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Russ Locke on the USHPA BOD reform proposal

RussLocke <russ> via May 30, 2018, 9:30 PM:

To ushpa_board_list

I've read through the proposal to replace the current Board of 26 Directors with
a smaller group of 7 Directors. While I agree that the smaller group would be
able to make decisions in a quicker and more concise fashion, I fear this
approach misses the bigger picture. I was a member of the Board for almost 2
decades, including being President for 6 years and being on the Executive
Committee for several more years. I am well aware of the challenges represented
in getting small less contentious issues through this large group, let alone
more meaty and significant issues. Having said that, I cannot think of any time
in our history that this Board has failed to properly react to an important
issue that was dropped in its lap. We can and should be proud of the fact that
we are the only group in the FAA's sphere of influence that started out being
self regulated in the late 1970s, before FAR 103 was created, and maintains that
status today. That isn't accidental. It has happened because of a ton of work by
countless people, almost all of them within the USHGA/USHPA's structure.

The core of the existing system is the Regional Directors. These volunteers
bridge the gap between the membership and its national governing body. The level
of work done by these Directors will not diminish if the size of the Board is
cut down. Nor will this body of work be able to be handled by 7 Directors.
Expecting the slack to be picked up by the Chapters and the Committees will be a
significant task that has the potential for a lot of confusion at best and the
loss of critical processes at worst.

If we do make this change, a couple of things concern me about this proposal.
One, electing the new 7 member Board by a vote of the membership without any
concern for regional issues is a big mistake. This allows the higher pilot
populated areas, like California to control the election. Over the years, the
Association has significantly benefited from the efforts of Regional Directors
elected by members in places like Idaho, Kansas, Texas, etc. In a national
election, the members in these areas would have little say in the makeup of the
National Board and their ability to elect one of their own to that Board would
be severely limited. Two, the current Revocation of Ratings policy starts with
the local pilot community and only involves the National Organization (Safety
and Training Committee) if there is a concern that the appropriate decision
wasn't reached. The proposed process moves all decision responsibility to the
National Board. I believe the current process puts more responsibility on the
pilots actually affected and as such should be left in place.

The Planning Committee has obviously done a lot of work putting this proposal
together and their efforts should be applauded. While I don't agree with the
concept of replacing the Regional Director structure with a smaller Board, there
are a number of good suggestions on ways to communicate better between our
members, committees, Board and employees. Some of those suggestions should be
acted on whether or not we restructure the existing Board and its meeting
schedules. It's true that some of the membership views the Board of Directors
negatively. That has always been a piece of the puzzle. Taking away our members
ability to send a locally elected representative to our national meetings will
most surely make this situation worse. I believe the USHPA will be considered a
complete success when a significant majority of our members belong to the
Association because they want too, not because they have to. In other words, the
Association isn't viewed as a necessary evil. That may be setting the bar a bit
high, but we should all be working towards that goal.
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