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Notes from the USPA BOD meeting by Mike Turoff

 

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MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 20, 2004, 9:23 AM
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Notes from the USPA BOD meeting by Mike Turoff Can't Post

USPA BOD meeting highlights as recorded by Mike Turoff:

(While I believe the majority of this report is accurate, I will refer you to look to USPA’s website for a full official report in the future once Secretary and National Director Madolyn Murdock has the chance to put everything in a proper format. I post this for informational purposes in the hopes that readers are genuinely interested in the BOD activities regardless of whether or not they are able to attend the BOD meetings.)

Treasurer’s report:

Assets: $411,399 Proj. Income: $25,000 Slightly down due to market fluctuations.
Reserves: $891,134 Proj. Income: $50,000

Executive Director’s report:
Challenges for 2004
Lessen the onerous burden of insurance
Rejuvenate membership growth
Substantially reduce injuries to canopy pilots
Complete the instructional rating restructuring
Protect skydivers and skydiving operations in the evolving homeland security environment
Complete the association’s software upgrades
Complete the design phase of the new HQ facility…intending to break ground March 1, 2005 and complete by Nov. 1, 2005.
Reevaluate the USPA/NAA/IPC/FAI relationship
Keep skydiving fun and the friendships strong

Mid-Year report:

Regular Members 32,581
New Members: 2,310
Renewal rate: 83%
Temp. Members: 1,113
TIM to regular: 118

Licenses issued: 1,235 (est.)
Coach courses held: 68
Coach ratings issued: 271 (est.)
Instructor ratings issued: 212 (est.)
Pro rating issued: 50 (est.)

Net Revenue ($53,626)
Operating reserves $278,829
Investment reserves $891,134
AAD Fund: $85,084
US Team Trust Fund: $411,134
Net Worth: $2,153,469 (est.)

Sport Promotion: Some near-term options

• Survey jumpers and non-jumpers to find out why they do or do not jump
• Dedicate the next DZO Conference to sport promotion
• Assist drop zones with press released through education and assistance, while establishing a press release program at the National level for broader audiences
• Re-enter into a sport promotion contract to promote the U.S. Nationals, with the goal of sponsorship and network television coverage
• Capitalize on the jump of former President Bush for his 80th birthday
• Capitalize on the Skydivers Over Sixty record attempts
• Prepare media kits which can be used for all of the above and any other attempts which arise

IPC Delegate reporting on the NAA meeting (Mary Lou Laughlin)
There will be a pool of personnel for drug testing.

Group membership committee:
Much discussion dealing with deceptive trade practices of an advertiser that uses multiple websites to recruit customers for dropzones that do not necessarily exist (some do) and charges a recruiting fee to DZs that accept their certificates.

Insurance issues: More and more airports are requiring insurance from dropzones even though such coverage is not available, and the FAA position is apparently that, “Yes, they can do that.”


Nominations and elections committee:

The committee will be reviewing all submissions and editorial corrections to candidate’s submitted biographical statements for the election process as per the existing policy.

All deadline specific items may not be altered as the election process is already in progress.

Website use for election will be the bios and a ballot form identical to the way they appear in the magazine.

Membership Services:

Use of trademarks was discussed. That topic is covered in the Governance Manual, section 4-2. Improper uses of the logo have been observed in the internet.

The current editorial policy is that letters to the editor are not printed as “name withheld by request.” There is an editorial review board that reviews submissions to the magazine. If a person wants a letter printed, they must have their name included with their letter.

Members will be asked for feedback about whether or not the USPA should keep the numerous performance awards programs in place.

Tenure awards for members: Regional directors need to be notified about upcoming awards. In this way, there will be an opportunity for the RD to present the award personally if the member so desires.

Perhaps it would be a good idea for the individual dropzones to create a safety award for safety day. The USPA does not have the manpower to create a new program of this type, nor a “senior instructor/master instructor” program.


Combined Membership Services and S&T:

Demonstration Jump Insurance criteria were discussed. The demonstration jump qualification requirements for insurance purposes may be set higher than those specified in Section 7-1. (We’ve already had two accidents this year that will most probably involve insurance claims!)

Safety & Training Committee:

180-day repack cycle: The Sgt. Major of the Golden Nights has withdrawn the offer to assist. We might be better off checking with the FAA to find out what they might want before we commit to any money to a study. The PIA needs to be consulted on this matter too. If we could create a uniform front position, we might have a better chance at getting this passed. We may also be better off asking for an exemption that would allow us to put the 180-day cycle into live-practice, then report on any observations of uses of reserves in the 120 – 180 day cycle period as well as full testing of equipment taken to the 180-day cycle. Mike Turoff and Sherry Butcher will work with PIA’s Terry Urban and Cliff Schmucker to try to champion this goal.

There is a growing conception that some AFF instructors are lacking competence to perform their jobs. An idea is being floated by some BOD members and Course Directors that perhaps there needs to be a “check-ride” (dive) of all instructors every few years. Thoughts are being floated for a higher number of jumps for currency, a certain number of release dives, evaluation by an examiner, or a higher initial experience level. Right now, it is thought that the individual dropzone operators might do this on a voluntary basis. This will be a subject for the AFF standardization meeting at the PIA symposium. Input from the field will be sought out.

A symposium topic might be to discuss what instructors should do with students in the throw-out pilot chute scenarios.

The Relative Workshop (RWS) has reversed its previous position on RWS ratings renewals and now wants all tandem rating holders to keep renewing their RWS ratings until such time as the USPA issues “type ratings” on the rating renewal cards.

Regional Directors’ meeting:

Discussion of awarding continuous membership certificates…the mechanics of how to be notified; would the software be configurable to notify the regional directors as to the event, could an Excel spreadsheet that is sent out to the regional directors have that information on an additional column. The 25-year certificate issuance is probably a good place to start. A change to the cover letter to recipient would be a good way to cross-communicate with the RD about the possibility of getting a personal awarding of the certificate.

Perhaps it would be a good idea for the individual dropzones to create a safety award for safety day. The USPA does not have the manpower to create a new program of this type, nor a “senior instructor/master instructor” program. This would be a good thing to bring up at the DZO conference in Jacksonville this coming January. Involving local EMTs and Fire Departments is also a good idea.

The USPA does have a $2,300 fund for a safety award set aside from Ches Judy’s time period. (Ches was the USPA’s director of Safety and Training in the early 1990’s, and regrettably was killed in a skydiving aircraft accident in the Virginia area.)

There is still a lack of incident reports coming into USPA’s HQ from the field. This information may be submitted confidentially. All information is collected for the purpose of statistics and education, not punitive action. This is also something that should be brought up at the DZO conference this January.

Safety & Training:

There was a lot of discussion over the incorporation of an Advanced Instructor Course into our existing system to maintain the integrity and quality control of our current rating system. The specifics of the course and syllabus are complete. The course will be implemented as an optional course for those interested in being an Advanced Instructor or wanting to be a Course Director in any discipline in the future. It does not change the current methods of becoming a course director; it just offers a new method too. The course is approved and when the IRM outline is finished, it will be sent to the S&T Committee for final review and approval.


Saturday Plenary Session:

Site selection for 2005 U.S. National Skydiving Championships
Bids submitted by:
• Perris Valley
• Skydive Arizona
• Skydive Chicago
• Florida Skydiving Center

The winner of the bidding process was: Perris Valley.

Summer 2005 BOD meeting location:

Alexandria, VA is once again selected for July 15 – 17, 2005

Constitution and By-Laws:
The statement in 1-1, Article 1, Section 2: “No person under the age of sixteen (16) shall be eligible for actual skydiving although membership is encouraged.” is officially removed from the By-Laws to make our previous actions of waivering a non-waiverable item that was against the By-Laws will no longer be in conflict with our By-Laws.

Plenary Session Sunday morning:

HQ relocation project: We own the land ($300K).
Blueprints: $30K budgeted through February 2005.
Ready to build after February 2005.
Construction expected from 3/05 – 11/05. Expected move in 12/05.
Total projected costs expected to be $1.5 million ($1.2 million to go).
Financing possibilities are being examined.
Sale or leasing of existing property will minimize our expenses.
Existing property may be worth about $900K. This will minimize our end costs for the new facility.

Safety & Training:
180-day repack cycle. Mike Turoff and Sherry Butcher will seek PIA and manufacturers’ and Dir. of Govt. Relations assistance to further this pursuit.
Pursuit of development of an evaluator training video/DVD presentation for AFF certification courses will be undertaken.
Advanced Instructor Course: A first draft of the introduction was presented and more is to follow, subject to review by the S&T committee. It will be included in the next edition of the IRM.
Advanced Canopy Piloting Syllabus is under development and will be further researched and edited prior to its submission for publication in the SIM.
Adoption of the 2005 IRM and SIM with corrections and amendments by the S&T committee was approved.
At the PIA symposium, a forum for discussing hand-deploy problems for AFF students will be encouraged.

Executive Committee:
The HQ relocation task force is continuing on with the plans to build a new HQ.

Membership services:
The demonstration jump insurance program may have an interim action which increases the requirements of the participants for being an insured demonstration jump.
A self-insurance model is being considered.
Years of membership awards notifications may be sent to the regional directors in addition to being sent to the member so that a personal awarding of the certificate may be presented.
USPA Achievement Award changed to USPA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Al Krueger won the award for this year.

Bill Wenger and Tom Morrison also won the Gold Medal Award.


obsequious  (B License)

Jul 20, 2004, 5:42 PM
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Smile Thank you very much, Mike Turoff, for posting a synopses of the USPA meeting that was held this past weekend! I hope that you are elected to serve on the BOD as you are one of the few whom expeditiously informs the USPA members of pertinent information! Thank you again!


Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Jul 20, 2004, 5:46 PM
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Re: [MikeTJumps] Notes from the USPA BOD meeting by Mike Turoff [In reply to] Can't Post

Is there some sort of parliamentary reason why the BOD meetings couldn't be video taped or otherwise transcribed in full and made available for the general membership in their entirety?


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 20, 2004, 7:25 PM
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I would think only the private/closed sessions where disciplinary actions and awards are debated would be excluded, but I also don't know of anyone offering a huge endowment to make such a system available. Not everyone speaks up enough to have a general sound pickup system viable, therefore many independent microphones would be necessary.

At the BOD meeting, the plenary sessions are gatherings as a whole, but individual committees break out into separate rooms. There is a huge amount of "boring" hashing out of details in documents that would serve as a sleep-aide for many.

You folks should be proud of the people that take the time to do as much as they do at these meetings. The S&T Committee generally meets in excess of 10 hours at each BOD meeting with lots of "homework" prior to that meeting.

Mike Turoff


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 20, 2004, 7:28 PM
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You are most welcome.

Thank you for your moral support.

Mike TuroffSmile


gemini  (D 24349)

Jul 21, 2004, 6:54 AM
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Quote:
I also don't know of anyone offering a huge endowment to make such a system available.

This statement really bothers me. You immediately jumped to the conclusion that this action requires "huge" funding and basically dismiss the idea. It seems to me that you are already thinking like a bureaucrat instead of a member of the organization, and not creatively or outside the box.

You didn't float a request for additional input, ideas from videographers, people in the business, volunteers, or anything.

Maybe you are not the person for this job.


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 21, 2004, 6:59 AM
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OK. Let's see. Video feeds and cameras on for 9 hours per day minimum in several rooms. Constant feed to a live web site. Setup costs at a hotel.

How many thousands of dollars do you think it would cost?


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Jul 21, 2004, 7:05 AM
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I don't think anyone was saying live web feed with excellent production values. That would be the ideal, but I don't kill myself because I don't look like Cameron Diaz, either.

Personally, I think that a transcription would be better than video. A court stenographer would take it down and then transcribe it, or else it could be taped and then transcribed. Boring, but doable.

Cheap, or at least not too expensive. Not live, but the Chevy you can afford gets you around, the Rolls-Royce you can't afford doesn't.

Of course, how many members would read it? Enough to make it worthwhile? Maybe it's one of those things that one should do regardless, kind of like the Congressional Record.

Wendy W.


(This post was edited by wmw999 on Jul 21, 2004, 7:06 AM)


tspillers  (D 21601)

Jul 21, 2004, 7:22 AM
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Officail Court Stenographers aren't cheap, but there is some possibility there. As Jim hinted, there may be professionals in our sport willing to help for cost or maybe for total volunteer.

Even a PC-whatever on a tripod is more than we have available now.

Todd


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 21, 2004, 7:31 AM
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Yep, you're quite right. He didn't say live feed. My mistake on jumping the gun.

Still, that is four views per plenary session to provide adequate coverage, meaning four cameras in that room, and probably two cameras in each committee room (that's three rooms, and yes, we could break out the plenary session cameras to two separate rooms).

People to man them, tape machines to tape them, electrical wiring, microphones.....it gets bigger and bigger.

Do I see volunteers?

I think the best you can hope for right now is a person such as myself to get interested in BOD activities and go there with laptop in hand and catch the jist of the sessions they attend for free.

Nobody pays me a dime to do what I do and the members get the benefit of postings within a couple of days of the meeting. The official minutes take much longer to get out because the secretary has to coordinate a huge amount of paperwork compared to what I do.

Oh...I'll expect other people to step up to the plate to help with this in the future because they feel it is important too. (Volunteers? ....The sounds of silence!!!)

Mike Turoff

(This post was edited by MikeTJumps on Jul 21, 2004, 7:36 AM)


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 21, 2004, 7:32 AM
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OK. I'm floating it right now.

May I have your ideas on just how to accomplish this with anticipated costs and manning?

And please remember, that is four days of a person's time you are talking about and transportation of equipment, ownership costs, etc.

I'm very concerned when we talk about spending membership's money on something they don't readily express an overwhelming interest in, but I could be wrong and I'm willing to learn! So please, feel free to offer suggestions.

Mike Turoff

(This post was edited by MikeTJumps on Jul 21, 2004, 8:27 AM)


JohnRich  (D License)

Jul 21, 2004, 9:23 AM
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In reply to:
Of course, how many members would read it? Enough to make it worthwhile? Maybe it's one of those things that one should do regardless, kind of like the Congressional Record.

First of all, my thanks go to Mike for posting this info. It's nice to get a quick draft of what happened at the meeting, prior to the official, sanitized and editted version appearing in "Parachutist".

I too think that apathy is a problem. I believe that most jumpers aren't interested in all the HQ activities - they just want to jump. I'm often like that myself.

As an example of all this, I wrote letters periodically for decades, trying to get USPA to publish their financial statement in the magazine, so that members would be informed as to how their dues are being spent. Nothing ever happened, even though parachuting organizations in other countries do this routinely. There were excuses, usually along the lines of "it would create more work having to answer questions about the expenditures." Well, the membership deserves to know and to ask questions!

Finally, about six months ago, my directors; Don Ellisor and Madolyn Murdock, championed this effort, and actually got a statement published in the magazine. I salute them for this effort.

But in the end, it didn't stir up any conversations on this forum. Did anyone really care how the money is being allocated and spent? Does anyone really care about the nuts and bolts of "plenary sessions"?

I think that most jumpers are very glad that a few dedicated people are minding the store. But they're not too interested in all the details of what happens and why...


(This post was edited by JohnRich on Jul 21, 2004, 9:26 AM)


AggieDave  (D License)

Jul 21, 2004, 9:55 AM
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Todd, you're right, Court Stenographers are pretty expensive, it apparently costs a lot of money to type on those funky little machines and translate it out to real words later.

It could be done with a simple microcassette recorder if need be, I honestly believe that it could be done fairly inexpensively.

As of right now, the BOD is pretty out of reach with the general membership, this could quite possibly be the first step in raising awareness across the USPA. If we can raise awareness, then folks will want to get involved. Sure, its not an overnight process, but I think it would be a good start.


AggieDave  (D License)

Jul 21, 2004, 9:58 AM
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Quote:
But in the end, it didn't stir up any conversations on this forum. Did anyone really care how the money is being allocated and spent? Does anyone really care about the nuts and bolts of "plenary sessions"?

Well, the data is the first step, the second step is truely explaining what it means to the individual jumper. The report in parachutist was pretty good, but it was pretty sterile in the idea that the average jumper really wouldn't be able to connect how it effected him or her personally.

Awareness and education. The USPA has a very inexpensive tool at their disposal: DZ.com and e-mail. BOD members or a spokesperson that would be able to take things such as the board meetings and the finacial reports and break them down so the average jumper could see how it applied directly to him or her, then folks would most likely begin to truely get involved. They would see the direct impact in their lives and want to be involved.


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Jul 21, 2004, 10:04 AM
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I think this whole thread makes it clear why the kind of take-charge folks who tend to run for national skydiving offices might be loath to post willy-nilly in the forums.

No matter what you do, someone will probably attack first. Later it'll die down to intelligent conversation, but first the gut reactions come out.

Not everyone is thick-skinned enough for that. I'm sure not.

Wendy W.


gemini  (D 24349)

Jul 21, 2004, 10:09 AM
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I really don't know how to answer this. My first reaction was to be upset about your attitude and attempt to pin me down on specifics which is inappropriate at this time since (1) you are not a member of the BOD and (2) I have not had the time to discuss it with qualified video professionals.

I would be more than happy to discuss the video issue with Don if he asks and with you after you are in office.

However you missed my point entirely!

My point was your immediate dismissal of the idea as very costly before having any real facts or knowing whether or not the membership did feel strongly about the issue.

Do you think the majority of the membership reads this forum? You obviously do since you think a non-response to your statement indicates a lack of interest by the membership.

Rather than gather information are remain open to the idea until the facts are known, I get the impression that you would rather put me in my place for disagreeing with you.

Not the attitude I want in my regional director.


MakeItHappen

Jul 21, 2004, 10:50 AM
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In reply to:
Is there some sort of parliamentary reason why the BOD meetings couldn't be video taped or otherwise transcribed in full and made available for the general membership in their entirety?

None that I know, except for the closed sessions. Is there really a demand for this?

The BOD mtgs used to be tape recorded in the 1960's. I don't know why that stopped.

PIA videos the Symposium lectures. You can contact them to get an idea on what is involved personal, equipment and cost wise.

There is a big difference in the physical set up. The PIA lectures are one or two people at the front of a classroom. The BOD mtgs have the directors sitting around tables arranged in a big rectangle. That might mean more than one camera. Who will edit the different views?

Paul, since you are a photographer, you might attend the next meeting and scope it out. You'll be able to talk with PIA folks too. Maybe you can be one of their camera operators.

.


(This post was edited by MakeItHappen on Jul 21, 2004, 10:50 AM)


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 21, 2004, 12:33 PM
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Hello Jim.

First and foremost, I AM NOT TRYING TO PUT YOU IN YOUR PLACE! That is a bad carryover of rumored attitudes towards people which is one reason my reputation amongst the experience jumper community who were not trained by me sucks. (Yes, I said that.)

Now as to a bit of background on me, I'm responsible for computer hookups at my company in addition to being an analytical chemist. I am familiar with the set up and tear down costs of live feeds which is what I first mis-understood you to be eluding to (and which Wendy corrected me on).

I have been involved in all to expensive video conferencing calls and the audio is not ideal. Computer tie-ins even with high speed wireless links are labor intensive to set up and then secure the equipment between sessions.

Video taping of sessions just doesn't do a good enough job because you need local microphones and someone to staff each camera, turning towards the person speaking, etc. This is a nightmare when you consider a room of 22 BOD members, each allowed two separate sessions to present views and then answer questions. Labor and time intensive stuff.

No, I only think a very small minority of members reads this forum, and I'm glad that you do because not knowing who you are, it gives me a way to state my views and you to state yours, and even though you may think of me as a horse's ass right now, I hope that eventually you will learn through exchanges (and hopefully someday meeting in person) that I do accept that I need to change to be more open to ideas and less aggressive/rough in my responses.

I fully admit that I had a knee-jerk reaction and I apologize for that, but I am a bit sensitive to financial issues that create more problems than I (me personally) believe they are worth and will only be another "why did you spend that type of money" complaint to the BOD.

Sincerely yours,

Mike Turoff

(This post was edited by MikeTJumps on Jul 21, 2004, 3:22 PM)


gemini  (D 24349)

Jul 21, 2004, 2:53 PM
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 Thanks for your reply Mike. It would have been better had you explained your experience and then stated your position or given the appearance of being nuetral to the idea instead of giving readers the impression that it was an off the cuff negative response.

As you mentioned you don't know me. I am a CPA/IT consultant, sold a computer store in 86, ran a web host and ISP, installed and used live video feeds from customers, installed networks, build web sites including interactive database sites, on-line catalogs and retail stores. National adjutant for a veterans organization, and treasurer for many non-profit organizations. Prepare tax returns, install accounting systems, own Otters, and love to jump.

As you can see I too have some knowledge in this area.

Like you I also don't think the idea is feasible or wanted by a majority of the membership, but I would have responded to the proposal in neutral terms, encouraged more input, and stated that I would discuss the idea with others and followed through with a report to the forum.

I appreciate your reports about the BOD and your dedication to our sport.


(This post was edited by gemini on Jul 21, 2004, 2:57 PM)


Scrumpot  (D License)

Jul 23, 2004, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
The USPA has a very inexpensive tool at their disposal: DZ.com

What percentage of USPA members are actually also subscribers to DZ.com? ...Any idea?


AggieDave  (D License)

Jul 23, 2004, 7:41 PM
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Quote:
What percentage of USPA members are actually also subscribers to DZ.com? ...Any idea?

A hell of a lot more then actually see their RD or ND and get a chance to have an open communication bothways.

A lot more then can make it to the BOD meetings.

As for an actual hard number, I couldn't say and I think it would be damn near impossible to find out.


MikeTJumps  (D 5957)

Jul 24, 2004, 4:42 AM
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About two years ago, I asked members on rec.skydiving to send me a private note asking for personal e-mails of important information postings rather than to have them scan the background noise and hope to find important stuff on that newsgroup. I compiled a list of about one hundred respondents that I kept informed over the next two BOD meetings as to what went on.

That list eventually got populated by quite a few undeliverable e-mail addresses.

While I never did that on dropzone.com, I did post BOD events on this newsgroup.

I think I might make the same offer here, but if elected, I intend to create an e-mail listing of the region's membership and send out a monthly issues bulletin with requests for input back. In that way, I think the membership will have a more active role in their representation.

Mike Turoff


tspillers  (D 21601)

Jul 25, 2004, 8:09 AM
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Yes the listserv is quite easy to do. I already have one set up. Actually I have several, but they are for DZ info, Staff communictaion and event info. If elected I will start using 2 for sure. One for general info can communication and one for the regions S&TA's only.

Todd


diverdriver  (D 19012)

Jul 28, 2004, 1:03 AM
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Ok, butting my nose in where it doesn't belong probably but I will give this observation about responses.

1. You can't see the facial expression or hear the voice inflection when reading. So saying someone dismisses something may not be true. They might not be warm to the idea for very good reasons but it doesn't mean they will not discuss it further if a good idea is floated.

2. Elect someone who can make good decisions (don't spend membership money on things that benefit a couple people) without having to get everyone's input on each issue. That's WHY we are electing smart (hopefully) people to go to the BOD.


Anyone who runs for election and posts that they don't know what the issues are but are willing to learn will NEVER get my vote. I want to know where they stand now on known issues because I'm pretty sure I know how they will react to other issues as they come up. They have a couple of days to do their work at the meeting. They shouldn't have to take a break every few minutes to go post and wait on the DZ.com regulars to make a decision.

Mike is a smart man and can make good decisions. That's why I (if I was in his region) would vote for Mike Turoff for Regional Director.

I don't know if anyone thought this post was important but thanks for reading.


tspillers  (D 21601)

Jul 28, 2004, 9:26 AM
Post #25 of 35 (2263 views)
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Re: [diverdriver] Notes from the USPA BOD meeting by Mike Turoff [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you. The BOD needs to know what is going on. However, they should also be able to listen to ideas that they maybe aren't exposed to. They should be very involved and current. Holding ratings that you haven't used don't mean much. I am very current and utilize my ratings. However, many of the issues that are important don't apply to our DZ because we have taken care of them at a local level. W/L limits are monitored on an individual and case by case basis. We take extra effort in training jumpers and pilots. We pay for proper A/C maintenance. The list goes on. These are still issues across the nation at some DZ's. Inciting people to bring them forward can change the perspective of what is important across the board. Being approachable so that people can express concerns so they can be corrected and they not feel like a bad guy is also important. I also think compliance rather than punishment is the better approach.

As with most or your posts. I found it important and useful.

Todd


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