The special meeting at which Northwest Civic Association board of trustees President John Ehlers hoped to resolve major differences with other board members never materialized.
Ehlers canceled the June 14 session the morning it was to be held, saying instead he hoped by the association's next session the first Wednesday of August to have settled what he stated at the annual meeting June 7 was an effort by Vice President Kyle Hartman and others on the panel to oust him.
At the conclusion of the June 7 meeting, during which Ehlers said the organization had "not faced a serious matter like this in at least 10 years," he sought to call for a special session at which all members present could vote on members of the board of trustees, including a complete change in the makeup of the board.
"There are other ways to achieve it that aren't as contentious and we're choosing to do down that road," Ehlers said after calling off the June 14 meeting.
"There are processes where the trustees can resolve the issue and there are processes where the members can resolve the issue," he said.
"We are choosing to start down the path of the trustees resolving the issues."
For his part, Hartman said holding yet another closed-door meeting for just the trustees to work out the internal issues was "maybe unwise at this point."
"I think we need an open and transparent meeting of any member who wants to come," Hartman said.
Ehlers said he would be posting notices on the association's on the website and via emails of any future meetings prior to the resumption of the regular schedule in August. The meetings would be open to the public, he indicated. The NWCA trustees traditionally skip their July session.
"We expect this to be resolved by August," Ehlers said. "The August meeting will be the election of the trustees who have been nominated."
"There's nothing personally that I have against him," Hartman said of Ehlers. "I think it's just a philosophical difference in leadership that has caused us tension.
"We both have failed to effectively communicate with one another. Frankly now is the time with the dissension in the open that the conversations now have to be had," Hartman said.
"There's a level of maturity that has to be had going into the conversation. Change is hard. Forgiveness is hard. It's an ability to wipe the slate clean and have conversations," Hartman said.
Meanwhile, longtime board member Rosemarie Lisko, chairwoman of the NWCA's graphics and zoning committee, has resigned. She declined to elaborate on her reasons for quitting after nearly two decades of service, other than to indicate it was a result of the tense relations among the trustees.
Also, a letter surfaced last week that was signed by all four of the recent Centennial High School graduates who served as student trustees this past year.
"... It is concerning to us that a civic association full of adults can have such dysfunction, as we have observed this year, to the point where people interested in joining the board are unwilling to participate after witnessing the unnecessary drama of the annual meeting," the letter, which was confirmed by student trustee Sara Abou Rashed, stated.
"They're not presenting themselves like they should," Abou Rashed, 17, said in an interview. "There shouldn't be any problems on the board relating to personal views."
The letter further stated "... We are disturbed that board members are so ashamed of certain unnecessary behaviors that have occurred in front of high school trustees to the point where they feel the need to usher us out of meetings into a less toxic environment on several occasions.
"We are troubled that the public was unaware of the concealed drama that took (place) during executive sessions. It was uncomfortable for these issues to be addressed in a veiled manner to the public where no true explanation was actually given, this left a very negative reputation for the NWCA which was difficult for us to deal with.
"It left a bad aftertaste as we ended our responsibilities with the board."