I attended this “Town Hall.” I was extremely disappointed and actually somewhat disgusted. Almost the entire time I was present (the first 45 minutes) was devoted to Board Members telling each other and whoever else was there how upset they were about being subject to complaints and criticism. The other main subject was how much money contests make and how important it is to attract agents and publishers to conferences if RWA is to survive. Barely a mention of an apology, just as lot of excuses in the form of tedious explanations of the process.
I tried chat. I tried Q&A trying to find out what specific steps they might take to mend whatever needed to be mended and to adopt a process that would prevent future embarrassment and worse. My comments and questions were totally ignored. There were only a few questions of substance. The response to one suggestion was to post a link to the committee’s email.
Okay, so I didn’t read all the posts on the RWA site. (Have you ever tried to read posts and been treated to the circular nightmare involved in proving you are a member?) But this was noticed as a “Town Hall” with a maximum of 500 participants. Taking a few minutes away from self-pity to explain exactly what caused the consternation about the book that won the award would not have been unreasonable.
There was absolutely Zero mention of the effects of the very public conflict on chapters like ours. No suggestion that perhaps chapters might have some wisdom to offer. I voted in favor of having our chapter follow Le Beau Monde in severing the connection with RWA. I think most who voted did; we just didn’t have enough participants. Maybe, if by-laws permit we should schedule another vote.