By Nick Stamatakis
During the last Parade Meeting (Panomogeniaki) at the Stathakion last Thursday, Philip Christopher made a gesture of “honoring by dismissing” ALL past presidents. “From now on, you will stay on the side; whoever is over 50 is out”, he told them in a humorous but very symbolic move. This, I am hoping, was the first step toward the process of renewing the Federation. The remarkable success of the Parade Committee this year, despite so many adversities (even the rainy weather at the last minute!), makes them the only viable “authority” towards the Federations’ re-organization through elections by the end of this June.
Philip Christopher, who fell and hurt himself outside Stathakion last Friday (our wishes for a quick recovery), has proven to be a unifying leader, commanding respect from all sides to lead at this critical juncture. The community is calling on him to lead one more time! We are sure he will; he never shied away from challenges… But we all need to help.
Steps to be taken, principles to be followed…
1) All legal actions need to be withdrawn. How do you expect associations to return if you are in Court? Is this what you want, to keep the Federation with only the small number of Associations now participating? If an agreement to withdraw is impossible, the two sides must ask the Court for an adjournment until after the 4th of July.
2) All willing to participate in the election process should be “team players”; they should think and act as a team. We have neither time nor patience for “primadonnas” or “tough guys.” If you are a “primadonna,” go have your own organization and sing by yourself all you want – we do not need you at the Federation. If you are a “tough guy,” you should go sell drugs in the Bronx – there is no room for you at the Federation. I was raised in a tough neighborhood of Piraeus, and I promise these “tough guys” that, as long as God gives me days, their “pseudo-toughness” will be exposed for what it is!…
3) After the Parade Committee transforms into a “Renewal Committee,” it will be in charge of the road to the elections. It will form a “Charter Committee” to immediately edit some charter articles necessary for the election process (while a whole new charter can be discussed and put into effect next fall under the newly elected Board). It will also form an “Eligibility Committee” to check the credentials of all organizations that want to be part of the Federation and participate in the Election process. When the new Charter is discussed in the Fall, the Federation may be able to approve individuals as “Honorary Members” or find a way to approve individuals as voting members.
4) The Renewal Committee will accept and discuss the findings of last year’s Audit Committee and will discuss whether further action is required. (A disciplinary committee can work after the elections). Then, the “Renewal Committee” will call a General Assembly with the participation of all associations that were found to be eligible and will lead the Federation to elections by the end of June. There is no need for a special elections committee.
5) Past Presidents are ineligible in these and any other future elections. Past Presidents and others of older age and experience can form an “Advisory Panel” after the Elections and offer their help when needed. The Federation and the community need all of us – just not as “Presidents”!! We Greeks should finally get to “know ourselves” and avoid our national character “vices”…
6) This plan is open for discussion to all – it is not authoritative but a serious proposal. However, we have no time to spare. We need to decide on these and other steps by the end of this week.
7) All should show common sense and goodwill for this or any plan to work.
- If you cannot speak English satisfactorily, please realize you cannot be an officer of this organization. You can offer your help in some other capacity. Nobody is excluded; we can spare no one. But we will not return to the dismal days of the past when presidents could not speak English (and sometimes even Greek!) properly; we need to move to the future.
- If you have spent most of the last twenty years treating the Federation as a coffee shop, please find something better to do with your time. Astoria has better coffee shops. The New Federation should hire a business manager, and the Board Members would meet monthly in person – or more often remotely – to make decisions.
- If you closely associated yourself with the past administrations – the ones who never offered accounting after the end of the Parades they organized – please respect our intelligence and abstain from any candidacy.
- If you are a member of the media, you cannot be part of governing (or decision-making) of the Federation. Let me be specific: In the past, we had Aktina FM, and now we have Dimitris Filios of Cosmos FM and Dimitris Panagos of Greek News. Media members (for-profit or non-profit) have no place in making decisions at the Federation. PERIOD – end of story.
I will stop here, but I promise you that if I have to, I will name the names of those who I mean (above). In the past, I have referred to several people, the well-known “three ladies” around Galatoulas and several other shady characters, some of whom have stolen monies and other records and property from the Federation. Please do not force me to call names again – I do not enjoy it, but I will do it if I have to.
I will close this short piece by reminding everyone that the demise of previous administrations is underlined by the fact that, as we speak, more books and records of this organization are held at the house of the late former president Galatoulas than in the Federations’ office. Am I sure? Yes, I am…
Let’s work together so we do not have to live in this shameful situation EVER AGAIN!!
DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.