Another Annual Congress come and gone and the farce continues.  What is intended by the bylaws and the Colorado state legislators to be an open discussion between leadership and members becomes the annual "How do we have this thing and not have to actually do it?"

Every year it is either blown off or set for inconvenient times to prevent people from showing up.  Askinas did the "all questions must be submitted a week before and I will ignore any that make me uncomfortable."  And after a lot of people, mostly referees showed for the 2009 Annual Meeting and held his feet to the fire, he never had another.

The current board embraced having the meeting via the phone at times like Monday evenings, all day on a Saturday etc..  this after the Convention brought people like Sharon Jewell who showed in person and again made things uncomfortable.

This year hit new lows on the avoidance scale. 

Let's review the bylaw:



Section 10.1.  Purpose.

There shall be an annual National Congress at which all individual and organization members and other Taekwondo constituencies shall gather and provide input to the Board of Directors on important issues confronting the organization.  The Board shall coordinate to provide a report on the “State of the Union.”  The Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General shall provide a managerial report addressing issues of concern and importance to USAT.  Individual and organization members and other Taekwondo constituencies may pose questions to the Board and Chief Executive Officer for response.  The annual National Congress shall be purely advisory and shall have no rule making, budgetary, legislative, or other authority.  The Board shall determine the agenda of the annual National Congress.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, an annual meeting of the voting members is not required.

Section 10.2.  Place.

The annual National Congress shall be held in conjunction with a meeting of the Board of Directors.

Section 10.3.  Notice.

Notice of the annual National Congress stating the place, date and time of the Assembly shall be posted on the website of USAT no fewer than thirty (30) days before the date of the meeting.

Ok - they held the meeting.  One point there.  They made 10.2 as it was in conjunction with the BOD meeting.

10.3  - well they gave the date.  Sort of gave a time - as long as busy people were willing to sit on the phone through at times impossible to hear board meeting.  They know from past phone meetings there is a problem with the way they do it and if someone is not close to the mic, the people on the call cannot hear.  So did they take this into account?  no. There was effort by Staff to improve things by setting up a text system where the two of us who took time to hear all this could text "dead" over and over. Steve McNally and Marco Mack worked hard to make it as easy as possible and I appreciate that.

The notice was not modified to add a location (per 10.3) until I complained three days before the meeting took place.  People need more than 3 days.  Must be nice they went to a resort, I remember being stuck at the OTC to save money, but whatever.

There was no mechanism for the members to ask questions of the BOD or Staff.  Callers are muted and there was no call for questions to be emailed to the office in advance of the meeting. No doubt because they expected no one would go through all the trouble to sit through the BOD meeting to hear it.  BTW note the bylaws say this is the opportunity to ask questions of the BOD.  The bylaws was largely ignored, just as so many that the BOD and the staff choose to ignore.  Can anyone say "posting bylaws within 30 days?"  Something this board has never done and has at times taken 6 months to do.  And I am not exaggerating, I took screen shots and sent to the USOC to show that in June of one year, the last posted BOD minutes were November.

Every meeting discusses COMMUNICATION!  and yet this simple thing can never be accomplished.  Annual Congress is not fun for staff, I know it personally.  However, we have gone from having them with large audiences to a phone call with 2 people.  We have established communication is NOT a priority for the top leadership - (I am not pointing this finger at certain staff members who bend over backwards, including answering Facebook questions when necessary.) I am talking the BOD and the Executive Director.

I did catch that the ED was proud that he has done a quarterly letter - one of which was the outline of the strategic plan. Eric Parthen set a bar with the monthly staff report.  That lasted a little while past his tenure but it was one of the best things Eric did.  Other NGB's put out monthly letters.  You don't need to do a fancy Powerpoint no one reads.  Just follow what Eric did. 

Have the Annual Congress at Nationals as they always claim they are going to do.  It is not a game to see how you can get out of it. Embrace it. Take the shots and show we are moving forward. 

This Congress was a farce. Maybe someone could make an effort to return it to its original purpose in 2017.