The "Write-In" Candidates
Statements Billy Richards
I am a Candidate for National Director of USPA. I am running with the hope that if elected I will abolish the position of National Director and replace it with apportioned regional representatives with a defined responsibility to a defined constituency. If you have any questions about me and my platform call me 24/7 at 914 255 1087 (collect).
John Goswitz [firstname.lastname@example.org] on the rec.skydiving newsgroup:
"In the last 14 years I have been on the Board this discussion has come up a number of times and yet we have not come up with any workable solution. Even
Mr. Richard's, as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Reapportionment Committee in
1998/99 could not come up with a plan. If you couldn't do it then, what are
your plans to do it now?"
Bill Richards reply to John on the rec.skydiving newsgroup:
The Ad Hoc committee came to the same conclusion that Joe Svec came to in 1984, in order to get more Regional Directors we had to eliminate National Directors. When we canvassed the current National Directors, none was willing to relinquish their seat except me. The concept of reapportionment requires the sitting Board to poll the membership through referendum in order to change the Constitution. We all have seen the result that has had. Not one National Director has even hinted that they were even interested in this concept. USPA's governing body consists in part, of 8 Directors with absolutely no responsibility to any set region (i.e. Geographical Constituency) other than to uphold the constitution of USPA.
Regional Directors such as yourself however, as prescribed in the SOP's have direct responsibilities and a tangible, real geographic constituency. The apportionment of these "Regions" is completely out of whack with the number of votes a director has (one) and the number of people he/she represents (i.e. Eastern 3938 members, Southern 1167 members or Mountain 1134 members). We have fourteen Regional Directors volunteering to cover the entire US and Eight Directors who do what? (i.e. # national Directors are based in Arizona) It's no wonder almost no one wants to be a Regional Director and 22+ volunteer to be National Directors. It's well past time to change that.
I may be reached at 914 255 1087 (collect) for further comment, if you want it. Thanks for being in the trenches, John, you and all the regional directors past and present deserve it.
Bill Richards - Write in National Director Candidate.
Comment by Karen Kirby-Hall
I took Billy Richards up on his offer of calling him collect. Had a nice conversation with him. After speaking with him, I am convinced that he truly believes that his plan for smaller regions is a good sound plan, that he does have a plan to make this happen, and that he is a vocal individual who will not be afraid to voice his opinion. He also stated that he feels that the USPA should make "recommendations", and not try to regulate skydivers with a lot of rules. If he does get elected, and is able to get the support on the board to institute the changes he envisions, expect to see more involvement by everyday jumpers in issues that affect skydiving.
He did state that he does not feel that the DZO's need their own organization, that USPA should be able to represent both the DZ's and jumpers. I asked him about the changes in the student program, and he stated that the USPA should, again, give guidelines, and let DZ's develop their programs around these guidelines, with the goal being graduates who have the basic skills to participate in the sport and build on that foundation (paraphrasing).
Windsor Naugler's statement on the controversy Mullins/Richards.
Windsor is also a candidate for National Director.
I am honored to know Mike Mullins, and anyone who claims he does not adhere to the rules is badly misinformed.
He loves his children dearly, and does not push them to jump. When they are ready, willing and able to jump, they do so in accordance with applicable FARs (BSRs don't apply until they are USPA members), under conditions that are safer than riding bicycles on their home streets.
The board loses credibility when they do not honorably represent their constituency.
If I understand the situation correctly, the issue Billy pursued by litigation was to reverse the parliamentary maneuver used to negate the results of a referendum.
Put another way, the membership voted for a change in procedures and the majority of the votes were for the change. For reasons beyond my comprehension, some members of the board opposed the change and threw out the results on some pretext or another. Billy took the issue to court to make the decision of the membership binding.
The fact that Billy did not roll over, and fought to ensure that the decisions of the membership took precedence over the preferences of the board is the strongest argument in favor of his candidacy.
I'm sure as hell going to write him in.
I urge the membership to follow Mike's advice, and to only vote for those candidates who will represent their interests. You do NOT have to vote for eight.
Write in Mike Mullins. If there is anyone in the sport who works harder for the membership it's news to me. I have known him for many years, and have been routinely amazed at the energy with which he strives to provide the best services possible to his customers - from tandem students to world champions. He is and has been a loyal member of USPA, is meticulous in adhering to FARs and BSRs and will devote his unmatched talents at furthering the interests of the membership of the USPA.
Write in Billy Richards. Billy has been instrumental in effecting many of the best changes that have taken place in the sport over the last decade plus. Much of what we now take for granted is what Billy has worked long and hard to bring about. He has never lost sight of the needs of the people who keep him in business. Based on my experience with Billy Richards over the years, I have no reservation about having him represent me. He has always delivered more than I could have asked.
In running for the Board I do not claim to be as hard working or knowledgeable as either Billy or Mike. If elected I will do my level best to live up to their standard, which is not an easy task.
I am confident that any or all of us will devote our efforts to the benefit of the membership of the USPA, and that the organization will be well served by our presence.
Blue skies, Winsor
Statement Mike Mullins
I had been urged by several USPA Board of Director members to run as a National Director. I was interested in running as I felt that the board, in general, is out of touch with the average skydiver, bows to special interest groups, and that I had some good ideas to improve USPA.
Chris Needels, USPA Executive Director, wrote in the Capital Commentary in the November 1998 Parachutist:
"If a member wants to run, then he or she simply has to meet the largely administrative requirements of filling out forms, providing biographical data and a photo and submitting it all on time. In short, the membership, not the committee, decides who will provide the volunteer leadership of the association".
However I soon found that it is indeed the board who decides the leadership by not allowing the most qualified candidates to be on the ballot.
I submitted all the required data and the three board member Nominating Committee refused to put me on the ballot. The Committee in doing so violated the selection criteria that is clearly spelled out in the Governance Manual, selected at least one candidate with virtually no qualifications, and let their own personal bias affect their decision.
When seeking redress for their actions, two sitting Board Members, Gary Peek and Jim Cazer, petitioned the board as follows:
"I, Jim Cazer, the Southern Region Director and I, Gary Peek, the Central Region Director, do petition the President of USPA, Executive Committee and all Board Members to set right the wrong that was done to Mike Mullins, USPA #336, License D-1643, by excluding him from the qualified list of National Director candidates. Under section 1-6.3 C of USPA Governance Manual, I formally petition the full Board to reconsider the decision made by the Nominating Committee (Bill Wenger, Madolyn Murdock and Lee Schlichtemeier)."
Cazer goes on to say: "BJ, my opinion is, the strong competition is being eliminated from the ballot".
The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors refused to alter the decision of the Nominating Committee and refused to put me on the ballot.
I am, therefore, running as a "write in" candidate for the position of USPA National Director.
AFF Certification Courses. Management at USPA has canceled AFF Certification courses, often at the last minute, when not enough candidates signed up for the course to ensure a USPA profit. Candidates have made plans, bought airline tickets, spent money on preparation, planned their vacations, only to be told the course is canceled. There is a shortage of instructors and it should not be the goal of USPA to make a profit--the goal should be to certify instructors. Have fewer courses, if necessary, but once a course is scheduled it must be presented.
Selection of National Director Candidates. It has most recently been shown that the candidates the membership votes on should not be selected by a three board member committee. National Director candidates should collect a certain number of signatures on a petition and then be put on the ballot. Let the membership truly decide who is to represent them.
Affiliated Drop Zone program. I do not believe that USPA can both represent the best interests of the individual skydiver and the interests of the Drop Zones simultaneously. The Affiliated DZ program is flawed and costs USPA money. To further innovation and progress, individual DZs should not be mired in USPA bureaucracy. The DZs should be part of their own DZ Association, separate from USPA.
Communications. There is virtually no way that the USPA Board or Headquarters Staff can communicate with the membership at large other than the monthly magazine. I propose a list server to be installed on the USPA web site where interested members can register their e-mail address. Information can then be transmitted instantly, and for no cost, to the membership. Likewise, the Board of Directors e-mail address, email@example.com, should be published so the membership can express their concerns to all board members simultaneously.
Publications. All USPA publications, tests, and documents should be available on the web site for download. Tests and other restricted documents can be user protected.
Finances. I favor programs geared at the individual skydiver and specifically towards safety and instructor training. Big DZs can fend for themselves, USPA is an association of individual skydivers and that is where the money should go.
Competition. I favor a return to USPA supported regional competitions in all disciplines. USPA should make it easier for the average skydiver to attain recognition without the expense of attending a National Championship.
Licenses and Ratings. Although some may see the need for additional licenses to increase competence, I feel that we need to enforce the standards that we have before trying to raise the bar, I feel that too many new skydivers are simply being "signed off" for skills that they really have not mastered, especially spotting, packing, and self-supervision. I would urge our instructors and S&TAs to not do our novice skydivers a disservice by signing off on skills they do not possess.
FAA. Using my experience as a pilot and DZO, I would enter talks with the FAA on some relief from cloud clearance requirements. We all know that there are cloud conditions that we should not jump in but there are also cloud conditions that would be perfectly safe, but illegal, to jump in. There are other countries, New Zealand for example, that have such provisions and we should explore the possibility of the same relief here.
Skydiving and Leadership Qualifications
I have been a USPA member for 36 years, have over 3800 jumps and have held Static Line & AFF Instructor, Tandem, Pro, and FAA Rigger ratings.I am a current USPA S&TA. I have competed at the national level in both the classic and 4 way RW events.
Aviation background includes service as an Army Helicopter pilot with a tour of the Republic of Vietnam where I was awarded the Bronze Star and Air Medal. I am currently a Captain for FedEx on an A300 Airbus heavy jet transport. I have over 22,000 hours in small and large jets, helicopters, sailplanes, aerobatic, and jump aircraft.
I am the DZO for West Tennessee Skydiving and Arizona Skydiving Coolidge and travel to many boogies operating the Super King Air. My travels allow me to listen to the concerns of many skydivers throughout the country.
I have pioneered innovations in the sport including square canopies for students, electronic spotting, 23,000’ dives for the average jumper, $99 Boogie ‘til Ya Puke, and the fastest jump plane in the country.
I believe my skydiving and aviation background make me ideally suited to represent skydivers on all levels and to deal with any FAA or airspace issues.
You may vote for up to eight National Director candidates. However, voting for candidates that you do not know or fully support dilutes the vote for the candidates you do strongly wish to be elected. If you know only one candidate, vote for just that one and you will have a better chance of seeing your candidate win.
The vote count is known to the Board so if you like my programs I urge you elect me with the maximum vote possible. The number of votes that a candidate receives shows the weight of his support and gives more respect for his programs.
"Write In" Voting
There is a space on the ballot to "write in" your vote for National Director. I ask you to "write in" Mike Mullins, and spell the name exactly. Remember, do not vote for a total of more than eight National Directors. Again, vote for only those you know and really want on the board- don't dilute your vote.
Be very careful in marking your ballot. Any cross outs, erasures, or irregularities may void your ballot. You may make copies of the ballot, but copies must be marked in original writing. Be sure to fill in your USPA membership number, expiration date, and sign your ballot.
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