Smith

Lindsley Smith
Communication Director
City of Fayetteville
PHONE 479-575-8330
FAX 479-575-8257
TDD 479-521-1316
The U.S. Census takes place during March and April of this year. BE COUNTED! Your community is counting on you!

>>> Dedra Leaf 3/19/2010 1:13 PM >>>
Dear Aubrey,
I wish a member of our board had been available to attend last night's meeting, a practice we have been trying to make over the last several months, but we have been very busy with our duties involving the search for a new manager and the restructuring of positions we feel necessary to make at this time too alleviate the current stress on our staff. Last night was another of many meeting we have been holding during the last month. In all that time, during all of those meetings, I have been trying to integrate and educate four new members to our board. Some of those members have at least some board experience, but every board is different as you probably know.
The information our members will be receiving tomorrow is the same information found on our website, but it will be presented to the members in a comfortable, noninvasive environment so that they may for five hours come together as a group without public scrutiny. This orientation is about more than imparting information. It is about bringing individuals together, teaching them the value of each other and getting them to work as a group. I feel that is more in the public's interest than recording the event for later review.
I have sent you a program for tomorrow's retreat. We will be preparing new board books with all of the information we will be using tomorrow and I plan to have one in the office at all times for public viewing. I think it would be a very good idea for the Policy committee to produce a series of round-table discussion of those documents we will be discussing (contract, bylaws, policies) to provide a more detailed public discussion of the same. Perhaps that is a project they can work on when their current business is less pressing. I'll suggest that to them at the next board meeting.
Although I value your advise and have carefully considered your suggestion, I am the one who has to do what is in the best interest of creating a strong, unified board out of one that has been through an awful lot in the past few months, and I do not feel it is in the best interest of Community Access Television to record this orientation.
Dedra Leaf
Community Access Television Board of Directors

From: Aubrey Shepherd
To: dedre leaf ; fred cusanelli ; Don MarrCity ; don bosseau ; jim bemis ; jim tennant ; mike russell ; marvin hilton ; aubrey shepherd ; lindsley Smith ; lioneld jordan ; fritz gisler ; mark warren
Sent: Fri, March 19, 2010 12:31:30 PM
Subject: Telecom Board's suggestion on CAT Board Retreat

Dedra, the Telecom Board voted last night for me to contact you about your retreat plan.
Holding a retreat can be an important thing to do.
I have watched Telecom Board and City Council retreats on Government Channel many times in the past decade. And I have also watched retreats held by various other boards and committees on television. I have learned from every one!

The Telecom Board told me to ask respectfully that you arrange to record your retreat and show it on CAT soon.
As one member of the audience asked during the Telecom Board discussion Thursday night, "Why wouldn't they want it recorded?"

I personally would consider spending the time and effort that goes into this process wasted if it is not recorded and broadcast. Who will remember every detail, every major idea discussed, every suggestion, otherwise. How much more value will the effort have if it is saved for later review?

Please consider the Telecom Board's suggestion.

Aubrey James Shepherd
P.O. Box 3159
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72702

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 09:52:59 -0700
Subject: CAT Board Retreat

Board Members;
Attached is the program for tomorrow's retreat. We will begin promptly at 9:00 A.M. at the OMNI Center on Lee Street and the program will end sometime between 2 and 3P.M. (depending on how much we talk). I will bring the food and materials we will need. I need for board members to bring only themselves. Everything needed will be provided.
This retreat will not be videotaped, as we are not conducting any business at the retreat; we are orienting our members. It has been announced and, according to my understanding, that is all FOI requires for such an event. Members of the public are not invited, however citizen members of committees may attend some portions of the program.
Dedra Leaf
Community Access Television Board of Directors

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