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breastroker
August 24th, 2004, 09:09 PM
It is time to get going here and discuss the 2004 USMS Convention. Only three weeks away, we seem very complacent. Has everyone completed their work? I know I am not done.

We should have all recieved our convention packets. But the latest email from the Executive committee implies that USMS will be using a new company as our national magazine, thanking Swim magazine and going on.

I can remember when we had SwimSwim magazine, and for a while Fitness Swimmer tried to become our magazine. Having spent some time working in the offices of Swim magazine when owned by one of our masters coaches, I know many of it's people and somewhat how it competes in the market place. In my humble opinion Swim magazine has evolved to meet some of but not all of our needs.

The executive committee has spent considerable time with this latest (RFP) Request for Proposals. Implied in the email is that this will eventually help our organization bottom line. I don't know this; and should be discussed as much as possible before convention. The Executive Committee needs to give us delegates far more information than what is included in the email. Normally they are quiet this time of year, but they really need to be open on this one.

Also implied in the Executive committee email is the very good idea of USMS having total control of our magazine, this can mean doing a better job completing our mission statement. This is not just a great buzzword, we should use it as a business tool. Will designing our own magazine to fit our members needs and using a company to publish it be a better fit with our mission statement?

Please read the mission statement on page 11 of the rule book. I could type it here, but I really want each of you to find page 11 and read it. You can also find it on the USMS web site.

Now I will chime in with my thoughts. I support this move to a new publisher, I feel that we will be in better position to service our membership, educate our membership and build our membership. Gee, I just spouted the Core Objectives of the current USMS Executive Committee. Also found on page 11.

Don't just listen to me, search and do your own research. Bring questions to this forum. Ask the executive committee and the others involved in this for more information. Hold their feet to the fires. Lets discuss this so that when I call for a motion at convetion to approve this, that we can move on with all the other businees of convention.

Hey, we need time to socialize and party. We deffininately need to get Michael Phelps in the skit again!!!! I personally want to give Nadine a big hug, the story about her at Nationals was what we are all about.

As Chairman of SPMA, I always remember that it took me over a year to get my first Blue ribbon, and how I still have it. I have piles of medals, but to the new or returning swimer that first ribbon of any color means a lot. I try to remember we are not going to convention for ourselves, we are proudly representing some of the finest people in the world, our members.


Lets get going, email your people going to convention and let the discussions roll:D :D

lynhzlwd
August 25th, 2004, 11:10 AM
As everyone knows, the last weeks prior to convention are very hectic. The EC is preparing a detailed document for the HOD on the bidding process for our national publication. We will attempt to answer questions as they come up, but would like to place as much of our energies in the fuller explanation. The BOD is already discussing the topic on their private forum. Below is a message posted there from Jim Miller in answer to some initial questions from Sandi Rousseau.

Message from Jim Miller, USMS President

Thank you Sandi for your affirmation of the care and many hours that the Executive Committee has put in to come up with a National Publication recommendation that benefits USMS. Here are responses to your questions that also address items raised by Mike Heather:

1. This matter will be submitted to the House of Delegates for approval. Under USMS rules, the Board of Directors only acts for USMS between meetings of the House of Delegates. Similarly, under Rule 507.1.3, the Executive Committee acts for the corporation between meetings of the BOD. Since the House of Delegates is about to meet, there is no reason for this matter to be submitted to the BOD first. The actions of the Executive Committee have been fully in compliance with both the rules and the Professional Management Guidelines.

2. The interests of the LMSCs who use the National Publication to send their newsletters have been taken into account. Each of the finalists was asked about the newsletters and Nancy Ridout, the Registrar for PMS, which sends a newsletter to its 10,000 members in the National Publication, participated in the interviews. Douglas Murphy quoted us a price for the newsletters that is substantially cheaper than what Sports Publications currently charges.

3. This selection process was not a surprise, nor was it conducted in secret. A request for proposals was placed in the Nov./Dec. issue of SWIM. The BOD was consulted for budget approval to hire a contractor to help us analyze the bids. The minutes of the EC meetings -- sent directly to the BOD -- have reflected discussions about the selection of a publisher for the National Publication.

4. We will have the information you reference (e.g. cost comparisons, USMS editor duties) available at convention.

On a personal note, Sandi, thank you for your reasoned and polite discourse on this important matter. The EC has put in a tremendous amount of work to get the best result for USMS and its future, while consciously operating within our rules and guidelines. Your calm inquiries are much appreciated.

Jim Miller
President, United States Masters Swimming

Michael Heather
August 27th, 2004, 11:05 AM
There is no doubt that a lot of work was done by the EC in this matter. Why, then did they present a letter drafted in such a way that there is no reference to any choice that the HOD may have? The email follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Members of the USMS Board of Directors and House of Delegates:

The USMS Executive Committee has an exciting development to announce. Beginning in 2005, USMS has the opportunity to partner with a new publisher for its National Publication. This is a change that will save money for USMS and result in a high quality membership benefit.

As many of you know, USMS’ contract with its National Publication vendor expires at the end of this year. In anticipation of that expiration, and pursuant to our Professional Management Guidelines, USMS issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the November/December issue of SWIM Magazine. Five (5) publishing companies submitted final bids. With the assistance of a USMS member with publishing expertise who served as a consultant to help us brainstorm USMS’ needs and sort through the bids, the EC narrowed the field to three finalists, including the current publisher of SWIM Magazine, Sports Publications, Inc.

A subset of the EC conducted in-person interviews with representatives of the three finalists on July 18. After the interviews, the EC made a preliminary decision to pursue further discussions with two publishers of "association" magazines (more on this below). We made site visits to those two publishers in late July and have decided to select one of those publishers, Douglas Murphy Communications. As part of our due diligence, we contacted references directly and made financial queries. Both processes reinforced our confidence in Douglas Murphy.

By partnering with Douglas Murphy Communications, we will own the intellectual property rights to our magazine, including the copyright to all materials published. We will be engaging a corporation that has experience and success publishing for associations and offers an attractive financial package aimed at making the magazine budget neutral within three years. Moreover, Douglas Murphy demonstrates creative ideas on editorial content aimed at all USMS members, exhibits spectacular design capability, and proposes a comprehensive plan for integrating the magazine with our web site. We’d like to expand on some of the factors that make this new partnership so attractive for USMS.

Association Publishing

Through the RFP process, we learned about the possibilities of association publishing. There is a whole field in which companies publish magazines on behalf of non-profit associations such as USMS. Associations run the gamut – from broad national organizations such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to narrow interest organizations such as the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors!

Association publishers have an industry standard way of operating. They have editorial, design and advertising staffs, often supplemented by freelancers, and they work closely with a representative of the association to create a magazine that is geared to the interests of the association’s members and is intended to be a sought-after member benefit. In our case, the publisher would work with our USMS Editor, who would collaborate with the publisher on story ideas, ensure the accuracy of content, communicate the interests of our organization and its members, and provide contacts for stories.

Cost

With association publishing, we found an industry standard that is a very different alternative to how we currently pay for our National Publication and that will provide significant cost savings. Our current publisher, Sports Publications, Inc., charges USMS a per member subscription rate. The current rate is $8.00 per member and, in its bid, Sports Publications proposed a 12 year contract, increasing the rate every four years from $8.25 to $9.50 to $10.00 per member, even as our membership grows. For 2004, $339,700 has been budgeted to pay for SWIM subscriptions. On the revenue side, Sports Publications gives USMS 3% of its advertising revenue.

The fee and ad revenue structure in association publishing is quite different. Both of our association publishing finalists, including Douglas Murphy Communications, would charge us for the actual cost of producing our magazine. This would include the cost of freelance writers, photos, magazine layout and set-up, printing, and postage, among other things. Both association publishing finalists priced out sample costs for us and they were very similar. For the most part, these costs would not be affected by a growing membership.

The major difference is on the advertising revenue side. Both association publishers gave us the industry standard quote for splitting ad revenue – we get 75% of the revenue and they get a 25% commission. Recognizing that it would take some time to establish long-term relationships with advertisers, both publishers independently told us they believe USMS could have enough advertising revenue within three years to completely cover the costs of publishing the magazine. That is, we would break even while providing this valuable member benefit!

Ownership

Association publishing gives USMS the opportunity to own its magazine and use the articles and photos however we wish. Currently, Sports Publications owns SWIM Magazine, including the publication’s name. USMS buys subscriptions to Sports Publications’ magazine. With an association publisher, USMS owns the magazine, which the publisher produces on our behalf. This raises possibilities not only for future use of archived articles and photos, but also for an association between our website and the magazine.

Design

We are very excited about the look and structure of the product that Douglas Murphy has previewed for us. We will have interesting articles and information pieces designed in a readable manner. Smaller articles and graphics will be organized into "departments" in the front and back of the magazine, with a "feature well" in the middle of the magazine for longer articles. This is the norm in consumer magazines, much as you see in "Time" or "People". Douglas Murphy and its design and graphics staff are committed to producing appealing graphics and design. They and we want our members to anticipate the arrival of their USMS magazine and read it cover to cover.

Timing

The decision to engage our new publisher as soon as possible was based on crucial time limitations. As you can see from the discussion of advertising revenue above, it is important for the new publisher to begin building relationships with advertisers and sponsors to generate ad revenue. Although the new publisher’s first magazine will not be until the March/April 2005 issue, advertisers make decisions about the next year’s ad budget in August and September. We need to start working with the publisher now to develop a "media kit" – a glossy or semi-glossy fold-out that sells the magazine and provides advertising rates and packages. A prerequisite to the media kit is a preliminary notion of our editorial calendar for 2005 so Douglas Murphy’s ad sales staff can appeal to potential advertisers with interesting articles and topics around which they may want to advertise.

Bill Volckening, and a USMS transition team will begin working with Douglas Murphy Communications as soon as possible to brainstorm the 2005 editorial calendar, facilitate relationships with sponsors and potential advertisers, and educate Douglas Murphy about USMS and our members’ interests and needs.

Sports Publications

Having described this new opportunity for USMS and how it came about, we would also like to recognize the close partnership that we have had with Sports Publications and its magazine for many years. Sports Publications’ staff has tremendous knowledge about developments in the swimming world. We hope our members who are interested in competitive swimming will continue to take advantage of things like the Sports Publications website, swiminfo.com, which provides up-to-the-minute information on elite swimming developments.

Sports Publications has grown with USMS over the years. However, at this time in USMS’ development, the opportunity presented by Douglas Murphy and association publishing, including reduced costs and a USMS-owned magazine that appeals to a broad spectrum of our 43,000 members, are more in line with our core objectives of servicing, educating and building our membership.

Representatives from Douglas Murphy Communications will be at our convention to show you prototypes of the magazine, learn more about our organization, and hear your feedback. We think you will share our excitement about Douglas Murphy and its commitment to providing a valuable member benefit for USMS.

---------------------End of Quote.-------------------------------------------

A few questions come to mind.

How many of the bids were timely?

Was this one timely?

How many of the bids were solicited?

Was this one solicited?

How many of the bidders were shown other bidders' offers before making their offers?

Were any negotiations made with Sports Publications after receiving the bid from Douglas Murphy?

How long has Douglas Murphy been in business?

How many association publications does it publish?

How many employees does Douglas Murphy have?

Michael Heather
August 27th, 2004, 11:16 AM
Another question.

Why wasn't the Communications committee used for this search/interview/selection?

jeffmoxie
August 27th, 2004, 05:50 PM
I would like to add two more questions to Mike's:

1. Who was the outside consultant?
2. What is the financial standing of Douglas Murphy Communications?

Scott Rabalais
August 27th, 2004, 06:16 PM
There are quite a few questions being posed here, and I am happy to answer those that pertain to the solicitation of bidders for our national publication.

Once our RFP for the national publication was finalized, it was deemed prudent to distribute it upon request to any publishing entity that might be interested in submitting a proposal. In an effort to advertise its availability, publishers of various well-known national magazines were contacted to inform them of our RFP availability. As well, various publishing associations were contacted stating that our RFP was available to any of its member publishers, if so interested. In order to give us a wide variety of options among bidders and to better serve our membership, we choose to "open the doors" to better understand what possibilities existed in the field of magazine publishing.

We did not approach any company directly and ask them to bid. However, we did inform members of the publishing community that our RFP was available and to contact us if indeed they were interested in viewing it.

Subsequently, five companies submitted proposals.

breastroker
August 27th, 2004, 07:15 PM
I am having trouble with this; perhaps Bill Volckening can fill us in?

Right now, Swim magazine has an Editor in Chief, Phillip Whitten.
I feel it would be a tragedy if USMS did not utilize his talents in some way. He is paid by the publishers of Swim, Swimming World and Swim Technique. Will USMS have to pay Bill Volckening as much to edit one magazine?

Swim magazine also has a Senior editor, and two USMS members,
Bill Volckening as USMS Editor and Scott Rabalais as Fitness editor. How much is this paid and will the pay increase with increased responsibility?


Swim also has two Contributing Editors, paid positions. Will USMS need these as paid positions?

Swim also has an Art Director also spread between three magazines. Will USMS need this as a paid position?

Swim magazine has a nice lady responsible for advertisement revenue, again for three magazines. I assume this will also be a paid USMS position. I have always had a major problem with how USMS attracts advertisers. Our demographics are impressive. Under past president Nancy Ridout, a professional demographics company was used to gather information that any high end advertiser would love to utilize. We seem to ignore those same demographics. The only people I have seen who get it right were Mission Viejo. For the SPMA Long Course Championships, they had Land Rover and Jaguar as sponsors. That is a much better fit for educated masters’ swimmers who averaged $87K for women and $97K for men, over 6 years ago.

The latest issue (Sept/Oct 2004) of Swim is online at swiminfo.com. On pages 24-27 is an article on Pilates, with photos, and starting on page 38 an article that will always get my attention. “The New Age Breaststroke Turn” by Glenn Mills contains 8 photographs. Will USMS need to have professional photographers on staff or on call? Having just participated in a photo shoot for the annual report of a billion dollar company, these photographers are not cheap. I believe it cost $25K for one day. I know we will not spend that much. But they do not work for free.


I know when I was published in Swim magazine I was paid for my articles. Will our authors for the new USMS magazine also be paid? I sure hope so!

Right now there is a huge inequity, USMS articles are not paid. So when a Doctor writes an article for the Sports Medicine section, they receive Nada, Zip, nothing. This might be for 5 to 10 hours of work. Will this continue?

What I am getting at with all of this is, if we are going to have total responsibility with publishing our own USMS magazine in a professional manner, have all the costs been looked at.
This seems to require a full time large staff.

Also, our House of delegate members can read quite well, we have three weeks to convention. Lets us look at all the information BEFORE convention. Giving it to us at the last moment is unprofessional.

jpheather
August 27th, 2004, 07:38 PM
I have many concerns about the impact of this decision financially on Southern Pacific. We have a significant vested interest in the decision about a new publisher because our newsletter is currently published as an insert in SWIM. Newsletter costs are one of our biggests expenses.

It may be that Nancy Ridout was able to obtain some information from the selected publisher concerning the cost of placing the Pacific Newsletter in the magazine, but we have not been able to obtain any numbers, although I have had some communications with the company. We only have ~2800 members, so can't get the same economy of scale that Pacific does with their 10,000 members. Does this executive committee even know what Sports Publications is charging SPMA?

I am currently able to place a pdf file (formatted to the printers specifications) on the printer's server. Will I be able to do that with this company, which is much smaller? Or are we going to have to spend hundreds of dollars on a software program to accomodate their needs? I currently use Microsoft Publisher.

These issues could easily affect our budget significantly enough that we may need to consider a dues increase.

I am mostly concerned that, once again, the Executive Committee has made a decision without giving parties with a vested interest a chance to comment.

lynhzlwd
August 27th, 2004, 07:53 PM
Wayne,

These are all good questions. The short answer is, the cost of the contract with the new publisher includes all of the above that you have asked about. We will not be increasing staff and are not doing the job of completely producing the magazine and selling ads. That is the responsibility of the publisher. We will still have a USMS member as liaison to the process, but they will be more of a coordinator than an editor. Bill has been apprised of this.

I can understand everyone's frustration at the lack of detail, but once we had notified the bidders of our recommendation, the choice became public information and it was necessary to distribute an executive summary to the HOD immediately. We are preparing detailed information for you that you will receive prior to convention. We need to take whatever time is necessary to make sure it is complete and accurate and appreciate your patience.

In the meantime, we will continue to give brief responses to your questions on the forums.

jpheather
August 27th, 2004, 07:59 PM
Is the Request for Proposal available online? I couldn't find it. I would like to see it.

lynhzlwd
August 27th, 2004, 08:01 PM
Mike is posing a number of questions on this forum that he has already posted on the BOD forum. To save time, I am now transferring the responses that have already appeared on the BOD forum. The first was a question from Anna Lea Roof asking if the Douglas Murphy personnel have a swimming background. In addition to Doug's answer below, I should report that some of the staff have are adult athletes, including Grant Murphy, President of the corporation who has experience as a triathlete.

Reply to Anna Lea from Doug Church

This is a short answer to Anna Lea. Douglas Murphy Communications does not have a background in swimming. They have an excellent background in association publishing. In that context, they have demonstrated the ability to produce a magazine that meets the expectations of the readers and the association.

One of my duties was to contact references for direct conversation about just this sort of thing. One of my contacts was with the publisher of a golf magazine. He was very concerned at the outset since DMC had no experience in his area of interest. DMC worked diligently and quickly to identify writers, story lines of interest, key contact people and others in the golf world. His satisfaction was very clear. He observed that they were quickly involved in a very sophisticated way with something that they knew little about until the relationship was established. His comments were in line with the other references that I contacted.

There are, of course, risks with any new enterprise. There will be uncertainty at some level until we see a product. I feel confident in saying that there were skeptics among us on the EC as we began and the questions were answered to our satisfaction. The opportunity to own the magazine, to have the ability to give postive editorial direction, to have a magazine that will be a "must read" for all USMS swimmers, AND to have a financial arrangement that reduces the huge cost and moves it in a direction that can serve us for years to come at a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, is the goal we have aimed to reach.

The proposals took us down a path and this is where they led. I'm looking forward to the convention and the opportunity to provide additional information about our recommendation.

lynhzlwd
August 27th, 2004, 08:04 PM
Below is a response that Doug Church sent in response to some questions from Ted Haartz concerning finances.

Reply to Ted Haartz from Doug Church

Hi Ted: Tracy sent me a copy of your email and I wanted you to know first of all that I am 100% supportive of this proposal. The EC has spent an extraordinary amount of time researching this question and undertaking the due diligence necessary to insure to the best of our ability that this is a positive step for USMS. I am preparing some information for the Finance Committee which I will share with you as soon as it is ready. It will essentially demonstrate the differential in cost savings potential additional revenue resulting from the new arrangement and it is substantial.

Our SWIM ad revenue at 3%, for instance, generated $5,600 in revenue in 2002. We have yet to receive the 2003 ad revenue. If $5,600 equals 3%, then the total revenue to SWIM was about $186,000. In addition, we pay them the per capita $7.90 per swimmer (increasing to $8.25 for 2005) which amounts to over $330,000 (over $346,000 for 2005). In other words, we have paid or benefited Sports Publication to the tune of over $500,000. Under the proposal from Douglas Murphy, they will receive a commission on ad sales of 25%. On the same numbers that would give USMS nearly $140,000 in ad revenue. There are so many other positives about this arrangement.

As usual, it's difficult to conduct the evaluations in an appropriate manner (meaning, maintaining a discrete environment until the field is narrowed, etc.) and at the same time, give everyone all the information all the time! We will do our best to provide complete and accurate information on the process that was undertaken and the results thereof as well as the rationale behind our recommendation. This is a huge opportunity that is critical to the success of other necessary changes that are coming along and I know that you will provide thoughtful guidance, as always. Please let me know if you have other questions. Doug

lynhzlwd
August 27th, 2004, 08:06 PM
This is a post that was prepared in response to a request from Betsy Durrant for information about the 2005 budget:

Response to Betsy Durrant

Betsy asked about the 2005 budget. This is a somewhat complex topic with many variables to consider. Doug Church is preparing a report for the Finance Committee, which will also be available in the more detailed document we are creating for the HOD. Below are the estimated bottom line figures for year 1 of the contract. Part of the complexity is, that as time moves forward, the bottom line can change, but it's all that's ready now. The advertising income for Sports Publications is based on approximate current income. The figures for Douglas Murphy are a conservative estimate for a start-up publication. The design cost is a one-time fee.

SPORTS PUBLICATIONS

USMS Costs
Annual Cost ($8.25 per swimmer @42,000 members) = $346,500
Less Ad Income for USMS (3% based on $30,000 per issue) = $5,4000

Net Cost for USMS = $341,100

Publisher's Income
Annual Income ($8.25 per swimmer @42,000 members) = $346,500
Plus Ad Income for Publisher (97% based on $30,000 per issue) = $174,600

Total Income for Publisher = $521,100

DOUGLAS MURPHY COMMUNICATIONS

USMS Costs
Annual Cost ($53,775 per issue; $12,500 redesign; $4,000 media kit) = $339,150
Less Ad Income for USMS (75% based on $20,000 per issue) = $90,000

Net Cost for USMS = $249,150

Publisher's Income
Annual Income ($53,775 per issue; $12,500 redesign; $4,000 media kit) = $339,150
Plus Ad Income for Publisher (25% based on $20,000 per issue) = $30,000

Total Income for Publisher = $369,150

lynhzlwd
August 27th, 2004, 08:07 PM
Here is a reply to Rich Burns' concern that finances were the only thing considered when the EC made it's recommendation:

Response to Rich Burns

Rich commented that "The way in which the proposal is presented makes it seem like this is a decision based mostly on the financial implications and that USMS is in a position to win big." Please re-read paragraph #4 and you will see that we enumerated a number of factors in favor of this publisher:
By partnering with Douglas Murphy Communications, we will own the intellectual property rights to our magazine, including the copyright to all materials published. We will be engaging a corporation that has experience and success publishing for associations and offers an attractive financial package aimed at making the magazine budget neutral within three years. Moreover, Douglas Murphy demonstrates creative ideas on editorial content aimed at all USMS members, exhibits spectacular design capability, and proposes a comprehensive plan for integrating the magazine with our web site.Although the finances are a significant factor, they are not the only areas where we placed Douglas Murphy in the number one spot. On these criteria and others, which we considered "must have," DMC was equal or superior to the competition.

lynhzlwd
August 27th, 2004, 08:09 PM
Here is a response to Doug Garcia's question about newsstand presence for the new magazine:

Response to Doug Garcia

Doug has asked about newsstand presence. During the review process, we received mixed opinions on this topic. Sports Publications is committed to a newsstand presence, albeit a small one (about 6,000), with non-USMS subscription income going to them. The two association publishers consider newsstand presence to be an expensive proposition for small circulation, niche magazines. They both advised initially developing the magazine as a premium member benefit and possibly using other subscription marketing programs (bind-in cards, direct mail, overprints for distribution at special events, etc.) to seek non-member subscribers. Douglas Murphy also recommends that, when we make decisions about design and editorial content, we keep newsstand presence in mind as a possible long-term goal.

breastroker
August 27th, 2004, 08:18 PM
Scott,
The swimming world is very tight. We get all sorts of information from many sources. I am very concerned that ethical issues that could involve expensive legal bills by USMS may have occurred.

Did USMS have a deadline for the RFP's? How many companies responded to the initial deadline on time? If only one company responded on time, would the proposal be rejected?

Was this RFP reissued?

Now the current contract is usually public knowledge, this is not a problem. Was the latest proposal of Swim shared with other bidders? This concerns all of us.

Jeff raised the question of the outside consultant. What were their qualifications and how much were they paid? Why was an outside consultant used? USMS has two highly qualified past presidents and others who are or have been in the publication business. Was this consultant totally unbiased?

I spent a lot of time searching the qualifications of Douglas Murphy Communications. To be frank their web site did not inspire confidence. Jeff mentioned the financial standing of Douglas Murphy Communications. We really do want to know.

If Rodale’s “Fitness Swimmer” magazine went under I am concerned about the business model of the new USMS magazine. Fitness Swimmer had Mary and Jim Bolster, Bill Boomer, Clay Evans, Terry Laughlin, John Leonard, James Montgomery, John Spannuth, Richard Quick and Dave Scott participating. These are legends in swimming. If Rodale could not make it, we need to look closely on the business model established for the new magazine.

Michael Heather
August 27th, 2004, 09:59 PM
I wonder if there is a logical reason that one person is generally responding for the entire EC. Curious.

It is common knowledge that in any purchase of goods or services, more information is always better to make the best reasonable decision. Some responses to the various questions posed not only lack depth, but insult the intelligence of the good members of USMS.

Scott Rabalais
August 27th, 2004, 10:23 PM
This is a reply to Wayne McCauley's above questions.

Wayne: Did USMS have a deadline for the RFP's?

Yes.

Wayne: How many companies responded to the initial deadline on time?

We adjusted the deadline to allow for ample time to distribute the RFP and to allow potential publishers amply opportunity to formulate a proposal. According to my recollection, when we adjusted the deadline, no companies had responded with a proposal.

Wayne: If only one company responded on time, would the proposal be rejected?

This is a hypothetical. For our situation, all proposals submitted were evaluated and given consideration.

Wayne: Was this RFP reissued?

No.

Wayne: Now the current contract is usually public knowledge, this is not a problem. Was the latest proposal of Swim shared with other bidders? This concerns all of us.

The latest proposal of SWIM was not shared with anyone, outside of those who evaluated the proposals.

Wayne: Jeff raised the question of the outside consultant. What were their qualifications and how much were they paid? Why was an outside consultant used? USMS has two highly qualified past presidents and others who are or have been in the publication business. Was this consultant totally unbiased?

The consultant had vast experience in the publishing industry. I do not have the exact figures of payment, but my understanding is that the consultant was to be paid a maximum of $1,500 based on hours of contribution. A consultant was used not only to provide insight on the various proposals, but also to gather additional information on the companies and their bids. While I am not sure if any individual can be "completely unbiased," we were pleased with the information presented to us by the consultant. We are not aware of any past presidents who have the experience in the publishing business to a degree that would have assisted us in the proposal reviews.

Thank you for the questions!

breastroker
August 27th, 2004, 11:03 PM
Thank you all for responding. This is much better dialog.

As I stated initially, this all goes to if this change better acomplishes our Mission Satement. I would not have a problem with change even if it cost MORE money, so long as we serve our members and accomplish our Mission Statement.

That being said, who is this consultant? What qualifications in publications and hopefully swimming do they have?

lynhzlwd
August 27th, 2004, 11:07 PM
Below are answers to additional questions that people have posed.

How many of the bids were timely?: All bids were timely. Scott has already addressed this point above.

Was this one timely?: Douglas Murphy's bid was timely.

How many of the bids were solicited?: Once our RFP for the national publication was finalized, it was deemed prudent to distribute it upon request to any publishing entity that might be interested in submitting a proposal. In an effort to advertise its availability, publishers of various well-known national magazines were contacted to inform them of our RFP availability. As well, various publishing associations were contacted stating that our RFP was available to any of its member publishers, if so interested. In order to give us a wide variety of options among bidders and to better serve our membership, we choose to "open the doors" to better understand what possibilities existed in the field of magazine publishing.

We did not approach any company directly and ask them to bid. However, we did inform members of the publishing community that our RFP was available and to contact us if indeed they were interested in viewing it.

Subsequently, five companies submitted proposals.

Was this one solicited? The statement above applies to Douglas Murphy the same as it applies to the other bids.

How many of the bidders were shown other bidders' offers before making their offers?: No bidder saw a bid from another bidder, nor were any bidders given information about any other bid. Only EC members, Tracy Grilli, and Mary Bolster have read the bids. Mary is a professional publishing industry consultant the BOD authorized the EC to engage for assistance in evaluation of the bids. The only information that was released was that in the current contract with SWIM, our share of the advertising revenue is 3%. This is not proprietary information.

There is no doubt that a lot of work was done by the EC in this matter. Why, then did they present a letter drafted in such a way that there is no reference to any choice that the HOD may have?: The Executive Committee operated under USMS Professional Management Guidelines (PMG) to solicit bids and conduct a series of personal interviews with the most qualified 3 candidates. The recommendation goes forward to the HOD, culminating 4 months of work which included consultation with a professional in the field of publishing.

Were any negotiations made with Sports Publications after receiving the bid from Douglas Murphy?: There were no negotiations with any of the bidders, but there were ample opportunities to enhance their bids. All bidders were given the same topics for discussion prior to the interviews. During the interviews, each bidder was asked about the financial structure of their bid. At no time was a bidder given the details of another's financial proposal. The makeup of each bid was very clear at the end of the face to face interview.

How long has Douglas Murphy been in business?: DMC has been in business since 1993.

How many association publications does it publish? Currently publishing 5 association publications. You can get more information from their web site at http://www.douglasmurphy.com.

How many employees does Douglas Murphy have?: They currently have 8 employees.

Why wasn't the Communications committee used for this search/interview/selection?: The EC believes that it is responsible for recommending the BEST choice and it has done so. It would be impossible for all members of the HOD, the BOD, or a large committee (there are 24 members on the Communications Committee) to devote the time necessary to achieve the same degree of awareness on all issues that have been researched and considered. The need for a single recommendation and a justification thereof is the process envisioned as most appropriate by the EC within the structure of the PMG. Please refer to USMS Professional Management Guidelines, Section V—Selection Process:
Section V-B. The selection process for independent contractors shall be determined by the USMS Executive Committee. Unless an alternate process is approved in advance by the House of Delegates, the method used for selecting independent contractors who will receive compensation greater than $10,000 annually shall include:

1. An application and interview process.

Or

2. A Request for Proposal (RFP) and bidding process.

Section V-D. When an RFP and bid process is used pursuant to paragraph B.2 above, an announcement, including methods for obtaining the RFP, a brief description of the project, and a bid deadline shall be published in the USMS official publication and in the National Office Newsletter. The USMS Executive Committee shall determine the bid evaluation process used.I wonder if there is a logical reason that one person is generally responding for the entire EC. Curious.: I'm not sure how this is relevant to the validity of our recommendation, but I do most of the responding because I am the one most comfortable posting on the forums and this is the division of labor in the EC. We are all participating in the formulation of the answers.

It is common knowledge that in any purchase of goods or services, more information is always better to make the best reasonable decision. Some responses to the various questions posed not only lack depth, but insult the intelligence of the good members of USMS: We have stated repeatedly that we are working on a more detailed document that will satisfy everyone's questions. Please see paragraph #2 of my response to Wayne on this forum which I posted at 7:53 PM.

What is the financial standing of Douglas Murphy Communications?: We have vetted the financial standing of Douglas Murphy Communications and are satisfied there is no problem here.

jpheather
August 27th, 2004, 11:15 PM
Section V-B. The selection process for independent contractors shall be determined by the USMS Executive Committee. ...

So does this mean that the Publications Committee will no longer be selecting the publisher of the Rule Book? That will also be taken over by the EC?

I think we're talking about a VENDOR, not an INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR, for publishing the national magazine.

PMiller
August 28th, 2004, 11:13 AM
In response to Julie Heather:

A vendor provides established goods or services on a one-time or limited time basis. In the case of our rule book, USMS (the Publications Committee) prepares the copy and the printer prints it. The selection of the vendor and the payment are governed by section VI of the Financial Operating Guidelines. Of course the Publications Committee will continue to do this.

The pubisher of our national magazine provides ongoing services under a long-term contract that calls for regular collaboration with USMS. Section II.B. of the Professional Management Guidelines defines an independent contractor as "a person or entity that performs services for USMS, where USMS can control the result of the services but not the means and methods of accomplishing the result." This is the relationship that USMS has with its current publisher and will have with its publishers going forward.

The selection process used in the past for our current publisher (an RFP and interview process in compliance with the PMG and a recommendation to the HOD) is exactly what USMS is using now, so I'm not sure why you question whether anything would change with regard to the Rule Book.

Patty Powis
Legal Counsel

PMiller
August 28th, 2004, 11:34 AM
MIke Heather writes:

"I wonder if there is a logical reason that one person is generally responding for the entire EC. Curious."

The members of the Executive Committee are volunteers who must juggle their responsibilities to this organization with demanding jobs and other commitments. We are very grateful that Lynn Hazlewood has taken so much time over the course of the last week responding to the many statements and questions you have posted on this forum and the Board of Directors forum. Her responses -- and the responses of Doug Church, Jim Miller, and Scott Rabalais -- which have been posted here and on the Board of Directors forum about this issue, have been made as quickly as possible to provide as much information as possible about this publishing recommendation.

In response to questions folks may have about the RFP process that has been used, please know that in my role as Legal Counsel, I took great care to ensure that an RFP was issued in accordance with the PMG and the bidding process was conducted in complete fairness. Timely and complete bids were considered, contents of bids were not shared with other bidders, questions for interviews were established ahead of time so bidders would all be asked about the same topics, and a recommendation was made upon a majority vote of the Executive Committee.

I look forward to a discussion of the merits of the recommendation and its value for USMS.

Patty Powis
Legal Counsel

lynhzlwd
August 28th, 2004, 12:26 PM
Attached to this message is the RFP which was distributed.

breastroker
August 28th, 2004, 02:48 PM
I missed this in Lynns reply
Only EC members, Tracy Grilli, and Mary Bolster have read the bids. Mary is a professional publishing industry consultant the BOD authorized the EC to engage for assistance in evaluation of the bids. I had 6 private emails pointing out that I totally missed this in Lynn's reply. So apparently others did not miss this.

I agree if this is the same Mary Bolster who is listed as Executive Editor in my Nov/Dec issue of Fitness Swimmer Magazine.


professional publishing industry consultant would certainly be appropriate. My memory is poor (senior moments) but did she present the Fitness Swimmer Magazine bid against Swim magazine last time to the House of Delegates?

Now I am willing to agree that she did a great job with Fitness Swimmer. But as a direct competitor to Swim magazine, others may see a perception of conflict of interest. In the whole world of publishing the BOD could not find a consultant with out conflict of interest? All 6 of the people who emailed me thought there was a perception of conflict. I can't believe the BOD would approve this selection if there was any perception of conflct of interest.

Since Fitness Swimmer was so professional and had great photos to go with their articles, what will Mary Bolsters role be in the new USMS magazine? She does have experience as Executive Editor, perhaps she would be a better choice than Bill.

I bring this up now only because it will be brought up at convention. And I want a nice quite, fun, pleasant, convention.

PMiller
August 28th, 2004, 05:54 PM
Mary Bolster assisted the Executive Committee during the early stages of the bid process in articulating what USMS was looking for and interpreting the five full bids that came in initially. Once the Executive Committee decided on three finalists, which included Sports Publications, Mary Bolster was no longer involved. She had no absolutely no input or involvement in the choice between the three finalists and the decision to recommend Douglas Murphy. She has absolutely no connection with Douglas Murphy and will not be involved in publishing the magazine. There has been no discussion of using her services as a USMS editor.

As I stated in an earlier post, the Executive Committee, and I as Legal Counsel, have been very careful about the fairness of this process. I am concerned to see that some of the questions that are popping up on discussion forums are the same ones brought up by Sports Publications when it learned that the EC was recommending another publisher. Those questions have been fully answered.

Patty

breastroker
August 28th, 2004, 06:51 PM
Thank you Patty. Clear concise answers like that make the picture much more clear.

As I have said before, what is important is will this change better serve our members and allow us to acomplish our mission statement.

I guess what we need now is to see this proposal from Douglas Murphy and allow the HOD to see the advantages of this change.

Our members may be able to flourish with less restrictions on article lengths and control of photos. Being a perfectionist it has always upset me when poor technique is shown. Also without full control of our articles, I have had important sections of articles left out. I am sure others have had the same.

Now that we have seen the RFP, we would like to see the Douglas Murphy proposal. Many of us are used to evaluating RFP proposals. Having this ahead of time will perhaps make the HOD time be utilized better. We just want to see what the executive committee saw, if this truly fits our mission statement then it will probably be an easy choice.

I have refrained from posting the link to the Swim proposal as I do not think it is appropriate. A recommendation was made by our elected Executive committee. We elected them to be leaders.
It is now our job as members of the House of Delegates to apraise this recomendation and vote appropriately.

I thank all those on the BOD and Executive Committee who have replied to this thread.

My hope is more convention members will participate in this forum each year.

lucyj
August 28th, 2004, 09:40 PM
Rich Burns commented that the discussion had been focusing on the decision making process rather than on some significant issues about the proposed action, and went on to ask about certain financial considerations. My response to Rich is that in my opinion, this whole discussion over the last few days is entirely about the process. If the process had been fully and publicly vetted, then at the very least the BOD would most likely have been provided with the information you seek at all phases of the process.

I do not have an opinion one way or the other at this time as to the merits of the “selected” vendor versus the merits of remaining with Sports Publications – I simply do not have enough information. Further, in my opinion, the reason I do not have enough information is that the EC has once again attempted to run this organization as only it sees fit. We do not have an organizational structure that calls for top-down management. We do not have a structure with a Chief Executive Officer, who makes decisions, gives orders to see that those decisions are carried out by the employees/volunteers, and lives or dies by the results of those decisions. We have a bottoms-up, committee based structure, with each committee and position having defined duties. The published duties of the EC do NOT include usurping the responsibilities of the various committees.

There have been claims that (despite the official description of the limited nature of the duties of the EC in our code) the EC has been following the Professional Management Guidelines. As those are very narrowly written, they are probably correct. However, I submit that I doubt the intent of the HOD in approving those guidelines was to give the EC unlimited power to conduct matters of such importance to the organization without keeping at least the BOD fully informed at all times. I have read the minutes of the EC meetings this year, and almost universally the issues are described as “discussion on such-and-such” with virtually no details of the discussions. Brevity is nice (this won’t be), but information is better.

I don’t doubt that certain members of the EC have spent untold hours reviewing details from the interested publishers. (I do resent a little that yesterday in replying to Mike Heather, Patty Powis felt she had to say, “The members of the Executive Committee are volunteers who must juggle their responsibilities to the organization with demanding jobs and other commitments.” The rest of us aren’t and don’t???? Please.) If the EC had been more transparent on the selection process, then they as well as we would not have had to spend so many hours on this forum in the past 4-5 days. If the EC had been more willing to allow the appropriate committee to be involved with, if not lead, this process, perhaps they would have had more time themselves to deal with their demanding jobs and other responsibilities.

Lynn posted answers to several questions that have been raised, including, “Why wasn’t the Communications committee used for this search/interview/selection?” Her answer was that “It would be impossible for all members of the HOD, the BOD, or a large committee… to devote the time necessary to achieve the same degree of awareness on all issues that have been researched and considered.” Huh? If you read Patty’s comments quoted above, the EC is so time constrained with their demanding jobs and other responsibilities, that to me it seems utilizing the 24 members of the Communications Committee would have allowed for a division of labor far greater than could be accomplished by 7 members of the EC, thereby freeing up some of that precious time for the EC members.

What bothers me most at this point is that we members of the BOD and HOD will not receive any details on the rationale for making a change in vendor until a very short time before this EC will ask us to vote to ratify their “selection.” As the expenditure for our official publication now costs us 40% of our membership income, this is a major, major issue. To not have all the information we need to make an informed decision until just prior to being requested to vote on it is something with which I am not comfortable.

Another concern I have is that Lynn answered the question, “Were there any negotiations made with Sports Publications after receiving the bid from Douglas Murphy?” with the statement that, “There were no negotiations with any of the bidders, but there were ample opportunities to enhance their bids.” What? No negotiations? Just interviews, with topics for interviews? Did no one in those interviews ASK each bidder if they could do “this” or “that?” It seems from her answer that the bidders were simply asked for financial details. Did any bidder express its willingness to negotiate? It’s unbelievable to me that after hearing from each bidder that the EC would not go back to each, armed with more knowledge, and ask bidder “A” if they could do this, and bidder “B” if they could do that. If bidder “A” said that its proposal would cost USMS $500,000 per year, when why wouldn’t the EC then ask if they would do it for, say, $200,000/year, and go back and forth until an agreement is reached that bidder “A” has just given it best and final bid. When the EC determined that each bidder had reached its best and final offer, then the evaluations could start.

Is there some specific reason that the EC feels the need to change vendors? It is based solely on cost, or are there other, perhaps intangible, factors of which we should be aware?

I have a number of other specific questions about the process – some of which have been raised and answered yesterday and today, and some which have not, or which have not been answered fully. I will save those for another posting if they are not covered by others.

To say the least, I’m disappointed that this EC, having already this year had the BOD get involved and take the position that the work on the governance issue was to be done by the Planning Committee and not be directed and controlled by the EC, would once again try to assert its wishes without going through due process. With all due respect to the members of the EC who are trying so hard over the past few days to refer to the PMG as justification for their actions, it would be preferable to me if you all would understand that there is much opposition to and anger with your tactics. I think there is no question about your dedication to USMS, but I for one, do not appreciate the high-handedness of your approach and your replies to the questions that have been raised. Please stop trying so hard to justify your actions but rather address our concerns by coming forth with as much information as possible NOW, and answer the specific questions posed without trying to hide behind the language of the PMG.

At this time, I have to say that due to the importance of this issue affecting about 40% of our revenue stream, and in the absence of the details, with the fact that the delegates are always rushed for time at the convention, and the fact that there is already another major topic on the agenda in the form of the Planning Committee’s proposal on VVMOST and governance, I will not be rushed into making a decision which will result in a change of vendor for our official publication. If I am asked at this convention to vote to ratify the EC’s choice of a new vendor, my vote will be No.

I will, however, support a move to extend the current contract of Sports Publications for one year; to go out with another RFP (with any deadline extensions to also follow the PMG publication of notice requirements); to charge the Communications Committee with the task of receiving, reviewing and evaluating the proposals, and recommending at least one finalist to the EC; and then charging the EC with the task of negotiating the final details leading to a new contract.

michaelmoore
August 29th, 2004, 07:52 PM
DOUGLAS MURPHY COMMUNICATIONS

USMS Costs
Annual Cost
($53,775 per issue;
$12,500 redesign;
$4,000 media kit) =
-------------------------
$339,150
Less Ad Income for USMS (75% based on $20,000 per issue) =

$90,000

Net Cost for USMS = $249,150

Currently USMS has a newsletter editor that we pay about $25,000/year . I have not read anything about how the editorial content of the magazine is going to be filled. Are we still going to have a part time newsletter editor? or are we going to have someone doing this full time.?

How are we going to get stories for the magazine? We are going to have to pay someone to write them. The information about this is very sketchy to say the least.

With the above figures is the EC saying that there will be no increase in editorial cost by going with Douglas Murphy communications.

michael

jpheather
August 29th, 2004, 08:56 PM
In 2002 the current Executive Committee arrived at their first convention with a new mission statement for USMS and asked us, on the first night of convention, to vote on it. This did not go over very well with many of the delegates, and did not pass.

In 2003 at the BOD meeting on the first evening we were asked by the EC to approve money for Worlds based on very little information. Throughout convention it was an extreme struggle and tug of war between the EC and the rest of the delegates who wanted critical information in order to make an educated choice on a major expenditure that could have serious implications for USMS and the members we represent.

In both of the above situations, the EC committee minutes reflected the fact that these items were had been discussed in meetings prior to convention, but did not elaborate on any of the issues or provide any details.

After the 2003 convention, there was another struggle for control between the EC and the Planning committee over who would control the governance study. The EC wanted to control the process. The issue was finally brought to the BOD for a vote, with the majority of the BOD preferring that the study be led by the Planning Committee. The vote was 23 for the Planning Committee to 8 for the Executive Committee, the remainder of the 40 BOD members either abstained or did not vote (I don't know the split).

Now, right before the 2004 convention, we get word that the EC has decided on the new publisher for the USMS magazine. Since questions have been raised about the ability of the EC to make the decision on their own, it appears that they have backed off and the final minutes of the 8/17 meeting indicate that it is a recommendation. However, do those minutes really reflect what happened in the meeting? Given the tenor of the initial email to the delegates announcing the decision, I have to question whether the minutes have been edited after the fact to make the EC appear to be following approved processes.

The RFP for the national magazine does indeed request information and pricing for LMSC newsletters to be published as inserts, as Pacific and Southern Pacific now do with their local newsletters in SWIM Magazine. This information, if it was received from any of the bidders (including the 'selected' bidder), has not been disclosed to us. As I’ve stated before, the newsletter is a significant budget item for our LMSC, and a change could very well cause us to have to raise our dues.

Lucy has done an excellent job of stating the concerns that I, and I believe many others, have with the processes used by the current Executive Committee to make major decisions affecting USMS. In this day of email communication, there is no excuse for not keeping us informed of the options and issues, and there is no excuse for not soliciting input from the Board of Directors on major decisions.

As a member of the USMS Board of Directors I have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the members of our organization. Since I believe that I have not been provided with enough information concerning the selection of the magazine publisher, and since I have serious concerns about the integrity of the process by which the selection was made, I will be voting no.

breastroker
August 29th, 2004, 10:06 PM
The question of advertising dollars needs to be looked at.

USMS is non-profit. Will the advertisers’ income be subject to the UBIT tax?

Are we sure of all the existing advertisers in Swim magazine following us to the new magazine?

It seems the advertisers that are there now are also in Swimming World and Swim Technique magazines. Will they switch and how fast? Do we have firm commitments from our 12 advertisers at the website?

In the Sept/October 2004 Swim issue I count 5 full page ads, two by USMS supporters. Two others had 1/2 or 1/3 page ads that added up to a total of more than a full page, neither of these is USMS sponsors. Six companies placed ads of 1/4 page, one was a USMS supporter. I count a total of 9 full pages, with USMS supporters having 2.25 pages. This is only 25% of the large advertisers in Swim magazine. So if we project that to the $90,000 estimated add income this would not be a clear economic improvement over Swim magazine.

Speedo and Barracuda can afford full page ads, can any of the others? I assume Arena can, but will they spend that much in the same issue as Speedo?

Now if it were me, with our demographics I would go after Mercedes, Jaguar, Rolex, and Channel. I can see the ad now; does your lady wear scent of chlorine or Channel?

My understanding is Swim magazine pays for the media kit now. I see it is extra from Douglas.

I am still open to additional input from the Executive committee. I have not made up my mind. But like the others, I don't think I can be forced to make a quick decision at convention.

Please let us see the recommended proposal. We need to see projections of the advertisement income.

There is an old saying "Follow the money"

USMS does not have enough in the bank to lose money on this now. Again if we serve our members better I would not have a problem voting for a more expensive magazine. But the advertisement income does not hold up to bold projections right now.

michaelmoore
August 30th, 2004, 12:11 AM
USMS is non-profit. Will the advertisers’ income be subject to the UBIT tax?

I could be wrong about this, but it would be the total income by the magazine that would be subject to any tax, not just the revenue of the ads. In that case, the it is a rich mans problem - we make money, we pay taxes on it. But communication with our members is not necessarily unrelated business.

Advertising

I would not try to look at the current advertisers and try to make much sense out of it. The publishers of Swim have four (?) magazines to spread their advertising. The might sell ads by saying if you advertise in these three I will throw in the fourth. Or if you advertise in all mags all year, you get a big discount and I will throw in another magazine.

I am only saying this as any advertising revenue history or forecast has to be taken with a grain of salt.

michael

Rob Copeland
August 30th, 2004, 09:41 AM
Julie Heather wrote “As a member of the USMS Board of Directors I have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the members of our organization. Since I believe that I have not been provided with enough information concerning the selection of the magazine publisher, and since I have serious concerns about the integrity of the process by which the selection was made, I will be voting no.”

First, I didn’t know we were being asked to vote on anything right now??? Hopefully before we are asked to vote on anything we will be provided sufficient information with which to make an informed decision. I am concerned that folks are saying that they will be voting NO, before they have sufficient information to make an informed decision or even before they know what the question is.

Second, as a member of the board of directors, our duties (fiduciary and other) are to the organization. Hopefully our stewardship of the organization and our mission translates into acting in the best interest of our members. And in actuality our mission and objectives go beyond just our members, “To promote fitness and health in adults…”

Third, a question regarding the comment “I have serious concerns about the integrity of the process”. Are saying that we the Board implemented a bad process (in our PMG) or that the Executive Committee did not follow our process? If our PMG needs to be fixed, those who feel it is broken should propose remedies. If our Executive Committee did not follow our PMG, then we have bigger problems, not the least of which would be that in saying the EC didn’t follow protocol; you would be accusing our Legal Counsel of lying to us. If there is proof that our Legal Counsel or other members of the Executive Committee are committing a fraud then this proof should be basis of a grievance against the individual. If not, I personally don’t see the value to the organization of the USMS Board members vetting this, in their role as a Board member, in a general discussion forum.

And finally, at least for now – I don’t plan on voting yes or no until 1) A motion has been presented to us; 2) I understand the question that is posed and 3) I have been provided sufficient information to make a determination of what is in the best interests of USMS, with regard to the specific action at hand.

breastroker
September 3rd, 2004, 03:28 PM
This question is for Bill Volkening: Do you agree with this?

DMC handles the hiring of the writers and will specify a word count ahead of time, so we don't pay for extra verbiage. They will accept suggestions from us and they feel it's more important for the authors to be able to write than to know swimming.

In my opinion it is far more important for the writers to know swimming than be great writers. Is our magazine going to be the New Yorker? We owe it to our members to have accurate information and not totally fluff. I also do not like the specifying a word count ahead of time. A great article that is 50 words over should not be lost. This is the one problem I have with Swim magazine that I would hope would not be carried through to our own magazine. Many "content" articles seem to be truncated and missing information. Yet the fluff articles go on and on.

This is one area that I liked in Fitness Swimmer before they went under. Their technique articles would be 4-5 pages with many large photos. The Technique Tip in the latest Swim magazine seemed to be missing a page. Yet their article on Pilates was just right. If it would be truly our own magazine I would like to see a better ballance.

Betsy
September 3rd, 2004, 03:54 PM
To the Executive Committee:
I have several questions regarding the information sent out today. By the way, thank you for the detailed information.
1. Is there time set aside at the convention to discuss the recommendation prior to it being presented for a vote in the HOD?
2. Is the new position that will replace the USMS Editor to have the same salary or will there be a request for an increase?
3. Is DMC already working on a "media kit" or is that waiting until after the convention? If DMC has begun work, is USMS obligated for any costs?
Betsy

Hugh
September 6th, 2004, 11:21 PM
In the BOD forum, Lucy Johnson asked where I stand on the usurpation of the responsibilities of the Communications Committee. I believe that the EC should have had one or more representatives from the Communications Committee involved in the bid evaluation process. However, I don't feel that the responsibilities of the Communication Committee were usurped. Our committee description does not extend to publishing, USMS finances, or bid evaluations. Members were not selected for the committee based on those needs. There are countless methods that they could have used in evaluating the bids. We could spend the next five years debating what the best method is. I'm comfortable that the EC did follow a reasonable process and followed our rules and PMG.

I need to point out that the EC did involve the chairs of Marketing, Publishing, and Communications in the RFP preparation. Also, Jim Miller contacted me as soon as the decision to recommend Douglas Murphy was made. I talked to Jim while driving to southern California to drop our daughter, Sarah, at college. Jim briefed me for approximately 15 minutes on the reasons behind selecting Douglas Murphy and asked that I select a member of the Communications Committee to be on the transition team. I appointed Meg Smath. Jim told me that the EC was recommending Douglas Murphy (not that they had selected them), so I was surprised when the initial letter that was sent to the HOD did not include the word "recommend".

My apologies for the slow response. Most of my "free" time for the past couple of weeks has been consumed in moving to a new house.

Betsy
September 7th, 2004, 06:54 PM
To the Executive Committee:
I have several questions regarding the information sent out today. By the way, thank you for the detailed information.
1. Is there time set aside at the convention to discuss the recommendation prior to it being presented for a vote in the HOD?
2. Is the new position that will replace the USMS Editor to have the same salary or will there be a request for an increase?
3. Is DMC already working on a "media kit" or is that waiting until after the convention? If DMC has begun work, is USMS obligated for any costs?
Betsy

I posted these questions on the 3rd. I saw Jim's comment that the EC wanted to take the weekend off from answering questions. If there is going to be time at the convention to ask questions, then additional questions can wait.
Betsy

klowy
September 8th, 2004, 12:38 AM
As a member of the Communications Committee I can tell you that indeed Hugh has been busy doing other things for quite some time. I don't believe this has helped our committee or this situation. Our committee was notified about this at 11 pm last night.

I have browsed through the EC document. I noticed a few things I would like clarified. I have spent most of my life (23 of the past 25 years) in the publishing industry as either a writer/journalist or in a computer support position. On page 11 they mention that the USMS Editor would serve as a "check" on the accuracy of swimming copy. All of the magazines I have worked at have a Publisher and an Editor. The Publisher deals with advertising and ONLY advertising. The Editor, as the title spells out, deals with the editorial content. There is a very good reason for this division (which is actually referred to as the Seperation of Church & State). Advertisers should NEVER be in a position to control content. Is this simply a mistake in the document? Most of Page 11 is very confusing to me. It looks like it was written by someone (and I do not mean to insult anyone) who has no publishing experience or background. Are we about to give our magazine away to someone who knows little to nothing about our sport - and expect them to produce a quality magazine?

I worked at one magazine (which shall remain nameless) where the writers were not experts in the field of the magazine. Consequently, some articles that were published were simply bad (i.e. contained incorrect information). If we are going to have a USMS Editor, then the Editor should hire the writers, and be the editor! The Publisher should concentrate on advertising. That is the way magazines work.

I am also not thrilled that this was sent out days away from a convention that I cannot attend - and that most of our committee members cannot attend. This is a major, major change and should have been discussed in the Communications Committee. At least that's my opinion. As I have already written, Hugh informed us of this late Monday evening. I posted my response (most of which is quoted here). No one has responded from our committee yet. And strangely, we have yet to hear from Bill Volkening. Perhaps he is traveling.

I don't want to come off as so negative. I think that if we have an Editor who really does the editing, then it's a potentially good deal. But that does not seem to be what is spelled out. As for the Communications Committee not being a part of publishing - it is the communications committee! If we're not supposed to be involved, then what is our purpose?

I would very much like to hear from Bill. Do you (Bill) share my concerns?

Kenn Lowy

helen bayly
September 8th, 2004, 06:15 PM
Just a thought (e-d to me by several USMS -ers who've been reading the Forum posts): And I apologize in advance for invoking the name of a guile-less hard worker, Mary Bolster.

Apparently it is she to whom EC referred, anonymously, in para 1, line 4, of the Executive Summary - thus:

" With the assistance of a USMS member with publishing expertise...."

Question: Is Mary really a USMS member as Executive Summary states? Reports from other e-ers claim that on Sept. 1, 2004, MB was NOT a USMS member. I e-d Tracy G this morning to check, but so far, no answer (prob busy/travelling etc). Therfore, I ask other EC's and/or staff/leaders (Jim the Prez? Others?).

I can't comment further than to say: has the EC done its homework - is this a correct statement? Others of you may have better knowledge, follow-up questions or corrections.

In fact I hope I'm wrong on this. Eager to hear from any of you who might know better -

Thanks. Helen B, AZ.

Tracy Grilli
September 8th, 2004, 06:53 PM
Hi Helen -

On August 31st I received an e-mail from Phil Whitten asking this same question. On September 1st, I responded with the following message.

Hey Phil -

Well, I'm still on vacation (until Saturday) and had to refer to Esther for the registration information you requested for Mary.

Esther's electronic files go back to 1998 and Mary was registered in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 but is not currently registered for 2004

Tracy

Hugh
September 9th, 2004, 03:32 PM
Kenn & Helen,
Bill Volckening is visiting his parents in Maine. I don't expect that we'll hear from him until convention.
Regarding Mary Bolster, the BOD approved hiring her as a consultant with the knowledge that she was formerly with the publisher that bid for Fitness Swimmer to be the National Publication. I don't understand the relevance of whether she was a USMS-member in 2004, or ever for that matter.

Rob Copeland
September 10th, 2004, 01:38 PM
Scattered throughout this most lively discussion is the suggestion that we delay deciding on the issue of the USMS official publication for a year or so. On its surface, this sounds like a possible short term solution, however if we look into it there are potential problems with this.

First, as I understand it, our contact with Swim runs out at the end of this year. Therefore, if we decide not to choose the USMS official publication at convention, then we will be without any. Not that this is a catastrophic situation, we survived and grew without an official publication for most of our existence. Maybe we can, funnel the budgeted expense into other channels ($300,000 could really spiff up the website).

Second, I am unaware that any proposal for a one year contract extension exists. If there is one, what are the terms and conditions? Also, if USMS were to entertain a one year contract, then I would assume we would still be bound by our PMG and be required to go through the solicitation process.

Third, what message does this send to future potential bidders for this and other contracts? If I had submitted a bid on a contract only to find out the contract was pulled because some people didn’t approve of the choice or the process, I would be extremely cautious about working with this group again. I would most likely be contacting my lawyer to discuss remedies to potential solicitation improprieties. Bidders put time and money into these proposals. Is it fair to back peddle at this point?

Fourth, what message does this send to our members? Our House of Delegates, Board of Directors and Executive Committee have been elected or chosen by our members to act for the corporation. This includes asking the tough questions and making difficult decisions. Weather permitting; we will have all the principle characters at next week’s annual meeting of the House of Delegates. We need to put these tough questions to the Executive Committee, our USMS experts and our finalists. We need to get answers and we need to make decisions. Anything less, in my opinion, is providing a disservice to our members.

Finally, I am a huge fan of Phil Whitten. I have known Phil and respected and admired his contributions and commitment to our sport for more that 20 years. I think most of us have similar feelings towards Phil and what he has done for swimming (not just Masters Swimming, all swimming). I think this comes across in some of the posts on this issue. Which leads me to the question; how many of us would have jumped to the defense of Douglas Murphy, had the recommendation been made to stay with Sports Publications? I honestly, would not have spent as much time sifting through the presented materials, searching for holes in the process.

I’m looking forward to some illuminating discussions next week!

breastroker
September 10th, 2004, 02:19 PM
Rob, Thank you for a great post.

I believe we should have a strong leadership, even going with an Executive director. There are many points positive with a new magazine.

Unfortunately this entire decision, in my opinion comes down to the USMS budget. Without clear and proven income this switch severly impacts our budget. I am sure there is more information that could be released on the income from ads. This is what needs to be released by the EC. If projections are favorable and USMS could reduce our expenses by having a large ad income, then this decision is easier. But if ad income is negative for more than two years, I could not support this move.

I believe my priorities would be:
1) Finish projects such as database, web site etc.
2) Support the 2006 World Champs
3) Remain in budget.
4) Fix the insurance situation

Note these priorities may be different than the EC. I do not feel a new magazine is a priority at this time.

klowy
September 10th, 2004, 06:42 PM
Hugh,

Bill being in Maine doesn't explain his silence. I've been told they have computers and phone's and internet connections up there. Was his silence requested, and if so by whom? Those of us who know Bill, also know that this is highly unusual.

As for Mary Bolster, although I agree, her membership in USMS should not be an issue, what should be and is an issue is that she was formerly with the publisher that bid for Fitness Swimmer to be the National Publication and lost! That is a conflict of interest in some ways.

On Page 11 of the HOD document:
"6. Work with SWIM Magazine, the USMS Communications Committee and the USMS Executive Committee or its designee to prepare an annual Editorial Calendar."

The Communications Committee (which you currently head) never heard about this. Why not? Not to be too blunt, but where have you been this past year? Our biggest project this year was an April Fools Joke! USMS expects more from us than that. As a member of your committee, I expect more.

As I posted earlier, I am not completely against the EC's recomendation, I just feel that the process was and is flawed in many ways. And my Editorial question has yet to be answered.

Kenn Lowy

helen bayly
September 11th, 2004, 12:12 PM
Just to support any questions re: where are the voices of USMS' most experienced and admired editors, Phil and Bill?

And a reminder: why should we note that EC's reference is NOT a USMS member? Well, to show that our EC can actually err in their report! "To err is human" etc etc., so their errors do not condemn them as good and honorable....merely warns us that there are errors in this report, and the EC that they can correct a few things.

BY THE WAY: I've just rec'd an e-mail from a Post-writer who says:

"I deleted your posts ....." which, in his view, "crossed the line of civility...." etc... This writer goes on to refer to his own MIS-reading of my messages (which none of us can now refer to because they're deleted! Erased! - tho somewhere I have a copy, I hope, for future reference).

Most interesting! Is this customary? (Not in the USMS I know!). I wasn't consulted - merely informed by e-mail of the deletion(s), by the deleter who appears to be a careless reader. This censorship comes from the well-intentioned person who, erring, thinks I attribute "unethical behavior" to the EC. Sorry, mate, I've never mentioned the word "behavior" (especially as I spell behaviour with a u).

The writer apparently can't tell the difference between quandary, situation, methods etc - and the people who err in depending on such info. There is a distinction between:

(1) unethical situations/mistakes that lead to unethical situations, and
(2) unethical behaviour by people. (1) is relevant here.

I'll restate my thesis : it appears that our EC - ethical people! - has been MIS-LED by erroneous information, leading them/EC to make plans/decisions that (not their fault)rest upon info/situations that themselves appear unethical, aka conflicts of interest.

EC: should I post/e-mail the Letter-of Deletion? It's rather fascinating....let me know; I value your opinions.

We readers will wonder what else has been deleted/removed fom this interesting and HELPFUL-TO-EC/USMS fORUM of thoughtful comments and wise suggestions. ( Un-paranoid old me - I haven't counted the posts, nor worried about my own - but now I'm concerned that other comments are erased from our/HOD's discussions).

Saturday morning: here we are again, working for USMS on a weekend/holiday. I know we're all wishing FL residents the best - that Ivan avoids them, in the wake of other hurricanes.

Helen B., Saturday morning 9/11/04 (exactly 3 yrs after many USMS delegates tried to reach the Detroit USAS Convention - later postponed 2 mos..... cf now w. Hurricane Ivan influences).

michaelmoore
September 11th, 2004, 01:16 PM
Point of reference: I deleted the posts. Please do not contact the webmaster, he was not involved in the decision.


michael moore
administrator

breastroker
September 11th, 2004, 01:26 PM
Helen,
One of the reasons I post these discussions each year comes from my own work experience. Three years ago I was requested to go to as many as 30 hours per week for meetings. Since my practice was to spend two hours preparing for each hour of meetings, my time to do my own management was limited.

I read every Executive minutes, this takes time but is worth the time to see the leadership and hard work our Ex Committee is doing for all of us. Considering they all have local LMSC positions and additional work there, they are my heros!

That being said, when we get to convention I have continued to see the execs sometimes "not in step" with the HOD. This goes back to all the previous leaders. There is probably some management term that describes being so close to your work that you are out of touch with the majority. That is not bad, I call it part of being leaders. What I have found is that when you intimately know the subjects, you have to over communicate with those who do not see the big picture yet!

One instance of this is the use of Mary Bolster. I know her fairly well, Clay introduced her many years ago. She is very intellegent and was a real masters swimmer. I could easily see why the Exs chose her. But my first impression when I saw in this forum she was paid to review the RFPs was the dreaded "Conflict of Interest". Many many others must have come to the same initial conclusion, as they have expressed this openly. I fully understand why the Ex Committee chose not to go to committee. Time was important, we all must understand this.

Some how there remains confusion about the income from ads. When I first read the Ex release, I thought they meant that within three years the ENTIRE magazine costs would be covered by the ads! I was so pumped up, this was wonderful! But as I re- examined this and following releases, this income became very cloudy. It didn't make sense to me. Still doesn't. Someone must have come up with projections, the HOD should see these projections early.

Helen, I love you dearly. Your smile lights up any room. I think the Ex Committee now understands some of the perceptions that they were not aware of initially. We need to stick to clear questions and requests for information so that our convention goes well. My fear is that we loose the first two days with Ivan, and have to do all the work Friday and Saturday, days I like to party! The poor Finance Committee would have to work 24 hours a day, Oh wait, they do that already:p

So here is my request for information:

1) Projections of ad income for each year, seperate and not lumped together

2) Editorial control - I do not accept Douglas asking their wonderful chrony writers to write about swimming. It must be coaches and swimmers doing the writing. That is why you have an editor? Bill V should comment.

3) Finance Committee- impact on the USMS budget for the next three years

Michael Heather
September 11th, 2004, 01:36 PM
as I understand it, our contact with Swim runs out at the end of this year. Therefore, if we decide not to choose the USMS official publication at convention, then we will be without any.

I am unaware that any proposal for a one year contract extension exists.

The facts are that Sports Publications have already agreed to extend its current contract, unofficially. Unofficial because they (Sports Publications) claim that they were never contacted after the opening of the bids, but were ready for negotiations of any kind, should USMS desire to do so.

helen bayly
September 11th, 2004, 02:18 PM
GEE WHIZZ - THANKS Wayne. And of course I'm planning on having a terriff. time+parties with you all (am polishing up my smile). And W's points re study/conferring etc. are perfect. I agree. Thanks M Moore for fessing the deletions.

(Philosophical question: is it ethical to delete others' ideas/comments etc?? ha ha ha! Only joking).

The fact that I can think critically (as a long-time teacher, O students) doesn;t stop me from being an Agreeable Master at Conferences, meetings etc. Of course I;m an ardent Master Sw, and as such want everything poifect and much-winnowed by hearty debate. I WANT MY EC TO THINK CRITICALLY. That's what it boils down to. Thanks for joining in. Please read more carefully (or Moore carefully), MM.

I appreciate all you volunteers in USMS. My point is, Dr. Deleter, that, wonderful and ethical tho we ALL are, we can yet make mistakes/err/be misled! And again - that's the point of these discussions (even tho they're awfully close to Mtgs, and short on adequate notofication).

Ah well, no-one's perfect, except thee and me, and even thee......Quaker saying.

I plan to arrive Wed afternoon, if Ivan permits. Kudos to USAS, USMS admin/Exec Dir et al for dealing with this crisis hourly on our behalves.

Helen B.

klowy
September 11th, 2004, 10:16 PM
Michael,

Why did you delete the posts? Is democracy just too much to bear? I think we deserve a good explanation.

Kenn Lowy

michaelmoore
September 12th, 2004, 10:48 AM
Why did you delete the posts?. . . I think we deserve a good explanation.

Great topic, I think this would be a good thing to discuss at the Communications Committee later this week. I think the chairman was already thinking of putting it on the agenda. A democracy being what it is, we can vote on how we wish to proceed in the future. (We can talk this about after we discuss all the hard work we did on the new magazine :( ).


michael

klowy
September 12th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Micahel,

We, the Communications Committee, have not done ANY work, good or bad, on the new publication. As you well know. It might be amusing to some that our committee's workload has been non existant, but not to me.

As for the deletion of posts, we discussed this at the committee level last year. We decided it would have to be very drastic to ever delete a post.

So why did you delete them?

This is not a communications committee issue now.

Kenn Lowy

Michael Heather
September 12th, 2004, 11:58 AM
We, the Communications Committee, have not done ANY work, good or bad, on the new publication.

An excellent point. Your committee was not allowed to even participate in the "selection." The biggest and most telling question to the EC is, why?

helen bayly
September 12th, 2004, 12:39 PM
Thanks for continued discussion re Deletion of Post(s). Seems essential, for the best progress of/by USMS. To help discussion (which Michael M. intimates will happen), I should like to Post/Forum the letter that I was sent, announcing that the sender had deleted my message(s) without consulting me.

(Here, perhaps, deletion/erasure seems related to censorship - but others can decide that. I don't dare mention the irony of the situation, nor the words ethics/integrity, so I shall not pursue that idea.....apparently our org'z'n has discussed this before?).

But - I shall e-mail the e-note to some of you (EC, officers) with the request that you/they Post it for me.....My computer and I aren't clever enough to attach and Post this weekend. E-note'll speak for itself, and be helpful to the discussion by Forum as well as at meetings.

I could attempt to retype the "letter of deletion" if eyestrain ain't too awful. E-ing to y'all for help Posting seems easier. I'm grateful that the brave deleter admitted that it was he who erased my message.....could even be plural, messages, from my quick glimpse back at Forum.

Here indeed, from one (good) person who seemed NOT to understand my earlier words re "ethics", "conflict of interest", appears to be an outstanding example of -- da dah - what to avoid. This seems to be the view, also, of other readers...... Perhaps this moment is good to collect other related views, and improve USMS policy?

Thanks for your interest - Helen B., pondering what best to do and how to do it.

klowy
September 12th, 2004, 01:10 PM
We discussed "censorship/deletion" last year when one person posted some things that were off the wall, rude and possibly non-factual. We decided that his posts had to reach a certain level before we deleted posts. We felt as a group that freedom of speech was and is too important to delete things we simply didn't like. Interestingly, I just looked for the posts, and the entire thread has been deleted!

I have no idea why Michael Moore decided on his own, or was nudged, to delete these posts. My understanding is that it is a VERY RARE things to delete posts.

Michael really does owe the memberhip of USMS an explanation. For him to call me personally to discuss this, tells me that he does not want to put it in writing - or go on the record. I do hope to speak with him about this. And I will post a followup on our conversation.

Kenn Lowy

klowy
September 12th, 2004, 04:53 PM
I spoke with Michael and urged him to post a brief explanation - which I think everyone will understand.

At this point we should not be sidetracked and should return to the central discussion of the possible new national publication.

kenn

nyswim
September 22nd, 2004, 07:55 AM
ORLANDO, Fla., September 21. USMS President Jim Miller won a narrow, divisive victory when the production company he and a majority of the seven member USMS Executive Committee (EC) had recommended to produce the official USMS publication, was approved by a two vote margin of the USMS House of Delegates last Friday.

The struggle over which producer would be approved was the highlight of the annual USMS Convention, held at the Wyndham Palace Resort and Spa on the grounds of Disney World in Orlando, Florida, September 15-19.

Earlier in the week, the Board of Directors (BOD) refused, apparently for the first time in USMS history, to approve all actions, recommendations and minutes of the EC for its work over the previous 12 months. A motion simply to acknowledge all actions by the EC was tabled indefinitely, according to several members of the BOD.

Over the next couple of days much discussion took place surrounding the decision as to whether or not USMS should enter the publishing business. In dramatic fashion, a motion to approve the EC's recommendation of Douglas Murphy Communications (DMC) of Richmond, Virginia, passed by a vote of 97-89-3. A majority of those present and voting -- 95 votes -- was required for passage of the motion.

President Miller, of Richmond, Virginia, is in line to become the Publisher of the tentatively named USMS Swimmer magazine (a take-off title from the recently defunct Fitness Swimmer magazine, which failed to survive in the marketplace). He argued that DMC would produce a swim magazine more cheaply than Sports Publications, International (SPI), which has published SWIM Magazine as the official magazine of USMS for the past 12 years helping USMS to grow its membership by 79%, and that USMS would gain an increase in advertising revenues assuming that SWIM Magazine would cease to exist.

SPI's publishing arm extends into 179 countries through Swimming World magazine, Swimming Technique magazine, and SwimInfo.com. It is considered the foremost authority on swimming and has a pool of correspondents from around the world.

After the vote, Brent Rutemiller, CEO of Sports Publications, said he was “stunned” by the outcome. “We always looked at USMS as being family," he said.

"Through our relationship with USMS and SWIM Magazine, SPI gave USMS over $100,000 per year worth of added value in the form of a newsstand presence, workout cards and extended distribution in 52 other countries. Every tenth story on SwimInfo.com was devoted to USMS and its membership.

"We were their customer service center, handling daily calls for information, mailing of back and lost issues, reprinting articles and distributing photos on literally hundreds of occasions, without ever having charged USMS a penny. Not only that, but we extended that courtesy to the free usage of articles and photos from Swimming World and Swimming Technique magazines.

"USMS had full editorial control of SWIM’s content and received a percentage of sales from our swim shop. We had plans to add more value going forward in 2005 with the offering of free premium access to SwimInfo.com to all USMS members and promoting the heck out of the 2006 FINA World Masters Championships in all of our vehicles. More importantly, Masters swimmers were going to be a constant feature on the soon-to-be- launched Swimming World TV. All of that is now off the table with USMS deciding to go it alone.

"However," Rutemiller added, "we are at peace with the final decision and realize that our business model cannot be held hostage to the vote of 200 House of Delegate members every four years. We fully intend to go forward and take back full ownership of our magazine in order to support the adult fitness swim market.

"Some of our moves will be surprising and I suspect they will be viewed as very creative and progressive.

"We thank all of our supporters whose numbers are significant and we wish USMS all the best with its publishing business. We will continue to publish the remaining two issues of SWIM (November/December 2004 and January/February 2005) with the same quality and expertise that the membership has come to expect from us,” concluded Rutemiller who can be contacted at Brent Rutemiller.

Opponents were upset with the DMC selection on three major grounds: process, finance and expertise.

Process
Originally, the EC presented the selection of DMC as "a done deal," a "decision," rather than a "recommendation." According to Brent Rutemiller, Dr. Miller told him in a telephone conversation that the decision to go with DMC did not require approval by the Board of Directors or House of Delegates, adding that since it did not involve a budget increase -- a debatable supposition -- it did not need to be reviewed by the Finance Committee either. That conversation effectively stalled any opposition that SPI could have initiated prior to convention to present its side of the matter.

However, overwhelming opposition to the attempt to impose the selection on the organization by the EC surfaced, forcing the EC to change its "decision" to a "recommendation" and to allow the BOD and HOD to debate the issue.

There were numerous other objections to the process that ultimately resulted in the selection of DMC -- objections that, collectively, amounted to powerful evidence that the selection process, itself, was fatally flawed in a number of significant ways. USMS Legal Counsel Patti Powis, of Richmond, Virginia, however, argued that the EC had followed the Professional Management Guidelines (PMG).

Many delegates felt it was unfair that DMC was allowed to make two full-fledged presentations plus it had four members of the EC speaking repeatedly on its behalf garnering votes from the HOD, while SWIM was limited to less than two minutes -- and those two minutes came only after the HOD had over-ruled Dr. Miller’s ruling that the SWIM representative would not be permitted to address the HOD.

Finances
Speaking after the Finance Committee had met and reviewed what is known about the financial aspect of the DMC proposal (actual numbers had not been presented by the time the debate took place), Chairman Tom Boak, of The Woodlands, Texas, noted that his committee was much less optimistic about DMC’s advertising projections and the EC’s assertion that the magazine would pay for itself within three years. DMC’s President, Douglas Murphy, then acknowledged that the three-year projection was “only an industry average and could take considerably longer,” if at all.

Chairman Boak also expressed grave concern about the open-ended nature of DMC’s financial proposal, or what was known of it. Far from being slightly less costly than SPI’s proposal, as advertised, it had the potential to result in skyrocketing costs; indeed, the history of publishing costs indicated that it would likely be significantly more expensive over the next several years with postage costs, alone, projected to increase ten to fifteen percent next year.

The DMC proposal apparently calls for a “cost-plus” billing of USMS by DMC for its services. In response to additional concerns about costs, Dr. Miller stated the EC would seek a “not to exceed” clause in its negotiations with DMC, acknowledging that at the present time, no contract – or even proposed contract – existed. Many delegates recognized that negotiations are still taking place with DMC and questioned why negotiations never took place with SWIM.


Expertise
Finally, some delegates were concerned that DMC’s six employees, who publish association magazines for Louisiana game wardens, furniture fixtures, golf driving ranges and managed care physicians, have no connection whatsoever with swimming, and no experience in sports publishing of any kind. Go to DMC Website

In contrast, they argued, numerous SWIM employees are Masters swimmers, with one having been a member for 33 years. In response, proponents argued that USMS would supply the missing expertise through its volunteer structure.

The first issue of the new USMS magazine will appear in March/April 2005. SWIM will continue to publish, and many delegates, including President Miller and Vice President Scott Rabalais, stated they would subscribe to SWIM.

matysekj
September 22nd, 2004, 10:19 AM
Please read the documents at http://www.usms.org/admin/conv04/index_preconvention.php#pub for the facts about the RFP process and the recommendation from the EC.

helen bayly
September 22nd, 2004, 12:15 PM
Appearances persist: Wrong decision (voters uninformed, rushed, inadequately notified), wrong process, and a major loss to us Masters (not to mention to our bank account).. Thanks to last writer for documentation of the vote and of the lack of informative presentations to and from ALL. Appearance of process: highly unfair, I think, whatever else one's view.

SWIM mag's contribution to us and USMS has been/would-will be, PRICELESS. How and where did our leaders miss that? (When situations become "tricky", as here, they're distracted, miss the big picture). Why were not we permitted to hear from SWIM /others? 2 minutes at the microphone doesn't provide an "informed electorate". And so on........

USMS has lost far more - by dropping SWIM - than it could ever gain from moving to the new (untested) group. Unbelievable but true, SWIM, the world leader, was not invited to bid/plan, nor to present to delegates. Some of us protested this imbalance. I feel "rail-roaded", as do many others at the Convention in Orlando. Many of us commented on the ineptitude of the new guys' hour-plus presentation (but our leaders assured us the new guys were "charming, in private"). Say that again??

The President's constant refrain "but we'll save money, make money" was questioned by distinguished (and Fortune 500) Masters business leaders at the microphone.

If only the Prez's refrain had been: "There are things more important than money", such as: 1) ALL the facts, not just one side; 2)our collective honor and integrity in dealing with our colleagues/Masters (SWIM mag publishers, staff) - WE BETRAYED OUR HIGH IDEALS. I am unhappy over that - more so than if we lost money (not even a concern here).

If only he had said: "We'll delay any vote till you have - in a timely fashion - all the information, from all sides"; and " Yes you're all correct - we do not have the vital information from the Virginia business that's gonna benefit from its use of our name, USMS" and is already benefiting (weeks before any Delegates' vote!!)..

Our EC are Good People, but they received bad business advice from others (non-USMS) with vested interests in fooling USMS EC and delegates. So we've been suckered: is there a polite way of saying that except to say "Class failed" ? "Low comprehension"? "Try again"? (as in Grade1)

My own concerns, about ethics and possible conflicts of interest (e/ci), do not conveniently evaporate just because USMS has a (temporary?) decision.. That's what's good about such ethical concerns - they stay with us, bothering our conscience and worrying us always - as with me this week.

However, as noted last week, anything I wrote about e/ci was deleted by the Deletion Master (who phoned others, not me, re this.....no explanation in writing save for brief e-mail announcing deletion).

I know that the words ethics and conflict-of-interest are not obscenities. I hope they are not deleted from this post! Or "railroad"etc.? Isn't this an opinion page? Do we have a list of forbidden words - can you tell us.... in print? (only joking).

The whole process (haste, imbalance, exclusion, prefernetial treatment of novice business, total rejection of USMS friends/supporters) - my perception, of course..... leaves me worried for USMS.

Regards, Helen Bayly, Tucson.

craiglll@yahoo.com
September 22nd, 2004, 02:30 PM
I am just a member. I've worked on promoting new magazaines and in nonprofit memberships. Everything I read about this decision makes me really question what is going on with USMS. It seems very brutal. This heated of a debate can tear an organization to peices.

I do not see how this new magazine could possibly do well. Either it will have such a limited readership that it will not be able to pay for the content or it will be meaningless. I think the true question is - what will be covered in this magazine? Will it cover the entire range of swimming issues or only those issues/news of interest to master swimmers? This magazine will never be as broad-scoped as is one like Runner's World. I subscribe to Swim Technique also. I will continue to get both magines. I can't imagine how this new magazine will be anything more than a big newletter.

Conniekat8
September 22nd, 2004, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
I am just a member. I've worked on promoting new magazaines and in nonprofit memberships. Everything I read about this decision makes me really question what is going on with USMS. It seems very brutal. This heated of a debate can tear an organization to peices.

I do not see how this new magazine could possibly do well. Either it will have such a limited readership that it will not be able to pay for the content or it will be meaningless. I think the true question is - what will be covered in this magazine? Will it cover the entire range of swimming issues or only those issues/news of interest to master swimmers? This magazine will never be as broad-scoped as is one like Runner's World. I subscribe to Swim Technique also. I will continue to get both magines. I can't imagine how this new magazine will be anything more than a big newletter.

Were you actually at the convention, or are you commenting based on the swim article and what you read in the meeting minutes?
The prospective publisher had a presentation to the membership showing what they plan on putting in the magazine. From what I saw, I'm under the impression that it will be at least as good as our current magazine, which most people agreed it needed a 'facelift'.

Rob Copeland
September 22nd, 2004, 04:01 PM
Craig,

As someone who has worked on promoting new magazines and in nonprofit memberships, you should know the importance of volunteer contributions (and I’m not talking about money) to the success of any endeavor. Have you thought of volunteering to help us all through this quagmire?

Between your experience and insights, you should be able to provide USMS with valuable advice to keep us as an organization together and to help the new official publication from failing. I for one, am clueless regarding the publishing business, but like you I don’t want this to be a contentless meaningless newsletter. So I implore you and others of your experience to pitch in and help make our USMS official publication, one for which we can all be proud.

breastroker
September 22nd, 2004, 05:33 PM
Any organization should look at all contracts every 3-4 years. Twelve years is too long.

I believe what swayed the delegates and probably the new delegates the most, was the Finance committee stating that even without ad income the new magazine would cost the same as the current Swim Magazine.

Taking cost out of the equation it came down to control of content. USMS would have total control of content with the new magazine vs. control of some sections. When someone writes a 700 word article on swimming, fitness or sports medicine and it gets edited down to 300 words, we do NOT have TOTAL control.

My question is, does our current editor have enough experience? Should this position also go out to bid?

Without a business plan in place I worry.

Who is to say Swim magazine won't better represent adult swimming without the mandatory USMS "stuff" in it? Fitness Swimmer was better in many ways without the USMS "stuff".

I have know Phil Whitten for a long time, I loved to compete against him in breaststroke, and he was the ONLY voice against doping for many years. NONE of USA swimming executives or USMS would speak out against the doping East Germans and Chinese women. He was the only voice, everyone else was worried about their political lives. He will always have my respect for that.

Fritz
September 22nd, 2004, 06:45 PM
I did not go to the convention and haven't made up my mind yet on this but I have read the pre convention materials. Time will tell if this is a good decision. One of the big turning points appears to be that cost doesn't escalate in the same per person manner. On the other hand we are certainly more vulnerable to spikes in material costs. We may not physically own the presses but we do own the costs as I understand it. I have no idea what historical data would tell us about material costs and their fluctuation. I'm guessing someone did some research on costs and found they aren't likely to double in the next year. I didn't see in the preconvention material the breakdown of material cost versus labor costs. That would be an iteresting thing to know as well. For all I know the material costs aren't significant compared to the people cost. If that information is available, I'd like to read it.

From the pre convention packet.

"Under the new proposed arrangement with Douglas Murphy, USMS stands to benefit directly from the economies
of scale, volunteer assignments, and innovative cost saving considerations, such as electronic distribution to
those willing to receive the magazine that way. Controlling total cost in this manner has real and perceived
benefits but there are risks as well. Cost increases in such things as paper, postage, or printing services, to the
extent that they can be passed through, may reduce the bottom line benefit. Extending production runs for a news
stand presence, if that is deemed desirable, are within the control of, and to the benefit of, USMS. The cost of
production during the first year of the Douglas Murphy contract, which would include one-time re-design and
media kit production fees totaling $16,500, is estimated at $339,150. This is without taking any advertising
revenue (discussed below) into account."

Hypothetical situation. Suppose we could get 50% of the USMS population to take their "magazine" in electronic format. How would that change the cost and then further if there are savings what would happen to those savings?

klowy
September 23rd, 2004, 11:28 AM
I have been working in the publishing business for over 20 years. I have worked as a writer, researcher, and support person.

This is a done deal, so I think our focus should be on making sure this works! Like the others who have posted here, I also have many concerns. I have passed these concerns on to the appropriate folks. However, this is an open forum where we, as USMS members get to discuss issues that concern us. So I will mention a few of my concerns here. I do want to stress that I am not trying to make this a contentious issue. We do need to move forward and make sure these issues are taken care of (not my issues, but everyone's).

Publishing:
Advertisers buy ad space 6-9 months in advance. That is the way they work. Ad buys are down from where they were 3 years ago. Consequently, agencies have to decide where they will get the most bang for their buck. The up side for us is that we already have a good subscriber base. The down side, is that this is a new untested magazine. We (USMS) have to convince advertisers to spend their money on our publication and not on publication "x". My experience is that this takes time and energy. And we're starting very, very late. If the sales staff does not know swimming, I think it may make the sale a little harder. This concern is mostly about the first few issues. After that, the magazine will speak for itself.

Which brings me to Editorial:
I believe it is imperative that we have an editor who knows swimming. I have worked at magazines where the editor was great, but didn't really know the subject matter. The magazine was still ok, but could have been so much better. The same goes for the writers. The writer can do all the research in the world and still not "get it". A good example is the current fiasco at CBS news. I knew they were in trouble when Dan Rather said "we have spoken to a computer expert who assures us this could not have been created on a computer". I rolled my eyes because I knew he was wrong! Bad research! My point is that we should do all we can to make sure the writers know our sport. Reporters/writers need to know the right questions to ask. If they don’t know the sport, they probably won’t know the right questions. I worked at Rolling Stone in the 80’s. The magazine was good because the editor and the writers loved music. They listened to music all day, went to concerts most nights and were always looking for new bands. This really makes a difference! Masters swimming is not the Olympics. What we do is below the radar. It has already been mentioned that both Phil and Bill are swimmers. The editor doesn’t have to be a swimmer, but I believe it helps.

I am on the Communications Committee and I know Hugh is on top of this. But is it the job of the Communications Committee to be the fact checkers for our new national publication? That's what will happen, and I think that puts a lot of pressure on volunteers.

Of course I have told Hugh I would be willing to do this because I do want the magazine to succeed. I think we need people who know publishing to be involved! People who have worked in the field on a day to day basis.

I urge everyone who has experience in publishing to step forward and volunteer to help make this a success.

Kenn Lowy

breastroker
September 23rd, 2004, 01:45 PM
Every demographic survey on Masters swimmers indicates we should have upper end ads and not for items like swim gear. If 63% have advanced degrees and the average income is over $100K, DM should get ads from Jaguar, Mercedes, etc.

Just no one should be alarmed if the ad income doesn't reach projections right away. So long as we are informed of this and Finance Committee knows the actual income then USMS will be OK.

I assume DM was will be given access to our demographic survey after a contract is signed. Having a professional demographic survey completed should be a great sales tool.

Peter Cruise
September 23rd, 2004, 05:30 PM
Wayne, you should be guaranteed extensive ads from Viagra now...

breastroker
September 23rd, 2004, 10:26 PM
Actually the sports medicine survey shows masters swimmers do not need Viagra like non swimmers. Our hearts are in great working order, and we don't over train like the distance runners.

I get "The Star" magazine for Mercedes Benz Club of America. Over 120 glossy pages with ads that must be worth millions. It would take years to get ads like that, but the demographics are similiar.