This excerpt was taken from last months Fifth Report of the Review Officer, regarding the Councils new website.
District Council Web Site, Information and Transparency
Section l2.G of the District Council Bylaws states that “the Executive Committee shall have the authority and responsibility to provide information about the District Council to the public and the membership including by publishing The Carpenter and effectively maintaining the District Council website. When presenting information to the public and the membership, the Executive Committee shall provide information fairly reflecting the range of positions and points of view on subjects relevant to the District Council and members.”
Despite the foregoing requirement, the Executive Committee has failed the membership by either negligent lack of attention to the rule or willful avoidance of it.
(John's note: Count four of my four-count charges against Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mike Bilello and former President Bill Lebo is for violating section 12.G)
I have had to repeatedly prod the District Council leadership over the course of months to address this deficiency. Within the last month, I informed counsel that, without appropriate action by the Executive Committee, I would be left with no recourse but to assert my authority to compel compliance.
Within the last two weeks, the District Council web site has added a somewhat nebulous “Feedback” feature that does not expressly advise members that the Council is soliciting submissions on “the range of positions and points of view on subjects relevant to the District Council and members.” I will reserve judgment on the “Feedback” feature (indicated by a bare and unexplained icon on the web site home page), but based on the Executive Committee’s performance to date regarding compliance with Section l2.G, I do not hold out much hope that robust compliance via “Feedback” is imminent.
I have repeatedly informed Union officials and counsel that in my view, compliance with Section l2.G could be achieved by establishing letters to the editor and editorial sections on the web site and in The Carpenter (and that a fair model could be seen by simply examining those sections of the New York Times).
It should be plain to any objective observer that Section l2.G contemplates that incumbent officers and other District Council officials be subject to fair and informed criticism and have an equal right of reply. The web site and newspaper are the property of the approximately 20,000 members of the Union, not the officers and officials responsible for their publication or maintenance. Those officials and officers will have to decide in short order if the requirement of the Bylaws will be met or whether I will seek a court order to compel such compliance.
Some members also believe that there is a lack of “transparency” in District Council affairs and that this a result of District Council leaders not wanting to keep the membership informed. In my view, the District Council leadership does need to do a better job of keeping members informed of the business of the District Council. However, I do not believe that they desire to conduct the affairs of the Union in secret. In fact, the EST invariably gives detailed and straight answers to questions posed by delegates.
I believe there is simply insufficient time and attention spent on keeping the members appropriately and promptly informed and that the problem can be easily addressed by committing to considering the answer to one question at the end of each day: what happened today that the membership has a right to know? The post on the member section of the District Council website that should follow should be self-evident.
(John's note: At last weeks town hall meeting, Bilello said, "I don't spend a lot of time thinking about updating the website."In other words Bilello will continue to keep you uninformed.)
Original posted August 2, 2012.
Finally the Council put up its much promised new website.
(John's note: Update, This was posted on the councils website).
New York-- The New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters (NYCDCC) on Friday launched a new and improved website. Executive Secretary-Treasurer Michael Bilello wants members to feel included and involved in their union and stated that the website redesign is an important first step in that process.
“It’s a new day at the District Council,” Bilello said. “We are dedicated to transparency and we are looking at using cutting-edge tools to keep our members and the public informed. This site is just the beginning.”
With so much going on at the council in the last few months, such as new leadership, the renegotiation of five contracts and many more improvements and changes, it is essential that the council have this more efficient means of keeping the public and its members informed.
The new website creates a community space for the council to share information, take suggestions and get the membership involved. It features a more organized home page that provides a direct link to NYCDCC information with an added search feature. The new “Press Room” will also house the latest press releases, political and community announcements as well as statements and quotes from our officers. Members will be able to access their own specific pages and features and will have an opportunity to make their voices heard with our “Letter to the Editor” section. Visitors to nycdistrictcouncil.com will now be able to enjoy a faster, more user-friendly experience in finding out the latest news and information at the NYCDCC.
All are encouraged to visit the nycdistrictcouncil.com home page to find the latest news, events and photos along with messages from the NYCDCC.
Stay tuned to nycdistrictcouncil.com for many important updates to come.