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Copyright WHR 2006

An Editorial by Christy Howard Parsons

After witnessing TWHBEA Attorney John T. Bobo address first the TWHBEA Executive Committee, and later the TWHBEA membership on the subject of executive sessions, I feel compelled to express my opinion about the Executive Sessions which make up so much of the TWHBEA and other organization meetings which I attend all year long.

The purpose of an Executive Session, which is a special session of a board meeting in which staff and visitors are excused, is to allow the directors to have open, honest discussions on matters which are confidential or sensitive. Specifically executive session is designed for personnel matters and lawsuits, and other matters that members of the public have no need to know.

John T. Bobo explained that no action can be taken in Executive Session, unless it is later addressed in an open forum – a rule we seldom follow.

It was mentioned in an open forum this weekend, that TWHBEA’s National Board of Directors have trouble getting information from the TWHBEA Executive Committee because of the number of Executive Sessions which are called. The number quoted was 32 executive sessions this year.

I have no way of verifying this number, but I know that frequently when I attend a meeting, I am asked to leave on a regular basis as the meeting goes into Executive Session. This is true of all of the organizations in the Walking Horse business.

Now perhaps there were 32 issues which were so confidential that they needed to be kept secret. I’m sorry, I just don’t believe that.

Simply, put there are too many things going on behind closed doors.

As we all know, there are no secrets in the horse business. If two people know the story, it isn’t a secret. If a room full of thirteen people do, you can bet that it will be out before the last person hits the door.

Rhonda Martocci called John T. Bobo to the Executive Committee meeting to remind the directors of their fiduciary responsibility to maintain these secrets.

My challenge is to all of our new leaders - RESIST the urge to go into Executive Session. Save these times for those matters that are truly confidential and rather than groan when the media enters the room, try to embrace an opportunity to publicly display the actions of your organization. Your members have a right to know what is going on, and it’s probably a lot less sinister than they imagine when they hear you’ve gone into “Executive Session.”

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