OCBA UPDATE: Moving forward


Someone once said, “If you’re not moving forward, you are falling behind.” Well, your bar association has been hard at work moving forward in a number of critical ways. We have been getting our house in order by creating standing committees within the board to focus on important issues. More specifically, we created a Finance Committee, a Programming & Resources Committee, and an Editorial Board (okay, that one’s not a committee per se, but you get it).

The Finance Committee was established, in part, to help propel an institutional culture shift toward fiscal awareness by our 32+ committees. It will do that by regularly reviewing the OCBA’s financial statements, reviewing our annual audit that is conducted by an independent accounting firm, and reviewing our annual budget before it is presented to the full board of directors for consideration. Those responsibilities used to fall solely upon the executive director and the treasurer. Now, the Finance Committee is made up of Executive Director Terri Gilbert, Treasurer Jim Parks, President Elect Gerry Gleason, and Director Keefe Brooks. In addition, the Finance Committee will focus on fundraising, sponsorship and finance-related policies for board consideration and approval. Working as a team, the Finance Committee will assist the board in ensuring that the OCBA remains fiscally sound for years to come.

As you know, “extreme vetting” is all the rage right now. Our new Programming & Resources Committee is charged with the responsibility to review the value provided by each of our existing programs and to propose appropriate action to the board. There is currently a board-approved moratorium (don’t call it a ban) on the creation of any new programs or committees until that less-than-extreme vetting process has been completed. In that way, the bar association can move forward in a more deliberate and thoughtful manner. It will also review all newly proposed programs or committees to determine the impact on the OCBA’s resources in relation to the value provided. For many years, the board has approved requests by our committees to host numerous events without too much concern for whether the event was fiscally sound. Our great desire to bring substantive content or enjoyment to our members sometimes overshadowed our willingness to crunch the numbers. This committee, which currently consists of Vice President Judge Victoria Valentine and directors Aaron Burrell, Melinda Deel, Sarah Kuchon, and Karen
Safran, will perform qualitative assessments of all requests for new programs or committees following the lifting of the ban – um, I mean moratorium.

We have formed an Editorial Board to take some of the load off of Jan Anson, our very skilled but overworked LACHES editor. The brave new members of the Editorial Board include Ryan Deel, Tom Howlett, Victoria King, Tom Kirvan, Gavin Lacambra, Sylvia Mansoor, and Karen Safran. They will continue the work that began in 1965 with the advent of LACHES, which was created by an industrious young attorney named Jerry Mulligan. Personally, I’m hopeful that the Editorial Board will consider renaming the OCBA’s monthly publication. I’ve never understood why we call it LACHES, which, as you know, signifies an equitable defense to an unreasonable delay in the assertion of a right. The only legally related titles worse than LACHES may be Unclean Hands or With Prejudice.

Finally, preparations are well underway for our Circuit-Probate Court Bench/Bar Conference on May 12, 2017, at the Orchard Lake Country Club. Judge Karen McDonald and Sarah Kuchon have generously agreed to lead that effort. The conference will give us another great opportunity to build congeniality between the bench and the bar in a casual and discussion-oriented environment. I look forward to seeing you there.
David C. Anderson, of Collins, Einhorn, Farrell PC, is the 84th president of the Oakland County Bar Association.