GAMA board member Steve Nicewarner, who resigned last week at around the same time as GAMA treasurer Ryan Dancey (see 'GAMA Governance Crisis'), did so in protest of what he described as the board's failure 'to take effective action to proscribe and punish unethical behavior.' One of the instances of 'unethical behavior' to which he was referring was Dancey's penetration of the GAMA board's confidential e-mails in the period leading up to the GAMA election at Origins.
Asked by ICv2 to describe what GAMA needs to do next to overcome the crisis in governance brought on by Dancey's admission of e-mail hacking, Nicewarner said, 'First of all, both the membership and the Board of Directors need to do some soul-searching, though in different ways. The membership needs to decide what kind of an organization GAMA should be: (1) a manufacturers organization with some input from retailers and distributors; (2) an industry organization that reflects the influence and concerns of all three tiers (manufacturers, distributors, and retailers); or (3) a convention services bureau that arranges trade shows and conventions. For its part the GAMA Board of Directors needs to re-establish its credibility, which is now lower than it's ever been. The Board also needs to address the increasing polarization of the organization and bring the fractious factions back into some sort of harmony.'
Here is Nicewarner's statement explaining his resignation:
In the three weeks since their election, the GAMA Officers or Directors have been presented with multiple cases of ethical misconduct. In two of those cases GAMA's legal counsel has expressed an opinion that there was tortuous [sic] interference in an essential GAMA business relationship, or actual illegal conduct. In each case, the GAMA Board declined to take effective action to proscribe and punish the unethical behavior -- in effect condoning the unethical activities.
I can no longer serve on a Board of Directors with that kind of ethical flexibility. Accordingly I am resigning as Retail Division Chairman effective July 31. The Retail Division is in the process of scheduling a meeting to determine my permanent successor. Until that meeting, Rob Placer, the GRD Vice-Chairman, will serve as acting GRD Chairman.
Postscript (July 29): At the request of several members of the GAMA Board, I have delayed submitting my resignation until the week of July 28. In that week, the GAMA Board has begun to address one of the issues I mentioned in my resignation. (And to be fair, that issue was the new issue facing the Board). It is my hope that the issue will be resolved shortly.