Comments on Revised Constitution and By-Laws Document of The Orissa Society of the Americas

 

On OSAnet: Compiled by Amiya R. Nayak

Personal Emails

Comments of a Past President

 


On OSAnet: Compiled by Amiya R. Nayak

5-18-2011
 
To: LM; OSA BOG Chair; BOGs; ECs; Legal Team; OSAForYou AT
yahoogroups.com  (Please e-forward to the OSA BOGs)
Cc: Members; OSAnet
 

Subject: BOG Deliberation Items on OSA New Constitution draft reviews & members commentaries in light of the Organization
 

Top 10 most critical/sensitive/important areas related to the OSA constitution (Not in any particular order):
 
If the following items can be careflly deliberated by BOG and solved/decided/arrived through members consensus,
we hope OSA and its members can finalize the draft to re-submitt the new draft to members' for general consensus, gbm, govt filings & follow ups.

1. Anti-organizational (anti-osa) activities including if filing law suits against osa will revoke/expell/fire/suspend member(s) permanently or temporarily for few years ? (member & membership).

2. Remove all anti-member clauses/points/byelaws from OSA constituion, because of basic member's rights and human rights issues (member & membership).

3. Disciplinary Action: Any registered social/cultural organization could expel members as long as their is a disciplinary process defined and the proper process is followed.
If the process is not fair or is designed to harass members who complain, then the details of the process need to be discussed and members need to decide. (member/memberships).
By-Law: section 8, Revocation a), b)
 
4. How to in-build Organizational Legal Immunity through the constitution. Lawsuit proof ? Impeachement of ECs/BOGs/Members ? Internal/exisiting members and external parties may file some (any) type of lawsuits for and against the osa org/ec/some members/commitees membs. What osa should do and should not do ? Grievance management pathways ? Keep on expelling or disciplining members if found non-disciplinary ? Or just leave as is or are. If osa expells membs, they may re-file new lawsuits against osa. Whether osa should change and/or membs should change, or change the culture within osa ?  Or create a suitable balance between OSA Organizational Legal Immunity and Members Rights Issues.

5. OSA national election system has been the most critical, sensitive, controversial and important constitutional item, and pre & aftermaths,
particularly the processes that has certainly improved over the recent years. In future, as the chapters grow further, bigger chapters may hold chapter elections. So far, chapters do mostly nominations. The OSA election system means, the pre and post scenarios that affects the emotions of members, ECs, BOGs, volunteers, & society organization at-large. However in a democratic system, election provides the nominations, screenings, votings and elections to identify and develop the community leaderships.
 
6.
 
7.
 
8.

9. How to bring in trust, honesty, openness, friendships, camaraderie, fellowships, communications, information, critics, enjoyment & fun,
organizational credibility and lasting relationships within members (soft side).
 
10. Organizational: Members' Reflections, Comments and Concerns: copy & paste..just a sample of OSAnet postings by esteemed members...some good points to note...

It's not the strength of the language, it's the comprehensiveness of the document
such that we don't need a change for the next ten years.  The Oriya population is changing
and we have to create OSA a face for the community.  With increased population, there are more social, economic and cultural stress.
So, OSA can't confine itself to the values of nostalgia that has driven it so far.  The principal new clients would be the second generation, some
of whom already are approaching forty years of age.  We have to nurture them to get into the
main stream US/Canada like other communities  have done.  So are the issues.  It's not a revision, it is a rebirth if to be done right. (challenging & futuristic).
 

 

We wanted to see our organization OSA where members are actively engaged in cultural promotion and propagation activities, humanitarian activities, developmental activities, educational activities such as promoting language, helping each other succeed professionally and socially, leading youth in their quest for knowledge and Oriya heritage, helping the land of our heritage and supporting each other during hard times.

It is not that we will build Rome in one day. There are certain areas that need in-depth thinking and discussions. There may be future factors which would need another revision of the constitution. For the current state of the organization, this revised version of the constitution with the current line items reflects the thoughts of many of its members. (OSA philosophy & goals)

 

But for us NA Odias, the greatest annual celebration is the Convention, which is approaching very fast. The count down has already started and
every road is leading towards Dallas. Friends, are we ever tired of any celebration?
We know it fully well that you are not and so does OSA. Realize OSA’s ingenuity – Drama Festival. You are not only listening to
the stories but you are also creating them. You are within and are without. By the end of the summer, the Festival will be in full swing.
Please be kind to the members. (Kindness, Culturals, Festivals)

 

First, I notice that you always cite what happens in Orissa or Indian politics as a backdrop. OSA is simply a non-political socio-cultural association and has no political parties. There is no restriction as to who and how many run for which office.All you need is a member to nominate  your name and another member to second the nomination.Period.There has been as there should be consultations and canvassing before filing for nomination and during the election process, and let the nominated person win or lose by votes.That is it. (OSA organizational Politics is not at all a state/country/international politics).
 
Unless the authority or establishment innovate on bringing people together providing attractive member services, it is very difficult to sustain OSA in the
new millenia. People are well connected now than before. They donot need to be a part of an organization which increases their stress levels instead of relaxing
their five senses and striking a common chord harmoniously. (on how osa may pursue socio-cultural innovations, and virtual electronic communities may affect osa memberships growth).
 
-----
-----
-----(and various other members views...).


Top Five most critical/sensitive/important areas, if can be deliberated by BOG and solved/decided/arrived through members consensus,
we hope OSA and its members can finalize the draft to re-submitt the new draft to members' for general consensus:

1. Anti-organizational (anti-osa) activities including if filing law suits against osa will revoke/expell/fire/suspend member(s) permanently or temporarily for few years ? (member & membership).
2. Remove all anti-member clauses/points/byelaws from OSA constituion, because of basic member's rights and human rights issues (member & membership).
3. Disciplinary Action: Any registered social/cultural organization could expel members as long as their is a disciplinary process defined and the proper process is followed.
If the process is not fair or is designed to harass members who complain, then the details of the process need to be discussed and members need to decide. (member/memberships)
4. It's not the strength of the language, it's the comprehensiveness of the document
such that we don't need a change for the next ten years.  The Oriya population is changing
and we have to create OSA a face for the community.  With increased population, there are more social, economic and cultural stress.
So, OSA can't confine itself to the values of nostalgia that has driven it so far.  The principal new clients would be the second generation, some
of whom already are approaching forty years of age.  We have to nurture them to get into the
main stream US/Canada like other communities  have done.  So are the issues.  It's not a revision, it is a rebirth if to be done right. (challenging & futuristic).
5. How to bring in trust, honesty, openness, friendships, communications, critics, organizational credibility and lasting relationships within members (soft side).
 
These are some of the top critical comments and issues by OSA members posted at OSAnet wrt new constitution. Please bear with me and forgive me if I have missed any items during April 27-May 16, 2011. OSA may add more as the idea offerings come out of the members - only highly specific comments/ideas through few words and few lines only. The current new draft is already 15 + pages...very difficult for osa to remember, practice and execute.
 
Highly specific comments/ideas/punchlines/reviews/critics by the members on New Constitution Draft (April 30, 20111) :
- I would request all members to vote 'No' in its current form. Members and Expelling issues. Good standing, bad standing or in between ? 
 - Secret ballot (The ballot is not secret and ballot is not dated, rather postal envelope is dated). 
 - Throw away core values. Saw core values in the grocery store.
- OSA constitution vs. USA constitution (basic human rights per USA law and/or member's rights).
 - OSA membership is covered under that basic right clause. If OSA membership was contingent upon the approval of the EC or BOG, then they would have the right discipline the members for reasons stipulated by them . But OSA membership is contingent upon paying dues, not any one's approval. Therefore, no one must have any right to discipline any member
- Some other items related to sensitive areas of Members/Memberships as per the 2011 draft.
- Create a suitable balance between OSA Organizational Legal Immunity and Members Rights Issues.
- Organizational Legal Immunity (Insert honesty, donot use osa funds to defend, and believe me there will be no courtcase (paraphrased).
 - If the differences are not hyped up among twenty or so active control-freaks, it's damn easy. That's my input. Freedom of expression in constitution.
 - Merge (DC chapter + MD/VA Chapter) - just like NY-NJ chapter merged. earlier brief commentary in osanet.
- Retire the DC Chapter and merge with MD/VA chapter (to recreate unity in diversity, stop divisiveness within OSA)-detailed email in osanet
Although this is not a constitutional item, this can reduce osa organization tension and polarization. 
 - Constititution Rana Dunduvi 
 
- Build a democratic OSA and listen to the members. Disciplinary action (suspend few years, not life, cannot expel just like that).
 
- Listen to the members. there has been a typical line in odia.
 
- Face off interview and Q/A sections and election vote counting -use of internet and social technologies to democratize the election system. If members agree, please add the face-off debate as a mandatory requirements for all future presidential candidates. Make it official by including this to constitution.

- simple socio-cultural only or s+c+charity ?
 
- Canada constitution and basic human rights
  
- Impeachment of President, EC, and methods.
 
- But the Constitution remains as a guiding light. Therefore, let these  3 or 5  or whatever number produce a document that all of us can live with.
Just voting "yes" or "no" at this point would be an abrogation of purpose.
 
  
- We, the people or we the members 
 
- God fathers and God mothers of OSA constitution (Annonymous)
 
- OSA Organizational legal immunity

- Constitution is a guiding torch 
 
- Integrate new generation Odias (theme, youth, participations) into constituion
 
- Give a chance to the youth (20s) into the OSA society, EC structure
 
 - Chapter P into national EC system 
 
- Lean draft for the constitution, Singapuru Telugu Samaj Constitution. Draft EC duration-3 years 
 
- Declaration (by election commissioners) of the names of nominators 
 
- Allign the Articles of Organization/Charter/Incorporation with constittuion articles 
 
- Delete the term Good Standing (various members)
 
- Current/Old draft is feudal, national election system per constitution creats feudal system.

- New draft should be neutral
 
 - Non-compete clause/agreement, conflict of interests and "anti-competitive practices" on same/similar models for and against OSA, need to be defined.
 
- Consult the current/previous Election Commissioners (ballot coding, secrecy and election process) to develop a transparent election process.
 
- Convention organizers should report detailed accounts to OSA
 
- OSA volunteering experience or chapter experience for national election candidates.
 
- History of mismanagement and unaccountability of OSA executives were very well studied. This includes the 501-C7 and 501-C3 OSA existing together. 
 
- Any incumbent EC, if decide to run for the next election, should resign at least 30-45 days before the nomination deadline, say the date may be
just after Dec. 31, Jan. 15 or some date between Dec. 3-Jan. 15.
 
- Cut off date for life membership, should a candidate suddently (on the last day of nomination filing or much before ?) becomes a life member and becomes
nominated by nominators, or if a P or VP does not find a running mate for whatsoever reasons.
 
- Other cut-off dates (see constitution drafts) - Dec. 31/membership application, January 15/listings, Feb. 14/15 (nomination deadline) need to be
clearly reflected in the constitution, and some already are mentioned.

- Moderation of OSAnet
 - eQ and e Polls about OSA in OSAnet (various members)
 
- Ballotbin is a public site, OSA members email IDs are getting exposed to external parties through ballotbin evoting. Ballotbin initiator knows the voting pattern.
 - OSA is a non-religious organization, no religioustic contents in the constitution.
 - Good advice. I also recommend a lawyer, preferably somebody familiar with constitutional stuff.
- I am hereby suggesting any clause, language, sentence, or even word that is
anti member covertly or overtly, implicitly or explicitly must be removed in
compliance with US constitution. I do not mind if restrictions are imposed on
the power and duty of the elected or appointed officers; but all
aspersions/limitations on members must be removed for me to even bother to vote
for the constitution.
-

MY OSA (M, Y, O, S, A) Theme

 

So, there are major (hostile) attitude issues which is driving the constitutional amendments. It should be done in a statesman attitude.

 - Those who are with OSA and/or its system and dealt with executives for more than 5 years they will agree with me that  opinion of the member is simply a JOKE.
- Infact OSA Executives ( except few genuine ones who have set up exampls of serving the community from their heart ) terrorized its innocent members in various ways. 
One of the famous way was "SHUT UP !  AME KAHIBU TUME SUNIBA.
  - Those who are willing to fight in the court on behalf of OSA constitution should note that the court case will not be individuals vs. OSA as in the past. It will be OSA members vs BOG, executive committee and constitution
committee. That way, we can try to block their use of OSA money because we will also ask the court to allow us to use OSA money to defend OSA constitution. The court will say "the majority passed the constitution". Our
point will be 1) OSA was registered in the USA under USA laws and therefore must comply to USA constitution. The current OSA constitution violates US constitution. 2) those who voted for the OSA constitution included non-
citizens of USA who do not understand US constitution because they have not taken the oath of allegiance to USA constitution the citizens did during naturalization. 3) It is obvious these ignorant voters not only have no
knowledge about US constitution  The earlier material was 1991. The people in the new material are hiding.
I saw "our core values" in a grocery story today. The whole thing sounds amateurish and "we/they."
Just scratch it. It's useless, it needs be/will be redone.
 
It's not the strength of the language, it's the comprehensiveness of the document such that we don't need a change for the next ten years.  The Oriya population is changing and we have to create OSA a face for the
community.  With increased population, there are more social, economic and cultural stress. So, OSA can't confine itself to the values of nostalgia that has driven it so far.  The principal new clients would be the second generation, some  of whom already are approaching forty years of age.  We have to nurture them to get into the
main stream US/Canada like other communities  have done.   So are the issues.  It's not a revision, it is a
rebirth if to be done right.  Any piecemeal work would not be relevant in a few years.  The fights you are seeing because we are not opening our  eyes to the larger society we are in.  We have to  rise up and get counted among the ethnic organizations. We have to help promote our culture such that it's respected in the main stream.  In order to
achieve that we have to again respect from our sister organizations.  So is the challenge and so
is the future!  We have to help translate our individual respect to gain respect for our community.  The
document should forcefully and intellectually reflect  this sentiment.  Envision the future, the immigration is not an aberration now, it's the way of life and we have to make that way cleaner for new people by accepting, integrating, educating and serving. Nobody was here when we navigated, now we have  a role and that is the new OSA.

PS.  Please throw away those "core values" etc and  I might be encouraged to read the document.
Such uneducated phrase annoys me and I have  difficulty being a part without knowing who and why
conceived of the bogus arrangement!  Nobody has come forward yet.  We must not not be so timid!

 

- Why Legacy member category in exchange of 3000k ? What are the privileges, may create class and differences and gaps and conflicts in memberships.

 

- Include the former Secretary (along with former President) into te BOG, for official memory, paperworkks and followups to create eventual institutional memory.

- My one broad comment on new constitution is whether it is a better idea to add or amend sections found wanting in the old constitution, which has taken us through two elections and court cases, rather than rewriting. It seems the main reason of the court cases is weakness of the area where it deals with Election. Though it can be called an weakness, it is rather a perception that EC can be influenced in it's present form. Though this is not true as Purna babu has found out, and would testify - it may be a good idea to put together a committee of the last three ECs and ask them to come up with a Election procedure which is inexpensive, transparent and full proof.

In the new 21st century we should come up with something which is akin to e-voting, with checks and balances & no chances of manipulation (as suspected by some critics), if all our brains who have run the last three elections, get together.

The Election Commissions of future should also be given the task to update the membership data of address and telephone numbers by December (instead of OSA office bearers), now that DOLA can be accessed by any body authorized.
Writing a new constitution by people who are not legal brains may be risky - since it is not known whether it is better than the last one? But then that is my opinion - and it dawned on me after going through the court case.

 I accepted it to claim "core value" in case some of the pseudos vote on the document.
The document has no rhyme, reason and lacks syntax.

  Please revise strongly!  carefully!!  completely!!!

 What's wrong:

 

1.  The concept of Convention is designed to disenfranchise hundreds of Oriyas who live in

     the US and Canada and may not have means or interest to attend the Conventions.

 

2.  OSA must remain a members' organization to serve its member base with the only

     qualification as an Orissa descent or interest in Orissa. 

 

3.  OSA must not develop a Club mentality but remain true to the spirit of an Association.

     OSA must carry the responsibility of the new immigrants and the new citizen youth.

 

4.  The Constitution must be simple and all-encompassiong and not catering to power

     or needs.

 

5.  Convention attendance only reflects a local population and does not represent the

     large membership.  While it can deliberate, any privilege to make rules for the

     organization must stay with the democratic base consisting of all members.

 

Let me conclude by stating that the lawsuits were the product of manipulations of the

operators than the fault of the Constitution.  As long as the operators remain silent

and untruthful, new lawsuits would come.  I believe the effort is self-centered to cover

the past, rather than create a vision for the future.  We must not add further rancor 

into the organization, unless we are determined to spilt it up.

 

amarkpani.com
Communication:
1. A system of open communication media for all members without any barriers and/or moderators.
2. Any concerns and/or issues will be addressed seriously with BOG and openly with all members.
3. All BOG minutes will be informed to the members.
4. Any constitutional changes will be discussed with advisers followed by BOG and approved at GBM.
5. There will be one biannual and four quarterly meetings of BOG to discuss chapter and OSA issues.
6. The guide lines for the competitive awards should be streamlined and judge's résumé should be provided to all members upon request.
7. I would like put a bilateral communication system between the OSA-BOG and Odisha-Govt.
8. I also would like to implement a communication mechanism for 1st & 2nd generation children. Here, I will seek advice from Julie, if she gets elected.
9. I would offer some sort of incentives to convention attendees to join the GBM.
Membership:
1. I will introduce one tier membership for all-OSA Member.
2. Keep track of all membership records in a hard file and digital file such as PDFs,which can be easily accessed by members upon request.
3. All families with kids ages 21-39 should pay $100 to reinstate their membership, irrespective of their # of Children.
4. Request all OSA-members to convert at least one non-member friends/family to member per year. I have done it 5 years in a row.
5. I will introduce gift cards/certificates for families to send as gifts to encourage others to become OSA members.
6. The OSA-Convention plays a big role in our society. I will also introduce gift cards/certificates for families that could be exchanged as gifts to attend the convention. After all, the convention can be a great place for family gathering.
7. There has been 42 years of OSA celebration. We still do not have an up-to-date directory. The recent membership list I got from the election committee has more than 150 addresses and/or telephone numbers misplaced. So, I will ask my secretary to work for OSA not for …..
8. I would like to introduce a preference for 1st/2nd generation kids to be the vice-president.
9. I will introduce a separate section for 1st/2nd generation children in the OSA-directory in parenthesis their parents name.

 
The nominator must not be spouse of the prospective election candidate, relative-direct/indirect ? and/or immediate family of the candidate, because of conflicts of interests (although the old constitution was silent on this issue).
The OSA new constitution draft may contain the following words:
Odisha, Orissa, Oriya, Odia and ORISSAN to provide a broader meaning to the land and its people based in North America or Americas.
 there are serious overlaps among OSA's BOG system and EC System (and they are also members), while a member-based society's member feedbacks and uses are critical for new changes and developments
 
Is there a formal process in place for constitution ammendments? We may have to wait a couple of days or months for the new executive.
 

The Constitution must be simple and all-encompassiong and not catering to power or needs. There is no reason to change the Constitution. Old Constitution is just fine, no change is necessary. Until I know the full details of the second organization of which I was made a member without my knowledge, I don't wish to touch any document.  As I said I might give serious time towards end May.  The second organization was designed to exclude people. Convention is a product, it's not the organization. Debate is not a part of Constitution. It's a mutual consent.

 


Personal Emails

On OSA Local Chapter

1)      Chapter is a local, i.e. geographical entity, just like a State in India.

2) Every Chapter should have a Geographical territory
as defined during its formation as approved by OSA National.
That definition cannot overlap another existing chapter's
territory. Then we will have all this duality problem.

3) All members of that chapter should have a contact address
within the defined geographical territory.

4) When members move to a different local address by virtue
of their job-relocation or whatever reason, permanently, they
should cease to be member of the chapter, although they
can keep their OSA National membership. The existing chapter
may or may not return their membership dues depending upon
local chapter's by-law. (Like I never even asked for my life
membership paid to OSANY)

5) When they go to a different geographical area they should
become member of that chapter under which territory their
contact address belong now. They must pay their membership
dues again to that new chapter and participate in the local activities.

6) However, if the new address does not belong to territory of
any chapter (as in California) then they can still be member of OSA
National without any chapter affiliation.

 

General Comments

Comment 1

This is just for your info and my opinion and never make a issue in the OSAnet about me.

Article VIII- Local Chapters Sec. 9.
I cannot agree on what it has written that a person cannot represent in any official position of the chapter.

Membership- Legacy member- This will bring unnecessary competition and influence in the future plus I suggest the wording for the purpose of this membership should be changed.

By laws IV- Disciplinary Action.  I  suggest it should not be taken only by BOG but  the general body.

By Laws VII - OSA Communication.

Why OSANET ? I say NO  for Osanet. Why not in our personal E-mail that you did a while ago about that voting survey. I gave my e-mail and I wish all official info to be send in it. Really speaking I have no time and interest to read all those garbage and by not even opening I might have missed some important information that you have sent in OSA concern.

Comment 2

President OSA,
I find the OSA constitution as written could have its English improved considerably . I will give a couple of examples :
 "Vision" : The word " well being" : correct is well-being.
Mission goals : Dont need 2 words -  mission or goals is OK
Article ll : Rationale :Delete the words : "the easier or better"
Article V :Vice president should be Vice-president
There are many typographical errors in the constitution.I suggest that you appoint somebody  to go through the whole thing carefully.