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Making Hobson's Choice

Bad
As of today, I am resigning my position as Registration Department 2nd for BayCon 2010. The following individuals -- in no particular order -- have joined me in this decision:

Erik Bigglestone - Administration Division Head
Meredith Branstad - Publications Division Head
Stephen Nelson - Publications Division Second
Ole "Tycho" Petersen - Hotel Division Head
Kimberly Allbee - Programming Division Head
Daniel Van Den Broeke - Programming Division Second
Matthew Branstad - Operations Division Second
Jim "Sylvan" Sullivan - Programming Event Manager
Megan "Megs" O'Neil - Programming Operations Department Head
Kelly Gallagher - Programming Operations Staff
Alicia Terra - Programming Operations Staff
Cindi Somebody Cabal - Registration Department Head
Christine Doyle - Registration Staff
Donna Leaf - Registration Staff
Karl Thiessen - Registration IT Department Head
Terrance Seddon - Registration IT Department Staff
Steve Libbey - Newsletter Department Head
Tim Bowman - Decorations Department Head
Sandy Benson - Family Friendly Department Head

None of us has arrived at this moment without extensive soul-searching, stressful reflection and lengthy discussions about the ramifications of our decision. We all consider the BayCon community -- staff, attendees and guests -- to be our extended family, and are well aware that our decision to end our involvement in making the convention happen will make the process more difficult on those of you who remain. Our action will likely negate the possibility for a future relationship with BayCon, and may cause the loss of friendships that in some cases have existed our entire lives.

I say all these things because it is important that you understand how difficult a decision it was, and how serious our reasons for resignation are. I will not go into extensive detail here, but there are two key points:

First, there are serious problems at the corporate level of this organization, with continued failures to correct or adequately address these problems by the board of directors of Artistic Solutions -- the corporation that owns the convention. These problems include a lack of financial oversight over several years, which has resulted in multiple years' worth of taxes not having been paid on time. This tax situation has caused a suspension of the corporation's legal right to do business in the state of California. This suspension began prior to BayCon 2008 and has not yet been resolved. Additionally, several bills are now in arrears, in one case for as long as 180 days.

Second, we have lost all confidence in both the leadership ability and business ethics of Michael Siladi. He has proven himself time and again to be untrustworthy and unreliable when handling or providing information regarding the convention's finances, and unconcerned for the consequences to others of his actions. In many situations regarding the quiet ejections or resignations of former staff members, he has publicly spun facts about such situations to his own benefit. Repeated promises and commitments that he has made to resolve issues -- or at the very least to update us on the status of his attempts to do so -- have been unceremoniously broken with no credible explanations offered. For the good of the convention, we believe Michael should make good on the multiple promises he has made in the past to resign from the corporation's board of directors.

Those of us involved in this all took our concerns and issues to Michael and the BoD back at the beginning of November, and made clear our intentions to leave on this date if appreciable progress towards solving the issues was not made. We have not seen any of the proof we requested towards that progress, and thus feel we had no alternative but to take this course of action.

I want to make it absolutely clear that our resignation is in no way a response to the choice of Robert Toland as chairman of BayCon 2010. He is the unfortunate victim of issues completely beyond his control, and we fully support him personally and the work he has done as chairman. Neither do we place any blame on the remaining executive staff or any of the volunteers at large. Because we have no desire to require anyone to start from scratch, we will make ourselves available until the evening of Sunday, January 24th for the purpose of providing information and resources to whomever takes over our responsibilities. As mentioned earlier, we are fully aware that our resignations may mark the end of any future involvement with BayCon and Artistic Solutions. We all support BayCon as an entity and an event, however, and -- if welcome -- many of us will be glad to return once the aforementioned issues are resolved to our satisfaction.

All comments on this post will be screened; please understand it may take me some time to answer them. As there are always at least two sides to any disagreement, I strongly encourage you to seek out the remaining executive staff members and see what they have to say.

EDIT: Follow-up.

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