itSMF behaviour beyond the pale
I'm all for a little infighting in itSMF: it keeps everyone on their toes and it keeps this blog entertained. But now somebody has gone way beyond the pale with behaviour that is utterly unacceptable in any civilised business community. In fact it is probably legally actionable. I call on ITSM community members to deal with it. This is a long post, but if you are involved in itSMF, please read it. We have a nasty problem in our midst.
The IT Skeptic has subjected itSMF International bylaws and governance to close examination in the past. And perhaps there are some issues that are worthy of close examination: certainly there are a couple of ambiguities in the itSMFI by-laws that have caused a few folk to take differing views on who and how the International Executive Board should be populated. More of that later.
But the IT Skeptic isn't suggesting disbanding itSMF. I'm not a fan of throwing out the baby with the bathwater - I'd like to see itSMF improved. So I didn't take the petition to have itSMF disbanded seriously, especially as it only got a few votes. Those people have missed the point that it is easier to leave an organisation than to disband it.
Now the petitioner has popped up again, with multiple email blasts to the itSMF world, with stuff like:
shameless people assume others are shameful to face their shamelessness and you are invited to break this assumption by taking action.
The petition will not be created online again as the mission is accomplished by delivering the message to the concerned community. The community is expected to take stance to stop these actions at itsmf. It is not for the community favor to ignore such practices and prefer the safe side. As early signs of the collapse towards which itsmf is heading you can investigate the following 2 points :
1- Why the current board consists of 6 members only not 7? Where is the seventh? (while this is illegal because the number of the board members should be odd number)
2- Read the fantastic comunique your new crafted chair posted at the website to see how lacking vision the leader is (it was courageous/skecthy to post such a communique!)
[Skep: Incidentally the new Board communique referred to is here. I think it shows pretty good vision: as always I look forward to seeing the execution.]
This message is being sent to hundreds of the community professionals for your attention and action. There is a gang of abusers who are steering the organization for their personal benefits and fooling you with flat de defacto communications.
I was going to ignore this too, as a continuation of the peculiar and childish behaviour exhibited in the original petition. However I did contact our "new crafted chair", Marianna Billington, because being a fellow Kiwi I do of course know her. I contacted her because the email mentioned that the petition has since been taken down. Marianna stated categorically that the itSMFI did not initiate that. Whoever you were who asked for it to be taken down, I think you did more harm than good. But THAT's not the point of this blog either.
When talking to Marianna, I was horrified to learn that, four hours before the latest petition-related email, someone - either the same person or someone who writes in a similar manner - had emailed Marianna's new employer (using an email anonymiser). This is what they said:
e[sic] want to warn you of the hire you made for Marianna Billington
leading your ITSM consulting business in NZ. You probably made this
decision based on recommendation from her friend, the HP\\\\\\\'s
pervert, David Cannon, who has also caused a big trouble in itSMF by
illegally pushing her through the board. He wanted you to hire her to
try to prove to the itSMF community she is worthy. You are risking
your business and your customers to her reputation. She is in illegal
position as chair of itSMF
Now I don't care who you are or what your beef is with itSMF or how much substance it has, that kind of behaviour is unacceptable in any business community. More than that, I believe it has crossed well over the line into being potentially legally actionable.
This is a volunteer community. We need to address our issues constructively (No that's not hypocritical. I believe I push the boundaries of "constructive" on this blog, yes, but I like to think it is always clear that I have the best interests of the ITSM community at heart and I avoid deliberately destructive acts). It is bad enough to have this shithead firing off hysterical emails to everyone (which in my opinion don't have a sound basis - as I said, more of that later). We can cope with that. But trying to undermine somebody's personal career shows a moral and ethical failure that beggars belief. I call on the ITSM community to show that this latest act is completely unacceptable. If you have any idea who is behind this slander, please tell them what you think. And since they are slinking around behind a cowardly wall of anonymity, feel free to out them. I'm happy to do that on this blog with sufficient evidence.
Speaking of evidence, I wonder if it is relevant that Rania Al-Maghraby, President and Founder of itSMF Egypt, sent an email back in 2011 to a wide itSMF email list that said, in part:
Since I still find many things are not acceptable, and since I believe that the IEB is somehow hijacked, I have already started the process of hiring a lawyer in UK to settle for me the issues I have with this organization, and he will be approaching itSMF office in UK in few days. I think I have all the necessary reasons to do so because I have tried to resolve these issues internally first.
Needless to say, I don't see that we should pay the requested levies that are intended to be used to support the IEB operations, although we are receiving invoices for that purpose the current days.
Meanwhile, and until the issues we have regarding the IEB are resolved, I'm hereby stalling our participation in any itSMF activities or initiatives, because we don't feel that we are respected member in this organization as we should be.
Presumably "we" means itSMF Egypt. I hope its members are aware that their Chair has taken this action to sue itSMFI.
This followed an earlier and longer email to the same wide audience, from which I quote:
[Complaints about governance of IEB elections, which i will address separately]
... there is a huge amount of incompliance with what's claimed to be the governing rules of this organization. The way board appointments are managed makes it more like a club than like an international organization. ...don't you think that the amount of 'dirty laundry' in itSMFI are beyond the bearable capacity? Sometimes I visualize a group of kindergarten kids playing around their small colored chairs, and improvising play scenarios ... you sit here and you sit there, you come play with us, and you we don't like you don't play with us ... in some way a similar mentality is applied here in that puzzle IEB !
...I would like to clarify my point of view that I actually don't hold any degree of respect to itSMF as a claimed international organization, and I do believe that the IEB is just a big trouble to everybody in it, otherwise we wouldn't find people stepping down one by one like that. I recognize my position as 'a shareholder in this company', I would have hired a lawyer in UK to file a case for me against itSMF International limited company to get responsible authority looking into how things are managed in that NPO. However, doing so wouldn't serve my mission in my local organization in any way, and that's the most important thing to focus on for me, whether we belong to itSMF or not.
After finalizing the list of new appointed board members, and few weeks later, Sharon stepped down, and the action taken to replace her was to hold a new elections despite the tightness of time available...
This year, exactly the same situation happened. After election is finished and the new members have been announced, Michael stepped down. This time a different action has been taken to fill the vacancy, and that was promoting the next highest voted person in the last election held, that's instead of holding a new election like what happened last year.
If I told you that I was the next highest voted person in the last election held last year, and if the same reasoning applied this year was applied last year then I should have been on board to replace Sharon, then you should get my point. According to rules the second election last year was valid, but I hope I have not been bypassed intentionally due to the different reasoning applied this year.
I infer from this that Rania considers Marianna to be occupying Rania's rightful position on the Board... or someone else, I'm still unravelling it. I will address those issues separately when I have more information.
To be clear: I'm not saying that Rania slandered Marianna, but the common tone and concepts suggest that she may well be in communication with the person who did. If she is in contact with that person, I call on Rania to do what she can to put a stop to this before somebody ends up in court and I don't mean itSMF. And as I said above, I call on everyone else in the ITSM community to do what you can to end it too. We shouldn't stand for such despicable personal attacks which damage our community and profession.