ALA Election Fraud

Originally posted here.

This is rich. The Social Respinsibilities Round Table (Respinsibilities? Never was a typo so appropriate, but I digress) just sent out a postcard of SRRT candidates for the election and left my name off... deliberately. Now in the ballot descriptions I left my association with SRRT off, that was my decision. If they had asked me prior to sending the postcard I may have said leave it off (but there's a debate there waiting to be had as well). They didn't ask. In fact the person who sent them, Elaine Harger, said flat out:

"Your name is not included because I could not in good conscience play any role in votes being cast for you by anyone who is unaware of your hostility toward everything that SRRT stands for. The other name left off the list was my own, because I also could not in good conscience accrue any possible votes myself while depriving someone else (even you) of the same."

The money for these mailings comes from ALA, SRRT is using ALA funds to politik for specific candidates, not just SRRT members in general. SRRT is not representing ALA, they are not representing ALA members, only individuals who abide by certain beliefs. If they did this for a general election, state or federal, it would put ALA's status as an organization at serious risk. Whether it applies to elections within ALA I don't know but the ethical violation here is astounding.

At the very least I call for SRRT to be defunded and to lose their Council seat for a full term of 3 years.


Elaine Harger, SRRT Coordinator, has asked that this be posted as a response.

April 24, 2007
Dear Colleagues,

I understand that there have been postings to various listservs concerning a decision I made last week to mail a postcard to all SRRT members reminding them of the ALA election deadline and listing SRRT members who
were running for ALA Council. This list did not include two names, which I deliberately left off--that of Greg McClay and my own. I owe each of you an explanation.

Last year the SRRT Action Council decided that a special issue of the SRRT Newsletter, with information about the election, should be published. When the time came for this to happen, SRRT newsletter editor Erik Estep had a very serious family emergency and so was unable to pull the issue together. As SRRT coordinator I felt it was then my responsibility to do something to carry out AC's decision. I could not put out a newsletter and decided to mail a postcard notice.

When going over the list of all the SRRT members running for ALA Council,I could not bring myself to include the name of Greg McClay, as his sole
purpose in paying his $20 dues to SRRT has been to ridicule the work and belittle members of the organization. His postings to the SRRT listserv
have made many people uncomfortable to engage in discussions. I could not, in good conscience, list his name among those of others who, regardless of the many differences they might have regarding the matters
SRRT brings to ALA's table, do not purposefully engage in undermining the work and spirit of SRRT.

This was not an easy decision for me to make, but I wanted no hand in the possibility that someone might consider the list of names an endorsement of the candidates and actually vote for him. In retrospect, I should have either just not worried about carrying out AC's decision or should have just let the democratic process happen and deal with the possibility of
his election if and when it occurred. I left my own name off the list of candidates because, being that I was the person who decided to send the card, I considered it a conflict of interest to include myself as candidate. This action was mine alone and I paid for the mailing myself.

I realize that many people are disappointed that I took this action. Were I to be in such a situation again, I would deal with it very differently, and I will certainly be working with SRRT Action Council to come up with a mechanism to deal with such situations in the future. I do not believe SRRT should be in a position where it is required to promote the candidacy
of a member like McClay. What is done now, is done, however, and all I can do is learn from the experience and ask the forgiveness of all those who are disappointed with what I did.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Also, feel free to post this message to any lists where the matter is being discussed. I subscribe to only a few ALA lists, and have no idea how wide an audience this matter is reaching.

Elaine Harger.

[email protected]


Are the funds for the mailing being repaid to the ALA? If I had made such a grievous mistake I would personally reimburse the association for my error.

That would certainly demonstrate a true sense of remorse for this obvious political attack. The apology does not ring true insofar as the motives of Mr. McClay are impugned.

A more fitting apology would note only the error made, and not include any perceived motivation of others, nor convoluted reasoning that led up to the faulty decision. It would also offer an apology to those harmed, including making whole those from whom you appropriated funds for your misguided efforts.

If you can't afford to reimburse the association let me know how much it was and I'll send a check, provided you make a sincere apology and refrain from questioning others' motives.

(Mailed to Ms. Harger as well)

Please review the posting above. Your question is answered.

This isn't the first time they have tried to censor their own membership. An apology of any kind really isn't going to cut it at this point.

It was done with ALA resources and it had SRRT's stamp of approval on it.

It amazes me that a librarian, one who purports to be socially responsible can be as cavalier as to sully the good name of another member of the profession because of his views, his thoughts, and his desire to improve our shared vocation.

In a profession that prides itself upon the free expression of ideas the attempt to stifle that free expression by purposefully omitting Greg McClay from a list of members of the SRRT because you personally disagree with him is repugnant, nay disgusting.

To further your political agenda by spending member funds is abhorrent enough, to provide an ersatz apology in which you blame others for your shortcomings and impugn his motives, and indeed libel Mr. McClay by ascribing to him motives that seem to exist only in your mind is appalling.

Freedom to read, freedom to think, freedom to express one's opinion is a cornerstone of library service. Indeed article IV of the ALA's Library Bill of Rights requires that libraries (and we can of course extrapolate that to our professional organization representing libraries and librarians)

. . .[S]hould cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

To suggest the purposeful exclusion of a member of the SRRT from a roster of SRRT members standing for election because of their ideas, views, and speech is not in direct opposition to the tenets to which we as professionals subscribe contravenes rational thought.

I can find no greater wrong a professional librarian could commit than to purposefully, maliciously, and with an overt political purpose attempt to stifle the thoughts, ideas and expression of another. To compound that great wrong with a self-serving, spurious apology in which you cast doubt upon the most noble motives of another is beyond the pale.

Ms. Harger I hold you in great contempt. You, Madam, I must opine, are no credit to the profession and are the reason I am hesitant to call myself a librarian. You should be ashamed. You should atone with a sincere apology, not more name calling and excuses.

You owe Mr. McClay more than an apology, you owe him a thank you for not bringing an action against you for dragging his good name down with your baseless accusations. As a man of character I can't fathom Mr. McClay would commence such an action, however I would heartily encourage him to do so. A better man than I, Mr. McClay will, I must assume, excuse you with nary more than a stinging rebuke.

The printing as well? I wanted clarification. I want to know if the ALA non-profit franking was used.


The gerund of frank (sorry I couldn't resist)

That postal imprint box that is in the upper right hand corner of the non-profit agency mail. It may be a more non-US term. Paying postage without stamps or meter indicia.

Nope, its got a stamp on it. Who printed the postcards I don't know. Its postmarked Seattle. ALA provided the mailing labels.

I saw the treasurers report for the SRRT and this was not paid for with their funds. The treasurer also noted that no receipts had been turned in for reimbursement involving this mailing.

Since I offered to pay for the mailing I'll gladly donate the cost of the mailing to a library that needs the money (I've chosen the Elma, NY library part of the B&ECPL) If someone tells me how much I'll send a check.

I never joined ALA--the organization is a complete joke--and don't know why Greg would even want to be a part of it. However, I am truly shocked at the pettiness, hostility and unprofessional behavior of this person. I feel so good about the money I saved over the years by not joining.