March 22, 2004
Dear Board of Directors:
Please note that no where on this [nomination] form is the applicant asked to follow and uphold the by-laws of this association.
The current by-laws, state that to be a director.... one must be a member in good standing with the association and reside in the region they represent (they must also be 19 years of age or older). No where in the by-laws does it state that a nominee has to be responsible for their family member's relationship with another breed organization
A yet more serious problem is with the wording of the second question in item "XV. Other Information". This question is in direct violation of the laws of the United States. In this country, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. For the ABGA office to ask "....or been named subject of any pending criminal proceeding" is a direct violation of my right as a citizen of this country. Please understand, that I have had a "top secret" security clearance when I worked with a space shuttle contractor at NASA to include an investigation into my past by the FBI, complete with fingerprinting and the interviewing of associates. So, I am not concerned with answering these questions, however I am concerned with the questions themselves.
Please do not interpret the above to indicate that I approve of criminals sitting on the ABGA board as Mr. Duke did last night in our telephone conversation. I personally would be more worried if a board member had embezzled funds or had ties to a terrorist organization or organized crime, as they could have a more far reaching consequence. I do strongly oppose the questions asked on this form. They are poorly thought out and reek of selective screening/discrimination.
My second concern is in the ABGA office "composing my personal biography from the information on the form." I have witnessed first hand the quality of the work that comes out of the ABGA from the top levels and the job they do does not meet my standard. I have seen too many examples of sentences with out verbs or grammar/spelling errors to be comfortable with what the office will produce!
Along these same lines, I question the ABGA's ability to be equally fair to all candidates, an "I am sorry" from Amy will not go far to soothe an error that the office may make in reproducing these pages. Can the ABGA afford to have this type of problem arise by "recreating" a candidate's bio?
Thanks you in advance for your attention to this matter.
(letter to Bob Duke, President, ABGA)
We do not get higher quality of people as regional directors by asking questions we cannot back up with fact or even investigate. Asking if someone has a criminal record or has been barred from a breed registry is not the place to start this quest. If we ask the above questions, then we must also ask:
Have you ever been charged with embezzlement of funds?
Have you ever been audited by the IRS?
Have you ever received illegal kickbacks in any form?
Have you ever been fired from your job due to misconduct?
Have you ever been arrested or charged with a DWI?
Have you ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol?
Have you ever gone through a drug/alcohol rehabilitation program?
Have you ever been charged for sexual harassment?
Do you have any health problems that would impair your ability
to perform your duties as a director?
With the questions on the current application for nomination, you have opened a big bag of worms that can only be confirmed by doing a background check and there is not a release on the form for that to be done. So to what purpose do these questions serve? Need you be reminded, that we are dealing with a volunteer position and as such, the association should be honored that members want to volunteer their free time for the betterment of the association?
Secondly we do not get a "high quality" candidate by going outside the confines of our current bylaws. The only limits our current bylaws require of a candidate for regional director is that they are a member in good standing of this association, are 19 years or older, and that they live in the region they wish to represent. Until the board of directors and then the members of this association vote to change the requirements as stated in the by-laws, then there is no recourse for the association to take. By authorizing the ABGA office to send out the questionnaire with the questions being totally out of line with the requirements as outlined in the bylaws, is in fact a violation of those bylaws if the plan is to use them as a way to "screen" the applicants. If they are not used for "screening" purposes, then why ask them? Following the by-laws has been a problem for this board for quite a while and it appears once again, it is a problem that will not go away.
Now to answer the question in the first paragraph, "How does the association attract quality applicants to the position of regional director on the ABGA board?" This is done by having a carefully thought out plan of action, with set steps and requirements that are clearly outlined and defined in our by-laws. To follow are examples of how this might be accomplished and it is by no means a complete list. However, the items listed below are requirements more fitting for the duties of a director than asking them if they have a criminal record and are more easily verified:
- 1. To qualify to run for the board of directors applicants must have been a member in good standing of the association for "x" number of years. (The "x" would hopefully be in the range of 2 - 3 years AS A MINIMUM.)
- 2. To qualify to run for the board of directors applicants must have actively served on an ABGA committee for at least two years, the committee must have met, and the member must have been present at 75% of the meetings. Committee duty should not count if the committee does not meet, as has been the case with several committees that are currently on the books.
- 3. To qualify to run for the board applicants must volunteer to host the ABGA booth or assist the current director in manning the booth at a sanctioned event or function.
- 4. To qualify to run for the board of directors applicants must acquire 24 hours of ABGA community service over a 24-month period (this could correspond with item one above). This community service could be defined and outlined as manning the ABGA booth, helping at the National Show, helping conduct Jr ABGA activities, helping with educational functions; helping at the office, attending board meetings,... the possibilities are endless.
- 5. To qualify to run for the board of directors, an applicant must have a high school/ GED? If the board feels that a certain level of education is needed they need to decide the minimum educational level required. At the same time, they may need to be aware that an applicant that did not finish high school might be more qualified than someone with a Ph.D, M.D. or J.D. after their name.
- 6. To qualify to run for the board of directors the applicant must submit letters of recommendation from at least three of the following:
- a) pastor or rabbi or religious leader religious/spiritual leader
- b) employer
- c) banker/ business acquaintance
- d) co-worker
- e) ABGA member in their region that they have known for at least two years.
- f) any ABGA member that they have known for at least two years
- 7. In the letter of recommendation mentioned in item six, there should be a form or a set of questions that should be answered by the person writing the recommendation. There should be a way to contact the person making the recommendation, with the understanding of all parties that they will be contacted and questions will be asked.
- 8. Applicants should have to answer a short essay question, if needed limit it to 300 or 500 words. The applicant should be able to organize his thoughts, have a working knowledge of grammar and spelling, and be able to express themselves in a manner that is easily understood. The applicant should have to show that they have some command of the English language and that they can make complete sentences.
- 9. To qualify to run for the board of directors the applicant must be willing to sign a conflict of interest statement and the conflict of interest statement should be in detail and on the application form.
- 10. To qualify for nomination, the applicant must have an email address and be able to correspond with a computer.
Doing any of the above will take prior planning, which would help the total process. Currently, as in past years, it is always a rush to make sure the call for nominations are announced in time, ballots sent out, ballots tallied and then announced. By having a series of steps or goals that an applicant must complete, we should be able to weed out those that may not be "fit for duty." This would also function in the opposite fashion, as those that were truly interested in the betterment of the Association, would meet all the goals and the board would then have the "quality" that some feel it now lacks. However to weed the unworthy out, you must have a plan and it must be one that can be implemented. With what we currently are using, the ABGA will find that it is alienating good members and we will never move forward. Robert's questions are inappropriate and do more harm than good, too bad more thought was not put into this process.
[both letters bear the signature block of Ms. Hadley]
ABGA Member 5133
Coates & Hadley Partnership
ABGA Member 17612