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Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
CREATED: 09/13/13 by mmerson REPLIES: 17
mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 9/13/13 3:48 PM

Dear Fellow DC-Tri Club Members: Today you should receive a ballot to vote for Mid-Atlantic Regional Council members and on several USAT By-laws Changes. If you have not received a ballot by email today and are a USAT Member, please email Amy.Drown@usatriathlon.org and request one. The proposed By-Laws Changes are a back-door effort to get USAT members to approve a package of changes that have never been fully reviewed by the national board, never been discussed by the regions or on the USAT website or in any other manner.
They are so confusing -- and require you to open multiple PDFs to find out any information about them and what you find is unclear.

The proposals will reorganize our region, moving North Carolina to another -- and change other regions, too. It will change the name of USAT to USAT of Colorado. Weird. It will REDUCE athlete representation on USAT's Board and Committees in a mean-spirited attempt to lessen support for our Olympic program and our fantastic ITU World Series events. I urge you to vote NO on all by-laws changes and insist that USAT explain fully what it is they are seeking to do, why our regions have not reviewed the detailed language of these proposals and commented ahead of time, and why they want to hurt our current and future Olympians this way. Please vote NO on all by-laws changes.

I also am running for the USAT Regional Council once again. My platform is contained on the ballot, but I always have been a proud member of DC Tri and honored to serve the wonderful triathlon population of the Washington Metropolitan Area. I humbly ask for you to vote YES for me and NO for the By-laws changes. Please contact me if you have any questions either on this forum or at Melissa.Merson@gmail.com

kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 459
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 9/13/13 5:56 PM

Thank you for the update Melissa. Done and done!!

Leocubillos's ravatar Leocubillos    JOINED: 9/8/12    POSTS: 13
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 9/18/13 3:55 PM

done

mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 9/18/13 4:37 PM

Thank you to all of you who have voted NO on the proposed by-laws changes so far. Let me assure you that now we've seen the actual language, the proposals are far worse than we initially believed. The proposals seek to gut the Sunshine Act protections all USAT members have under California Law. They will allow a small group of USAT board members to deny you access to records and financial information any non-profit should gladly give its membership. You are performing an act of service to your sport, to triathlon, and to your fellow USAT members when you vote NO for all the by laws proposals. Besides, why would we change USA Triathlon to USA Triathlon of Colorado? There is no good reason. Your vote counts and is very important. Typically, fewer than 1 percent of all USAT members vote so a misguided minority can skew the outcome. Please find the USAT ballot link in your email and cast your vote today to vote NO on all three by-laws proposals. Thank you!

rojojade's ravatar rojojade    JOINED: 1/19/11    POSTS: 364
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 9/19/13 9:04 AM

Another reason why no one votes - it gets sent you your spam folder. Fished it out and just voted.

tpulham's ravatar tpulham    JOINED: 8/10/12    POSTS: 36
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 9/19/13 4:01 PM

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for your efforts to inform club members of these changes. I think it's a great service. I was hoping that you could say a little more about your views on the third proposal. What is the reason to preserve the California shell?

Thanks, Tom

mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 9/19/13 4:30 PM

Thank you for asking! You may have heard that a bunch of "elite" athletes are running for the board in a conspiracy to harm age group athletes. While our region's seat is not up this election, it is important to understand that these candidates are dedicated USAT members fighting to keep their own USAT representation and also fighting to keep in place the Sunshine Act and other corporate transparency provisions we now have protecting us.

USAT has been incorporated since the beginning in California. Our liability protections for athletes, club members, coaches, and race organizers all are written under California law. California law gives the directors and members many protections including access to records of the corporation such as the membership directory and budget. All of us who are members enjoys these rights. This is how we prevent corruption and mismanagement. The athlete board members have requested some records that the current leadership is refusing to disclose. Closing the California entity is at least in part intended to block the legal action of our directors from obtaining corporate records they are entitled to receive at present. It is part of the move to gut our Sunshine Act protections. How is that a good idea?

With a by-law change, you have to ask, how will this improve things for our members? Taking away membership rights, moving people to different regions-- these are things you do only if you absolutely have to for a really important good reason. No one has demonstrated that.

In most USAT elections, typically fewer than 1% of the membership votes. Those who want to take away our privileges are hoping we won't vote. For these reasons, I urge everyone to exercise your right to vote and to vote NO. Thanks!

mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 9/30/13 11:50 PM

Reminder to all USAT members to vote, please.

Many members did not receive ballots. If you did not get a ballot, please take a moment to request one. Write to Amy.Drown@ usatriathlon.org and she will send you one. Please check for a ballot from DoNotReply in your inbox and spam folders first.

Please don't think your vote doesn't matter. It does! Please take a moment to dig out that ballot and vote NO on all three by-laws proposals. Lets keep USAT accountable to all of us members and lets be sure the best in our sport are able to have their chance to compete on the greatest stage for the greatest prize -- an Olympic gold medal. Thank you all!

conartist's ravatar conartist    JOINED: 1/31/12    POSTS: 54
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 10/01/13 10:52 AM

What is the reason to oppose regional adjustments? On the proposal, it states to allocate a more proportional vote per member due to large discrepancies in membership between regions. Thereby allowing more equitable 'representation' for each member. Is this inaccurate? Also, aren't the proposed geographic locations more appropriate (closer together) in the new proposal than in the previous one?

I am also interested in the reduction in support of Olympic and ITU events. Can you better explain what is being proposed there? I read a slowtwitch column claiming that elites are trying to 'take over' at the detriment of age groupers. Hard to know what to believe...

mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 10/01/13 11:22 PM

Thank you for your excellent questions. The redrawing of the USAT regional map is jerrymandering in its purest form. There is no need whatsoever to change the state makeup of the regions and in fact it will harm, not help, future USAT growth. There is no more "equitable" representation. USAT membership has grown enormously since the 2000 introduction of triathlon in the Sydney Olympics. Some regions, such as ours, have worked hard to grow our membership. Others have not. Moving one of our largest states - North Carolina - to another region, will do nothing to help that region develop our sport but will hurt event organizers, businesses, and sponsors who've developed their business plans around specific regions. This is foolish. The specific proposal before us was never put in front of the regional councils or explained to us. It was just thrown on the ballot in the hopes our members wouldn't look too closely at it. In the past, by laws changes came before us with a pro and con statement that explained it to you. Not these. The proposed geographic relocations aren't closer together unless you think Arizona is anywhere near Minnesota. Other than that they're both west of the Mississippi, I think Arizona has a lot more in common with California, where it is today, don't you? The answer to the problem of slower-growing regions is to help those regions replicate successful development programs in their states, not by shaking up regional race calendars and longstanding athlete rivalries.

Elites taking over USAT? I read that too but it's nonsensical. We all begin as age group members. Some athletes with great potential who meet certain performance standards and have the audacity to dream of making an Olympic team are eligible to purchase elite licenses. USAT has a minimum requirement of 25% participation by elites on our board and committees. The race directors on the USAT board want to cut that to 20% to reduce the athlete representation. The elites are under attack not on the attack. No reason is given for the cut and the proposers assume the age groupers will go along with this mean-spirited proposal to make life for our Olympic hopefuls even harder than it already is.
When they no longer participate as elites, some athletes return to age group racing. Some become race directors or coaches. Two of the candidates the Slowtwitch post was referring to are race organizers who depend on age group athletes for at least part of their livelihood. The author didn't bother to research their backgrounds. One of the athletes races Xterra, which some people think might enhance the board's understanding of diverse race formats. I don't think the 4th ever held an elite license. There are 8 other board members who have never held an elite license so even if by some stroke of luck all four of the challengers are elected, they still will be a distinct minority so I don't see the threat. We have 50% turnover in annual members in USAT every year. Anyone on the national board or running for the national board knows that without age groupers, the sport dies. I have sat in USAT board meetings for years with elite athletes and never once heard one person suggest reducing services or support for age group athletes.
I hope this helps provide a clearer picture for you and others.
Please take the time to vote and please vote NO on all three proposals. The proposals also dilute much of the strong language now providing transparency to members in all important USAT business including budgeting. We don't want to lose these valuable Sunshine provisions. The Slowtwitch editor spoke out strongly against the three USAT bylaws proposals. We don't want to be USA Triathlon of Colorado either (that's the 3rd proposal). Thank you!

siehndel's ravatar siehndel    JOINED: 11/25/05    POSTS: 1064
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 10/02/13 6:57 PM

Thanks for all of the chatter and reminders. I'm having trouble getting a reply to my requesting a ballot. I just sent another and hope it goes through.

Voting ends on Oct. 15 so don't miss out!

mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 10/02/13 8:16 PM

Travis: Please send another email to Amy.Drown@usatriathlon.org and cc: Rob.Urbach@usatriathlon.org. Please keep your "sent" emails. There are a number of irregularities I am aware of already. You may be aware that USAT has suspended the elite athlete's own election because there was a mess up with merging data bases or something of that nature. So please keep your messages. Also check your spam folder. Some people have found the ballot emails there. I think that once you cc Rob Urbach, you will get a response.
Thanks everyone. You have to understand how important it is to vote these bylaw changes down.

bcfrank's ravatar bcfrank    JOINED: 3/23/09    POSTS: 966
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 10/02/13 8:37 PM

Yo voté!

siehndel's ravatar siehndel    JOINED: 11/25/05    POSTS: 1064
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 10/02/13 8:41 PM

Thanks, Melissa!

And if you don't know her and it isn't already apparent, Melissa is clearly a strong and passionate voice for our sport. She's got my vote!

mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 10/02/13 8:46 PM

Thank YOU, Travis. I am a strong believer in our geographic representation, a lesson i learned from former House Speaker Tip O'Neill. Regardless of where I am -- USAT-MidAtlantic, USAT, or ITU, i represent the people who elect me. For me, that always has and always will begin with DC Tri. We are the best organized, the most welcoming triathlon club in the world. For the three state area+ that we cover, the intellectual capital and athletic determination of our members, there is no equal. From beginners to professionals, from back of the pack age groupers (that's me) to Ironman competitors (that's me too, though I wasn't very competitive!), we help each other, support each other, back each other all the way.
Go DC Tri!

mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 10/14/13 1:20 PM

LAST CALL for USAT Elections:

Let's use that IM Hawaii Kona hangover energy & get out the vote1 Here's a last minute reminder for all USAT members. If you have not yet voted in the USAT elections, PLEASE VOTE TODAY!!

The general election closes tomorrow October 15. Please be sure your vote is counted.

We are asking you to vote NO three times on the three separate by-law proposals on the ballot. Details are in my previous posts.

USAT's board has halted the elite athlete's own election due to irregularities in USAT's voting process. Their voting was supposed to resume weeks ago but it hasn't.

Please take two minutes and vote NO. You should have received a link t your ballot from USAT. It may be in your spam mailbox from a Do Not Reply address.

If you have written to USAT to request a ballot not received and no one has replied, please send another email to Amy.Drown@usatriathlon.org and cc: Rob.Urbach@usatriathlon.org. Please keep copies of your "sent" emails. There are a number of irregularities I am aware of already so please let me know if you have any problems and I will pass it on to board members who are keeping track. Remember if you have children who are USAT Youth members, they are entitled to vote also. We need every NO vote we can get. Thank you all!

bcfrank's ravatar bcfrank    JOINED: 3/23/09    POSTS: 966
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 12/28/13 3:13 PM

Do we know what the voting outcome of these by-law proposals was? Have the results been released?

mmerson's ravatar mmerson    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vote NO on USAT By-law Changes
POSTED: 12/29/13 12:28 AM

Here's the current status as best I know. I am pulling this information together from what's been posted on the USAT site. Here is my brief summary of what I've found, with the source materials below. The answer to both of your questions is "No!"

I think what the website says is that USAT's Board has set aside the entire national election conducted in September-October due to irregularities in the elite athlete election. Although there were no stated issues with the general elections or by-laws proposals, the board also nullified the entire general election & by-laws votes. Also, while there is nothing stated about this, it seems that the board members whose terms expire Dec. 31st according to USAT by-laws, may try to remain in office past that date.

So, why is the entire election to be re-held in January being delayed? First, the minutes appear to state that a 3-person panel will be brought in with the USOC's help to administer the election. Also, I think USAT CEO Rob Urbach, as the stated election administrator, asked the USAT Governance Committee to take action to remove one of the elite athlete incumbent USAT Board members from the ballot (after his place on the ballot was approved) over an alleged procedural error. I understand the committee chair referred it to an Hearing & Appeals Committee, USAT's quasi-judicial panel.

This is an unfortunate development IMHO because the elite athlete is widely supported by USAT's other elite athletes and now serves as the co-chair of the ITU athlete committee -- a position the US could lose. He is a strong athlete advocate. The Amateur Sports Act mandates that athletes select their own representatives and I'm worried this may be construed as interference in that process.

I also am concerned that the initial election results are being withheld from us, and wonder if the administrator and maybe even the board know the results. Essentially, this would give some individuals a free do-over, which would be an unfair advantage, I think. More importantly, it would give another bite of the apple to the proponents of the by-laws proposals, which were widely opposed by many including members of this club, many other clubs, this and other regions, and on Slowtwitch.

Source Materials from USAT's website:

"Election Results To be Announced in January
Originally scheduled for Oct. 31, the announcement of unofficial results from the 2013 USA Triathlon Elections is postponed until late January. The delay is due, in part, to a temporary suspension of the elite athlete voting process this year."

Here is what is posted in the most recent minutes of the USAT Board posted online:

Segment of Board's November meeting minutes:
"CEO Report (continued): Urbach continued and completed his general organizational overview, including the NCAA initiative (January vote anticipated); an update on the 2013 election, historical voting protocol, membership database confusion and issues, and the issue of whether Sexton is qualified to be on the ballot.
Recess 3:45 pm
Reconvene 4:00 pm
Elite Election: Urbach updated the board on the current status of the 2013 Election.
Motion (by Wendling and seconded) to restart the non-pool elite and elite election as soon as possible. All elites will be eligible to vote for General Director and Regional Council.
Plata proposed a friendly amendment that USAT CEO request the USOC appoint an administrative team – three person panel (USOC Board member, USOC AAC member, and a NGB Council member) to administer the restart of the election.
Roll Call Vote on amendment:
Barrett Brandon
yes Susan Haag
yes Vince O’Brien
yes Jacqueline McCook
no Victor Plata
yes Steven Sexton
yes Barry Siff
no Kevin Smeltzer
abstain Kevin Sullivan
no Jack Weiss
no Bob Wendling – (break tie vote)
no Mike Wien
no
Amendment failed Y-5, N-6, A - 1
Roll Call Vote on main motion:
Barrett Brandon
yes Susan Haag
abstain Vince O’Brien
yes Jacqueline McCook
yes Victor Plata
yes Steven Sexton
abstain Barry Siff
yes Kevin Smeltzer
abstain Kevin Sullivan
yes Jack Weiss
yes Mike Wien
abstain
Motion passed Y-7, N-0, A-4
Motion (by Haag and seconded) to restart the entire voting election process: General Director, Region, Athlete Director, AAC Representative, and proposals.

Wendling recommended that Urbach be a part of the three person panel. Urbach as mandated by Bylaws is the election administrator and will work with Plata to request that the USOC appoint a three person panel.

Sullivan offered a friendly amendment to restart the voting as opposed to restarting the election. Haag accepted.
Wendling reminded the Board that a date to restart the voting will occur after a decision is made by the Hearing and Appeals Committee on whether Sexton is qualified to be on the ballot, which is currently pending.

Roll Call Vote:
Barrett Brandon
yes Susan Haag
abstain Vince O’Brien
yes Jacqueline McCook
yes Victor Plata
yes Steven Sexton
abstain Barry Siff
yes Kevin Smeltzer
abstain Kevin Sullivan
yes Jack Weiss
yes Mike Wien
abstain
Motion passed Y-7, N-0, A-4"

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