FGIPC, IAC groups maneuver for new leadership, policies

In the aftermath of the public squabble between the leadership of the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils (FGIPC) and the Industry Advisory Council (IAC), factions within both organizations are pushing for change.

Six of the 10 members of the FGIPC board of directors last week voted for a resolution that demanded federation president Neil Stillman apologize for his actions during the dispute with IAC. Meanwhile, IAC members are calling for changes in the way that organization has traditionally elected its leaders.

The six-point resolution passed last week by the FGIPC board also ordered Stillman to dismiss attorney Matthew Watson, whom he retained to look into charges that IAC was mismanaging its funds.

Stillman, Watson Challenge Decision

But Stillman and Watson challenged the legality of the resolution, which passed with six of 10 board members voting in favor via electronic mail.

Under Delaware laws governing FGIPC's incorporation, Stillman and Watson said no resolution can pass without a prior discussion of the issues either among members at a face-to-face meeting or via teleconference.

"In order for the board to act, they have to have a physical meeting," Watson said, adding that an exception may be made for meetings conducted by teleconference or when a resolution passes unanimously.

Stillman said the resolution was put forth by FGIPC secretary Christine Liddick last month while Stillman was in the midst of negotiating an agreement with the IAC board over the organizations' financial management. He said he abstained from voting on the resolution because he considered it irrelevant in light of the bargain struck between FGIPC and IAC late last month.

Under that agreement, Stillman reinstated the IAC board of directors in return for control of IAC dues.

"We've already taken care of the problem," he said.

Sources said last week's resolution was designed to embarrass Stillman into voluntarily resigning rather than publicly apologizing for dismissing the IAC leadership last month.

But Stillman said he would not apologize even if the resolution were passed legally and would continue to represent FGIPC unless impeached.

An IAC member who requested anonymity expressed confidence that Stillman's foes would eventually succeed in passing the resolution and forcing Stillman out. "It sounds as though Neil has dodged the bullet, but all he has done is to defer the problem," the source said.

Besides calling for Stillman's apologies and Watson's termination, the resolution calls on Stillman to "relinquish all financial records, accounts and control of expenditures" to the federation treasurer. In addition, it said Stillman should refrain from making public statements on the organization's behalf.

It also required Stillman to reinstate the IAC board members, an action he had taken prior to the resolution's "approval."

Aside from the six FGIPC board members who voted for the resolution, two members voted against, and two abstained.

IAC vice chairman Bob Guerra said he personally contacted FGIPC board members and asked them to support Stillman, as specified in last month's agreement. But FGIPC board members could not be swayed to cease their attempts to oust Stillman, he said.

The matter is now one internal to FGIPC, he said, and IAC will not get involved.

Guerra faces dissension among his own ranks as some IAC members, frustrated by the dispute with FGIPC and their perceived powerlessness to influence IAC's activities, called for changes to the organization's election process.

IAC member Valerie Perlowitz said she believes the 180 member companies of IAC cannot be adequately served when power is concentrated in the hands of the nine-member IAC board.

Perlowitz said past IAC elections, in which members were given a ballot with a single candidate or a write-in option, did not give most members an opportunity to influence the organization.

"We need to find ways to keep members in the loop, and the way to do that is through full democratic elections," Perlowitz said.

IAC treasurer Karol Burt said the board agreed last week on four candidates to potentially head a nominating committee in preparation for the organization's June elections.

The selected candidate will have absolute freedom to choose committee members and run the election process, Burt said.

She added that all members will be allowed to submit nominees to the committee. "If the membership is active and votes, a wired decision can't happen," Burt said. "Members should understand that if anybody senses anything wrong in this process, all of us should be made aware."

The candidates proposed by the IAC board to chair the committee are Don Scott of GTE Corp., Dendy Young of Government Technology Services Inc., Mark Amtower of Amtower & Co. and Dan Young of Federal Data Corp.

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