This is a classic. Not infrequently we come across a board where the real control lies with the CE/ED/GM (whatever title you use). Everything has to be run by the CE for approval including requests/papers by board members or the Chair. So this easy read article by Joan Garry, as well as identifying the sort of issues that a CE seeks to control, also comes up with some useful answers, not the least of which, is it time to let the CE go? Has he/she got too much power? Do they shy off a performance review? Do they keep the board away from the staff?
If you have time, do you want to add your thoughts on how to handle situations like this?