View Full Version : Governance - June report

June 16th, 2005, 10:47 AM
Report from the Governance Subcommittee June 15, 2005

As we finalize our legislative proposals, we invite comments. I have posted proposals for 504.1 Membership in the House of Delegates and 507.3-507.5 which deal with Standing Committees and other appointments.

(To get to the posted proposals: I go to the Site Map, Administration, Policy and Guidelines, Governance Policies.)

Summary of proposals:
1. Article 504.1 deals with membership in the House of Delegates. Many of the changes are to implement the restructured Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Significant new recommendations include:
a. 504.1.5 The members of the Finance Committee are included in the list of automatic delegates. The reason for granting delegate status to Legislation, Long Distance, and Rules is that the business of these committees must be finalized during the convention. Therefore, it is important to have the members present as voting delegates at the convention. Finance certainly falls into this category.
b. 504.1.8A new section was added to deal with employees and contractors. This section states that the president can appoint employees and contractors as delegates if they are needed at the convention. This leaves the delegate status of employees/contractors to the discretion of the president.

2. Article 507 is now entitled: Committees, Coordinators, and Appointments. The Executive Committee made recommendations to Governance concerning committees that might be eliminated or merged with others. After much discussion, we decided on the following recommendations.
a. 507.3 Standing Committees. The Convention, Officials, Insurance, International, and Publications Committees were replaced by Coordinators. These are committees for which the work can be done by the chair (now called a coordinator). Safety Education was merged with Sports Medicine. The description of the Recognition and Awards Committee was expanded to include ISHOF nominations.
b. 507.4 Ad Hoc Committees. The description remains the same except that the president must submit a written description of each ad hoc committee to the Board of Directors.
b. 507.5.1 Coordinators. Note that the descriptions closely follow the old committee descriptions.
c. 507.5.4-507.5.5 Special Assignments and Liaisons. At present there is no code authorizing the president to make these appointments. These sections allow the president to make appoints if a written job description is submitted to the Board of Directors.

Please see the actual proposals which have also been posted.
Betsy Durrant

June 17th, 2005, 07:57 AM

Very nice report. On first glance, I see that it is very well considered and written. An excellent work by your group.

My initial concern is with the proposed new section 504.1.8, which I'll loosely term the "Volckening-Matysek" Rule (or "V-M Rule", in honor of two people who just don't get enough good recognition).

I clearly understand the need for having employees like Bill and Jim at convention, that they may not be granted House of Delegates (HOD) membership by other means, and understand that you have to be a "delegate" to get through the front door of the convention hall. The problems I see with V-M as drafted are:

(1) An employee might not be a member of USMS, and their appointment to the HOD via V-M would be in conflict with the requirement to be a USMS member.

(2) Employees and Contractors could be eligible to vote on the floor of the HOD for issues where they would directly benefit. (e.g. contracts and salary budget items)

(3) V-M delegates might not be swim-savvy. I don't think that anyone would have a problem with Bill or Jim casting votes on things like rules changes, but what about the publisher of the magazine?

(4) Need to clarify if V-M appointments count against the president's 10% quota or not.

Thanks for your consideration.
- Dan

June 17th, 2005, 09:46 AM
Were you listening in on our last conference call? You brought up the very points that created most of our discussion.
1. Article 501 requires all delegates to be USMS members. We have updated 501.1 to reflect the new titles.
2. Employees/contractors would be expected to abstain if anything affected their job. That is the case now if an employee or contractor has a vote. Part of what brought this up is that the controller is listed as an automatic delegate and no other employees/contractors are.
3. We considered listing the jobs for which we thought delegate status was warranted, but that could easily change so that the person in the position is not a member or not involved. We decided to let the president make a decision based on the need for him/her to be at the convention.
4. Whether to include employees/contractors in the at-large catagory was another long discussion. It was finally decided that they would be separate. There are always involved individuals who are not LMSC delegates who need the at-large slots.

June 17th, 2005, 10:59 AM
"Eagle-eye" Copeland just pointed out to me that I wrote Article 501.1 when I meant 501.2 Mandatory Memberships. I hope I did not create confusion.

June 17th, 2005, 07:38 PM
Originally posted by Betsy
Were you listening in on our last conference call?

No, but I did read the transcript from the wiretap.

June 18th, 2005, 12:59 PM
This is a note from Charlie Cockrell, a member of both the Rules and Officials Committees.


I would like to respond with some thoughts on the proposal to abolish the officials committee and create the position of "coordinator".

Before deciding that this is an appropriate course of action, I believe we need to determine what our objectives are as an organization with respect to an officials program. We have made good progress at the national level in our relationship with USA-Swimming. Steps like adding USMS-specific rules questions to the USA-Swimming S&T tests and making our national championships a USA-S certification meet have been very positive.

I would offer that the objective of any officials program should be to work towards consistency in officiating practices throughout the organization - i.e., all across the country. In this respect, the next step to evolving our officials program would be to work at the Zone and LMSC level to foster closer cooperation with affiliate organizations and provide tools for LMSC Officials Chairs to improve their officials programs and implement best practices. I don't know that we have had a chance to fully engage the committee to try and implement these objectives.
I could envision an officials committee with multiple functions. First, to continue as an interface with the USA-Swimming Officials Committee to coordinate training and certification requirements, policies on USMS and USA-Swimming certified officials working sanctioned meets in either organization, and coordinating needs for officials at USMS Nationals. Second, to continue to work with other affiliate organizations (YMCA, NCAA, etc.) to educate their officials on USMS rules and officiating practices and discuss ways to work with each organization so that we are consistent in how we run meets and apply rules, no matter what certifying body the officials are from. Finally, and perhaps most important, we need to work more closely with LMSC Officials Chairs to understand their needs, how they currently work with affiliate organizations, and provide some tools to help improve their officiating practices. A national officials committee should also be the focal point for communication so that we can disseminate information on best practices, ideas, tools, etc. In short, our goal should be to work together with other swimming organizations at the national and local level to provide consistent professional officiating at all USMS-sanctioned meets.

If we accept that these are good goals for us, I would submit that this is quite a lot to ask one "coordinator" to undertake. Without a committee, folding the functions into some other committee, or some other type of working group, I don't think we can fully link what we are trying to do at the national level with what LMSCs may want/need to do and the LMSCs will be left on their own to do what they can. (Granted, some have been very successful with this approach.) At any rate, it would seem appropriate that we consider carefully the goals of each of the committee functions which are under consideration before moving ahead.

The governance task force and the executive committee have done a tremendous amount of work. I look forward to a good discussion in Greensboro.

Thanks for your consideration.

Charlie Cockrell
Virginia LMSC Chair
USMS Officials Committee Vice Chair

June 19th, 2005, 04:23 PM
Having read the proposals, I have two concerns.

First, I agree with Charlie, that the Officials Committee should remain as is. There is much to expand and with the changes in all of our approved certified officials rules, one person could not keep up with all of the changes and politics. This work needs to be spread out to a full committee.

Second, the Rulebook chair, soon to be coordinator, is currently on the rules and legislation committees as an ad-hoc member and should remain. The coordinator is need to be a part of these committees to review wording of changes and to suggest correct wording and be sure the meaning of rules and legistration is accurately transferred to the rulebook.

My thoughts,

Peter Crumbine
June 21st, 2005, 12:26 PM
Betsy-- You state: "The committees divisional vice president shall be an ex-officio member of the committee. "

Does "vice president" mean "liaison?"

Peter Crumbine

June 21st, 2005, 12:56 PM
To Charlie and Bill:
From Bill: First, I agree with Charlie, that the Officials Committee should remain as is. There is much to expand and with the changes in all of our approved certified officials rules, one person could not keep up with all of the changes and politics. This work needs to be spread out to a full committee.

Reply: The original proposal from the Ex Com had the Officials and Rules committees merging. Discussion led us (Governance) to recommend the coordinator position. Is the work being done now spread out among the committee? The reasoning in replacing a committee by a coordinator is that the work is such that it tends to be done by one person, not the committee. The purpose of this forum, however, is to get other opinions.

From Bill: Second, the Rulebook chair, soon to be coordinator, is currently on the rules and legislation committees as an ad-hoc member and should remain. The coordinator is need to be a part of these committees to review wording of changes and to suggest correct wording and be sure the meaning of rules and legistration is accurately transferred to the rulebook.

Reply: Good point, Bill. We probably need to be consistent about whether we listi ex-officio members or not. I'll check with Legislation (Rob).

June 22nd, 2005, 10:50 AM

I think you and your committee have done a fantastic job putting this all together! Just a couple of wording comments (you knew I couldn't stop myself!).

We should not be using the abbreviation "BOD" in code. It's fine to use as shorthand in discussion, but it's not defined in our glossary. Of course, we COULD define it, but it really isn't used so many times in the rule book that an abbreviation is needed to save space, so it's better practice to spell it out.

I'm glad to see article 507.3 codifying that divisional VPs are ex-officio committee members, but the wording needs a little work. It currently says "The committee's divisional vice president shall be an ex-officio member of the committee." None of our committees have divisional vice presidents. That would imply we have as many VPs as we have committees. How about "The divisional vice president responsible for a committee shall be an ex-officio member of that committee"? Or "with oversight for a committee"?


Rob Copeland
June 22nd, 2005, 11:56 AM

The short answer is yes. In our current structure all committees report to the president, the president has delegated the responsibility of working (liaising) with many of these committees to other members of the Executive Committee. In our new structure our 4 vice presidents are now responsible for the USMS standing committees. So instead of having the president appoint liaisons to each committee we will have vice presidents responsible for the committees. These vice presidents shall be members of their assigned committees because of the office held (thus ex-officio).


I agree that the Rule book coordinator should be explicitly listed as an ex-officio member of Rules, Legislation and Long Distance.


Please rest assured that we will not have any BOD, HOD, or ECs in the final draft of any amendments. However, I cant guarantee that we will fix errors with that/which and serial commas. And thanks for the suggested "The divisional vice president responsible for a committee shall be an ex-officio member of that committee". Ill see if we can work it in.

Sally Dillon
June 26th, 2005, 08:12 PM
I'd like to respond to the concerns expressed by Charlie regarding the propsed dissolution of the Officials Committee.

I was actually the first chair of this committee - way back when it was an ad hoc committee. At the time, many LMSCs were having difficulties obtaining officials for their meets. There were numerous reasons but one of the biggest was that the United States Swimming (now USA Swimming) officials were not always interested in doing our meets - often because of poor relationships between the two groups.

The ad hoc Officials Committee worked with San Diego Masters and others to put together a training program for officials that LMSCs could use. At the same time, we worked hard to improve relations with USS. Annaliese Eggert became the USS Officials chair the same year our committee was formed and she was a tremendous help. She actively encouraged her LSCs to work with USMS. We put forth a number of projects that I won't go into but in the end, we found that after a couple of years, the vast majority of LMSCs that had experienced difficulties in getting officials no longer had the problem. Although the USMS Officials training program has been been in effect for many years now, it is not widely used. Our relationship with USA Swimming is significantly improved with few exceptions. For the most part, our meet directors no longer struggle to find officials. For those who do, the USMS training program is available.

The Officials Committee has had a few chairs and the responsibilities have evolved over time. I've been a member of the committee (or a liaison) for a long time and I have seen that the committee as a whole has been less and less involved during the year. The chair has done a good job of taking care of the relationships with USA Swimming, YMCA, and NCAA. The chair also communicates with LMSC Officials chairs and he is a good "point man" if a chair has a question.

While I hate to see a committee chair work in a vacuum and fail to involve committee members, the Officials Committee has evolved to the point where committee members are really not needed. A Coordinator for Officials is someone who could make a meaningful contribution to USMS without having a committee. The Coordinator could always ask LMSC Officials chairs for help with the occasional project that might come up in the future.

Finally, I'd like to point out that, David Diehl, the current USMS Officials Committee Chair, suggested to me that his committee did not need to exist. This took place long before the EC made the recommendation to the Governance task force.

Sally Dillon

June 28th, 2005, 11:24 AM
I have long believed
504.1.5 The members of the Finance Committee are included in the list of automatic delegates

I do not believe that many of these committees should be dissolved. We are very fortunate to have the currect chairpersons for many of our committees. But without committees, what happens when someone like David Diehl, the current USMS Officials Committee Chair, passes away? Transition will always happen, spreading work over a committee brings fresh ideas and spreads the knowledge base.

The mentoring process within the committees have brought new USMS delegates into positions of leadership. This needs to continue.

I concur the Governance Subcommittee has done a tremendous job.

Anthony Thompson
June 28th, 2005, 12:16 PM
With the restructurning of the executive committee and board of director, the Goverance Task Force has changed the landscape of the USMS organizational structure. I, too, feel like we are rushing in decisions to eliminate committees. Qualified coordinators will not emerge without opportunties to develop the skills on committees. Keeping an active members involved at the national and international level of the organization is key to the sustainablity and growth for USMS.

With the upcoming FINA 2006 World Championships at Stanford, I feel strongly that replacing the USMS International Committee (IC) with a liason is premature. Members of IC in cooperation with the USMS Marketing Committee and the Stanford local organizing committee will be promoting the FINA event at 6 upcoming international events (ASUA Championship in Santa Dominto, World Master Games in Edmonton, European Champoinships in Sweden, IGLA Championships, All-Americas LatyCar Championship in Brazil, and Gay Games).

In addition to specific support this the FINA 2006 event, the IC helps maintain contact with swimming governing bodies around the world, is working on a comparison of FINA vs USMS rules, and plays a role in educating the USMS membership on opportunities to compete internationally. IC also investigate opportunities for USMS/USAS to bid on international events.

A single coordinator cannot perform all these tasks without the support of a committee. A strong commitee structure is vital for certain functions with USMS, and needs to be considered carefully.

The Goverance Task Force has done a great job of thoughtfully creating these proposals, and now is the time for debate on how our organization should be structured.

Anthony Thompson, LMSC Chair Missouri Valley and
member of International and Rules Committee

June 28th, 2005, 01:40 PM
Thanks Sally for taking the time to respond. I'd like to make a couple of points.

The function of the officials committee has evolved in such a way that we've put priority on our relationship with USA-Swimming at the national level (and other organizations to a lesser extent). While this is very important and we have made good progress at leveraging their officials program and improving the quality of our officiating at national championships, it is by no means the only thing we need to do. Thus, as Vice Chair of the Committee, I respectfully disagree with the Chair's assessment that we don't need a committee to tackle future goals and objectives.

I will agree that we need to address the functionality of this and other committees and figure out a better way to engage people throughout the year. We should determine our objectives, assign specific responsibilities for committee members, and communicate regularly throughout the year. The fact that we have not done this well is a valid criticism, but does not, in my opinion, mean that we should simply dismantle the committee.

Streamlining the number and size of committees is a worthy goal and we should do some thinking about it. But, I am concerned that in our zeal to cut things, we may be discarding some very valuable tools without making sure that these steps are in alignment with future goals and objectives. I reiterate my opinion that tending to our affiliate organization relationships at the national, regional, and local level as well as working with LMSC Chairs to implement programs that will result in officiating consistency across the country is not a one-person job. Yes, the Chair is available to field questions from LMSC Officials Chairs, but this is different from being proactive in working directly with the LMSC Chairs, especially the smaller ones that may be looking for some direction or assistance or pushing lessons learned from the larger, more successful ones, so that everyone can implement best practices.

In response to these proposals, I plan on putting together something in the form of a white paper with some suggestions on objectives for a future USMS officials program and makeup/responsibilities of a committee to implment them. I'll circulate to officials committee members and others interested and hopefully this will lead to some good discussion so we can make some informed choices in Greensboro.

Charlie Cockrell

June 28th, 2005, 07:21 PM
Wayne, Anthony, and Charlie,

As Charlie said we need good discussion so that we can make informed choices at the convention. Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

As you know, Governance is making recommendations, but the final decisions are up to the House of Delegates. Our recommendaitons originated with the Ex Committee. The Ex Com, because of their positions as liaisons to committees, is in a good position to see how active the committees are. Governance did not adopt all of the Ex Com recommendations, but discussed each thoroughly.

The basic question is whether the committee IS doing things that a coordinator cannot do. A more difficult question is whether the committee WILL do things that a coordinator cannot do. I look forward to the discussions.
Betsy Durrant