New S.A.M.A. Board Appointed; Membership Not Asked to Vote Yet

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Three days after he announced his pending resignation, outgoing Seventh Avenue Merchants Association President Mike Poulton sent an e-mail to the non-profit’s membership announcing a new, all male Governing Board of Directors.

The e-mail (posted below) contained no details as to how or why the 5 men were chosen to represent the approximately 47 businesses who have paid dues this year, 33 of whom operate businesses along 7th Avenue in Melrose at last count.

The e-mail signature read: “Sincerely, the Outgoing Board.”

Still, all but one of the incoming volunteer directors are well-known in the neighborhood:

  • Gregg Edelman, owner of Exposed Studio & Gallery, was involved with the Board several years ago before moving downtown and then back again in 2017. (Read more about Exposed’s re-opening.)
  • John Strawn has managed The Refuge Cafe for Catholic Charities since it opened.  (Read more.)
  • Stacy Louis, owner of Stacy’s @ Melrose Nightclub helped to plan previous street fairs. He left the S.A.M.A. Board to focus on activities with Phoenix Pride. Louis spoke at a public hearing about his neighbors’ re-zoning in December, and at last week’s pivotal S.A.M.A. meeting.
  • Last, but certainly not least, Brad Moore co-owns Short Leash Hotdogs with his wife Kat. Both live nearby, and moved their restaurant from Roosevelt Row up to Melrose. They celebrated their grand opening last week. (Read more here.)

“Being on a board is an unappreciated thing,” Sandweg quipped dryly Friday night. “All you do is work hard and alienate half of the people before you alienate the other half.”

Sandweg said he was asked to serve on what he called the “interim board” for a month.

Poulton announced Tuesday he had accepted the resignations of all other members, and that he would remain as President until the end of August.

According to the S.A.M.A. Bylaws obtained by This Melrose Life, all the vacancies could be filled from appointment by a vote of a sole, remaining Board member.

However, in a later e-mail to This Melrose Life  (also posted below), Poulton said he and the outgoing Board voted on the following Friday morning:

  • To increase the Board seats from a minimum of 5 to 9.
  • To Appoint the first 5 members (above).
  • To Approve submitted the changes to the A.Z. Corporation Commission.

“The vote was unanimous in favor of all motions, thus installing these five new board members effective this morning,” Poulton wrote Friday evening. “As of this morning, SAMA is under new leadership.”

No mention was made in Friday’s earlier announcement about any election that took place, or when one might take place in the future, even though the outgoing Board was criticized last week for a lack of detailed communication with its members. (Read more.)

“Personally, I think the new board has a good mix of long-time Melrose advocates and some strong newcomers with great potential to help the district,” Poulton wrote. “I am especially glad to see Brad (Moore) jumping onto the Board so soon after Short Leash opened here, and Bill Sandweg getting involved in SAMA leadership again.”

Poulton also wrote that Charley Jones, President of the Community Alliance of Seventh Avenue, submitted the names of the five men to the outgoing Board.

Jones sits on the S.A.M.A. Governing Board in an advisory capacity, as C.A.S.A. is technically a subsidiary.

Jones and Louis said they would like to reserve comments until next week’s regular Board meeting, which will be held at 6:30 P.M. at 734 W. Highland Avenue.

“When certain doors close, others open,” Turner wrote in a text. “Not just for me, but for everybody else, and that’s a beautiful thing!”

As Membership Director, Turner helped launch a new website and an app S.A.M.A. members can download and exchange information about their businesses.

She did not provide any details about her involvement in appointing the new Board.

Edleman, Strawn, Moore, Cavenaugh, Magnum, and Rochelle Poulton did not respond to e-mail requests for comments by midnight Friday.

“Although I do not plan to be personally involved once the transition is complete, I do wish them the best of luck,” Poulton continued. “(I) expect that SAMA will continue to be an influential voice in Central Phoenix for years to come.”

Read more about recent S.A.M.A. actions and plans here.

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