2017-06-30 / Government / Neighborhood

McGraw ends her term as CCN president

By Josh Cruse

Emma McGraw Myers finished her term as president of the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods at the June 22 meeting. Emma McGraw Myers finished her term as president of the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods at the June 22 meeting. Emma McGraw Myers presided over her last Columbia Council of Neighborhoods meeting as president Thursday, June 22.

It ended an almost two-and-a-half year term for Myers, who began her term as CCN president in February 2015, following the abrupt resignation of then-president Dean Slade.

Thrust into the presidential role, with only months before the annual Columbia Council of Neighborhoods banquet and the 40th anniversary of the creation of Columbia’s Community Development department, Myers put the finishing touches on an eloquent celebration and began what would be a successful term in office.

From the beginning, a challenge Myers found she had to fix was the infrastructure of the organization. With the help of four grants, two from community development and two from community promotions, as well as from colleagues like president elect Walter Marks, secretary Gloria Woodard, and vice president Bessie Watson, Myers helped build a base for a better communication system for the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods. Just this year, CCN launched a new website, www.columbiascneighborhoods.org.

One of the important lessons Myers has learned during her time as CCN president is residents, especially neighborhood association presidents, are hungry for information.

At least five neighborhood association presidents have passed during Myers’s term. A major issue resulting from that is many of those associations were not properly prepared to deal with the loss. In some cases, the organizations were unable to find the bylaws.

Myers hopes she can create a neighborhood handbook for presidents to reference when trying to effectively run their neighborhood associations as well as set up a succession for leadership for neighborhood associations.

Another issue Myers has dealt with is trying to get information from neighborhood groups such as who the organization’s officers are, when they meet, and proper contact information.

Oftentimes, CCN receives half of the requests in an orderly time, but then are left trying to retrieve the information from the rest of the neighborhood associations the remainder of the year.

Myers turns over her post to Tige Watts, a former CCN president and CCN Hall-of-Famer. Along with her goal of creating a neighborhood handbook, Myers would also like to finish updating the organization’s bylaws.

“It’s been a great experience,” Myers said. “I think with Tige coming in, and with him having experience, I think he’ll bring some fresh new insights, and he’ll be able to take the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods to the next level, and that’s what we need.”

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