Trust’s “Communications Strategy” - Alcyonenews

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Islands Trust
Posted June 14, 2019

Trust’s “Communications Strategy”
– an Exemplary Oxymoron?

The Islands Trust is ostensibly governed by an Executive Committee (ExCom) which, in turn, is accountable to the Trust Council. In effect both are governed by, and serve the  Trust bureaucracy.  The ExCom consists of five (5) Trustees, one being the Chair, the remaining four (4) being “Vice-Chairs”– it has no plain “members”. Additionally, the ExCom Chair is intermittently catapulted to SSI to act as quasi Mayor; in parallel, the “Vices” serve as Reeves of the other islands. All answer to the Trust’s  Victorian colonial headquarters where the Trust Official Truth is proclaimed.

The ExCom meets mostly in Victoria. This isolates it from the people – the moat about it being impermeable. I learned this the hard way, I regret to say. A few years ago, after discovering that no “member of the public” had ever attended an ExCom “public” meeting, much less having addressed this august Trust body, I attempted to do so myself. The opportunity arose when the ExCom was to give assent to the SSI LTC Bylaw 473, which formalized Censorship in Salt Spring. I tried to address the ExCom about that Bylaw 437. My unexpected request caused quite a commotion, sending  the Trust Brass looking for an excuse to prevent me from attending. They came up with pure poppycock with no way for me to break though. But I was determined and I pressed on – I made and mailed a written submission to the ExCom, but guess what ...  they unabashedly censored my attempt to prevent censorship.

A few days ago, I glanced at the Agenda of the then upcoming June 5, 2019 ExCom meeting.  To my surprise, it contained at least the following three cryptic entries:

“Communications Strategy Outline - Briefing”  (Item 6.4.13)

“Communications Strategy – Briefing”   (Item, and

[Be resolved] THAT Executive Committee amend their work plan: To include development of a communications strategy as a top priority (Item”

The identities of the “strategist” , the “outliner”, or who would do the “briefing” are clevrly omitted. Nor is there a “communication”, about the wisdom of   “communicating” through an agenda thus secretively worded.

Next,  I glanced at the Agenda Package, a behemoth of 475 pages containing a plethora of incidences of the word: “communications”. ( I roughly estimate the occurrences of the word to be at the 500 mark.

Attempting to read the Package results in depression and is conducive to despair. God only knows how many bureaucrats laboured on our dime to produce that mass of paper. The skills for amassing such wordage is amazing and reminiscent of a very fit filibustering politician of yesteryear. Especially so, given the cryptic style permeating that voluminous binder. Anyway in my short foray through the Agenda Package I found neither a communication strategy” nor any indication of Trust intention for enlightening the great unwashed. It looks as they use “Communications” to mean “managing the message”.

The Trust would have us believe that the five of the ExCom will broach the contents and debate the finer points of 475 pages in the 5 hours or so they will spend in session. They would have us believe they do due diligence (analysis, evaluation, synthesis) of the issues contained therein, in the 5 hours they convene. In reality, the confusion bundled in that binder, even if inadvertent, ensures the prevalence of the bureaucrats over the Chair and the Vices of the ExCom.

No wonder the ExCom has advanced the cutting edge of the “Committee Science” by doing away with publishing Meeting Minutes, or otherwise divulging what they are doing at those meetings with the Trust staff.  As for the Trust Council, it remain is a tad behind the ExCom, as it goes only as far as to publish “highlights” of Meeting Minutes.

“Communication strategy” may be the cryptic word for the output of the Consultants the  Trust has hired to further obfuscate the Website. I discussed the scheme in the February 22 Marketplace, expressing my concerns about the Consultants busying themselves to gauge the gullibility of  islanders.

In the Agenda I found no mention of the Consultants by name. Indeed I have seen no mention of them since I expressed awe at their survey questionnaire in the Marketplace. I have not even heard who won the iPad tablet they offered as bait for participation in the survey.  And, of course I have not found anywhere the outcome of that survey.

In the four previous editions I suggested 20 improvementsto the Trust Website. These recommendations are updated versions of suggestions I had submitted to the Trust in 2013 when the Trust was doing a revamp of its website. They fell on deaf ears then, and it looks like the Trust wants to bury these again, now  under the storm of “communications” they unleashed in the Agenda of the June 5 ExCom meeting.

In response, I challenge the Trust to publish the changes recommended by their Consultants, and the ones which they  generated themselves. I challenge them to let the people see what the Trust bought with our money and compare it to what they received from a citizen pro bono. It is a challenge and it is an opportunity for the Trust to demonstrate their acumen in governing and their respect for the Democratic principle of accountability.

To parephrase Aesop I say to Trust:  “Here is the opportunity, show us (Hic Rhodes Hic Salta)

Tom V
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