View Full Version : Planning Committee- RESTRUCTURE OF USMS

August 31st, 2004, 01:57 PM
PROPOSAL FOR THE RESTRUCTURE OF USMS It is the belief of this committee that the current structure of USMS is not conducive to implementation of the Values and Objectives determined in the VVMOST process. As the organization has grown, the number of committees and the activities demanded of our volunteers have increased. This Committee on Structure and Governance therefore recommends that the structure of USMS be reorganized and streamlined. In addition, this committee foresees the need for additional professional staff, with the first priority being that of an Executive Director, who will be selected by and be responsible to the Board of Directors. Under the current structure, the Board of Directors automatically increases each time a new committee is created and now stands at 43 members. Our proposal recommends streamlining the organization so that the BOD consists of 17 elected members. Over the years the Executive Committee’s responsibilities have grown immensely and go beyond reasonable expectations for volunteers. Our National Office needs to be expanded to provide support for committees, the Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors. Therefore, this committee recommends the following changes. STRUCTURE 1.
The Executive Committee will have 8 voting members. Seven officers elected by the House of Delegates • President • Vice President of Internal (Member) Services • Vice President of External (Community) Services • Vice President of National Operations • Vice President of Local Operations • Secretary • Treasurer The Immediate Past President. Ex officio: • Executive Director • Legal Counsel
2004 Convention – Orlando, Florida - page 38
Discussion The Legal Counsel will be appointed by the President with the Advice and Consent of the rest of the Executive Committee. The Executive Director will be hired by and report to the Board of Directors. 2.

The Board of Directors will have 17 voting members. The eight voting members of the Executive Committee (7 elected officers and the Immediate Past President). Four Regional Directors elected by their Region. Five Block Directors elected by the members of each block. Ex Officio: a. Executive Director b. Legal Counsel c. A representative from USA-Swimming d. All Past Presidents. Discussion The purpose of establishing Regions is to provide areas of approximately equal membership for electing a member of the BOD, thus ensuring diverse geographical representation. The Regions do not correspond to the current Zones. Blocks refer to the current groups of committees who meet together at the convention. Delegates are members of a block as determined by the primary committee on which they serve. No delegate may vote in two blocks. The purpose of electing from the blocks is to ensure representation from diverse committees. It is anticipated that the Executive Committee will meet monthly, with two of the meetings being in person (Convention and mid year). It is anticipated that the Board of Directors will meet 4-6 times per year, with two of the meeting being in person (Convention and mid year). The Officers and other members of the BOD will be elected for a two year term with the possibility of being elected for a second consecutive two year term. 3.
The House of Delegates will remain as the constitutional authority within USMS. The primary function of the HOD is to ratify actions requested by various entities within USMS, to approve and adopt the budget, and to ratify and amend the rules and the articles of incorporation as needed. Actions taken by the HOD cannot be overturned or ignored by other USMS entities. The membership of the HOD will be re-evaluated prior to the 2005 convention. However, LMSC delegates will remain as the majority of the HOD. Each standing committee Chair will be a member of the HOD. Standing Committees will be studied and recommendations for realignment will be made prior to the 2005 convention. The business of the House of Delegates will be conducted by its Chair (a Speaker of the House) who shall be selected from its membership (in a manner that is to be determined). Discussion A Chair of the House of Delegates will be selected yearly to run the meetings of the HOD. 4.
The National Office Staff will be charged with executing the business of the corporation. The size of the professional staff will be dictated by the needs of the corporation as defined by the Board of Directors and budgeted by the House of Delegates. A position of Executive Director is recommended to manage the day to day operations of the Corporation. The Executive Director will be hired by and report to the Board of Directors. The National Office Administrator, the Controller, and the Webmaster (or Management Information Systems Director) and other such employee or contractual positions will be a part of the National Office. The National Office Staff will report to the Executive Director. 2004 Convention – Orlando, Florida - page 39
2004 Convention – Orlando, Florida - page 40
TASKS REMAINING FOR THIS COMMITTEE We have more to do to complete the study of the Structure of USMS. The following topics are some that will be studied with recommendations for changes being made prior to the 2005 convention: 1. Standing Committees and their membership. 2. Composition of the House of Delegates. IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED It is the desire of this committee to thoroughly discuss the proposals for changes in the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, and the National Office at this convention. If the HOD agrees that this structure provides USMS with greater opportunities to plan for and provide improved services, then this committee will work with the Legislative Committee to draft the necessary legislation and present it to the HOD for a vote prior to the beginning of the 2005 convention. This committee recommends that the 2005 elections be conducted for a restructured Executive Committee and Board of Directors.

August 31st, 2004, 02:18 PM
Sorry this did cot copy well from the PDF.

I agree with many of the Planning Committees findings, but not with the implementation. I just feel that having the BOD totally decide who becomes Executive Director is not the correct way to go. Now if they were to nominate an Executive Director to the HOD for approval that would be democratic.

There always needs to be checks and balances, what if it were obvious the Executive Director was not acting in the best interests of the members? How would they be removed? Who would take over?

Discussion of the Planning Committees findings may affect USMS for many years so carefull deliberation on these changes should begin now. There is at least two sessions of the HOD to go over this.

August 31st, 2004, 02:57 PM
It's interesting that your first comment was about who would hire an Ex Dir (if it is approved). When the Ex Sec (now National Office Administrator) was hired, the Ex Com made the decision. The reasoning of the committee studying restructure was that with a streamlined, more active, BOD, the BOD should make the decision. Let's talk about it when we get to Orlando.

Any other comments? We have 2 unopposed sessions for discussion. I'm interested to learn which items will create the most discussion.
Betsy Durrant, Planning Committee Chair

August 31st, 2004, 03:21 PM
I think of the Executive Secretary as a professional who is loyal to their boss, either USMS President or Executive Director.

In business an Executive Secretary is always chosen by an exaustive search and final approval of the executive.

But choosing an Executive Director requires more inputs than the existing 43 BOD or the planned 17 BOD. This would be too much like the US Senate chosing the next President. What ever party is in majority would chose their candidate. I do not want a 43,000 general membership election, but the HOD has the ability to make very good decisions.

Now going to the new streamlined Board of Directord (BOD) there are many advantages and some disadvantages. Making all BOD elected by the HOD takes away from political appointment issues.

But having a larger BOD allows for developing of new leadership within the USMS structure. On a local level I am always looking to help members grow into leadership roles. But on a national level you need positions to fill and be seen in to be able to develop as a leader. Having more committees and a larger BOD is not necessarily bad, it just requires more leadership and planning by those above. Hence the need of an Executive Director.

Let the discussions ROLL:D

August 31st, 2004, 05:20 PM
I am also interested in what the planning committee considers necessary to re-evaluate the membership of the House of delegates.

LMSC delegates will remain as the majority of the HOD

What will the minority be comprised of?

What is the purpose of the position of Chair of the HOD?

Is this so the Executive Committee can have more time to meet seperately?

It seems to me having the President and Executive committee at the HOD meetings places them more in touch with the HOD. There seems to be a disconnection some times, having the EX Committee there brings them back to earth.

Rob Copeland
August 31st, 2004, 05:50 PM
As an invited guest to the Planning Committee’s Governance Task force, I have been involved with the process to date and I can tell you we still have a long way to go.

Please don’t think any of our recommendations are the final word on any of the structural suggestions. As Betsy mentioned we have a couple of defined forums for discussion of the suggested structure and will allow for plenty of buttonhole opportunities to hear and share views.

And as for implementation of selection and succession plans for an Executive Director, we are just now beginning to sketch a job description for the position. Let’s figure out if USMS wants an Executive Director and what we want the ED to do before we figure out how to fire her. However, I am in complete agreement that before we actually fill the position, we need to have solid answers to your questions, and many more.

And since you mentioned it, how we hire the ED is also up for discussion; my personal preference is that the selection comes from a Board Compensation (or similar) committee, with approval of the full board and ratification by the House of Delegates. This is not a political position to be filled by a popular election; this is one of the most important jobs within USMS requiring skills that may require us to look outside our membership to fill. NOTE: this is my personal opinion and may not reflect the opinion of the governance task force at large.

And another personal opinion – having more positions on the Board and on committee provides more spots to be filled, but it doesn’t necessarily facilitate leadership growth. In fact one of the challenges presented to the task force was how to we provide more opportunities for growth and leadership. We have been told that our current structure tends to stifle new growth rather than enhance it.

We have some exciting times ahead (at least exciting for us organizational change and governance geeks, which may only be me) and I look forward to lively and challenging debate on these issues.

August 31st, 2004, 08:59 PM
As far as a review of the HOD goes, we haven't done anything on that yet. We are interested in what delegates think about what is good and what could be improved in the makeup of the HOD. LMSCs are granted delegates based on membership. Some delegates are appointed. One instance is automatic membership for certain committees. We'll spend time at this year's convention and between conventions listening and discussing.

The reasoning in having someone other than the President conduct the HOD is efficiency. The Chair of the House would have no vested interest in issues and would keep things moving in a business-like way. Many organizations do this. The HOD would select the Chair for the following convention - an honor.

As Rob stated, we (the committee) had interesting and in-depth discussions. We are offering proposals that we believe are good, but we know they will be questioned and discussed and possibly improved.


August 31st, 2004, 11:35 PM

Thanks for posting the restructuring proposal on the forums. It is a good thing to get people thinking about this before arriving in Orlando.

One thing you should know is that the restructuring portion of the Planning Committee's task force this past year was the last thing we worked on. It is an outgrowth of the previous work we did on the VVMOST process (see the Planning Committee's full report in your convention packet). The consensus of the task force, which included members from outside the Planning Committee(including Rob Copeland, Nancy Ridout and Doug Church), is that the current BOD is unwieldy in size and nimbleness. At the same time, we saw a need for an expanded EC, with the addition of 3 new VP positions, with all 4 positions to have defined responsibilities along functional lines.

We do strongly believe (at least a majority of us do) in the need for an Executive Director to handle the growing scope of our business. Before you all get too far into discussion about who hires the ED, look at the proposal for the reporting requirements for the ED. I disagree, Wayne, with your statement that, "...choosing an Executive Director requires more inputs than the existing 43 BOD or the planned 17 BOD. This would be too much like the US Senate chosing the next President. What ever party is in majority would chose their candidate."

Taking the last sentence first, we do not have a 2 party system in USMS, so I don't know what your point is with that sentence. Second, an Executive Director is (to the best of my knowledge) never an elected position. It is most similar to the Chief Executive Officer of a corporation, which is chosen by its BOD, not elected by its employees. The key will be what powers are given to the ED. I think the position should be well defined as to the reporting responsibilities and the types of actions that can be taken by the ED without additional approvals. I think none of us wants an ED who tells the BOD what to do.

I think Betsy touched upon the answer to your question about the composition of the HOD, and who would be the "minority" members. The reason it was stated that the LMSC delegates would constitute a majority of the members of the HOD is to assure the LMSC's that they will still have the largest voice in the HOD. This is in large part because there are so many delegates currently with automatic votes: 10% of the HOD can be members-at-large appointed by the President, a certain number have votes by virtue of being on the Rules, Legislation and Long Distance Committees. We simply want to ensure that the number of automatic votes do not exceed the number of LMSC delegates.

Keep the great questions coming!

August 31st, 2004, 11:47 PM
The automatic delegate selection for certain committees was not quite understood at first. But now after many conventions I question why more committees are not automatic. It is my opinion that the Finance Committee should have automatic delegates. They work hard all year long, then spend even longer hours at convention. When the other delegates are sound asleep, the Finance Committee is usually still working hard. Having a continuous makeup of this committee would seem to be wise.

I can easily see your point on
The Chair of the House would have no vested interest in issues and would keep things moving in a business-like way It seems to me that having so much of the contentious issues "aired out" before convention through these discussion forums have allowed the last four conventions to become more efficient.

In the past many issues became personal and the people involved would respond in kind. We are all passionate dedicated and very hard working class A type personalities. Having this forum has allowed very thought provoking and deliberate discussion of the issues to occur. Many times my own opinions are 180 degrees from what I post, as getting the discussion forum going is important.

There are so many countries in the world who could never attempt such open discussions without reprisals. I will never be politically correct, but "May God Bless America."

September 1st, 2004, 12:31 AM
The first thing I do is look at the makeup of these committees, and look for people I know. Our LMSC (SPMA) is represented in Finance by Jeff Moxie, Lucy Johnson and Trisha Commons, the Planning Committee has Jeff Moxie, Lucy Johnson, Michael Collins, Mark Moore and Michael Heather. Knowing how lucky our own LMSC is to have these talented people gives me great comfort that these USMS Committees are in good hands. The other members of these committees are equally talented and hard working.

Having gone through the VVMOST process at work gives me a small insight into the work you did. The hard part is implementing this body of work. Many people just never buy into the process and never understand what this VVMOST process is about.

Lucy, please bear in mind some of my comments are designed to draw out people into this discussion. I thank Betsy, Rob and yourself for answering many of these questions. Just we should have 200 people participating in these forums.