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Tiki critiques the USHPA

Tiki Mashy writes:

Prepare to be alarmed: our Association is operating in the red.

Spending now exceeds the money we contribute to our coffers, despite inflating
pilot membership and instructor dues, therefore I felt this circumstance
warrants a close examination of expenditures.

I began this task with a review of USHPA salaried employees. Unfortunately I was
dismayed to have my request for this information met with protest and
conditional refusal by a member of the USHPA Executive Committee – despite the
fact that I am an elected USHPA Regional Director who is unconditionally
entitled to this information; and blocking my access is a blatant overreach of
power by the Executive Committee. I indicated that I do not answer to the
Executive Committee, I answer to the membership.

Things got more contentious (why? I don’t know – it was a simple request on my
part). Following a testy email exchange with the same EC member, cooler heads
prevailed, and I was provided the salary information, but I had to promise “not
to publish” the individual salaries of the employees, with the exception of the
Executive Director.

I was informed the salaries of the other four employees are "protected" by
California statute since USHPA is registered with the State of California,
however USHPA is doing business in Colorado, so wouldn’t it be subject to those
laws? In any event, I have yet to verify this is true however I will respect
what I was told until or unless I find out otherwise.

I was also told by a member of the Executive Committee that the salaries are “in
line with other non-profits.” Ok, but I wanted to see for myself - and so should

The Executive Director salary is public domain and is included on USHPA's 990
tax document, and accessible by all members (copy and paste this url into your
browser if necessary), than enter your member number and password; than click on
“990 (tax return) Forms”:

Anyway the information I received was a bit disturbing. For 2018-2019, while
operating in the red, the annual salary of our USHPA Executive Director is
$108,419; perhaps the $214,500 (the combined salary of the other four
employees), is more in line with other non-profits, however the $108,419 for
USHPA’s Executive Director seems, to me, to be a bit out of line, considering
our lack of growth and declining membership numbers.

Even more alarming was to find that our Executive Director salary continued to
increased year-after-year, even amidst our 2016 insurance crisis, when members
gave so much; instructors were asked to sacrifice; the association was
struggling to stay afloat, AND there was a net drop in membership – how did the
Executive Committee justify this – it is the Executive Committee who make these
decisions – power concentrated in a smaller group apparently leaves little room
for oversight, hence is not necessarily better.

Here is the Executive Director Yearly Salary plus his expenses, and the number
of members during that year:

2013 salary $75,916 plus expenses: $6,395 membership 8,743

2014 salary $78,220 plus expenses: $2,342 membership 9,164

2015 salary $81,315 plus expenses: $8,953 membership 9,348

2016 salary $95,423 plus expenses: $9,464 membership 8,321 (lost -1,027)

2017 salary $106,660 plus expenses: $6,087 membership 8,497

2018 salary $108,419 plus expenses: ? Membership ?

Maybe you think this is OK. I don't. These figures do not include health
benefits, seminars, training, events attended by the Executive Director and his
expenses. Even more disturbing is the Executive Director expenses were the
highest during the Insurance Crisis. And in the nine years since the current
director was appointed the overall membership has fallen.

How sustainable is a six-figured directorship for our organization (rhetorical).
It seems shortsighted for this organization to not have tied the Executive
Director salary to the USHPA’s performance and growth, which is common among not
for profit institutions like the USHPA. However that idea was apparently
rejected. I don’t know why, I was not part of the BOD at that time – but was
recently informed of this.

Doing a bit of research I found the average “Non-Profit Executive Director”
salary averaged around $70,000-$80,000 for an organization of our income -
actual figure is dependent on role, experience, and performance, yes

Regardless of how we arrived at this six-figure liability, our present
circumstance urges attention. If salary is not a performance inducement, might
not the position then be filled for less, with a competent manager who also
possesses basic bookkeeping skills? Canada runs its office with only one person
– I am not advocating that, but any need they have beyond that one person is
farmed out to the membership; perhaps if we implemented a similar model, tapping
membership expertise, we could balance our books. To be clear I am not
advocating anyone losing their job, that would be cruel, I am however saying we
need definite oversight, the situation now is untenable - we're in the red.

Three of our five employees work outside Colorado, only our Executive Director
and one other live in Colorado, perhaps the cost of living in Colorado Springs
is high, and it might be long past time to relocate.

Our Association presently runs without any Oversight Committee perhaps that is
why these conditions have gone so long unchecked; salaries and raises are not
approved by the full BOD.

Additionally, the Governance Proposal with its diversification matrix will
diminish existing oversight more by eliminating many Regional Directorships.
Those are the folks who ask questions like these, folks directly accountable to
you. Instead we are offered platitudes for lack of growth, etc. - "the
population is aging," "the internet," etc.

Our Association needs member input, your ideas, and your oversight. What-do-
YOU-think? Talk with your fellow members, and share your ideas with your
Regional Director... while you still have them. If you haven't already, protect
your voice by voting "NO" on the Governance Proposal.

This is only a small part of USHPA’s financial predicament – but one I think
should be addressed. We, as a member driven organization, must start holding our
Directors’ feet to the fire, make them answer the hard questions. You the member
have so much power. Right now you have access to your individual Director’s
attention, it will not be so convenient if this Governance Proposal passes.

For me, I have a mission, I have never thrown softballs at the BOD, and I do not
intend to do so now. Let’s start cleaning up our organization not by some
Governance Proposal that won’t address budgetary or growth issues, but by
reaching out to each of your directors and find out exactly what is going on.
The problem is not too many directors, in fact that is what has kept this
association from going under, the problem is our members have not been asking
the right questions. I’ll give you the questions and the answers if “they”
won’t, just call me.

Look we are all in this together, there is no malice on the part of anyone in
this organization. We all want the same thing. We just see a different path

I have been a member of this organization since 1980. I believe its best days
are coming if we pull together. The amount of Directors isn’t the problem,
that’s not what got us in the red, the problem is oversight and leadership. This
may ruffle some feathers, and I may lose even more BOD friends, but it is not my
intention to offend. It’s just how I see it. I was elected to do the bidding of
the membership not the Board.

Lastly, this was not meant to turn into a campaign to vote against the
Governance Proposal, but given the example of lack of oversight how could it

Thanks for listening.
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