To first answer your question on my position on the "Rich Winstock Controversy" I have to educate the individuals that will read this thread. This is just not my perception but also the “Ground Truth”
There are some Board members on this current board that let their personal emotions about Rich drive their decisions. Because of this, two senior board members that I know of leaked Confidential Information to the public before an investigation was complete. One Board member even went as far as to post fabrications about one of the incidents only 48 hours after it happened.
With this being said, USPA has a Disciplinary Process outlined in the Governance Manual (Section 1-6). That process is applied to ALL USPA members in case a disciplinary action is brought forth. Section 1-6 outlines the process. Every member and their case must be given full due process before a final determination or decision is made.
In one instance, certain board members were asking for Rich’s resignation as the Safety & Training Chair and even for his resignation from the board before the 1-6 investigation was even initiated. He was “Guilty before proven Innocent”. Even though we are board members we are still members of USPA and should be afforded the same right. I feel we should hold ourselves to a higher standard but that is a personal choice. Some Senior Board Members they might not agree with my statement.
Bottom line, because of the actions of some in this case, Sherry made the right decision and initiated a 1-6 investigation as per the Governance Manual. The process begins with the Regional Director and continues from there. I discussed with Rich very seriously about resigning as the Chair of S&T. My initial reaction was for him to step down. I changed my position because I felt if we didn’t follow the 1-6 process it could put ALL USPA Members at risk of not receiving due process because “Someone doesn’t like you or you just don’t agree with their position”.
The reason Rich stepped down as the S&T Chair this summer was because a you-tube video showed he did not conduct a Tandem Systems Handles Check per the new BSR that we past in a previous meeting. I supported him stepping down but let me add this, we as the Safety & Training Committee and the Full Board past a BSR, which I supported, without first vetting every possible variable that could effect non-compliance with the BSR. During the summer meeting it was brought to our attention that we never fully outlined what exactly we as USPA (not the manufactures) expected to be accomplished during a handle’s check (i.e. Physically touch or just visually verify the handles are in position). This was the first motion passed:
Motion 38: Passed 15/4/0 (Mr. Stokes)
“Move to add in SIM, Section 2-1, F, 4, c (7): Any person making a tandem jump as the parachutist in command is required to conduct a proper systems handles check immediately after deployment of the drogue, effective immediately.”
I felt common sense would prevail and Tandem Instructors would physically touch the handles, but I also feel we acted in haste and did a dis-service to the membership. We edited the BSR during the summer meeting. When I’m elected for a second term I will be more diligent in my decision making when it comes to BSR’s or recommendations that affect our sport.