Bil Browning

OutServe-SLDN Chapter Leaders: Boot Seefried or Else

Filed By Bil Browning | June 29, 2013 6:20 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Allyson Robinson, board coup, Josh Seefried, OutServe-SLDN

Looks like the OutServe-SLDN scandal isn't over, it just took a break while we celebrated the repeal of DOMA and Prop 8.

OutServe-SLDN chapter leaders have locked board co-chair Josh Seefried out of the organization's Facebook page and have posted a defiant statement demanding his resignation outserve-sldn-300x210.jpgover the board's handling of Executive Director Allyson Robinson's forced departure.

The coalition of chapter leaders is demanding that Seefried step down from the leadership of the organization, saying his recent actions have "damaged OS-SLDN's reputation as a leader in the LGBT community and as an advocate for the transgender military community."

The chapter leaders' mutiny comes as no surprise, however, since over a dozen leaders had previously demanded to see items from the board meeting that led to Robinson's ouster - including board minutes, financial statements, and more; claiming they controlled a large chunk of the membership, the coalition threatened to bolt if the org's leadership didn't provide the documents. It is unclear whether or not more chapter leaders have joined the coalition since no names were included with the joint declaration on Facebook.

The board complied with most of their requests, but chapter leaders weren't happy with what one source involved called "obviously massaged data." Multiple sources claim that Seefried's financial projections showed unaccountably low income expectations that were used as part of the reason to demand Robinson's resignation. Inexperienced board members, they say, were convinced that Seefried's predictions were correct as a way to get them to vote his way.

Seefried and the board's recent actions don't seem to reflect the urgency needed to quell the rebellion. The OutServe-SLDN board has reportedly not met since issuing a statement last week days after news leaked that they were attempting to force Robinson's resignation. She later announced on the same day that she would leave at a later date. Seefried also allegedly canceled a scheduled meeting with chapter leaders to discuss his performance and their concerns.

Chapter leaders cite financial concerns and damage done to the organization - especially among the trans* community - as the reason for their actions. They confirm in their letter that many large donors have become skittish about funding the group.

The complete open letter is posted after the break.

STATEMENT FROM THE COALITION OF CHAPTER LEADERS

This week, OutServe-SLDN's mission of full equality in the military was set back by the abrupt attempt to dismiss Executive Director Allyson Robinson. The cause was attributed to the current financial state of the organization, but that crisis was never disclosed to the general membership, nor was a call to action asking for help. Two statements were released three days after initial leaks reported these events.

This entire episode has damaged OS-SLDN's reputation as a leader in the LGBT community and as an advocate for the transgender military community. Donors and sponsors have indicated that Allyson's loss makes them think twice about contributing to our organization. The loss of key board members and staff who resigned in protest due to the Board's method of approaching Allyson has damaged OS-SLDN's operational capability.

In sum, this episode was the result of a reckless attempt to save money without considering the consequences and it has had a clear detrimental impact on the organization, including our future ability to advocate effectively for the LGB and transgender military communities.

It is our view, after reviewing the situation and options available, that the best way forward is to address the problems within the leadership. We will be asking for the resignation of Josh Seefried, Co-Chair of the OS-SLDN Board of Directors and coordinator of the process that led to requesting Allyson's resignation.

If OS-SLDN is to survive, we need change immediately. We need transparency and honesty. We need clear communication that comes from the top of the organization and directly addresses the membership.

We need to react and repair the damage that has been done by the Board of Directors.

OS-SLDN is a membership-based organization. Without the members, it cannot exist. We are committed to improving this by ensuring that membership has an ever-present voice and the opportunity to participate in the governance of OS-SLDN.

Most importantly, we are unequivocally dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military, veterans, and our families, to include ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.


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