Grievance of April 11, 2018 by Natalia Bronner
Proposals for HNA Board Consideration
The Hillsdale Neighborhood Association (HNA) Grievance Committee issued its report on May 15, 2018, and was distributed by Committee Chair Matthew De Rosa. Multiple issues are contained in the Grievance as presented. Lacking a clear listing of the issues included within the Grievance, the Board is relying upon the analysis of the Grievance Committee to identify the specific items being grieved as well as the proposed remedies. No analysis of each element was presented in order to identify: (1) whether the issue was grievable by the standards of the HNA Bylaws: and (2) if so, to present the facts supporting that determination. The Board’s analysis is as follows.
1. Violating the HNA Bylaws under Article 1 (b) and 5 (2)
The time frame cited by the grievant is from the January HNA Meeting through the April HNA Meeting. Grievant attended first HNA meeting in January where a resident from another neighborhood association made a presentation setting forth his opinion regarding the RIP. Prior to the February HNA Meeting, Grievant requested time to present her position in opposition to the Residential Infill Project (RIP). The Land Use Chair requested that prior to further discussion by residents regarding the City proposal, that HNA would be best served by hearing a presentation from the City regarding their proposal. A presenter from the City, Joan Frederiksen of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), attended the March HNA meeting to make that presentation, distribute information about the details of RIP, and to answer members’ questions. Grievant Natalia Bronner asked several questions of Frederiksen, who also attended the April HNA meeting as a “resource” and again explained the components of RIP and its re-zoning features. Grievant was also provided time at the April HNA meeting to present and explain the details of her proposal and “Advisory.”
HNA followed the Bylaws cited by organizing the March and April meetings’ contents to meet the needs of the membership regarding RIP. At the January 2018 HNA meeting, at which the Grievant was present, Jim Gorter of the City’s Citizen Advisory Committee to RIP, had also explained in detail the results of the Committee’s work.
2. Conversation with an HNA Board Member (Tatiana Lifshitz) that was inappropriate
Conversation did not take place in conjunction with an HNA activity.
This is not grievable.
3. Violating our own Agenda Posting guidelines
Meeting date, time, and place are published in the SWNI News. Detailed agendas are posted to the HNA website. Agendas are finalized at the meeting, when approved. Upcoming meeting agendas are not always posted to the website a full seven days in advance as required by the bylaws.
HNA has not been following all Bylaw standards regarding meeting agenda posting. HNA is committed to providing timely posting of agendas at the official HNA website (hna-pdx.com). HNA agendas are also, unofficially, posted at Next Door Hillsdale.
4. HNA Board handling of the March 7 grievances
The HNA Board drafted a written response to the March 7 Grievance in a timely fashion, but that alone does not meet the standard. The HNA Board failed to create a Grievance Committee to respond.
The HNA Board failed to follow the Bylaws. The Board is committed to following all future Grievance procedures.
5. HNA meeting Minutes recording process
The Minutes are maintained as required by the Bylaws. Should there be the omissions of items individuals believe should be contained in the Minutes of a meeting, opportunity is given prior to their approval for adjustments to be made. Attendance records are maintained but not posted with the minutes on the website in keeping with current privacy standards.
HNA Board followed the Bylaws and recorded all Advisory and Board Motions as approved by members at the meeting subsequent to when the Advisory or Motion was offered.
6. Official HNA position on the Residential Infill Project
At the January 2018 HNA meeting, Land Use Chair Glenn Bridger shared his memory of actions taken a year and a half earlier by the HNA regarding the RIP. Upon review of the Minutes of the HNA meetings, he recognized that he had erred in his statements. His concerns were also researched by the Secretary. At the March HNA meeting, Land Use Chair Bridger apologized to the grievant and the membership for his misstatement on the topic.
The HNA position was erroneously presented at the January meeting; the error was corrected at the next meeting when this topic was discussed. The March minutes do not fully detail this apology. The March 2018 HNA Minutes will be corrected to include the following:
“Land Use Chair Glenn Bridger apologizes to member Natalia Bronner and the membership for his misstatements regarding the HNA position on the Residential Infill Project that were made at the January 2018 meeting. The HNA has not taken a position on the RIP. The remainder of the HNA Board joins Glenn Bridger in making this public apology."
7. HNA Board is not scheduling multiple perspectives of contentious issues at meetings.
This comment is taken not as a grievable issue but rather as a process improvement suggestion. HNA meeting agendas are developed in a thoughtful manner to intertwine scheduled speakers with new information to share, land use issues with time limitations, committee reports, requests from the floor, and HNA business activities. Should a contentious issue arise, there may not be time for including multiple sides on the agenda, nor time to arrange speakers to represent the various sides of the issues. On many occasions, HNA has delayed taking action on an agenda item to accommodate additional discussion. While this is not always possible, such delay has been used when time allows.
This is an aspirational goal consistent with existing Board policy. It is not a grievable item.
8. Board Members voting during the Advisory Motion from April
Board members are also HNA members and are allowed to vote on all issues that are open for membership voting.
Following review of the Bylaws, the HNA Board reconfirms the April vote on the Advisory.
9. Ensuring people voting are actually voting members
The Secretary maintains records of those people who sign the monthly registration form. To vote, a member must have attended one prior meeting plus the present one within the preceding 24 months. These records are shared with SWNI, as well as retained in the HNA records. Should people who are not voting members be seen as voting on issues, members have the right to question their qualifications and to also secure a ruling from the Chair. Errors on who votes are to be resolved at the time of the vote. The April meeting closed with no record of concern issued on this item.
All issues of voter eligibility on Advisory motions are to be resolved at the time of the voting. Any Advisory that passes is then subject to potential action by the Board in the form of a Motion by a Board member; but such action is not required. The Board will continue to follow this model. No action is required.
10. Email chain with Board Member (Robert Hamilton) not being responded to
Analysis and Board Finding
Extensive emails were exchanged between Natalia Bronner and HNA Secretary Robert Hamilton between January 13 and February 6, 2018. Our records show that the final emails were sent by Secretary Hamilton and not responded to by the grievant. The HNA Board is open to receiving her side of the emails to learn both sides of this issue in greater detail.