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Open Letter To ARCE - Lack of Transparency

EDWARD D. JOHNSON

ATTORNEY AT LAW

5040 OCEANVIEW BOULEVARD

LA CANADA, CALIFORNIA 91011

UNITED STATES

TELEPHONE& TELEFAX (818) 957-7923

May 10, 2011

By E-mail and Regular Mail

 

Gerry Scott III

American Research Center in Egypt

8700 Crownhill Blvd., Suite 507

San Antonio, Texas 78209

Re: Lack of Transparency in ARCE; Members Concerns

Dear Mr. Scott,

As you are now aware, I have established an alternative site to ARCE’s official one, under the name of www.arcecomplaints.org.

I established the site as a concerned member, due to ARCE’s unwillingness to answer questions about its operations, to allow dissenting points of view, indeed, any criticism at all, to be publicly aired, passed on to members and to permit any meaningful debate about them. Since establishing the site and alerting some, but by no means all, members of it, I have had responses encouraging me to continue to seek more accountability and transparency from ARCE. These include, among others, a response sent directly to ARCE, on which I was copied, calling for an investigation of matters in Luxor and either the dismissal of Mr. Shearman and yourself regarding the conduct of the 2009-2010 season, or failing that, that you be reprimanded and disciplined as a consequence and another detailing the less than timely announcement of positions, effectively prohibiting members from responding to them, in favor of preselected candidates.

In response, I now call upon you and the Board to publicly address concerns raised in the member’s comments and matters I raised earlier on the website. These issues include;

1-ARCE needs to ensure greater transparency regarding its personnel practices. It needs to outline in writing what its application practices are, selection criteria used to fill positions and what the actual interview and hiring process consists of, so as to ensure the application process and selection criteria it has outlined are being followed and positions are filled based on merit and tangible accomplishments, rather than political favoritism.

2-In the past, ARCE has filled many positions with personnel who are not members of ARCE and/or lack solid professional qualifications. ARCE needs to routinely notify members of all employment openings within ARCE by way of direct e-mail, to all members who supply e-mail addresses, to ensure members have a fair opportunity to become aware of and apply for such positions. Such e-mail announcements must be timely, not after the deadline for applications is past, or close to expiring. This has occurred before and with his permission I am posting a letter from an ARCE member on the website which relates his experience in that particular regard.

Positions and job openings should also be announced on ARCE’s website, to reach members for whom you may not have an e-mail address. Such announcements should be timely, prominently featured and easy to locate when initially bringing up the website online, which is not presently the case. They should feature date of posting, closing date for applications and selection criteria at minimum.

3-ARCE should hold positions open reasonably long enough for members to apply for any positions needing to be filled. It has been suggested that this period be at least 30 days before a more general announcement, or advertising, of the position be made.

4-Members have voiced concerns that in comparison with other international and national Egyptological organizations, ARCE has been timid and reticent in urging and advocating additional protection of the monuments and museums by the Army, Antiquities Police, SCA, etc. On their behalf, I call upon you and the Board to either immediately take a more active public role in demanding more protection for the antiquities or, alternatively, explaining in writing to all the members why ARCE is justified in not doing so.

5- ARCE has engaged in anti-democratic procedures regarding members running independently for the Board of ARCE. You and the Board claim only candidates previously vetted and approved by the Board may run, thereby depriving Individual Members, the only members entitled to vote, of any meaningful choice in Board elections. ARCE should state openly, for the record, its position in this respect. If it insists only candidates approved in advance by the Board may run, it should explain to Members why they are not freely entitled to exercise their right to vote independently and elect Board Members on their own, rather than to rubber stamp selections of the Board.

Members should be entitled to be notified of all candidates running. They should be openly listed, their qualifications detailed and made available online at ARCE’s website prior to annual meetings and far enough in advance so that members can fairly evaluate their qualifications, then vote for them as they choose, not as the Board chooses. There are many very experienced and competent members of ARCE, more so than some past and present Board members, who would run if allowed to do so, who would be supported by the Individual Members. It is time for the nomination and election process to move out of the backroom and into the open for all to see and allow all to participate in the process.

The concerns listed above deserve serious attention. Ignoring them, as done in the past, only reinforces the idea that the Board and management are uncaring and unresponsive to members concerns, that ARCE is nothing more than a "Good Old Boys" club, run by and for the benefit of themselves, to the exclusion and detriment of other members. I invite you to now reply publicly to these concerns, on the website, for all members to see.

Very truly yours,

Edward D. Johnson

c.c. www.arcecomplaints.org

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