Starting us off with a Tweet from Marlee Matlin, Deaf America’s leading celebrity and Oscar winner. “Trust is hard to earn when it is met with silence. Stay silent too long & people will reach their own conclusions. Be honest; be loud.”
I e-mailed the National Association of the Deaf on Tuesday, June 5th. This was my message: “Given the questions surrounding transparency with the NAD, we would like to know who the members of the election committee are.”
Mr. Rosenblum’s response as of 9:26 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6th: “I am forwarding your request to President Bobbie Beth Scoggins for further discussion.”
As of the morning of June 8th (today), there has been no response. Why did I ask? Because community members have raised concerns about the integrity of the election process for the upcoming elections for the NAD Board.
What Do We Know?
Three of the 12 elected Board Officers of the NAD have close ties with Communication Services for the Deaf. That’s 25% representation. Current President Bobbie Beth Scoggins, Vice-President Chris Wagner, and Region III Representative Judith Gilliam have held or currently hold high-ranking positions with CSD or its affiliates. Chris Wagner is also a Senior Vice President at ZVRS. CSD remains a major shareholder in ZVRS. Wagner is now one of the two candidates for the Presidency. The NAD Presidency has been in the hands of individuals closely affiliated with CSD for 14 of the last 19 years. Those former Presidents also serve on the President’s Circle and influence decision making processes. Which means there will be not 1, not 2, but 3 CSD-affiliated folks advising the next President of the NAD.
According to what I have gleamed via multiple sources, two of the five election committee members are: Ben Soukup, the very face of CSD, and Bobbie Beth Scoggins, current NAD President who worked as Chief Operating Officer of CSD.* I asked Rosenblum to release an official list of election committee members. Just for transparency’s sake. So that the community can sleep easy knowing the election processes are being held in a transparent manner and the best leader to best deal with contemporary challenges will be elected.
After 2 days of no response from Scoggins, I wonder just what there is to discuss.