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Letter was off base

Dear Editor:

In reply to Wednesday’s letter from Stefan Edlis about the vote of no confidence for Alan Fletcher, CEO of the Aspen Music Festival:

The special meeting for this vote was not called by the board chairman but rather by 37 corporate musicians, corporate lay members, and life trustees (c. 15 signatories, 10 percent, are required).



The meeting was not open to the public, or to the press. I tried to attend but was turned away at the door. I was told that I’d been “rotated off” the non-voting membership – this was news to me.

The 30 comments came from corporation members, including the board, not just “concerned citizens.”




You say, “No negative comments were heard.” Not so. I’m told there were several. In addition, some of those against the measure expressed opposition not so much to support Fletcher as to safeguard the Festival’s reputation and morale.

The vote of 76 to 58 was assuredly close but decisive (57 percent). What exactly is a “relatively small margin”?

I believe the organizers were not so much trying to “create an impression for the general public” as they were stating, through the means provided by the Festival’s bylaws, their displeasure with the current leadership.

The corporation’s annual meeting has not, until recently, been “mostly ceremonial.” I’ve attended well over 30 of them, as a voting member from at least the late ’70s. They used to be packed and a forum for comment and camaraderie.

The proxies are not just solicited to provide a quorum. They make it possible for the offseason diaspora of faculty (many abroad in different time zones) and lay members absent from Aspen to participate.

I wouldn’t say that those who called the meeting knew the result beforehand. Nothing was assured. Though a decisive result, you yourself said it passed by a “small margin.”

The “purpose” of a special meeting is announced to the members as specified by the bylaws, so they know ahead of time what they will vote on, by proxy or in person or over the phone. Proxy holders can instruct their representative to abstain or vote yea or nay.

The “correct method” was not to have the chairman issue new proxies but for the proxies to be handled in accord with the bylaws. I understand the representatives took great care to see that the proxies were current.

Fletcher, indeed, enjoys “faculty, board and community support.” So do the musicians.

Contrary to your claims, the balloting was fair and just. You may not know that the Corporation structure has a built-in majority favoring the musicians, an essential constituency of the Festival. Sixty percent of the Corporation must be faculty. The “founders” set it up this way precisely to provide a fall-back protective action such as we’ve just observed.

Nancy G. Thomas

Aspen


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