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What is going on with Frank N.?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 27th 03, 08:25 PM
Bruce Draney
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

Recent side comments by Stan Booz, suggest that ED Frank Niro is or has
been absent from the office a great deal lately. While certainly Frank
is a busy man, one has to wonder whether Frank is absent on chess
related affairs or is absent due to personal and family affairs?
Is Frank being compensated for personal time while absent? Does anyone
find it odd that Frank would be taking extensive time off for personal
matters when USCF is facing crisis after crisis?

I'm beginning to wonder if Frank is up to the task of running the USCF
as the ED? A year ago, he was a Gandhi like figure and was widely
praised as the greatest thing since sliced bread. What a difference a
year makes, particularly a year trying to pilot the USCF.

Is Frank's health good enough to continue to function as a fully paid
and fully functioning ED? I'm beginning to think not. If Frank is
being fully compensated with a significant (by USCF standards) salary,
is it proper or necessary for him to be out of the office for days at a
time. What is considered normal amounts of personal time for an ED to
be taking? How many sick days is an ED normally entitled to?

There have been numerous problems over the past six months. While some
of them are due to poor technology and inefficiency, at least some of
them have been directly attributable to the absence of leadership at
critical times, meaning something bad happened and Frank wasn't there to
immediately address the situation.

If Frank is unable to make a full time committment to USCF to lead,
perhaps he should consider taking the high road and resigning as ED,
before he joins the long list of past ED's who were told not to let the
door hit them in the ass on the way out.

My original view which seems to have been correct was that Frank while
capable, would be only minimally effectively leading an organization so
far gone as USCF.

Frank has personally disappointed me on several huge issues in the past
year, first and foremost being the idea that raising adult dues was a
workable and intelligent idea. Secondly there have been several
incidents where Frank has been AWOL when critical leadership was needed
and situations turned worse as a result. (e.g. Deb Sheri) There has
also been a significant delay in releasing financial information about
USCF. Note that we are still waiting for an Annual Report to the
Delegates for the 2001-2002 FY. Recent reports have claimed that Frank
inked an extension with Games Parlor even though the Board has been
waiting for the opportunity to ditch Games Parlor for years.

The fact that loonies like Bob Smith continue to sing Frank's praises as
the ship slips below the waves should sound warning bells in nearly
everyone's mind. Afterall, Bob Smith is the man who once claimed that
the Masked Bishop was Tim Redman and accused Kevin Bachler of using
negative campaign tactics in his run for the Board, even though Kevin
has never run for the Board.

I think that Frank should seriously examine his role as leader and
decide if he is fully committed to lead USCF or whether he is frustrated
and annoyed to the point that it would be better for him to retire
politely and spend the rest of his life addressing family, and other
personal issues and put USCF behind him as a bad dream from which he
thankfully awoke before it was too late.

Best Regards,

Bruce
  #2  
Old July 27th 03, 08:38 PM
RSHaas
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

" While certainly Frank is a busy man, one has to wonder whether Frank is
absent on chess related affairs or is absent due to personal and family
affairs?" (Bruce Draney)
=============
Rumor has it that Frank is taking some time off to master the southern
accent that he'll need in order to communicate with the new employees that
he'll hire in Crossville.
(RSHaas)
  #4  
Old July 28th 03, 05:34 AM
Bruce Draney
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

Tim Hanke wrote:

"Bruce Draney" wrote ...

I think that Frank should seriously examine his role as leader and
decide if he is fully committed to lead USCF or whether he is frustrated
and annoyed to the point that it would be better for him to retire
politely and spend the rest of his life addressing family, and other
personal issues and put USCF behind him as a bad dream from which he
thankfully awoke before it was too late.


Bruce,

In the future, Frank Niro may well look back on his days as USCF ED as a bad
dream, but in my opinion this would be a very bad time for him to jump ship.

Whether we like it or not, USCF is moving to Crossville, Tennessee. Whether
we like it or not, USCF is committed to trying to make its Books & Equipment
business profitable.

Frank Niro is a CPA who earned a reputation for designing efficient business
systems, first when he was working for Ernst & Young, later when he was a
ballyhooed "top young executive" in the hospital industry.

Frank has studied USCF's operating practices and found them horribly
inefficient. He told me himself, "It's unbelievable how many people have to
touch the same piece of paper in our office. It can take as much as six days
for us to deposit a check in the bank."

Frank is now closely involved in designing an entirely new USCF operating
system, starting with the design of the new USCF building in Crossville. My
feeling is that we have a golden opportunity to reengineer USCF over the
next two-three years.

Although I continue to be somewhat doubtful about USCF belonging in the B&E
business, I accept that it's not a good idea to reverse course on this issue
*again*, at least not so soon after the last time we reversed course. We are
now on a tack of building up the B&E business and we must stay this course
till we have learned where it takes us.

The local banks in Crossville are being extremely generous, both in the
amount of credit they are offering us, and the interest rates. Now that I
have heard a little more about this deal, I can see how favorable it is to
USCF, compared to anything else available to us.

There has also been a lot of lobbying by the locals to get USCF to come to
Crossville. The local congressman, Lincoln Davis, met with Frank Niro for
several hours. (By a great coincidence, I posted a photo of Lincoln Davis on
the Scleroderma Foundation Home Page last week: http://www.scleroderma.org.)

In short, the people in Crossville really want us! And we are not going to
be farther from a major airport than we are now in New Windsor, N.Y.

My major concern is Frank's health. A lot of good things have happened in
the past year: accounts payable are way down; sales is way up; and we seem
much closer to break-even on operations, even if aren't quite there yet. I'm
hoping Frank stays healthy and USCF stays the present course for another
two-three years. This should be enough time to tell us if we are doing the
right thing with B&E.

If B&E proves to be nothing but an expensive distraction from our real
mission, I'll be the first to say "Let's get rid of it." But present trends
suggest we can make money on B&E in the near future. Why wouldn't we want an
extra half-million dollars of income?

By the way, I am also concerned about ratings fees being too low, not to
mention the entire USCF dues structure needing re-vamping, not to mention
the magazine needing an overhaul and the website needing a keel-haul, but
that's a whole 'nother list of topics I don't want to get into in this post.

Tim Hanke


Geez Tim,

Sounds like they shared just enough positives with you to get you to
support them. I'm a little disappointed, but will assume you'll keep an
open mind and take things told to you with a grain of salt.

Wondered if you still believe its a-okay for Camaratta to be filling
up the USCF catalog with HOS items or if that's now become a perfectly
acceptable practice as well in your mind.

What is your view on Adult dues? What is your view on children's
dues? What is your view on technology and the budgeting for upgrades?
Once we're IN Crossville, how long do you suppose the Welcome Wagon
mentality will last?

Any word on whether Chess Life is moving to Crossville too or are they
planning on operating two inefficient headquarters simultaneously? Have
you changed your mind about the current adminstration's use of the PPHBF
money? What is your view about the Grand Prix?

Best Regards,

Bruce
  #5  
Old July 28th 03, 07:57 AM
James B. Shearer
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

"Tim Hanke" wrote in message news:%[email protected]

snip

If B&E proves to be nothing but an expensive distraction from our real
mission, I'll be the first to say "Let's get rid of it." But present trends
suggest we can make money on B&E in the near future. Why wouldn't we want an
extra half-million dollars of income?


So why did you propose zero staff for B&E?
Are you saying you now believe it is possible for the USCF to make
$500000 a year profit on B&E in the near future?
How much money are you prepared to lose on B&E before giving up?
James B. Shearer
  #6  
Old July 28th 03, 09:09 AM
ASCACHESS
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

If B&E proves to be nothing but an expensive distraction from our real
mission, I'll be the first to say "Let's get rid of it." But present trends
suggest we can make money on B&E in the near future. Why wouldn't we want

an
extra half-million dollars of income?


So why did you propose zero staff for B&E?
Are you saying you now believe it is possible for the USCF to make
$500000 a year profit on B&E in the near future?
How much money are you prepared to lose on B&E before giving up?
James B. Shearer


This is a process.
Tim has now been talked to by Frank Niro, giving Tim the impression that he is
"on board".
Tim will soon learn that he had the facts right in the first place.

It takes a strong person to resist the seduction that Red Management throws at
you. Meanwhile, USCF sinks lower and lower.

Rp
  #7  
Old July 28th 03, 06:47 PM
Tim Hanke
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

"Bruce Draney" wrote ...

Geez Tim,

Sounds like they shared just enough positives with you to get you to
support them. I'm a little disappointed, but will assume you'll keep an
open mind and take things told to you with a grain of salt.


Bruce,

I'll try. :-)

Wondered if you still believe its a-okay for Camaratta to be filling
up the USCF catalog with HOS items or if that's now become a perfectly
acceptable practice as well in your mind.


In my opinion it's clearly a violation of USCF's current Conflict of
Interest rules. Even if it isn't, it looks bad to people on the outside, and
that's an important consideration.

Having said that, I have been told that Frank Camaratta gets worse terms
than Malcolm Pein gets. If that's true, it puts the situation in a useful
perspective, though it still doesn't address the perception problem.

What is your view on Adult dues?


Same as before. As stated on my website, I could live with $49 dues, *if*
people were offered a cheaper no-magazine membership option. By "cheaper" I
mean "cheaper than the current $39 no-magazine option."

What is your view on children's
dues?


Same as before. In my opinion, they are too low relative to adult dues. I
also feel there should be some sort of publication offered to the kids,
considering there are so many of them. Heck, my son Ben is in the Cub
Scouts, and he gets a magazine which I think he looks at. Same idea.

What is your view on technology and the budgeting for upgrades?


I have been told by Frank Niro that a substantial sum of money from the sale
of the New Windsor building will be allocated to the technology budget. I
hope this happens. It better happen, or half the reason for selling the
building is moot.

Once we're IN Crossville, how long do you suppose the Welcome Wagon
mentality will last?


Hmm, my name is Tim Hanke, not Clair Voyant. :-)

Any word on whether Chess Life is moving to Crossville too or are they
planning on operating two inefficient headquarters simultaneously?


My understanding is that, for a period of time, some of the Chess Life staff
will remain in New Windsor, and CL Editor Peter Kurzdorfer will remain in
Buffalo. Frank Niro can't, on his own, do anything about the Editor's
situation, because the CL Editor is the only other USCF employee who reports
directly to the Board. My understanding is that Frank Niro would like to
move in the direction of having the CL operation back under one roof with
the rest of USCF staff. It may take time to accomplish this goal; the
Executive Board will undoubtedly have to help make this happen because Frank
Niro can't make it happen himself.

Have
you changed your mind about the current adminstration's use of the PPHBF
money?


No. I still think it is morally wrong to tie up these funds as collateral
for loans to operations. But having said that, it appears there is no legal
constraint preventing this being done. It seems to me that this fund's
purpose, and the mechanics of how it is supposed to be used, are not clearly
defined. I say, get rid of the fund or convert it to a real fund that is
escrowed from operations. Probably the former if it can legally be done: I
feel that USCF has gotten in trouble by trying to be all things to all
people, and providing health insurance to professional chessplayers is not
part of the core mission.

What is your view about the Grand Prix?


I'm not familiar with all the details of that issue. Feel free to enlighten
me. :-)

Tim Hanke

Best Regards,

Bruce



  #8  
Old July 28th 03, 06:56 PM
Tim Hanke
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

"ASCACHESS" wrote ...
If B&E proves to be nothing but an expensive distraction from our real
mission, I'll be the first to say "Let's get rid of it." But present

trends
suggest we can make money on B&E in the near future. Why wouldn't we

want
an
extra half-million dollars of income?


So why did you propose zero staff for B&E?
Are you saying you now believe it is possible for the USCF to make
$500000 a year profit on B&E in the near future?
How much money are you prepared to lose on B&E before giving up?
James B. Shearer


This is a process.
Tim has now been talked to by Frank Niro, giving Tim the impression that

he is
"on board".
Tim will soon learn that he had the facts right in the first place.


Richard,

Maybe. In a year or two, we'll know who was right about B&E. I don't claim
to know everything. I do know *you* are automatically anti-USCF on most
issues. I like to think I am willing to hear all points of view. Except
Richard Haas talking about Mensa Metro Districts; I'm really sick of that
nonsense (sorry, Richard). :-)

Tim Hanke

It takes a strong person to resist the seduction that Red Management

throws at
you. Meanwhile, USCF sinks lower and lower.

Rp



  #9  
Old July 28th 03, 09:42 PM
ASCACHESS
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

I still think it is morally wrong to tie up these funds as collateral
for loans to operations. But having said that, it appears there is no legal
constraint preventing this being done.


If one ignores our bylaws and their sections regarding the delegates being the
highest authority within, then the argument could be made that there is nothing
illegal about ignoring delegate mandates.

Is this the same as driving through a stop sign?
No, but it makes USCF civally liable if claims are made.

Segue to Camaratta and the Conflict of Interest rules.

In my opinion it's clearly a violation of USCF's current Conflict of
Interest rules. Even if it isn't, it looks bad to people on the outside, and
that's an important consideration.

Having said that, I have been told that Frank Camaratta gets worse terms
than Malcolm Pein gets.
If that's true, it puts the situation in a useful
perspective, though it still doesn't address the perception problem.


How can we agree with that "useful perspective" when you as a board member
elect don't know what the terms are?

Even if the terms are worse for Camaratta than Pein, does that matter? Does
that cause the Conflict of Interest rules to be any less broken? Is Pein a
member of the Executive Board subject to the Conflict of Interest Rules?

We worry for your perspectives when you report Red Management spin as "useful
perspective" and deliberate violations of delegate mandates as being subject to
"no legal constraint".

The seduction has begun and they are clever.

Richard Peterson


  #10  
Old July 28th 03, 09:53 PM
ASCACHESS
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Default What is going on with Frank N.?

I do know *you* are automatically anti-USCF on most
issues.


Am I?

Please don't confuse what Red Management does with what USCF is. There is a
big difference.

If Red Management allows the VP Finance to put his personal interests ahead of
the interests of USCF, am I anti-USCF for pointing it out?

If Red Management spends virtually all of the nearly three million dollars
which had been accumulated for the benefit of the Life Members and I am a
member of that class, am I anti-USCF for pointing it out?

If Red Management continues to use the PPHBF as a collateralized item for its
loans when this has been specifically forbidden by the delegates, is that
anti-USCF?

The personal problems that I have had with USCF come specifically from the
attitudes within Red Management which produced the above.

Should I go on?
Surprising that you would make such a statement so soon.

Richard Peterson

 




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