I would like to introduce myself to the membership and DZ owners, and my positions, beliefs and what I hope to accomplish as a national director of USPA.
1. USPA Nominating Committee: This committee consisted of John Desantis, Madolyn Murdock, Lee Schlichtemeier, Bill Wenger. I think it is interesting that Desantis, obviously a shoo-in for regional director, would change to national director. Wenger called me three times and asked me to change my statement for the ballot. The third phone call was just a message saying they needed to get at least 20 nominees for national director and that they wanted me to change my statement so it left out the independent investigator reference. They went ahead and did it on their own even though the governance manual says they cannot do that. I believe Desantis jumped over to national in order to keep Mullins and Richards out of the running. Also, I think it is interesting that we saw statements from Murdock and Schlichtemeier and NOT Wenger.
Solution: Nominating committees should not be board members.
2. Candidate Qualifications: The governance manual states "no current employees of USPA will be eligible for consideration as candidates nor may they serve on the board of directors." I wrote Chris Needels and asked how could Glenn Bangs announce while still a USPA employee that he was a candidate for the BOD. After resigning, he became a contractor paid by USPA. Needels said this practice has been done for years by board member Don Yahrling, also another USPA contractor.
Solution: The board should have access to an ethics committee of non-board members for any potential conflicts of interest.
3. Board of Directors Conflicts of Interest: It seems there are many board members who have been on the board for too long. Some of their decisions seem to benefit board members more than the membership.
Solution: Have a two term limit (total four years); off for two years and option to run again. This would keep a good flow of board members, regional and national, and help creativity, fresh ideas, and so forth.
Here follows my original statement, not found in the current ballot:
"I was elected USPA Mideastern Regional Director in 1998. Upon election I inherited problems from the former director, FAA, and even from USPA. These problems included the USPA Safety Director going to the FAA about our pilots, tandem masters, instructors, and DZ owners---problems that were festering and not solved before my election.
"Following my election I solved the problems, getting compliance---as the president of the USPA board requested. Some members of the executive committee wanted to overrule my decisions and hired an independent investigator (with payment from the USPA membership) approved by the board. That decision showed they had no respect for the Mideastern Region and I resigned at the summer board meeting.
"Interestingly, the independent investigator indicated to me and others that some USPA staff and executive committee members were in conspiracy to malign members and some DZ owners for their own personal reasons. The executive committee then destroyed all copies of the report and was not allowed to talk about the USPA independent investigator's report---even though the USPA president of the board said there were no wrong doings found.
"For these reasons, if elected, I will fight for a two-term limit so other members can participate on the board of directors. This will allow devoted skydivers---and perhaps those with no conflicts of interest---the opportunity to get involved on the board to help make decisions for the future of USPA."
To answer a few questions about myself:
No, I was not asked to resign. The decision was mine at the board meeting when they voted to hire an independent investigator, in spite of the fact I had enforced disciplinary actions according to the governance manual, president and board of directors. After the independent investigator gave his report the president of the board of directors said there were no wrong doings anywhere.
I was accused of taking a skydiver, who had under 100 jumps, on a tandem training jump for my final evaluation. This was supervised by a tandem manufacturer evaluator, who picked the "student;" this was during the time FAA considered tandem training to be experimental. Relative Workshop had no problem with this and allowed me to have my tandem rating. The FAA sent me a letter that said there was no problem.
My son and I started jumping in 1989 and were joined by my wife the following year. My wife and son are both master skydivers. I had served as an S&TA and have ratings of Static Line/jumpmaster/instructor, tandem instructor, and BIC course director; my wife and I have taught many BIC classes for which we have never charged a fee. Any money I made doing tandems turned into fun jumps. I enjoy skydivers, skydiving, and flying to different drop zones and meeting more skydivers. It is clear I am not in it for the money, nor have any conflicts of interest.
If I am not elected I hope some of the suggestions and my actions would influence other board members or USPA members to carry on the proposals.
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