Except for Secretary Race, SCA Board Elections Will Be Uncontested (but Not Entirely Uncontroversial)

Except for Secretary Race, SCA Board Elections Will Be Uncontested (but Not Entirely Uncontroversial)
SCA board member Matthew Cowan speaks to members at Bayland Community Center on October 26, 2023, next to a screen that displays all but one of the proposed candidates.

Update (11/15/23): the secretary race is no longer contested. Annie Love has withdrawn. Read this article for more.

Last Thursday was the last chance for new faces to be nominated to the Sharpstown Civic Association board in 2023. At the October 26 general meeting at Bayland Community Center, SCA members had the opportunity to nominate themselves or others from the floor.

Five new faces (and four incumbents) had already been approved as director candidates by the board on September 11. ("Director" is just another term for "board member.") But one, Maria Allison, dropped out, leaving an opening.

The seven proposed director candidates who attended the meeting were each given a few minutes to introduce themselves. That list included one new addition: Anne Wilburn, a homeowner from Section 1.

Wilburn nominated herself for the positions of director and secretary. In her brief speech, Wilburn acknowledged her history of criticizing the SCA on NextDoor: "The reason...is that I think that there are so many ways we can be better, and I thought that rather than just continue to post on social media, I would put my time and effort and experience with nonprofit organizations where my mouth is and actually run for board."

SCA secretary candidate Anne Wilburn introduces herself to members.

Since one director slot was already open, and no one else nominated themselves, Wilburn is virtually guaranteed to become a director. (Board member Matthew Cowan said that each candidate needs to receive at least one vote—but they are allowed to vote for themselves.)

However, Wilburn is not guaranteed to become secretary. In September, the board approved Annie Love, a current board member, as the other candidate.

When SCA members vote at the November 16 general meeting, they will get to decide whether Wilburn or Love will be the next secretary.

The secretary's job may not be flashy, but it's important. The secretary is tasked with keeping accurate minutes of each board meeting and general membership meeting, according to the bylaws. Otherwise, one, two, or even twenty years from now, how will people know what decisions the board and general members made at each meeting?

Accurate minutes, if posted on the SCA's website in a timely fashion, are also a simple way for general members to know what's happening in board meetings (since most do not attend them).

Wilburn said that her experience with the Better Business Bureau has taught her how to advocate for "good business practices for nonprofit organizations."

Love did not attend last Thursday's meeting, but the Sharpener has reached out to her to request an interview.

Here's the full list of proposed officer candidates:

  • President: Matthew Cowan
  • Vice President: Elizabeth Schooler
  • Treasurer: Helen Zhou
  • Secretary (contested election):
    • Annie Love (did not attend)
    • Anne Wilburn

And here's the full list of proposed director candidates (uncontested election, since there are enough slots for all):

  • Sydney Bumpass
  • Sharon Galloway
  • Mike Marshall
  • Mario Pinheiro (did not attend)
  • Anne Wilburn
  • Matthew Cowan (incumbent)
  • Donna Fain (incumbent, did not attend)
  • Mark Harrison (incumbent)
  • Byrom Wehner (incumbent)

But not everyone agrees on this list. In public comments at the October 9 board meeting, SCA members Jim Bigham and Anne Wilburn challenged the nomination process that the board followed at its September 11 meeting. They argued that the nominating committee was not appointed according to the bylaws. If true, that would call into question the validity of most candidates' nominations.

Bigham said that the issue is not about the nominations themselves, but rather about whether the current board follows its own rules.

The board could have made the controversy irrelevant by nominating all candidates from the floor at last Thursday's meeting, but that did not happen. Matthew Cowan, the head of the nominating committee, maintains that the board followed proper procedure when appointing the committee.

You can read more about the controversy here (and another article is hopefully forthcoming).

However, at the October 26 general meeting, no one challenged the previous nominations. Has the controversy been laid to rest? The next few meetings will likely tell.

District J City Council candidates Edward Pollard and Ivan Sanchez attended this month's SCA meeting, as did At-Large 1 candidate Kendall Baker. Click the links above to read the Sharpener's coverage of the District J candidates.