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BTA will ask members for input on new leader

Posted by on December 11th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

BTA's new office

Yesterday we shared some names of folks who might be a good fit for the top job at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). Now, the organization has announced two meetings where they’ll ask members what qualities and attributes they want in their next executive director.

Former ED Scott Bricker was let go in November and a national search has begun for his replacement. To kick off that search, the BTA will ask members to provide input on this major decision.

Here’s a snip from an email sent out a few minutes ago to BTA members:

The BTA Board of Directors has initiated the process of selecting the next executive director by organizing a search committee and retaining a professional search firm. Now, the board would like member input on shaping the criteria for the recruitment and selection of the organization’s next leader. You are invited to attend an upcoming meeting to provide feedback that defines the executive director’s role.

According to the BTA email, the meetings will include a one-hour session moderated by BTA Board member Stephen Gomez. Members will get a look at a draft version of the job description and will be asked to provide input on the priorities for the future ED’s first 12 months on the job.

If you’re a BTA member and want to participate, RSVP to Kristin Bott at kristin[at]bta4bikes[dot]org or via phone at (503) 226-0676 ext. 24. Meeting details are below:

    Friday, December 18th
    Noon to 1:00 pm
    p:ear, 338 NW 6th Avenue

    Wednesday, January 6th
    5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
    BTA Office, 233 NW 5th Ave

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  • GreenEugene December 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    For an organization that wants to be a state leader, it’s interesting that all of the meetings are in Stumptown.

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  • Shane December 11, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I was just going to say the same thing GreenEugene. Maybe a web based meeting or something like what Jonathan did last month with Roger Geller via CrankMyChain would allow them to outreach to the statewide members (and potential members).

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  • AaronF December 11, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    The BTA doesn’t care about you guys.

    Nyah nyah.

    But come on…. this isn’t really news.

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  • BTA Member December 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Someone call animal control, I’m going to beat a dead horse…

    I wonder if at these meetings they will be prepared to discuss in more detail why Scott was “let go” in the first place? I know the BTA is trying to look forward and move on, but it will come up, and it’s harder to dodge a question in person than in press releases. Members might be willing to let the Board slide once, but since the same thing already happened with Karl Rhode, I feel the Board is out of line thinking they don’t have to explain their actions. We’re really tired of it.

    I hope Stephen Gomez is up to the task of moderator. I haven’t met him so I’ll assume he’s an experienced and capable consensus-builder, but in the future they might want to consider hiring out for that task. It’d be well worth the money to avoid risking any further estrangement between the Board and the member body.

    And Jonathan, I don’t agree that asking for input on the job criteria and description is the same thing as asking as asking “members for input on new leader”. Maybe you could save that headline for when they get to the interview process and let members attend and ask questions.

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  • matthew December 11, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    so if i join will my dues actually have some effect here in vancouver? i’m not the only one that reads in the BTA’s mission statement that they support regional cycling issues, not just those in portland.

    want my money? earn it.

    i joined the BAW last week. they are a smaller, leaner organization and work to put the tools in the hands of local groups to make the changes we need in the communities that we live in. perhaps they have a more “mentoring” capacity. they are a strong advocate for safe routes, vulnerable users, the “3 ft rule” and other statewide issues. working with around half the $$ and a 3rd of the paid staff (5 paid staff with an operating budget of $500,00) of the BTA i think they have more value for me.

    paying someone else to do the work has yielded very little for me and i feel that mentality runs counter to what grassroots activism is all about. with guidance and support from the BTA folks outside of portland could accomplish a lot. if they gave us some commitment to help us effect the changes we need i’d give them my cash. plain and simple.

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  • Bill Stites December 11, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    And what’s the point of having the meetings two blocks apart? I see the time-of-day differences, but neither are particularly accessible to many who work.
    Whether intended or not, the message sent is, “BTA staff does not want to be inconvenienced”.

    Aside from Michelle P and Carl L, I don’t know anyone else who works for the BTA. There’s something intrinsically wrong with that … but perhaps that’ll improve.

    I really feel like I’ve been wanting to re-join the BTA, but I keep shaking my head.
    The jury is clearly still out IMO.

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  • beth h December 12, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I’m with GreenEugene (#1) on this one.
    And I live in Portland.

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  • chris December 12, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    …and why are the BTA offices in the Pearl district on the Westside?

    Salem would be a better location, but I guess that would be kidding ourselves about where the power center of Oregon is.

    But at least save some $ on rent AND move to where your people are…somewhere around 7th and Hawthorne would be best.

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  • bobcycle December 13, 2009 at 6:19 am

    In the other BTA article comments (Who might take the reins) Jonathan says: “How can they choose a leader when they are still trying to define themselves as an organization.” and Jim Lee says “Those who say BTA should be Oregon’s state-wide agency, with a new group focusing on Portland, are right.” Many comments above hint to the same thing, what is BTA’s focus? Statewide? PDX metro? PDX city? Or maybe spread to thin trying to be everything to everybody. I’m with Jim Lee, BTA for statewide big issues, with a new org to stay focused on local issues. When I go to BTA website to find their stated focus, it seems to be mostly focused on raising money. Which makes sense… trying to be everything to everybody can be very expensive.

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  • Seth Alford December 13, 2009 at 7:24 am

    I suppose that asking the membership for input on a new ED is fair enough. On the other hand, by doing so, the board doesn’t get to hear from me and other former members who disagree with what the BTA is/has done.

    Two of the questions I would like to ask a prospective ED are:

    1. Say Tri-met adds another mile of railroad tracks on the streets of Portland, for a streetcar or light rail. Say that results in a net reduction of 100 cars on the roads of Portland. Remember that many of the new rail transit riders were already taking buses. Is it worth it? What if it results in a reduction of 1000 cars? 10000? What if it results in additional bicycle accidents due to bicycles having to cross and travel parallel to railroad tracks?

    2. Are you in for/against/neutral about the BTA merging with other non-auto advocacy groups to form a Portland version of New York’s Transportation Alternatives? Do we need an organization focused on bicycle transportation, or an organization focused on human powered transportation, or an organization focused on non-auto transportation? Why or why not?

    Actually, after re-reading this, these questions might be better asked of prospective BTA board members.

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  • Steve Brown December 13, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Sounds like the BTA just rode off a cliff, is back on the bike and trying to figure what to do next. Very hard to hit the reset button in mid course but that is what they are doing. Hope they find their way.

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  • Jeff December 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Screw the BTA and their elitism….

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  • kww December 14, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Who would want to be ED, after all the secret-ism?

    I agree with the others, they shouldn’t be based in the Pearl district, but perhaps the state capitol. There’s no way you are going to convince the republican lawmakers from other parts of the state to agree to bike friendly laws from an office in pdx.

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  • Kt December 14, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I used to be on the BTA’s emailing list.

    Every single dispatch from the BTA was about volunteer opportunities in Portland, or happenings in Portland, or stuff I could do to make cycling better in Portland. Everything was about Portland.

    I never saw anything about anything happening in other parts of the state, or even the Metro area. And that’s really sad for an organization who’s mission statement is for cycling advocacy for the entire state.

    It’s really sad that they couldn’t even focus on Metro-wide issues like connectivity (last I saw, biking doesn’t just stop at the City borders), safe routes for all, etc.

    Maybe they think the City of Portland is a state all to itself, I really don’t know.

    Bobcycle raises some good points. The BTA should reorganize to be an actual Statewide organization and let the City of Portland come up with their own bike organization.

    Maybe Metro could form a cycling committee with people from all over the Metro area– Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, LO, WL, Wilsonville, Gresham, Milwaukie, Gladstone, Clackamas, Troutdale…. It’s a big list.

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  • are December 14, 2009 at 9:37 am

    when they go to Salem they do get a couple things done, vulnerable user, safe passing distance, redistribution of highway funds, etc. local issues in Eugene or whatever ought to be dealt with by local groups with maybe support from a statewide group, but a statewide group should focus on statewide issues. we do need a local, Portland group, and it might or might not be BTA. but the local group also has to have a voice in Salem. we need local control of speed limits, and we need someone watchdogging PBoT, city hall, and the police dept. these kinds of issues should probably be taken on by an entirely new crew.

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  • rixtir December 14, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Completely backwards.

    As many have pointed out, the BTA has a problem with its overall direction (i.e., is it a Portland-based advocacy organization? Or is it a statewide organization?).

    The Board should be asking BTA members for input on the future direction of the BTA, and then, having established a direction based on that input, the Board should hire a Director to fulfill the mandate of the organization.

    If they can’t even figure out that they’re asking the wrong questions, maybe the problem at the BTA is with the Board.

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