If it’s broke, fix it

January 6, 2016 § 26 Comments

Two things you can do to help fix the broke-down, dysfunctional mess that is the SCNCA:

  1. Vote to approve the amended bylaws.
  2. Nominate yourself or some other poor sap for one of the nine board of directors slots.
  3. Post this info on Facebag or your club website.

Of course nothing is that simple. YOU can’t actually vote to approve the bylaws. That can only be done by the designated representative of your club, and your club has to be a USAC and an SCNCA member. Sound complicated? That’s because it is.

So here’s what you do:

  1. Send this link to the boss man or boss woman of your club.
  2. Although your club should have already received a ballot, if they have not, contact Tom Fitzgibbon at tfitz1@me.com.

Voting on the amended bylaws is super important and has to be done by January 9. That’s Saturday. What is the amendment? It will allow SCNCA to communicate with its members (who are clubs, not individual racers) electronically, and will allow them to vote electronically. This means that going forward the SCNCA can reorganize without having to spend huge chunks of its budget on mail notifications as required by current bylaws.

If the bylaws are amended, SCNCA will have an electronic election for its new board of directors. The timeline for this, however, is super short. Fortunately, the self-nomination process is working. Many people have self-nominated, and there are now more candidates than have ever before run, but the deadline is January 10. So here’s what you do:

  1. Send your name to perfectday4j@gmail.com and announce your candidacy. You can even put “I’m a dope” in the subject line.
  2. Include a brief description of why you want the job and what your qualifications are. (Example: “I like to get screamed at by people; 28 years of marriage.”)
  3. Your club will receive an electronic voting link after the nominating period closes.
  4. Wait for election results on January 23.

In case I haven’t made it clear, please make sure this is brought to the attention of your club president. The deadlines are upon us and voting for change is desperately needed at SCNCA.

How badly is it needed?

This reform movement began when local cyclist and attorney David Huntsman sent this letter to the SCNCA. The issues raised in the letter, which basically centered around whether SCNCA’s trustees have been acting in a legal manner, and whether or not they have been fulfilling their fiduciary duties to the organization, led SCNCA to hire a lawyer.

And don’t come pissing and moaning to me about “wasting your money on a lawyer.” If SCNCA had been advised properly in the beginning we wouldn’t be where we are today. And if you don’t like lawyers and law, then there is a spot for you on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Racing Team. And … there’s money at stake. SCNCA has spent (frittered away?) hundreds of thousands of dollars since its inception in 1998.

The attorney retained by SCNCA for peanuts, Tom Fitzgibbon of Velo Club LaGrange, has been racing for decades, served on VCLG’s board for years, and is a person for whom I have a lot of respect. Since he’s been hired by SCNCA, he represents the organization, not the individual interests of the trustees. This means that issues about how the organization is run and how its finances are managed will be examined by someone whose job it is to help make SCNCA better. And if things aren’t being done legally or properly, it’s Tom’s job to deliver the bad news so that SCNCA can start doing what it gets paid to do.

Nimble decision making and a new board of directors are crucial first steps if SCNCA is ever going to fulfill its mission of advancing racing in SoCal. David Huntsman is one of the nominees for the board of trustees, and he’s got my vote; I hope he gets yours.

See-through is best

The current SCNCA way of conducting business is opaque. There are no publicly available financials aside from a drop-down link on the web site’s “About” tab that says “Financials.” I dare you to click on it.

In addition to a steamed-glass approach to finances, which in my mind equates to shoddiness at best, chicanery at worst, SCNCA doesn’t make the records of its meetings public. Although it’s been around since 1998, there are only two meeting minutes posted under the “About” section; both of them from late last year, just around the time that Huntsman began asking pointed questions about the board’s operations.

My estimate is that with about 7,000 licensees in the district, SCNCA should be getting somewhere between $35,000 and $70,000 from USAC every year. Now although that may not seem like a lot of money, oh, wait, YES IT SURE FUCKING DOES.

How that money is spent should be transparent. With Fitzgibbon as counsel and a new board coming in, we can expect transparency. In fact, we should demand it.

Thanks where thanks are due

Although it’s easy to poke holes in the mismanagement and glaring failures of SCNCA, it’s important to also give thanks. There are many board members over the years who have given heart and soul to making bike racing here a fun and exciting sport. People like Greg Aden have done their level best and deserve our thanks.

Don’t ever call me an optimist, but as far as the upcoming changes at SCNCA go, I can say that it’s absolutely headed in the right direction. Now, please go vote. Even though, technically, you can’t.

END

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§ 26 Responses to If it’s broke, fix it

  • Tom Paterson says:

    Enforcing transparency is a moral obligation having to do with “not leading into temptation”, one not confined to protecting one’s own selfish interests.

    • fsethd says:

      Yep. People in organizations generally hide stuff for one reason and one reason only: They’re doing something they aren’t supposed to.

  • Phil H says:

    The NCNCA went thru a similar shakeup about 4 or 5 years ago. Very eye opening! As I understand it, the reporting requirements had totally been kicked off to the side and financial malfeasance was found, resulting in the lifetime suspension of at least one person. I suspect that legal action could have been taken as well, but that avenue wasn’t pursued. I think once this can of worms is fully opened, you (all) will not like what you find, but it’s the only way to correct it. I’d say the NCNCA is on much better footing in terms of accountability and interfacing with member clubs than before. The trick is to keep it going for the long term. I believe that will happen, because the lines of communication have been established and people are able to be more involved. Good luck and keep the hammer down until the situation is rectified!

  • channel_zero says:

    Thank you Mr. Huntsman Esq!

    $35,000 and $70,000 from USAC every year

    Interesting that finances are so opaque at USACDF it’s impossible to know much of anything.

    BTW, the last time USA Cycling published membership data by region, NorCal dominated all Local Associations by a very large margin. I recall SoCal being a distant second or third.

  • channel_zero says:

    FYI: from California’s own undated document summarizing a “Mutual Benefit Organization” http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/charities/publications/guide_for_charities.pdf

    Mutual benefit corporations are organized most often for the benefit of their own members. They may not be formed exclusively for charitable purposes. If a mutual benefit corporation holds some of
    its assets for charitable purposes, however, it must register and report on the charitable assets to the Attorney General.
    Mutual benefit corporations may qualify for different income tax benefits than public benefit corporations. Familiar examples of mutual benefit corporations include private homeowners associations, private clubs, and trade and professional associations.

    It reads as SCNCA is not explicitly required to operate as an IRS identified charitable organization.

    If you have been around the block more than once, the charitable organization designations the IRS maintains is not a magic wand that means a charitable organization is turning most revenue into some kind of social good.

    I’m not saying SCNCA is doing something with malicious intent. Not at all. Just that it definitely happens. I’m also not saying the unknown tax status of the SCNCA is a sign of malfeasance.

    It’s in everyone’s best interests to maximize transparency even though it IS a PITA to setup for well-intentioned people like Mr. Aden.

    • fsethd says:

      Uh, absence of transparency in entities organized for the benefit of their members is almost always a cover for wrongdoing. That’s why the organization’s activities are hidden from view. When financial and managerial decisions are made in the best interest of the members then they are publicized. Sloppy bookkeeping, nonexistent records, failure to abide by bylaws, and the absence of easily accessible tax information are brilliant red flags that indicate a likelihood of wrongdoing, whether intentional or through negligence. By the way, negligently dissipating the funds of your organization doesn’t get you off the hook just because it’s not fraudulent or intentional.

      Job #1 for SCNCA is to air out the laundry, all of it. Follow up shouldn’t be punitive or finger-pointing, the past is the past. But there should be an unflinching evaluation and a public airing of all irregularities if there are any.

      • Sausage™ says:

        Where can I buy my ticket to the Truth and Reconciliation Hearing?

        PS I voted! Bring on some actual corporate governance to our SCNCA! Thanks to Tom and Jan for getting this back on track.

      • fsethd says:

        I don’t think you need a ticket. Just a checkbook.

      • channel_zero says:

        My point is to transition to more transparency in a way that doesn’t put the secret board members on the defensive and slow reforms to increase transparency.

        That of course is a fairy tale because this is cycling after all.

        The goal of bringing more transparency is a great one and I’m so thankful for Mr. Huntsman’s efforts.

      • fsethd says:

        Me, too, and your point is well made and well taken.

  • Robert C says:

    WANKY for PRESIDENT!

    …it could happen.

  • crackingmyselfupinsocal says:

    done. thanks for the reminder

  • Joe Camacho says:

    Thank you Tom Thank you Seth thank you Suasage.

  • […] not really tuned into the SoCal bike racing scene. But if David Huntsman and Seth Davidson both say there’s something wrong with the sport’s local governing body, then something is […]

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