Formal Constructive Complaints Burn in the Forest 2013 - Production Team 1912-10777 University Drive, Surrey, British Columbia, V3T 0E6 - Tel: 778.316.4697 – Email: Benjamin.firstname.lastname@example.org
Notice Date: 6 May 2013 Notice From: Benjamin Feagin Jr.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Theatre Design and Production
Notice To: Greater Vancouver Interactive Arts Society (“GVIAS”) Board of Directors (“BOD”) Local Vancouver Burning Man Regional Contacts Confidential
Complaint About: Delyse Ledgard Multiple Ethics Infractions
FORMAL CONSTRUCTIVE COMPLAINTS COMPLAINTS A number of recent occurrences have constructively led to this formal complaint. In total, there are 42 main issues, issues indicated in bold, with a variety of sub-issues that I do not go into defining, to try and make the approach of the complaints as simplified as possible. This formal complaint is not simple, by any means, as any constructive complaint seems to be. Constructive complaints arise from a pattern of issues that, after enough reoccurrences, call for the complaint. This is different than an out-right complaint, in that any single issue alone would likely be acceptable on its first, and possibly second occurrence. In this case of this constructive complaint, there have been upwards of six reoccurrences of any particular defined issue, resulting in a number of constructive complaints. Evidence is available for all claims contained within this document. I have taken great care to stick to facts. Any attempt to discredit the facts within this document should be brought to my attention by requesting evidence of the claim(s). Ken Roepe has informed me that, after consultation with the production team of Burn in the Forest (“BitF”) 2013, that I am an asset and a valued member of the team, and that they wish me to stay on the production team moving forward. Given this information, I hope these constructive complaints are taken seriously and considered in current and future endeavours. The constructive complaints contained herein are evidence that the security, safety, and well-being of all participants in GVIAS productions are being put at risk, due to willful negligence and unilateral decisions made that gamble with the well-being of others, and have serious legal ramifications, which should draw substantial attention and desire towards immediate resolution. Not all constructive issues within this letter will be this serious, but they all contribute to the major issues. It is possible that resolution may be a matter of ability rather than time. We must ask ourselves; is the individual capable of making the changes, for example, or is time being used to mask the inability to make the changes? If the issue is consistent and reoccurring, then the matter is often an issue of ability, and only rotation of leadership would resolve the issue. Rotating leadership roles is essential for continual growth and improvement of any Society or other organization that intends to stand the test of time. I would like to take a moment to compliment Ken Roepe for all of his efforts to maintain the cohesiveness of the group, and resolve any and all disputes. A huge Thank You is due to Ken for all of his hard work and effort. This 1 of 16
letter should in no way reflect negatively on Ken, as many of these issues are due to occurrences prior to his involvement as a liaison, that were organizational agreements he was not given the oppourtunity to resolve before they resulted in a large number of ongoing issues. This large number of constructive complaints could only truly be resolved by a higher power, in this case being the entire GVIAS BOD, due to the complexity and resolution requirements. Ken has made every effort possible to resolve these issues prior to me coming to you with this letter. Understandably, Ken may be concerned that I didn’t continue to participate in the conflict resolution meetings, the next of which was scheduled for tomorrow, May 7, 2013. Later in this letter, I will be explaining how Delyse not only showed up an hour late to the conflict resolution meeting, but broke Ken’s ground rules for conflict resolution multiple times and in multiple ways. Delyse also, at the end of the meeting, after we agreed progress had been made, revealed additional unilateral decisions and secret meetings she had conducted between when the disputes arose and the conflict resolution meeting. In my opinion, her timing of revealing these facts voided the agreement that progress had been made – in fact, Delyse was creating issues faster than we could resolve them. Hence why I come to you. This letter of constructive complaints is written with the concern for the safety, security, and well-being of others. A number of actions have been executed without any consultation of other parties that would have the potential of exposing individuals to liability – I call this gambling with the well-being of others, without their consent. Due to these actions, I have had a reality check about how as a co-producer, I am held liable for Delyse’s independent actions and decisions, and so is the BOD and membership, as they placed Delyse into this role. Given the content of the following complaints, I have come to the realization of how many behavioral issues there are, all of which cause me great concern for the all participants of GVIAS events. I bring these issues to your attention with the well-being of the public in mind, and the well-being of GVIAS in its’ future operations (retention and protection of participants). No single event on its’ own would provide an adequate understanding of the reasoning and authenticity of this complaint, and therefore I suggest when discussing any of the individual topics, that the person or group reflect on the events that led up to the topic of discussion, as the historical information noted in this document is essential and relevant to the main issues herein. I have run across a few comments about how this type of complaint can be quickly dismissed as a personal relationship issue between Delyse and I. Please draw attention and focus towards an analysis of performance. In many projects I participate in formally, including theatre volunteer-based projects with larger numbers of volunteers (300+), there are large numbers of people involved, and it is inevitable that there is someone, or a team, that I will not get along with. In these environments, we often go about our business with the assumption of positivity (that there will be no issues). It is not until issues arise from malpractice, negligence, or other miscommunications that mediation is required by higher powers. I have experienced and witnessed a variety of issues varying in scale and severity, and when they do come up, the issues were resolved by the organizing body; usually the Project Management team (in this circumstance, GVIAS). Since Delyse is a BOD of GVIAS, a conflict of interest exists. Due to this conflict of interest, Delyse should not sit in on any discussions the BOD has about this letter of constructive complaints, unless I am also brought into the discussion to also have the ability to voice my position. Delyse would, at no point, be able to vote or otherwise cast a decision on any issue or topic related to this letter of constructive complaints, due to her conflict of interest (she is the topic of the constructive complaints). To establish the relevance of this complaint, and how it applies to the structure of GVIAS, and why this concerns GVIAS as a whole from a procedural perspective, I would like to draw attention to the Society Act, Section 25: http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96433_01
“Duties of directors 25
(1) A director of a society must (a) act honestly and in good faith and in the best interests of the society, and (b) exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person, in exercising the powers and performing the functions as a director. 2 of 16
(2) The requirements of this section are in addition to, and not in derogation of, an enactment or rule of law or equity relating to the duties or liabilities of directors of a society.” Later within this letter, there are examples of Delyse’s actions that have infringed upon the Society Act. The actions often are those that infringe on 1(a), in that Delyse is not acting in the best interests of the Society, and 1(b), is not exercising the care, diligence, and skill of a reasonably prudent person. It is also worth noting that as a registered counsellor of BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, Delyse is uniquely obligated to perform in a certain manner when interacting with others, whether they are clients or not. I mention this because although it may seem that her professional certifications are not relevant to what she does in her personal time, this is not the case for counsellors. I give this information as an indication that Delyse’s actions not only infringe on the Society’s bylaws, but also infringe on Delyse’s own applicable code of conduct she is bound to in all engagements. The intention of bringing this into the discussion is not to illustrate that there are multiple bodies that are impacted by Delyse’s actions, but rather to show that there are multiple layers of awareness Delyse has of her roles and responsibilities in any engagement she partakes in. Many of the issues I bring up in this complaint are issues experienced in any profession or endeavour if the same situation occurred; in other words, the infractions claimed would cause an issue to arise regardless of whether or not an event was the circumstance providing the foundation for the issues to arise. You can find more information on the Code of Ethical Conduct here: http://bc-counsellors.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/1BCACC-Code-of-Ethical-Conduct-2008.pdf The most important part of this code, that is relevant to this complaint letter, is the portion that deals with ethics, outlined in great detail as Principle 3, Integrity in Relationships:
1) Aspire to the highest integrity possible in every situation. 2) Accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions. 3) Avoid the exploitation of others for personal, professional or financial gain. 4) Avoid conflicts of interest when possible, declare the conflict of interest when it is inappropriate to avoid, and take measures to avoid adverse effects of conflict of interest. 5) Strive for impartiality in all professional endeavours.
Communicating Co mmunicating in Integrity
6) Commit to truthfulness and accuracy in communications. 7) Avoid incomplete disclosure of information unless complete disclosure is culturally inappropriate or violates the confidentiality of others, or carries the potential to do serious harm to individuals, families, groups or communities. 8) Use best judgment in accepting gifts or other benefits, considering the situation, diagnosis, motivation, and vulnerability of the client. Gifts or benefits from clients should be infrequent and of minimal value and not compromise the professional relationship. “
Further, this is all relevant information and applicable policy to Delyse’s behavior in the circumstances leading up to this complaint, when reviewing Principle 4, Responsibility to Society:
“12) Avoid engaging in dishonourable or questionable conduct that casts doubt on the RCC’s professional integrity or competence, or reflects adversely on the integrity of the counselling profession.” This is great information for setting the stage of the complaint, because it defines that Delyse is a counsellor held to a code of conduct. Counsellors are strongest at communication, and understanding communication, so for Delyse to claim multiple misunderstandings or lack of communications, would be highly irregular for a counsellor, who’s strength is communication and understanding communication – not to mention clarifying when communication is lacking.
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During a very recent meeting on May 4, 2013, Delyse stated that she thought there needed to be more communication about issues, and throughout this complaint, I will show you the irony of this request. Delyse habitually excludes others from communication and information, yet when entering into dispute resolution, claims there needs to be better communication. This is a scripted response I hear frequently, whenever beginning dispute resolution procedures around Delyse making decisions without any communication – she claims there needs to be better communication, yet is the one not communicating; hence, the irony. Examples do follow. Let’s start from the beginning; in the initial consultation with Delyse on March 5, 2013, prior to being selected as a co-producer of BitF 2013 (the “second interview” – this “first interview” was solely with the EC), we had discussed a number of engagement terms to ensure that collaboration on BitF 2013 would go smoothly and without issues of contention. Andrew Bondfield participated in this interview process. Of the agreements we came to, the most important was the agreement of how we would manage decision making and responsibilities. The largest concern I had posed, that Delyse agreed was a concern, was that we did not want any individuals, for example, going to Delyse with a question, and when they didn’t get the answer they wanted, then come to me (who is presumably uninformed about the scenario and may answer differently). To resolve this, among other concerns, we agreed to split the responsibilities into two. Delyse would be responsible for half, and I would be responsible for the other half. We discussed that, although a division was drawn, this did not mean we did not learn from one another. We would still participate in the other’s responsibilities with the intention of learning from one another. Following this, we began discussing our strengths and weaknesses, and came to the conclusion that Delyse was better administratively, and I was better with production technology. We had initially discussed a division where Delyse was responsible for items such as Gate, Security, Rangers, and the Website, among other items, and I was responsible for Technical Producers, VC, DPW, WWW, and unique changes to the power grid, among other things. This established the first of agreements of decision-making and responsibilities from which we could build on and further develop, and it was a condition on which I accepted the arrangement of a co-producer role. Had this division of decision-making and responsibilities not been the case, I would not have accepted the role. On March 5, 2013, I requested whether or not we should be having the management structure of BitF 2013 passed by the BOD in order to have it vetted and approved. Delyse denied this request the same day, stating that:
“We do not need to pass a motion at the AGM, what normally happens is that the board appoints the producer/s and then they pick their team in terms of the Volunteer Co-ordinators and Tech Producers that have applied.” This response falls into a typical response form from Delyse that is reviewed at the end of this document. To the best of my knowledge, which is knowledge that I did not have at the time, having a co-producer system chosen by the board is not what “normally happens” for production of BitF, and therefore changes by the board to how the arrangement is organized and arranged would have been called for. Had we exercised this request I made, which would have arguably been reasonable and prudent of Delyse, we could have come to an agreement of the decision-making and responsibilities that wasn’t flexible to unilateral change by Delyse, before I was indoctrinated into a co-producer role at the AGM. All of the following scenarios in regards to these topics could have been avoided, or more easily mitigated. Due to Delyse’s unilateral decision to exclude the BOD from this process, we now have a number of resulting issues. I would title this “Delyse’s Delyse’s First Unilateral Decision at Issue. Issue.” Later that day, on March 6, 2013, Delyse sent me a responsibility list, by e-mail, which reflected the agreements we came to during the initial interview on March 5, 2013. Gate, Security, and Rangers, among others, were under Delyse’s responsibilities, and DPW, Technical Producers, and Volunteer Coordinator, among other items, were under my name. This agreed with my understanding of the arrangement, and so I continue on with my business with the understanding that we had reached agreement on the issue. Later that day, Delyse had sent me an e-mail attempting to clarify that the Technical Producers and VC would instead “report to the production team as a whole.” I did not agree to this, and had initially understood Delyse’s comments to mean that the Technical Producer and Volunteer Coordinator still maintain reporting structure to the whole production team – which is true, as they communicate with the entire production team to get their job done – the decision-maker and responsibilities of any 4 of 16
particular role, however, was decided upon during the initial interview (Delyse has half, and I have half). Our initial interview agreement was clear in that we needed to avoid people going to one producer for an answer, and if they didn’t get the answer they wanted, then going to another producer. It was against the principles we agreed to. Further, if this suggestion was implemented, then it left me with DPW – that’s it! When we received a DPW lead, I would simply be a middle-man between Delyse and DPW, based on her suggestion. What is the point of having a coproducer if they are simply supervising a single lead role? As this BitF 2013 relationship was intended to be a coproducer role, I proceeded to illustrate, visually, what we agreed on during the interview process. So, to recap, a Co-Producer (myself) is attempted to be assigned unilaterally by Delyse, to be head of one department as the totality of their role. I call this, “Delyse’s Delyse’s Second Unilateral Decision at Issue.” Issue At later dates, during discussion of my responsibilities, I was encouraged to take on Lead DPW in addition to my Co-Producer Role. I declined due to needing to remain available as a production resource. This encouragement by Delyse was further evidence that I was perceived as lead DPW, and not a Co-Producer at all. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s First Indication of Making Decisions on Roles without Consultation or Consideration.” Consideration March 7, 2013 was the date of my first submission of a “responsibility map” to Delyse, which was my understanding of the division of responsibilities. It was the first detailed version of how the decision-making and responsibilities would look visually, following the agreement we reached during the interview process explained in the previous paragraph. Delyse commented that same day, stating that “Mindmap looks great, I like mind maps myself,” which indicated that she reviewed the responsibility map and had no objections to it. Further, on May 4, 2013, during an in-person meeting between Ken Roepe, Delyse, and myself, Delyse admitted that she in fact did agree to the responsibility map I presented to her. She continued on to accepting fault with not reviewing it in detail, and this is yet another issue – Delyse is not conducting business with attention to detail (negligence), resulting in a number of additional issues, including miscommunications. Even when she and others are fully communicating with one another, Delyse is not processing and responding to the information as a reasonably prudent person would, and is not in compliance with GVIAS’s Constitution and Bylaws. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s First Act of Willful Negligence.” Negligence Seeing as though there were no complaints or objections to the responsibility map submitted to Delyse on March 7, 2013, and it was accepted by her when she stated “Mindmap looks great,” I proceeded into the AGM with the impression that we had come to resolution on the division of decision-making and responsibilities of BitF 2013. I accepted the position on the premise that we had established this agreement, which was present in the responsibility map, which had been approved by Delyse. Any changes from this map have been initiated by Delyse alone, and any issues related to the responsibility map not being adequate from Delyse’s perspective are her responsibility and fault alone. On March 13, 2013, I contacted Claire Roberts, indicating that the role of co-producer was turning out to not be a co-producer role at all, citing many of my observations and feelings about the problematic tendencies Delyse was exhibiting so quickly following the AGM. Those tendencies were reflective of prior desires of Delyse to appoint me unilaterally as DPW, with very limited other responsibilities. This continues into present-day, requiring weekly “battles” about the responsibility map, with Delyse restructuring it week after week to fall in line with what she wants the Responsibility Map to be. We have gone through a new revision of the map about every week since the AGM, and every time we restructure the map, I end up with fewer responsibilities. Each of these restructurings is another occurrence of “Delyse’s Delyse’s Third Unilateral Decision at Issue Issue” and “Delyse’s Second Indication of Making Decisions on Roles without Consultation or Consideration.” Consideration.” The decision-making strategy has quickly become a separate issue to the responsibility map. Delyse had, during the March 7, 2013 interview, agreed to a split of decision-making authority that was equal to the responsibility map. During my review of the team lead applications, however, Delyse had already made up her mind on who the leads should be, and indicated those decisions to me, despite them being part of my responsibilities that we had agreed on. On May 4, 2013, during an in-person meeting between Ken Roepe, Delyse, and myself, Delyse indicated that whenever I took time to inform myself on all the alternatives and possibilities of any lead position, she felt “shut out” and that her “opinion is not valued.” This complaint continued whenever I came to a different conclusion than Delyse, and would only discontinue if I completely agreed with Delyse. These complaints from Delyse serve as a method of pressuring the BOD and the Production Team into forcing others to agree with her. We are volunteers, and we are not getting paid to fight – the slightest pressure often causes people to fold, and this method is used by Delyse to pressure others into agreeing with her. I have copied Delyse into all of my e-mail conversations. I have provided her all of my source documentation, and yet Delyse has not provided me the same; she has not copied me into historical 5 of 16
conversations, nor let me know any background information on subjects, yet demands that I take her opinion as fact and law. The Burner Community is a group of people who often ask questions and question systems, and who often disagree with the norm and tradition, yet Delyse systematically fulfills the role of a system enforcer (her system), restricting information access to whom she deems worthy, and demanding that others agree with her by phrasing it as “you’re not listening to my opinion” when I interpret by her actions that she means “you’re not agreeing with me and that’s not acceptable.” Also, “you’re shutting me out” when I interpret by her actions that she means “you’re not agreeing with me and that’s not acceptable.” I call this type of response to disagreements about Delyse’s actions or decisions, “Delyse’s Delyse’s First Manipulative Tendency at Issue.” Issue Delyse uses complaining about an individual as added pressure on them to agree with her. She does not seek middle ground, or look to find a solution that works for both of us. Rather, I either agree with her, or there’s a problem to complain about (me being “difficult”). I should be permitted to disagree with Delyse without being accused of shutting her out or otherwise not listening to her. She often does this when others are involved in the dispute to automatically try to make me look like I’m not including her, when this is a highly ironic illustration. When Delyse brings up that she feels “shut out” when in fact she has shut others out from acquiring the same knowledge and information she has, and demanding others simply listen to her and do what she believes should be done, I call this “Delyse’ Delyse’s Delyse’s First Irony in Dispute Resolution.” Resolution It reminds me of when children go to their parents, and one child, who hit the other, claims to be hit to confuse the parent and avoid any repercussions. I’m not a child, and I’m not going to continue playing these childish games with Delyse. Out of the scenario above and due to my objections to Delyse pressuring me to make specific decisions, Delyse unilaterally employed a consensus decision making model on March 13, 2013 to gain control of the decisions I was making which, from her perspective, due to the delay, would possibly go in a direction she didn’t want it to. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Fourth Unilateral Decision at Issue.” Issue.” I want to be clear that it wasn’t the model of consensus that I have an issue with, it’s how Delyse changed the model without discussion to make the system work for her, without consideration for how the change affected me. Further, because of her prior experience doing things alone, she simply changes things, or employs methods, simply because it’s what she has always done. Having a co-producer on-board is not a normal situation for this production, and yet Delyse continues to impose tradition without justifying it or discussing it with me first. Every decision she makes like this results in me getting upset, on almost a daily basis due to her implementing new procedures or changes without my consent, making my job constantly divert to whistle-blowing Delyse’s actions instead of fulfilling my role as co-producer. It is important to note that Delyse e-mailed me on March 13, 2013, stating that “If we have time to go over how you see things and your ideas in various areas and come to consensus it will help me to feel that we are working as a team who are both responsible for the event. Which of course we are.” I find this quite funny, because I am confronted by Ken Roepe with the perception that Delyse and I have different “styles,” and Delyse’s “style” is to act on impulse and make decisions without asking anyone or discussing anything. Now, I would find that perceivable or understandable, if Delyse wasn’t at the same time demanding\requesting me to go through her to reach consensus so she can feel we are “working as a team who are both responsible for the event.” How do we interpret this? Does Delyse just not care about what she does, making decisions on her own without having to include anyone else, but everyone else is expected to operate by consensus which includes her? I submit that this is in fact the case, and that there are two sets of rules: The rules Delyse follows, and rules for everyone else. How is this fair? How is this building community? How is this expected to work in a team setting? I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Second Manipulative Tendency at Issue,” Issue,” and whenever Delyse brings up that she feels not included in decision-making, when she makes unilateral decisions on her own without including anyone else, I call this “Delyse’s Fifth Unilateral Decision Decision at Issue,” Issue,” and when she brings it up in front of others involved in the production team or BOD, I call this “Delyse’s Second Irony in Dispute Resolution.” Resolution.” Who defines these rules Delyse follows? Well, I’m not sure what rules Delyse follows, if any. Whenever ground rules are set, Delyse tends to break at least one every time rules are set, and she consistently gets a slap on the wrist. For example, for the meeting on May 4, 2013 between Ken Roepe, Delyse, and myself, Delyse was an hour late, and then Ken had set a ground rule to not use digital devices during the meeting to ensure our intention was to fully participate in the discussion without distraction. Delyse, in the last half hour of the meeting, consistently interrupted the meeting with her phone and text messages, but was simply told not to do that. I know this is a minor issue, but it is a simple example of how rules or agreements don’t have any meaning to Delyse. I’ll call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Second Act of 6 of 16
Willful Negligence,“ Negligence although due to the time period, it may be a little bit out of order in the numbering. In short, Delyse does what she wants, knowing that GVIAS will do nothing to reprimand her. This is the reason why I believe there will never be progress or change in the organization, and one of the main reasons I feel I need to leave and remove myself as a member of GVIAS. These actions of Delyse result in the destruction of trust and exhibits why I cannot predict how Delyse will perform in the field, where decisions ultimately have larger repercussions. Ken often attempts to try and build trust through discussion of the issues, but this will not work until Delyse reforms into operating in a manner that is respectful of others, because the issues will continue to occur and arise infinitely until such a change is made. This change has been discussed during the restructurings of the decision-making strategy, and no such change has come to pass. I do not foresee it ever happening, and after five times discussing it, I believe promises of change are empty and hollow, and serve simply to try and make me stop complaining. I would stop complaining, if this didn’t keep happening time and time again. I do know, however, given the multiple times that the decision-making strategy has changed for the rest of us, and how the timing of a change always follows an infraction on the decision-making strategy by Delyse, that the rules everyone else must follow have no specific definition or pattern, and are modified at the will of Delyse to work to her own benefit at that given moment (usually in an attempt to remove any liability associated with her infraction of the decision-making strategy she agreed to). I have been very understanding for several of these changes, not holding Delyse liable for any of the “misunderstandings,” but when something becomes a habitual pattern like this, it can no longer be excused as “misunderstandings.” I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Third Manipulative Tendency at Issue, Issue,” and it serves to constructively dismantle my responsibilities, resulting in the destruction of my role as co-producer. I am no longer fulfilling the role of a co-producer; my role is currently defined as a middle-man between Delyse and DPW. I serve no purpose here, in the way Delyse has unilaterally defined my responsibilities. This is why it will not be an issue for me to depart – because I have no responsibilities left, I am not actually walking away from anything. I do not want to walk away – I want to co-producer role I was indoctrinated with, but that position appears to never have been intended by Delyse to exist, so it does not. Delyse also has a degree in University. I know that University is very challenging from experience; one must be very focused, and understand the requirements of their studies very clearly, follow all the rules, and submit assignments according to the instructor’s will. There is limited room for poor communication, and repetitive miscommunications and misunderstandings, particularly when the requirements are clear, would result in poor grades. I submit that Delyse is familiar with rules, communication, and requirements being a part of not only study life, but work and volunteer life as well, due to her formal education participation and success. Habitual misunderstandings are therefore very out of character for learned colleagues, and often are symptoms of much deeper issues. There have been “misunderstandings” on Delyse’s part after every change to the decision-making strategy, usually within 48 hours, and every time it is dismissed as a “misunderstanding” on Delyse’s part, which allows the issue to reoccur time and time again. Her decision that was made due to the “misunderstanding” is not retracted, she takes no responsibility for her actions, she does nothing to repair the situation, she actively continues to push forward her decision(s), and the individual(s) involved is(are) now caught in the middle, and often the damage is irreversible due to the number of people promised or otherwise guaranteed within the scope of Delyse’s action(s). I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Fourth Manipulative Tendency at Issue. Issue.” The reason this is manipulation is because Delyse is acting first, then only participating in discussions afterwards. She makes decisions for others until someone has a problem with it. Due to this, all discussions end up being dispute resolution because there is rarely discussion before Delyse acts. To provide examples of these scenarios, where Delyse has broken the agreement of the decision-making strategy, let’s review some historical occurrences. To begin the examples, we need to establish what we initially agreed to. I would ask that you review the above paragraph that indicates that Delyse and I agreed to the responsibility map submitted to her on March 7, 2013. This responsibility map indicates divided responsibilities and decision-making. I accepted the co-producer role under this agreement. Any modification from this agreement is not what I agreed or consented to. I began considering team lead positions for technical director and volunteer coordinator, both of which were my responsibility that we agreed to in responsibility map, version one. When Delyse was consulted, and not immediately followed (I said I had not made up my mind yet and I wanted to speak to everyone who applied first, and consider alternatives since the applications closed before I came on-board), she unilaterally imposed consensus decision-making, which occurred on March 13, 2013. 7 of 16
Delyse also complained almost immediately that I was shutting her out, and not listening to her opinion. I was simply informing myself of all the options, and Delyse continued to complain about my research until I provided her indications that I would agree with her decision. Any indication that I did not agree with her resulted in her demanding a meeting to “talk about things and come to consensus,” which essentially meant I no longer had responsibility or control over my portion of the Responsibility Map. The demand that the decision be made by consensus is the change – it was not what we agreed to before I was appointed as co-producer. Let’s call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Sixth Unilateral Decision at Issue.” Issue It would follow that this change was a result of Delyse not feeling she had enough control over who I chose. If this was not the issue, then why would we need to immediately change the decision-making strategy unilaterally to reach these decisions by consensus, following our initial discussion about the team lead positions where I was unprepared to make a decision based solely on her suggestions? Why was I not permitted to inform myself or to make the choices I felt were the best choices, considering Delyse’s opinion among other factors, even though that’s what we agreed upon prior to engagement? Delyse does have experience from prior years working with BitF, but there were some major issues with the individuals she selected (Luisa was unable to be on-site to check in volunteers, introduce them to leads, set up kitchen, etc). Delyse has no formal training in production or planning, both of which I possess, yet her opinion on all matters overrules my own. I have a formal degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Production from the University of British Columbia, and my focus was utilizing large groups of volunteers to produce theatre shows and conduct large-scale facility upgrades, always working collaboratively and fair. I also have experience with large-scale productions in downtown Vancouver that include six city blocks, over 50 New Media exhibits, in over 50 locations, all free to the public and zero production costs. I also have experience producing Burning Man Regionals such as Transformus on the East coast, among other festivals such as the Full Moon Festivals that occur between North Carolina and Florida. I have no lack of experience, knowledge, information, and ability in producing this local event. I simply wanted to consider alternatives, but that was unacceptable to Delyse, as she had already unilaterally decided that the short-comings of some individuals were acceptable, and I was not permitted to disagree. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Seventh Unilateral Decision at Issue.” Issue.” During the meeting between Ken Roepe, Delyse, and myself on May 4, 2013, Delyse admitted to having already made this decision that the short-comings were acceptable, and expressed frustration and admitted to complaining she was “shut out” when I didn’t agree with her. She didn’t give me any oppourtunity to suggest any alternatives, before she began complaining and implementing consensus decision making to take control of who was chosen. On March 9, 2013, Delyse e-mailed Luisa and told her that her application for Volunteer Coordinator was accepted. At this point, Delyse and I were still discussing Luisa’s involvement, and I was seeking an individual she could team up with to work for her on-site before accepting her application. Also, others voiced interest in participating as VC the entire time, and I was considering the possibility of having more than one VC to assist Luisa in items she did not, at that time, want to take on (including kitchen and food permit). Delyse unilaterally selected Luisa, informed Luisa her application was approved, and then informed me that Luisa was VC before I had even had an oppourtunity to speak to Luisa. I call this, “Delyse’s Delyse’s Eighth Unilateral Decision at Issue, Issue,” and “Delyse’s Third Indication of Making Decisions on Roles without Consultation or Consideration.” Consideration.” Delyse did not wait for my decision or comments, even though we agreed in the responsibility map, version one, that the volunteer coordinator position was my responsibility. When Delyse awards positions and I go back to say that I haven’t made my decision yet, and haven’t even had the oppourtunity to talk to the individual yet, it makes the entire production team and GVIAS organization appear uncoordinated and without structure or planning. It’s embarrassing and it damages this entire organization. It also makes it look like I am personally partial to someone other than the individual Delyse awarded the position to, but in fact I am simply requiring Delyse to follow through on agreements we made about selecting individuals for positions. This gives others a very poor first impression of the production team, mainly me, which is the result of Delyse’s actions of unilateral decision making. In this case, I specifically indicated to Delyse that I had not made a decision yet, and that I was still looking into the issue, and she deliberately went and awarded the position to Luisa anyway, because I didn’t decide what Delyse told me to decide immediately. At the initial interview between Delyse, Andrew Bondfield, and myself (the “second interview” on March 5, 2013), we had discussed utilizing a third party project management utility. The one we had come up with was Basecamp, which Andrew wasn’t all that fond of, but it provided some structure and collaborative oppourtunities. It 8 of 16
was hosted by a third party, and could host multiple administrators. It was also a solution that didn’t contribute to information hoarding. The third party option would be registered to GVIAS, and all production team and BOD members would have access to the information, and moderate the account. I contacted the host of the service, and received a few months free for the service, which was enough to last through all of BitF 2013’s production. Unfortunately, at the first production meeting of Bitf 2013 on March 21, 2013, Delyse unilaterally imposed a “Pier” project management utility on the production team, which was hosted by Michael Gove’s server. Due to this being hosted by an individual, namely Delyse, it now contributes to information hoarding, as the ones that now control access to the project management utility are Delyse and Gove. Gove is not a part of the production team, and was not initially on the “Pier” project management utility. He was added as “bmvadmin” despite not being a part of the production team. At this point, it is important to note that Delyse demanded that my partner, Daniel Taylor, be removed from being copied on all e-mail correspondence on April 1, 2013, because he is not a part of the production team. I find this incredibly hypocritical and aggressive, because Delyse willfully allows Gove to step into the BitF 2013 production team meetings even though he is not a part of the production team. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Third Act of Willful Negligence.” Negligence.” She also willfully allows Gove to have access to all production materials on the “Pier” project management utility. I call this “Delyse’s Fourth Act of Willful Negligence.” Negligence.” The defense is often used that Gove is a Regional Contact. It is important to note that being a Regional Contact does not mean you are part of a production team, nor does it mean you are responsible for delivering any responsibility on a production team until they are appointed that position by the production team. The Regional Contacts, can, however, be on the production team. They also review the regional status application and suggest modifications and improvements prior to it being forwarded to Burning Man HQ. This does not entitle any Regional Contact to step into the Production Team meetings and take control of any aspect of the production. Thereby, just because Gove is a Regional Contact, doesn’t give him some kind of immunity to process. Delyse has selectively permitted Gove, her partner, to participate, and selectively excluded mine. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Fourth Indication of Making Decisions on Roles without Consultation or Consideration, Consideration,” and in this case, she did not allow consideration of Daniel Taylor’s involvement in any form, even though he was one of the first to apply to the production team. Granted, he applied for Production Assistant to me, which is a position that does not technically exist, but she, nor anyone else, has contacted him in order to find a position that does work for him. When others apply for positions that are not available, the typical process is to suggest other positions that would be more suitable. Others have been afforded this effort, but Daniel Taylor has been selectively excluded from this process. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Fifth Act of Willful Negligence. Negligence.” Further, on May 4, 2013, in the in-person meeting between Ken, Delyse, and I, Delyse indicated she was uncomfortable with Squishelle attending the on-site meeting at Squamish Valley Campground because she was not on the production team, and not selected as Placement Lead. Squishelle is a Regional Contact, so if being a Regional Contact is justification for Gove being involved, then it would go to reason that the same justification should be used by Delyse to justify Squishelle’s involvement. This is not the case; Delyse has expressed during the production team meetings that she would prefer Simon and Benson to be the Placement Leads. Squishelle does not match Delyse decision, so Delyse is complaining about Squishelle’s involvement in any form. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Fifth Indication of Making Decisions on Roles without Consultation or Consideration.” Consideration.” The production team has not made a decision about the placement lead(s) as we agreed to wait until after May 6, 2013 when the applications close. In regards to the site meeting with Ali that took place on April 20, 2013, Delyse made several unilateral decisions that I disagreed with, one of which would have cost us a great deal of money that I stopped. The first was during a conversation between Delyse, Pi, Hunter, and myself, about Power. Delyse demanded that the details of Power be figured out immediately, before a power lead was selected. I stated that power is a responsibility of the power lead, and we should not impose our own decisions on the power lead. We have another site meeting coming up when power can be determined, and power can easily be completed within 30 days of the event. Delyse would not accept this, demanding that because Hunter, Pi, and I were capable of figuring out the power, that we should submit a power plan to her immediately. Hunter stated that Pi, he, and I would meet to discuss, but that meeting did not happen, because I stated that we should not be completing the responsibilities of other individuals before they are even involved and have had the oppourtunity to do it themselves – otherwise, what’s the point in having a Power Lead? Delyse habitually makes decisions for others before they ever come on-board, to force them to do what she feels is best. I call this, “Delyse’s Delyse’s Sixth Indication of Making Decisions on Roles without Consultation or Consideration” Consideration” 9 of 16
as well as “Delyse’s Fifth Manipulative Tendency at Issue.” It is manipulative because it imposes on another individual what they should do. It also gives Delyse the impression of how she requires things to be done, and if the individual’s free will doesn’t agree with her own, she takes control of their responsibilities and does it her way. Delyse had plenty of oppourtunity to talk to us about other issues she had with site conditions during the meeting that the group of us had on the Squamish Valley Campground beach, before going into a meeting with Ali. We did talk about many issues on the beach before heading back to meet with Ali, and Delyse stated she had no other issues to discuss with us on her list. When we were in the meeting with Ali, Delyse unilaterally decided to bring up that she had an issue with the temporary staging left on-site by Bass Coast, I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Ninth Unilateral Decision at Issue.” Issue.” Delyse stated to Ali that she wanted the temporary staging demolished. I had to stop the conversation, and ask if she knew what she was asking. A lot of time and money went into the staging, and it would take a carpenter limited time to repair any damage. I also brought up that we didn’t need to create work for Ali if we didn’t know how the site would be used. Delyse stated that no one could possibly use the temporary staging. I asked if we had any sound stage submissions yet for this year. Delyse had said ‘no,’ and I followed up with stating that “then how can we possibly know whether or not the staging would be useful or not?” Ali stated that it would be possible to turn it into firewood, but he agreed with me that there was a lot of money and man hours in building the staging. I indicated that it would be best to wait until the next site meeting to see how placement can utilize, or cannot utilize the staging, before Delyse demands that it be demolished. Had I not been there, Delyse would have continued to pressure Ali to demolish the staging, and Ali was ready to accept to have it demolished. I was curious about who technically owned the staging, and so I contacted the Bass Coast girls. On May 1, 2013, I received a response from Andrea and Liz, stating that the staging on-site still belonged to Bass Coast. They stated that “We were actually planning on taking down all the staging over the next couple weeks so that we could use the wood at our new location” and “We spent over $4000 on the main stage wood alone then an additional $2000 in dance platforms.“ Had Delyse been permitted to act alone on her unilateral decision-making “style,” GVIAS would have been fully liable for the $6,000.00 in damages caused to Bass Coast property (possibly more). Delyse is a reckless loose cannon, making unilateral decisions every oppourtunity she has without regard for anyone else. I managed to stop this issue from happening, but what’s next? What other issues will Delyse cause because she neglects to consult with anyone else but herself? I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Sixth Act of Willful Negligence,” Negligence,” because she actively chooses to not consult anyone. She had the issue in mind, yet refused to discuss it with the rest of the group on the beach. If it happened to “slip her mind.” This is a huge issue with a massive stage staring us in the face during the entire tour! She could have brought it up at any time during the tour – we were all together the entire time. I will not always be there, and if she is making decisions without consulting anyone else but herself, I fear for the safety, security, and well-being of all individuals and organizations around her. Clearly, her “experience” is not enough for her to make sound production decisions. Let’s step back a bit now, and return to issues of lead roles. Delyse has claimed that it is alright to just put any individual into a lead role that applies, because historically, there haven’t been enough people to fill the roles. She has said this during production team meetings in defense of her actions, and in meetings between her, Ken, and I. Well, I know of a few people who have applied to lead roles, that Delyse has denied from even being considered. She simply didn’t like them as an option, and they don’t appear on the list of those that applied. They had exceptional qualifications, more than almost all other participants, and had no criminal record or other reason to deny them. Delyse provided no justification, and actively excluded these individuals from the event. It is these types of actions that result in us not having enough leads, and because we don’t have enough leads (because the only ones that Delyse permitted to be considered were the ones she liked), Delyse constructs her own position to be able to appoint whoever she likes and wants in those roles, whenever she wants. I call this, “Delyse’s Delyse’s Tenth Unilateral Decision at Issue” Delyse’s Issue” and “Delyse’s Fifth Manipulative Tendency at Issue;“ Issue manipulative because she constructs the lack of participation to manipulate others into siding with her decisions on who should be involved. This is one of the major contributing reasons as to why we don’t have enough lead roles, in addition to lead roles being decided by Delyse before the applications even open. Back in December of 2012, Luisa had already been contacted by Delyse and Luisa had indicated that she did not want to work with or be responsible for the kitchen and food permits. It was not until recently that Luisa was able to take on this task. During the time she was not wanting to take on the kitchen (December through April), and since the Volunteer Coordinator and Kitchen were a part of my responsibilities according to the responsibility map, version 10 of 16
one, I indicated to Luisa that we would split off the Kitchen responsibility to a chef that was familiar with the site and the project, and that had experience with the food permit. Since food safety is a liability concern and any individual responsible for it is essentially liable for the health and well-being of all people eating at the kitchen, I offered to decentralize the kitchen responsibility to absolve Luisa of a responsibility she did not want, and I would take personal responsibility if anything were to go wrong. It has been expressed by previous Volunteer Coordinators, that coordinating the volunteers alone is a huge job, and that doing the kitchen as well is just not feasible, as the Volunteer Coordinator often does not have the skills required to supervise the permitting, insurance, and food preparation process (not to mention the time). Delyse completely disagreed with me, and contacted Luisa to convince her to take on Kitchen responsibilities. Since that time, Luisa has agreed to take on Kitchen, which was against my will. Delyse unilaterally and forcefully enforced the way she wanted things to be, even within my own responsibilities. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Seventh Indication of Making Decisions on Roles without Consultation or Consideration, Delyse’s Eleventh Unilateral Decision at Issue. Consideration,” as well as “Delyse’s Issue.” In response to this disagreement, Delyse unilaterally enforced removing the Volunteer Coordinator from my responsibilities, making the Volunteer Coordinator her own responsibility, without my agreement. I call this Delyse’s Eighth Indication of Making Decisions Decisions on Roles without Consultation or Consideration,” Consideration,” as well as “Delyse’s Twelfth Unilateral Decision at Issue.” Issue.” Ken got involved to resolve this dispute I raised due to Delyse’s unilateral decision to take control of my responsibilities, and it was decided that the volunteer coordinator would be a floating responsibility that wasn’t a part of either of Delyse nor my responsibilities. This concerns me, because that means Luisa, and Luisa alone, takes on full liability if anyone suffers from food poisoning, for example. This isn’t fair to do – whenever Delyse tries to take over my responsibilities, we throw that individual into a floating position and make them the liable party, without consent. It’s also not fair to me – I now have one less responsibility that I can take ownership of, or make decisions about. Thus far,m as you can tell by the number of issues, I haven’t been able to make any independent decisions without Delyse taking that responsibility over and doing how she believes it should be done. Following this disagreement with Luisa’s position, at the following team meeting, Delyse issued yet another responsibility map she designed, and Pi sketched a particular decentralized system where each of the technical producers are independent, as well as the volunteer coordinator. That leaves me with just DPW. Co-producer Ben has now been assigned lead DPW (or middle-man to DPW), while Delyse maintains ownership over Security, Gate, Registration, Website, Landowner, and many other roles. In addition, the production team agreed on a specific method of making decisions, where each individual has authority over their department to make their own decisions, which was written on the page with Pi’s diagram. Delyse committed to scanning the document onto the Pier website, but instead created her own interpretation that changed the wording of the decision-making strategy to ensure she controlled decisions made in every department, and the volunteer coordinator would now report to her and her alone according to her new diagram she made. It was not what the production team agreed upon. At this point, the deconstruction of my position as co-producer to lead DPW becomes clear. I am no longer a co-producer, and any alternative method of completing a task results in me being stripped of that responsibility unilaterally by Delyse. Further, I am also not permitted to make any decisions on my own, and neither is anyone else, based on Delyse’s new unilateral responsibility map and decisionmaking strategy imposed upon us. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Thirteenth Unilateral Decision at Issue.” Issue.” The nest issue is a major one that we should all care about and participate in the discussion of. Insurance is a major discussion that has been ongoing since the time I came aboard. I have tried to involve as many people as possible in the issue to ensure that all people who are liable parties have an oppourunity to become informed about their liability exposure, rather than conducting insurance business behind closed doors. Delyse has admitted to me, during the Ranger Training on April 27, 2013, in front of Daniel Taylor and Dana Mowat, that she has been contacting Beacon Underwriters directly, in addition to brokers. During prior production team meetings and during the GLC, we have went over and over how dangerous it is to be contacting underwriters directly, and that we should always go through a broker. Delyse has blatantly broken this agreement and contacted whoever she wants. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Fourteenth Unilateral Decision at Issue Issue.” ue.” This is when her habitual actions have effects that I cannot and will not participate with. In the past four years, there has not been adequate coverage for the event. In addition, the exclusions on the policy effectively make the entire insurance policy void. void The liquor exclusion alone, for example, would make any insurance claim completely void, as there are pictures all over Facebook of people with alcohol at BitF 2012. Based on other certificates I have acquired from Sports BC, all events have these exclusions, which make the policy void and leave the membership and participants without coverage. I wanted to be involved in the procedure of acquiring 11 of 16
insurance, but Delyse and Gove have refused to provide any historical communications, documentation, or other information in regards to any previous policies. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Seventh Act of Willful Negligence.” Negligence.” I have opened up a discussion group that includes Victoria, Calgary, and Vancouver, all of which who are going through the same insurance issues. I have spoken with Gove about the discussion group, and let my concern about the insurance policy acquisition become very clear. Gove has not participated in the discussion group, despite being copied into all of the communications. Nor has he educated or otherwise imparted information concerning the acquisition of insurance this year to me. I am personally liable for this event as a co-producer, so is the BOD, so is Burning Man HQ, so are the Regional Contacts, and so is the membership, and Delyse and Gove refuse to provide any documentation about insurance or include this larger body of stakeholders in the decision of what level of insurance people are comfortable with. They also conduct business with Calgary and directly contacted Brokers without involving or getting approval from the production team (until recently, on April 30, 2013, when Pi became involved in the insurance issues). Because of these legal and liability issues forced upon GVIAS, Burning Man, and I, I will not participate in this or any other GVIAS event now that I am knowledgeable that there is essentially no insurance coverage on the events (the existing insurance policies are void when an issue arises due to exclusions present that are publically disregarded). I also do not trust Delyse or Gove to acquire appropriate insurance, because they have had more than four years with the same information they have today, and still haven’t managed to get it right. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Eighth Act of Willful Negligence, Negligence,” because Delyse has willfully elected to not get proper coverage. I mentioned in the production team meeting on April 18, 2013, to Gove, that the coverage isn’t adequate, but at least it’s cheap! (Sarcastically), and he said that yes, the point was that it was cheap. So, Gove purchases insurance because it’s the cheapest possible? I wouldn’t trust his ability to acquire appropriate insurance, because he goes with the lowest possible figure. As Steven Ra$pa suggests, “buy as much as you can reasonably afford.” Gove has deliberately ignored this suggestion, and has been gambling with the security, safety, and well-being of this community for many years. My professional standing and responsibilities to public welfare do not permit me to stand idle while someone else gambles with our current and future safety, security, and well-being, without consent. On April 30, 2013, Delyse unilaterally appointed Belva as the fire lead, stating: “Belva is the fire performance lead. As a lead in our fire team - period - Belva is the one who is going to be making the decisions about that team. Not me, not you Benjamin but Belva.” Delyse made this decision unilaterally even though the production team agreed to delay any lead decisions until the applications closed on May 6, 2013. I agreed that Belva is a wonderful fit – what my issue is, is that once again Delyse has agreed to a particular decision-making strategy, and just went ahead and did whatever she wanted again. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Fifteenth Unilateral Decision at Issue.” Issue.” This was essentially the straw on the camel’s back for me. We had many discussions in the past about process and procedure, modifying the system of decision-making many times, and after every agreement to do things a certain way, Delyse just does whatever she wants to do. The same day as my disagreement over the timing of Delyse’s decision, I sent an e-mail noting that it was clear that Delyse had no regard for agreements or teamwork, and that there were very few options remaining for resolution, since we went through so many agreements and new procedures in an attempt to make working together “work,” all of which failed. I noted that either Delyse resigns, is elected off of the production team, or I resign. Given the history of the organization, and Delyse essentially not stepping down to allow anyone else to fulfill the role in the past, including this year, I began the process of resigning. I was called into meetings by Ken Roepe to discuss the issues further. During the in-person meeting with Ken, Delyse, and I on May 4, 2013, I arrived at 11:00AM with the intention of not filing any complaint and resolving the issues at hand, giving yet another chance to Delyse for reformation. Delyse arrived at 12:05PM, indicating to me she did not take the meeting seriously, failing to plan properly to make it to the meeting on time. She was aware of the gravity of the situation, yet this showed, before she even arrived, that she didn’t take the meeting seriously. Further, Ken set ground rules for the meeting, one of which being to not utilize digital devices during the meeting, to ensure the discussion was free of distractions and to ensure we were committed to the endeavour. In the last half hour of the meeting, Delyse frequently utilized her cell phone, and had to ask Ken to read her text messages so she could be aware of what she was receiving. This again indicated to me that she did not take the meeting seriously, nor did she have any intention of following rules.
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In addition, Delyse indicated towards the end of the meeting, that Gove, Pi, and herself, had a meeting about insurance the prior Tuesday. She claimed to have informed me during the Ranger Training. Both Daniel Taylor and Dana Mowat were present for the entire conversation between Delyse and I, and I do not recall her stating anything of the sort, and neither does the witness. I asked if she sent me any information about it, and she said ‘no.’ It is important to note here that I had not requested or suggested that Delyse step down or I resign until Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at 4:29PM. That is the same day that the insurance meeting between Gove, Pi, and Delyse occurred. So, they planned and executed an insurance meeting in the 2 hours between my statements and when the meeting occurred? I didn’t know about it until after it happened, and the possibility of me leaving the organization had not arisen until a couple hours before the meeting was held. Delyse is using my statements to justify her secretive meetings. Delyse’s defense to her secret meeting and me not knowing about it is that she thought I was resigning, but I had not indicated to her I was resigning. She was aware that there was a contentious issue, yet did not contact me to ask if I still wanted to be involved in the insurance issue. She did not communicate with me at all, in fact, directly, or indirectly, even before a contentious issue arose, about the upcoming secret insurance meeting. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Ninth Act of Willful Negligence.” Negligence.” It showed me that Delyse had no intention of resolving the disputes we had, and instead organized and participated in activities that directly impacted, devalued, and disrespected the issues of contention, rendering conflict resolution ineffective. Delyse essentially took this moment of contention and made it worse by continuing to do whatever she wanted to do, and then telling me about all the secret meetings and things she did behind my back while I was upset. I discontinued my actions to ensure I did not make the issue worse, and to make a best effort at conflict resolution, while Delyse actively participated in activities that had a direct negative impact on conflict resolution. Due to this, it became clear to me that there would be no reformation, no improvement, and no behavioural change. There would be no resolution, because these acts or symptoms were of an unethical character with no desire for change – only desire for control and power. There will be no point in constitutions, bylaws, policies, or procedures, at any point in life of GVIAS when there are reckless and careless leaders who don’t lead by example or obey even the most serious of agreements. Rules have no meaning to Delyse. When that is the case, you can make all the bylaws you want, but why would anyone follow them if the leadership refuses to. Delyse is a BOD member, and thereby her actions reflect on the entire BOD of GVIAS. How does this reflect on the rest of the membership? On the Burning Man community? I would argue that this is a highly negative reflection of the Burning Man community that doesn’t fall in line with the Ten Principles, let alone the culture of Burning Man. Due to the large number of restructurings of the responsibility map and decision-making practices noted above, I submit that the position I agreed to no longer exists. I am no longer bound by the responsibilities I agreed to fulfill as co-producer because the terms and conditions of that agreement have been changed unilaterally by Delyse – not once, not twice, but more than six times now. I currently have no role of significance or decision-making authority equivalent to Delyse’s, nor equal privileges to access of information and resources as Delyse (such as the website and insurance documentation from prior years). I thereby submit that this continues to not be a co-producer role, and thereby the position I was appointed to was never honoured, respected, or employed by Delyse, despite the BOD’s decision to appoint me as a co-producer. Any attempt at this point to rebuild my role, has been at the will of Delyse of what she feels is best, and what she feels is appropriate to grant me access to. She is playing God with the BitF production information and roles and I will not placate a God complex by allowing Delyse to first completely deconstruct my role, then reconstruct it in a way she sees is fit. GVIAS appointed me as a co-producer, Delyse agreed to a specific arrangement, and neither of those agreements have been upheld. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Tenth Act of Willful Negligence.” Negligence.” I will not participate in a team environment with someone who is not operating as a team, but is rather operating as a dictator by manipulation. Although I am honoured by GVIAS’ decision to appoint me as a co-producer of BitF 2013, I am not in a coproducer role, and it is clear that Delyse has no intention of accepting or permitting me to operate as a co-producer of BitF 2013 with equivalent powers, responsibilities, and access to information that she has, as she continues to degrade and remove my powers, responsibilities, and access to information. When I complain about these issues, she offers promises of additional information, but has never acted on those promises. When she does offer promises, they are promises of what she feels is best. She did not appoint or choose me as co-producer – why is she defining my role? Why is she permitted to modify the agreement however she sees fit, without my agreement or consent? Why is she making decisions on who does and does not deserve information she hoards? 13 of 16
During the in-person meeting on May 4, 2013, Delyse indicated that when I didn’t agree with her, or came to her with a lot of questions which she perceived as negative, she became defensive and willfully refuses to provide information and documentation. Why is Delyse permitted to withhold information whenever she wants or feels? I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Eleventh Act of Willful Negligence,” Negligence because all of the information she has in regards to event production for GVIAS is not hers to withhold or keep from others, regardless of how she feels or thinks the documentation should be handled. Yes, she is currently on the BOD, but because this statement was made from the perspective of Delyse alone, she is now making decisions on behalf of the entire BOD, and this reflects negatively on not only the entire BOD, but the GVIAS membership as a whole. I call this “Delyse’s Delyse’s Sixteenth Unilateral Decision at Issue, Issue,” and the BOD should be extremely concerned about how Delyse is conducting the practice of “information hoarding.” This is a negative trait that Burning Man records as “information hoarding” and it occurs when people are permitted to operate in any single role for too long. What will GVIAS do about this? Delyse will likely promise the world (all the information), and likely has, but the sharing of information will not happen until she is ready to, and due to this, I believe it might be better to consider whether or not we even need the information she is withholding. This is called “cutting your losses,” and applies in this scenario because the community members not participating at all, or quitting, are doing so because of these types of actions and tendencies. How many dedicated and passionate community members has this cost GVIAS? I will be sharing the totality of the production documentation in the form of an archive at the same time as distributing this letter. Knowledge and Information is control, and I stand against Information Hoarding. Delyse has often indicated that her position of being more informed than others is the reason her opinion matters and should be adhered to (which she stated in the in-person meeting between Ken Roepe, Delyse, and myself on May 4, 2013), but let me ask you this; if we only listen to people who have done something before, is it possible for the person in charge to ever be different? Because, well, any new individual wouldn’t have done it before, which means Delyse is still in power and making the decisions. Due to this, I submit that in order for GVIAS to enable rotation of producers and community members being involved, individuals defending their position with “I’ve done this event before,” shouldn’t necessarily be selected or given weight due to this. If this is given weight, then only the existing structure will ever be the structure- there will never be change, because only the ones currently sitting in the hot seat will ever be the ones ever to be able to make the decisions. Further, Delyse has specific preferences of who she would rather be co-producer. She has indicated even during the meeting we had with the BOD on March 17, 2013, that she would rather see Simon as the co-producer. From that BOD meeting, I knew that Delyse did not want me to be co-producer at all, and had other people in mind for the position. She states that she does not want me to leave, but due to her actions, which speak far more than her words, I feel she does. Giving alternative producers at all during the BOD meeting was uncalled for, and is evidence of this. I had discontinued writing this complaint letter once an in-person meeting between Ken Roepe, Delyse, and I had been scheduled for May 4, 2013, but during the meeting there was acknowledgement of the issues, without any measurable retraction of Delyse’s unilateral decisions. It was simply accepted that Delyse’s unilateral decisions were made, and then we discussed how to keep it from happening again. That is not resolution, that is complacency about the issues at hand; it had been accepted that the damage was done, and we are expected to accept it and move on – this has happened so frequently, without any retraction of the unilateral decisions or opening of discussion to complete the topic of contention with consensus, that it has become clear to me that I am simply to do what I am told to do by Delyse, or I’m “difficult” or there’s something wrong with the responsibility map and my responsibilities as a coproducer get further degraded unilaterally by Delyse. My own opinion, and my own way of doing things, is wrong, unless it agrees with Delyse’s. We do not try new things, unless it is Delyse’s idea or decision, and if it is Delyse’s idea or decision, she doesn’t have to consult anyone about it, she just executes her idea or decision without any regard for anyone else., and then I’m expected to sit down in a dispute resolution meeting and talk about what I disagree with. Why do we have to go into dispute resolution to talk about an issue after it happens? Well, Delyse doesn’t have to talk to anyone to make a decision, so any time she makes a decision without consulting anyone; it becomes a dispute instead of a discussion. All of these disputes about decisions are due to Delyse’s unilateral approach to decision-making strategy. My role is again limited to whistle-blowing on a daily basis.
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Everyone else is required to follow a set of rules Delyse defines (and changes at will), and others are only permitted to do what Delyse has pre-determined they are to do, without any consultation from them. If they disagree, Delyse sits down with them for as long as necessary to convince them that they will do what she has defined they are to do, rather than making the positions of responsibility work for the individuals involved and allowing them the autonomy to complete their work how they see fit. To recap, I’d like to go over the scripted responses that Delyse habitually uses to divert responsibility and accountability away from her. These include: -
“This is how it’s always been done so that’s the way I’m going to do it now.” o
“This is the way it’s going to be – Period.” o
Tradition is used to justify actions when Delyse makes unilateral choices based on how she has always done things. I would argue that, if we are just going to do things the way Delyse has done them in the past, and she is able to make any decision based on her own tradition, then there’s no point in a co-producer being involved, ever. Tradition is also used as a reason why Delyse doesn’t have to consult with anyone else. If she’s ever done it before, then that appears to preclude her from ever having to consult anyone ever again, or bring questions to the production team for consensus, which she requires from everyone else except herself.
Delyse used this statement on April 30, 2013, the details of which have been reviewed above. When Delyse has made her decision, even delays in others accepting her decision causes her to take sole control of any situation and force others to do what she says. I only stated that she, and the entire production team, agreed to not decide on roles until after the submission deadline of May 6, 2013, and Delyse couldn’t accept the delay and unilaterally forced her own will on others. Delyse will try to divert accountability for this by trying to explain the justification for why an individual is the best choice. It is important to remember that although the individual may be the best choice, the decision was agreed to be delayed until May 6, 2013, and Delyse did not uphold that agreement. Delyse often also complains that there’s no reason to delay decisions because they have never had too many applicants. I submit that the reason we don’t get more submissions is because the community already knows Delyse has made her decision before the applications even open. Why waste our time applying for positions when we already know who is getting the role? Delyse has been working with individuals for the past six months that she wants in the role, and due to these actions, has already made her decisions clear to everyone else.
“Maybe there is a miscommunication. What I meant was…” o
This is an acceptable statement if it happens once or twice, but when it happens every single week, particularly with a counselor trained in effective communication, I can no longer avoid bringing this up as a serious issue. This excuse typically follows Delyse’s infraction on an agreement, and after this excuse, Delyse unilaterally modifies the decision-making strategy and responsibility map so she is no longer at fault. These changes happen cyclically and go back and forth, like a teeter-totter, or flippity-flopper, so that no matter what Delyse did wrong, she can claim it was a misunderstanding, change the system, and then do whatever she wants again. No one is rolling back the decision she made, to ensure it obeys the new system as well as the old, and this is a huge issue that gives Delyse the ability to circumvent and take advantage of others endlessly, until something is done about this habit. This has happened over and over, as explained in the complaint. This cycle typically happens on a weekly basis, with restructurings every week we meet for a production team meeting.
If I cannot trust Delyse to make decisions in consultation with the production team, professionals, or myself, I cannot trust her to make decisions of Security, Safety, First Aid, Insurance, Law Enforcement, Land Use, Contract Negotiations, or Permitting without the possibility that she will make a decision that will override others and possibly impact the safety and/or liability of herself and/or others. Delyse has no degree, certification, or other qualifications to be producing events, let alone supervising areas of responsibility, and if she does not actively consult with team 15 of 16
members, I fear she will time and time again use poor judgment in attempt to resolve a variety of scenarios, possibly endangering individuals and groups, and creating infinitely more issues. I will not be held responsible, directly or indirectly, for her decisions or actions, in part or in whole, in any project I work on from here on out, including BitF 2013. I hope this will assist the GVIAS BOD in making better decisions in the future, and I hope this document will shed some light on many of Delyseâ€™s tendencies when working with this organization. Due to these issues being constructive in nature, any single complaint within this letter is difficult to hold against an individual; it is when you have a larger number of complaints that form a pattern of behavior that these issues need to be taken seriously and something needs to be done about them immediately. I do truly fear for the welfare of not only the GVIAS and local Burning Man community, but the public at large participating in these events. I truly hope that something will be done soon to resolve this situation. Veraciously,
Benjamin Feagin Jr.
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