AAW Member-Initiated Petitions


AAW Members, please take time to read.


Petition #1      To remove Gregory Schramek from the Board of Directors of the AAW

Petition #2      To Reinstate By-Law 5.16(d) that protects the members’ fundamental right to attend Board Meetings

Dear Friends and Fellow Woodturners –

I ask you join me in a petition to remove Gregory Schramek from the Board of Directors of the American Association of Woodturners

Item #1 – Breach of Agreement

The President, on behalf of the AAW, entered into a Settlement Agreement with me, Jimmy Clewes, on June 12, 2020.  This Agreement was about the mishandling of my invitation to an AAW National Symposium and my ADA accommodation.  The AAW did acknowledge their errors (with no apologies for their actions), granted my accommodation and agreed as follows:

Section E of that Agreement states:

“The present members of the Board of Directors will undertake a training program on ADA requirements of charitable organizations within 6 months of the date of the agreement.  The manner and form of such will be determined by the Board.  Proof of compliance {emphasis added} will be provided to Clewes within 6 months and ten days from the date of this agreement.  Such training will become required under the new AAW Board member orientation rules.”

The required Proof of compliance was not delivered and a Notice of Breach of the Agreement was issued.

It is with strong belief that, on behalf of the AAW, the President knowingly and willingly breached this agreement and washed his hands of further responsibility. This failure could put the organization at risk of significant damage.  This is not good business practice for OUR organization and cannot be allowed to continue.

Item # 2 – Violation of Members’ fundamental right to attend AAW Board Meetings

At the November 2020 Board Meeting, the President recommended that the Board remove a 34-year old By-Law that protects the members’ fundamental right to participate in meetings.  The November minutes state:

“The AAW Board appreciates your support of the proposal to remove Section 5.16(d) of the By-Laws”.

This recommendation was read by the President to the Board.  It did not appear to come from the Board.  The recommendation was hurriedly passed by a vote of 7 to 1 without Board discussion or notification to the Members.  This action stripped the rights of all AAW Members.  In addition, By-Law Section 16.01(b) states “Any changes to the By-Laws shall be posted on the AAW website and printed in the Journal.  As of February 2021, no notification on either site have been made available other than the minutes of the Board Meeting; another By-Law violation.

The By-Laws Section 16.01 clearly states that revision or repeal of a fundamental principle of the By-Laws must be confirmed by a majority of the members of the Association.  Clearly the Board did not feel that your right to attend a Board meeting was a fundamental right!  The President of the Board, Mr. Schramek, stated the motivation for removing member participation at a board meeting as follows:

  • “…enable the AAW Board to communicate transparently, succinctly, and completely through the minutes of the meetings without risk of misrepresentation.”
  • “Retain…privacy and confidentiality when dealing with sensitive matters…”
  • “Improves meeting management and operational efficiency…”

Executive sessions are for items that require privacy and confidentiality, so that it is not an argument for closed meetings.  Members were not allowed to participate/speak at the meetings anyway so barring them from listening would not improve “operational efficiency” of the meetings.  Member attendance may be an annoyance as the Board is often made aware of several By-Law and procedural anomalies of their actions.  The apparent reason is for the Board to operate non-transparently/secretly.

The general meetings should be open to members should they choose to participate.  I am shocked and appalled by their actions.  In my opinion, the President of the AAW has failed as a leader and rather than leading the Board or advocating for members, he has dictated his own agenda – and then tried to shroud it in secrecy.

Disappointed and eager to see our AAW return to the force of good that it has long been for our woodturning community, I present the following two items for a Membership Initiated Petition

  1. To have Gregory Schramek removed from the Board of Directors as a result of his improprieties outlined above; and,
  2. To reinstate By-Law 5.16(d) “All members of the Association may attend Regular or Special Board Meetings.”

Member-Initiated Petitions for removal of a Director must be signed by at least 10% of the members (Section 4.02(b).  This is a HUGE challenge.  However, I believe that the current President may cause further damage to the AAW and the membership by his lack of action, lack of leadership, lack of ethics and total disregard of legal agreements that can harm our organization.

I ask for your support and urge you to click below and sign BOTH of the Member-Initiated Petitions.

Jimmy Clewes

AAW Member