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Elections: Diamond Q&A
Thu, 03/20/2014 - 11:09pm
In response to some questions and comments about my statement for president, I'm starting a new thread. I tried to keep my candidate statement brief and to the point while still clearly stating my approach to running the club. This forum gives me a chance to expand on those statements.
I ask that you keep this thread respectful and in the spirit of civil discourse. I have NO question that all of the candidates are trying to do the best for the club - we just have different styles, approaches, and visions. I have tremendous respect for the other candidates, I’ve shared beer with them, and I continue to talk with them often. That will not change regardless of the outcome of this election.
With regards to dedicated ice, I’ll state this unequivocally: I’m for it, I’m happy with the Hayward site (no site will be perfect for everyone), and I’m committed to making it happen regardless of who wins the election.
I do have some concerns about the current plan. I think we can improve it.
I don’t believe that the current schedule is nearly detailed enough. There isn’t a detailed list of financial dependencies linked to build-out. We cannot have a realistic fundraising plan or opening target date without knowing how much money we need by a given date. The $200k fundraising trigger for lease-signing seems arbitrary and low. I’d want to know that we had clear line-of-sight to most of the needed funds when we actually commit.
Most businesses fail because of cash flow. They may be profitable, but they don’t align those profits to the business needs and they can’t pay their bills. To use a specific curling example, Phoenix built their first curling club only to have it close 6 months later. They raised enough funds to get it built but didn’t have the runway to sustain it, and I will NOT let that happen to our club. We need enough time or enough money or both to make this viable long-term.
I believe that the dedicated ice committee chairman and president should not be the same person. It’s simply too much work for a single person and splitting the role will help us cope with the massive work to be done over the next months. In addition, there should be some oversight to ensure that the project stays aligned with the desire of members. Separating the roles certainly doesn’t guarantee this, but with different charters, the two roles complement each other and the required give-and-take would result in a dedicated curling facility that better aligns to our member needs.
As an example of that alignment, I’d commit to continue arena curling if, as we approach opening of the new facility, we had enough members ready to commit to curl on arena ice to make it financially neutral. The recent survey suggested that 46% of the club would want to continue curling on arena ice in addition to the dedicated facility, yet the current board has not committed to this and it is not part of the current financial model. If our members want it, we need to figure out how to make it work.
Per our bylaws, all meetings of the board should be open to all members. I believe that’s impossible unless those meetings are announced to all members with sufficient notice, which was not the case for the meeting regarding the expenditure of $5,000 for the use of the dedicated ice committee to move forward.
I mentioned in my candidate statement that I felt “betrayed” by that meeting given promises made in the public forum in June 2013. I don’t use that word lightly – I specifically remember having confidence in our board that club members would be asked before proceeding. Many people interpreted the statements made that day as I did and this sincerely felt wrong to me – especially just a few weeks before the actual vote. It’s worth mentioning that I discussed this issue with Brian Davidson long before publishing my candidate statement.
I’ve been asked by some current board members if I believe that all board discussions must be public. Certainly not! Board members can and should be preparing for meetings by discussing issues that will arise in the board meetings. But the bylaws are clear – the board meetings themselves MUST be public and ANY member may attend.
An ongoing discussion that I’ve had with several board members over several months has been to OVER-communicate our plans on dedicated ice. The open forums came late in the process but were definitely helpful. We need more open forums going forward to keep people on-board and updated with progress.
It’s worth noting that I give Brian Davidson tremendous credit for getting the dedicated ice initiative to this state. Unfortunately the process has left many members feeling disenfranchised and concerned (many have contacted me about this). We need to bring those people back, make them feel like they are part of one club. We do that by listening and addressing their concerns – which in most cases are those listed above (schedule, open communication, etc.). We need to be bringing the club together – now more than ever.
I have all kinds of ideas for maximizing club revenue once we have the club built and running. We could, for example, be doing much more with corporate events. I’m much less worried about operational costs of running the club than the initial capital expenditure and reaching financial stability.
I encourage your questions and comments on this forum, via e-mail, or you can simply ask me at curling…