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Thread: Do we need a Zone Committee?

  1. #1
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Do we need a Zone Committee?

    When all is said and done, there is no particular need for the Zone committee outside of their biannual task of running the national officer elections. This is a job for an ad hoc committee, not a standing committee.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

  2. #2
    Active Member lucyj's Avatar
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    Zone Committee

    I agree with Mike on the lack of a need for a Zone Committee. I think perhaps he wasn't as clear as he could have been, that he would like to see the Zone Committee go out of business. We discussed this issue at the SPMA meeting earlier this week, and the SPMA Chair wanted Mike to start a discussion here before he proceeds with a formal proposal for a Legislation change.

    Can anyone else think of anything the Zone Committee does besides act as a Nominating Committee once every 2 years? Certainly the function of a nominating committee could be handled by the President's naming of an Ad Hoc committee to handle the nomination process prior to each election.

    The Zone Chairs would still individually be members of the Board of Directors, but there would be one less (for now) Standing Committee.

    Mike, is it your intent that one result of disbaniding the ZOne Committee would be one less person on the Executive Committee?
    LJ

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    I don't know about committees in your area. But I think that the Spma should reach out to the asian community to increase masters membership. I use to live in southern california and I have look at the various age group teams in the area on the intenet at least 30 percent of those teams are asian. If you want masters to be bigger in the LA metro area then have a reach out to the asian community since many of the swimmers in the next 10 years entering masters are more likely to be asian more than they were in the past.

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    Very Active Member KenChertoff's Avatar
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    As someone who hasn't been involved USMS national affairs, and only briefly involved in LMSC governance, it's not clear to me what the Zone Committee is or does. If it's correct that its only function is to nominate a slate of officers, I suppose it could be replaced by a different mechanism, such as an "ad hoc" committee.

    But before one structure is eliminated we should know what would take its place. Particularly, the specific method by which the slate of officers would be selected should be defined. For example, if by an ad hoc committee, would it be composed of representives of the zones or have some other geographic distribution, would it have ex-officio members, etc?

    Leaving it to the president or the executive committee to simply select the members of a nominating committee could effectively mean that the current officers choose their own successors. I don't think that's good for the long term health of any organization.

  5. #5
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    The net result would be only losing the Zone Chairman position, and I am currently considering wether or not that void should be filled (with a new title), left open, or expanded with 2 or more new positions on the Executive Committee. I like the expansion of the EC idea, Maybe making a few of the committee chairmanships elected (rules and Legislation come to mind), and add them to the EC.

    But my main gripe is the very existence of the Zones, and I think that this is a responsible way to downsize a burgeoning list of standing committees.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

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    Mike,
    You have started an interesting discussion.
    At one time, the Zone Reps coordinated activities among the LMSCs. However, with the increased use of email and websites, this is no longer necessary. Adjoining LMSCs keep in touch electronically.
    I think the emphasis of the Zone Committee should be on the LMSCs - sharing successes, getting help with problems, establishing some programs to help the LMSCs that need it. The Zone Chair should be the LMSC advocate on the Ex Com.
    As you know, the Planning Committee is working on some LMSC issues, but the Planning Committee's purpose is to establish what is needed (to get the ball rolling, so to speak), not to administer programs/projects for the LMSCs.
    I agree that the Zone Committee at present is not functioning except as a nominating committee. Rather than eliminate the Zone Committee, should the purpose of the Zone Chair and the Zone Committee be redefined?
    I am eager to hear more discussion on this and to hear from the Zone Reps also.
    Betsy Durrant

  7. #7
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Are there any Zone Reps out there who read this forum and would like to chime in as to what they are doing for our members and our organization?

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    Active Member lucyj's Avatar
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    It's not a matter of what the Zone Chairs (as individuals) do for the organization, but rather a matter of what the Zone COMMITTEE (as a group)does for the organization.

    Betsy agrees that the Zone Committee does nothing but act as a Nominating Committee once every 2 years. Mike's proposal is to eliminate the Zone Committee and transfer its one task to another committee, thereby reducing the corporate bureaucracy. Instead of that, Betsy wants to find something for them to do.
    LJ

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    As a former Northwest Zone Rep I would like to mention several things that the NW Zone does. At the National level the Zone Comm. may seem like nothing more that a "run the election committee" but a lot of the work of the Zone Rep is at the Zone and LMSC level. The Northwest Zone has done a great job of helping to fund delegates to the National Convention. These delegates are from the smaller LMSCs in the Zone. Without the help of the Zone many of these delegates (over the years) would not have been able to attend the Convention and get involved in USMS. Communication is another key area for the Rep at the Zone level. Newsletters, web sites and emails all help to keep the area aware of what is going on both locally and at the National level. When I was the NW Rep I never felt my key responsibility was at the National level but I felt it was at the local level. This is where I put my effort.
    Dave Radcliff

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    Very Active Member Hugh's Avatar
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    Hi everyone.
    It was unclear to me at first if the intent of this forum was to discuss the merit of eliminating the Zone Committee, or to also discuss eliminating zone reps. Now that I reread Mike's second post, it appears that the intent is to eliminate the Zone Committee Chair, Zone Committee, zone reps, and zones. I don't support eliminating any of these.

    Since the zones are the foundation of the structure, I'll discuss them first. There has always been a wide diversity in regards to zone functionality. Each zone is unique. Six of the eight zones host regular zone meets. Some of the zones maintain records and Websites and distribute Newsletters. Not only do zones provide an opportunity for regional competition, but they provide a mechanism for exchanging ideas that promote LMSC growth. I think that most LMSC officers within active zones greatly appreciate the value of the zone. I suspect that any proposal to eliminate zones would be strongly defeated.

    A good zone rep is the key to a strong zone. Dave Radcliff points out a few of the important tasks performed by the zone reps. The zone rep is key to communications within the zone. As long as we have zones, we need good zone reps.

    Regarding the Zone Committee, I don't agree that there is no particular need for the Zone Committee outside of running elections. However, I'd say that the biannual task of running elections is enough of a job by itself to justify maintaining the Zone Committee. USMS has benefited by having a committee specifically tasked with running elections. We have had structured elections with a nomination process, multiple candidates for office, and open and fair elections where the House of Delegates gets an opportunity to know where the candidates stand on issues. If we eliminate the Zone Committee, who will be in charge of elections? Will an ad hoc committee appointed by the president do a better job? Before we replace the current system, we need to make sure that the new system is an improvement.

    The Zone Committee Chair has two important tasks: serving as a member of the Executive Committee and chairing the Zone Committee. Of the two, serving on the Executive Committee is the most important and time consuming. I'm confidant that the current and immediate past members of the EC would agree
    that the Zone Committee Chairs have been valuable members of the EC. I feel that eliminating the Zone Committee Chair from the EC would weaken the EC as there would be fewer view points presented. We could replace the Zone Committee Chair with a different person, but I'm not sure what the benefit would be.

    Hugh Moore
    Former Zone Committee Chair

  11. #11
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    My primary intent as stated is to discuss the relative merits of retaining or abolishing the Zone committee.

    If that were to happen, only the Zone Chair would be eliminated, possibly creating a need to address the size and makeup of the EC. Zones and their reps would not be affected, other than not having a national standing committee.

    Attaching my name to this thread was not something I relished doing, but have felt for some time that there was something that needed to be done or said. So here it is. And here we are.

    The national organization has grown both in membership and bureaucracy in the last 4 years in particular, adding several new standing committees. Necessary all, perhaps, but what of the old guard? The Zones are an anachronism, and USA Swimming is either eliminating them or seriously considering doing so. In the old days, there was a need for a clearinghouse of information for the LMSCs to go to, but in this information age, that is no longer the case. Nearly everyone who is active at the local or national level has access to the web, and that renders the main function of the zones moot.

    We should not feel like the action of letting go of the Zone committee (or the Zones themselves) is some sort of heresy or betrayal. I have refrained frrom starting this thread for just those reasons. The individuals who populate the positions that are in question are not the focus of this thread or my ire. I have respect for each and every one of them and the jobs they do. I also know that there are Zones that function at differing levels. The Zones that are active are always going to be so, just as no amount of Zone rep activity could make others function synergistically at all.

    The downside is that the Zones have been entrenched in the vernacular and will not go quietly into the night. They have been used lately to try to perform a palace coup, proffered to dislodge the current structure of the BOD in favor of smaller numbers, but wildly varying political strength. In reality, if the former legislation to do so had passed, about 1/4 of Masters swimming representation could have made all important decisions for USMS. The West coast, with nearly 1/2 of Masters swimmers, but only three zones, would have been at the mercy of a coalition.

    The bigger the BOD, the better we have a chance to evenly and fairly represent the swimmers we serve. Even if it requires leaving the Zones intact. But we still do not need a Zone committee.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

  12. #12
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    Thank you Cynthia, as SPMA chair I am aware of of the large asian swimming presense in Southern California age group and high school swimming. We are looking to attract all minority groups possible. In fact at Santa Monica High School and Venice high the majority of good swimmers are asian. Do you have any ideas on how to attract them to Masters swimming? We have masters teams at both locations.

    I am also Southwest Zone Chairman. This discussion is helpfull in some ways. I am still forming my opinions on this subject. But for now an open discussion from current and former Zone chairmen and others within USMS will be good.
    Wayne McCauley

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    This is a little difficult. But I notice that masters in certain areas of the United States have articles on a particular article about a certain club and their swimmers. Maybe, in the Southern California area they can have an article on an asian master swimmer. There are several kinds of asian people in Southern and Nothern California. Some of them are from the Phillipines and others from China and Japan and Korea and Vietiman and others from India. So having a flyer at high schools and age group programs that will allowed for master swimming adversting that features maybe two or more asians from these different backgrounds might bring in some people. Maybe, Pacific masters that is in an area with a lot of asian people can also come up with suggestions.

  14. #14
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    What on earth do Asian, Oriental, Mexican or Martian swimmers in So Cal have to do with the existence of a Zone committee? If you are going to post, please stay on topic, or start a new thread.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

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    Well, you are right that it has nothing to do with a committee. Just responsing to breastroker and bringing in people of a different background. So I will not right anymore on this subject on this topic board.

  16. #16
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    Mike Heather wrote:
    "But my main gripe is the very existence of the Zones, and I think that this is a responsible way to downsize a burgeoning list of standing committees."

    Since your thread is Long Term Planning, should we discuss the necessity of other committees? We tend to add new committees as needed, which is good. But, we never eliminate committees if their purpose is being accomplished another way.
    Betsy

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    Zone Committee

    Mike and Gang

    As a current zone chair, I can say that the zone chair's position is a very important position for the LMSC's. We have two very large LMSCs in our zone, the rest are all small and struggling. I see the zone chair as a person who can assist as much as possible those smaller LMSCs. Communication and support are two of the most important jobs a zone chair does--and critical jobs for USMS as a whole.

    In terms of the zone committee, I haven't actually sat on one since my election last year, but the email that we have had involved dealing with this subject. My take is similar to Hugh's, we need to have the election process cleaned up before we eliminate the committee.
    Doug Garcia

  18. #18
    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Doug,

    You are a Zone Representative. Lynn Hazelwood is the (only) Zone Committee Chairman.

    My proposal only deals with the elimination of a committee, not the structure of the Zones.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

  19. #19
    Active Member Sally Dillon's Avatar
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    For the benefit of those reading this thread who have little or no knowledge about the Zone Committee, I submit the following from the USMS Rule Book:

    Article 507.2 Zone Committee (beginning on page 88)
    The first four items deal how the committee is formed. The last two deal with it's purpose as follows:

    item 5. The committee shall enhance communications between the national office and LMSCs, and USMS committees and LMSCs. The committee shall carry out the responsibilities assigned to it by the policies of the House of Delegates, the president, the USMS Code of Regulations, and the stated need of the LMSCs.

    item 6. The committee shall function as the Election Committee as described in article 505.2.3.

    The entire Rule Book is posted on the USMS web site if you would like to read more.

    Sally Dillon
    USMS Secretary

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