Saturday, May 28, 2005

Constitutional Crisis

Well, since the French are all worked up about the EU Constitution, I thought I'd weigh in on the US Handball constitutional crisis.

Before, I do so here are a few caveats that you should take into consideration:

1) I've been friends with and a team-mate of Mike Hurdle, since 1987, when he was just an outspoken, aggressive 17 year old kid that was a little rough around the edges. (I guess he's a little older now.)

2) I'm an active duty Air Force Officer, and I have a great deal of respect for a retired Army Colonel (JimThome) that was instrumental in starting the WestPoint program.

3) I voted for both Mike and Jim in the last election. So, I'd like to think that my bias is probably a little more neutral on this topic then most of themembership. If you do the math on the election results, however, this was a split ticket from more of the membership than you might think.

4) I'm not a lawyer, I wasn't at the infamous meeting and I haven't spoken to anybody, so all of the information I've received is from email traffic andweb postings.

That being said here's what I think in a nutshell.

1) Are we doing the right thing procedurally?

Well, I guess a group of lawyers could decide for certain if the infamous vote was legal or not. In my opinion, the text in the current constitution forgetting a new constitution certainly hasn't beenfollowed. And if you can't waive that text with a vote then the process hasn't been followed correctly. Legal aspects aside, it also has all the "appearances" of a segment of the board sneaking something past the rest. The key word here is "appearance". Justbecause something looks that way, doesn't necessarily mean that it's true. Regardless, appearances can be just as damaging as reality and Board Membersshouldn't be surprised like that.

2) What will arguing about the procedures accomplish?

The only thing following a strict interpretation of the process will accomplish, will be to delay the process. If it doesn't matter how long it takes for us to develop a new constitution then a delay shouldn't concern us too much. I think the President's letter presents a pretty good case, however, for USA Handball to be proactive and I just don't see any real harm with moving forward. Everybody still gets a chance to review the document and make suggestions so why not waive the 21 day requirement? It's been highlighted by some that the Board and the Executive Committee should see it first. I don't think our current constitution requires that, but if the $3,000 Club (i.e., the Board of Directors) wanted to add a short window for their review, I don't think it would hurt anything as long as it was done quickly. That USOC letter gets my attention though, so let's don't waste too much time.

3) Is the new constitution a good thing?

I saw some hint in the email traffic that this was a power grab by the current President. Well, the constitution is now on the website, so opinions can now be substantiated. When I compare it to the letter from the USOC to the constitution, it appears to do a pretty good job of following the USOC's instructions. I won't go through all the details, but I will highlight one remarkable aspect. It calls for an immediate Board of Director's election after approval of the Constitution. In other words, the current President, who under the current constitution is in a safe seat for four years is now open to immediate ouster. I would not call that a power grab!

In fact, one could argue based on the results of the run-off election for VP, that the President will be out of a job shortly. The logic being that many people didn't bother to vote in the first election and were shocked at Mike's election to President. The membership then got energized and made sure that their vote in the VP run-off counted. Theoretically, this membership segment will come out and vote again and take back their federation.

Bottom Line: Let's move on, provide our comments to the new constitution, approve it, and then vote for who we think can best lead USA Team Handball in the years to come.

5 Comments:

At June 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure the results of the VP run off mean anything. You were not the only one to "split" votes between tickets. Also have you actually read the new by-laws? They allow for no nominations by the membership {the way Mike ran!}, and they allow for no direct election of the leadership. The Chairman of the Board is elected by the Board. No President etc elected by the membership. Also no nominations except the NC, therefore no contested races? Only a vote "for" or no vote. I question the benefit of this, it appears to make the whole process more elitest than before.

 
At June 14, 2005, Blogger John Ryan said...

The VP run off results are meaningful and you are correct: several people probably split their ticket.

I read the By-laws, but did not catch the lack of language highlighting independent nominations for the Board. I've sent in a suggestion form indicating that this should be spelled out clearly in the constitution. I hope this gets added in the next draft as I would have a hard time voting "yes" for a Constitution that did not allow for independent candidacies.

I'm not as concerned by the change to have the Chairman elected by the Board. The UK and many other parliamentary governments work that way and it avoids a divided government. This might be a very good way to ensure a more unified Board.

 
At July 17, 2005, Anonymous pay per click said...

La France a dit Non et l, Europe se fera sans la France.

 
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