The minority legal community of Oregon registered their strong protest to the Oregon State Bar's (OSB) Board of Governors on September 28, 2007. They were protesting the removal of the Oregon State Bar's Affirmative Action Program Director, Stella Manabe and the demotion of the overall AAP program at the Bar. The President of the Oregon State Bar has responded to that protest on this blog site. These changes of OSB's Affirmative Action Program by OSB's Executive Director, Karen Garst, are for the worse. This comes after ten years of Ms. Garst's record of poor management at the OSB. Perhaps, Oregon lawyers need to make a change of another sort. It is her evaluation season. That information should be sent to Richard Yugler, OSB President-Elect.
HOW OREGON STATE BAR'S MEMBER SERVICES COMMITTEE BECOMES THE BAR'S BLACK HOLE:
Due process, free speech and truth are in short supply at the Oregon State Bar (OSB). Spin, manipulation and outright deception fill the locked corridors at the Oregon State Bar building. The long-suffering employees of the Bar deserve better.
2002 -- Strategic Planning Goes Awry at the Bar: The Bar's Board of Governors (BOG):>) hired Steven Hacker, an outside consultant, to help the Oregon State Bar plan for the future. The purpose of the expensive all-day seminar was to help the Bar reach for breakthrough improvements and reconnect with the membership. Sixteen sets of BOG eyes sat in raptured attention.
At the time, the Bar already had a Member Services Program. (See BOG Handbook dated 10/30/02, Page 3.1) Member Services had a charge of riding herd on Bar Committee/Sections, elections, local bars and the New Lawyers Division. A key BOG decision coming out of the pricey strategic planning session was to create a new BOG committee known as The Bar Works. This innovative Bar leadership group was to:
1. Redesign how the Bar works with and for its constituents.
2. Redesign how BOG works with the Sections and the Committees where membership energy presently resides.
3. Design the Bar of the future through an inclusive process.
2003 -- Karen Garst has control of BOG minutes. Ms. Garst reinterpreted the BOG goal stated above and folded The Bar Works committee into the Membership Services Committee and restated The Bar Works assignment to be volunteer recognition.
BOG realized Ms. Garst had changed its 2002 decision for this nascent "The Bar Works" committee. BOG then required that Ms. Garst correct the minutes and reidentify The Bar Works committee as a new committee for BOG strategic planning. (See Open BOG Session Minutes dated February 1, 2003, Page 3)
2004 -- The Bar Works Committee is folded into the Membership Services Committee by Karen Garst. The strategic plan envisioned by The Bar Works concept disappears from Oregon State Bar's "dashboard" never to be seen again. Membership Services mission for 2004 is redefined to increase membership involvement and enhance Casemaker. (2004 Bar publication Focus, Page 1)
2005 -- Stella Manabe, Affirmative Action Program Director, makes a formal report to BOG pointing out that Oregon's AAP program is unique in the United States and outlines how OLIO (Opportunities for Law in Oregon) helps minorities understand how to operate in the law school and legal environment in Oregon and how these programs are funded. (See BOG minutes 9/30/05)
2006 -- The Oregon State Bar House of Delegates votes to reauthorize Oregon's successful Affirmative Action Program with Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul De Muniz speaking in favor of the program.
2007 -- Oregon Bar President Albert Menasche and Executive Director Karen Garst engineer a demotion of Stella Manabe to Member Services. Stella Manabe resigns. Oregon's minority legal community arrives on the OSB Board of Governor's doorstep at their Salishan meeting to protest.
Karen Garst and Albert Menasche respond to bulletinsfromaloha.org blog by stating that this change is not a demotion. Mr. Menasche states "...it became apparent that the (AAP) needs a level of support that the Executive Director is not able to provide." Well, instead of Ms. Manabe's demotion, perhaps we need a new executive director at the Oregon State Bar--one that can support OSB's Affirmative Action Program at the level it deserves.
And if you didn't catch it, Mr. Menasche could not resist an ad hominem remark in this blog's direction. He states at the end of his blog 'comment', "You are full of it, Mr. Paulson." He is correct. I am full of the truth.
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