There are certain things that truly annoy me.

Some, like nail picking, or talking 68 decibels higher than is allowed by law, have been with me since birth.

Others, like conducting cell phone conversations in elevators and commuter trains are the byproduct of modern technology and didn’t get me reaching for the Rolaids until much later in life.

But one thing that has consistently irked me was listening to someone complain, bitch, whine (choose one or more as applicable) over a situation or organization, but when afforded the chance to speak up — does his/her best impression of Harpo Marx.

Such was the case at the recent American Institute of CPAs’ meeting of spring council in Savannah.

When not taking myriad tours of this historic southern city or asking directions to the now infamous house portrayed in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," attendees at the confab for the most part sat in stony silence as the agenda unfolded.

True, the air conditioning system during the opening day session was turned down so low, that council members appeared in a state of semi-hibernation, but even when the problem was rectified, any anticipated fireworks went off more like a ladyfinger.

Even controversial subjects such as the CPA2Biz Web portal attracted just a few comments, even when the management admitted they would need up to $15 million in additional financing just to break even. Had I been an AICPA member and heard that, I would have raced to the nearest soapbox.

In contrast to past years, where members were lined up six or seven deep behind the floor microphones, the 2002 version looked more like a an American audience who just watched a Turkish film without subtitles. They understood the plot, but missed the subtleties.

For once, you can’t blame the Institute. They were more than fair and opened the floor to questions that were few and far between.

In my nearly two years stewarding this publication, I’ve received countless emails and letters from the AICPA rank and file, calling for a change at the top level of management or questioning the wisdom and lavish spending on past Institute projects.

And to be balanced, some of you have written formal letters that were published. But in truth, the complacency at the meeting I found more than a little paradoxical.

If the squeaky wheel gets the grease, then this year’s council attendees must have been covered with WD-40.

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