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Old January 28th 05, 02:19 PM
Angelo DePalma
 
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Default USCF governance


I've been reading and posting here for about two years now. I've been a USCF
member for most of the past 37 years. I read every issue of CL cover to
cover (almost). I hold a PhD in organic chemistry. I once played a sharp
line of the Slav defense as black 17 moves deep. I admit social studies and
Roberts Rules of Order were never my forte, but I'm not stupid.

Yet try as I might I still don't understand the labyrinthine structure of
USCF governance. There's a president and an ED, an EB and another board (?),
there are delegates, committees, volunteers, and all these personages whose
names I've been hearing since I was a kid who, in addition to apparently
being immortal, wield all manner of overlapping, conflicting power and
influence.

In other words it's a ****ing mess.

No doubt the reason for this stinking garble of governance is our nonprofit
status. Layer upon layer of bureaucracy are believed to provide checks and
balances to protect the golden goose from the whims or bad decision-making
of the few who may enjoy goose soup. In reality our governance structure
provides just the opposite -- a breeding ground for incompetence,
subterfuge, back-stabbing, and possible criminal activity far greater than
you'd expect from a business of this size. I could live with that if the
magazine were interesting, if ratings were calculated quickly and
efficiently, and if we had a couple of legitimate top-20 players. But sadly
USCF doesn't do a goddamned thing right. Nothing. I wonder sometimes if the
Federation doesn't exist solely for feeding the principals' egos and desire
for occasional free food and drinks.

As in real life the government that governs best governs least; the most
efficient organizations are those run for profit.

That is why it is time for USCF to sell its assets to a for-profit,
commercial entity. USCF needs to be run by a business man or woman with
capital or salary at risk who will clean house, top to bottom.

The Seduction Artist, in one of his more lucid moments, is correct that a
competing organization should be formed but he's incorrect that the core
governing body should consist of 50-100 volunteers. That will get us exactly
what we have today, except it will probably be even more chaotic and less
effective.

US chess (note no capitalization) needs a new, for-profit organization to
serve chess players' needs. Or as our former editor would call it, a new
"organ." The world's first heart-brain-lung-kidney-liver-intestine
transplant.

Angelo DePalma



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Old January 28th 05, 02:53 PM
Paul Rubin
 
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"Angelo DePalma" writes:
That is why it is time for USCF to sell its assets to a for-profit,
commercial entity. USCF needs to be run by a business man or woman with
capital or salary at risk who will clean house, top to bottom.


Will that commercial entity pay salaries to the thousands of TD's who
now work for the USCF for free?
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Old January 28th 05, 03:25 PM
Randy Bauer
 
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In article , Angelo DePalma says...


I wonder sometimes if the
Federation doesn't exist solely for feeding the principals' egos and desire
for occasional free food and drinks.


I understand Angelo's frustration with the Federation -- I've shared it on many
occasions over the 30 years or so that I've been a member as well. However,
anybody who thinks that most Executive Board members do it for the "occasional
free food and drinks" is badly mistaken.

I've been on the Board for a little over half a year, which means I'm probably
not even indicative of the financial sacrifices others have made. Here's a run
down of my expenses versus "free food and drinks:"

Ft. Lauderdale - expenses I paid (airfare, hotel, cab, parking, food): $900
"free food and drinks" - 2 lunches, 1 dinner/drinks: $60 (of this, only the two
lunches were paid by the USCF)

Crossville - expenses I paid (airfare, hotel in Knoxville, parking, food): $600
"free food and drinks" - 2 lunches, 1 dinner/drinks: $60 (of this I don't think
the USCF paid for any of the meals.

West Palm Beach -- expenses I paid (airfare, parking, food): $400
"free food and drinks" - 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner/drinks: $50 (of this, I
think only the breakfast and lunch were paid by the USCF.

I also traveled to Minnesota for the announcement of the HB tournament and paid
my expenses, let's call that $60.

Meanwhile, I paid the USCF filing fee twice for the pleasure of spending all
this money to get "free food and drinks." That would be another $500.

Add in long distance phone calls and other expenses, and I've spent well over
$2,500 to get my hands on all those "free food and drinks." Never mind that
I've also burned over a week of vacation and several weekends away from my
family to attend these meetings.

Don't get me wrong -- I view Board service as a way to give something back to
the game that has greatly enriched my life over the years. I'm happy to do so
and will continue to be happy to do so, but anybody who thinks the average Board
member is in it for the "free food and drinks" needs to get a better
understanding of what we ask our Board members to volunteer in return for their
service.

Randy Bauer

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Old January 28th 05, 04:08 PM
 
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Hi Angelo:

IMO, you have the right idea but it shouldn't be 100%. Our Volunteers
are important and are a huge asset.

We need to find a way to keep the volunteer but become business
oriented and run like a business. We need less micro-managing by
leaders who lack substantial business credentials.

Erik Anderson and AF4C recognized this and approached us to merge along
these lines. It didn't work out because our side revolted against the
idea of an outsider paying us a million dollars or so for full control
of the federation which obviously was worth more than the million,
since it included the million;

We put up a stone wall against the merger. Instead, we should have put
together a counter-proposal that would include provisions to protect
USCF programs, affilates and traditions, If we had done that, IMO,
consolidation with AF4C could have been achieved.

I'm an optimist, I believe we will migrate in the more-of-a-business
direction. USCF successful businessmen such as Joel Channing and Paul
Hoffman see this need and are starting to climb on Board.

  #5   Report Post  
Old January 28th 05, 05:17 PM
Mike Murray
 
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On 28 Jan 2005 08:08:35 -0800, wrote:

We need to find a way to keep the volunteer but become business
oriented and run like a business. We need less micro-managing by
leaders who lack substantial business credentials.


Erik Anderson and AF4C recognized this and approached us to merge along
these lines. It didn't work out because our side revolted against the
idea of an outsider paying us a million dollars or so for full control
of the federation which obviously was worth more than the million,
since it included the million;


I'm an optimist, I believe we will migrate in the more-of-a-business
direction. USCF successful businessmen such as Joel Channing and Paul
Hoffman see this need and are starting to climb on Board.


To be a business, you have to have something to sell.

In chess, that would seem to be books and magazines, equipment,
facilities (playing venues), rating services, entry fees, software,
spectator rights and product endorsements. Have I left anything out ?

The trouble is, in most of these areas, private competition is already
established. And the products generally aren't big ticket items (like
golf carts or clubs) and, other than the endless stream of new chess
books, don't need to be replaced often (like running shoes).

What business plan could the USCF formulate to attract top quality
business people on a career basis? How do we make money?





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Old January 28th 05, 05:51 PM
[email protected]
 
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Default

We organize and run natioanl championship events and put out for
bidding other national championships.

We publsih a national, magazine and sell advertisements.

We are engaged in business negotiations with the major chess Internet
service providers

We endorse products

We are considering going into the chess publishing business

We send players and teams to International competitions and engage in
getting sponsorships

We work closeley with the US Chess Trust and help direct donations to
them

We manage the rules of chess

We do a lot more but have not done these things as well as we might
otherwise had we had proven business experts representing us and
involved in our decision making process.

  #8   Report Post  
Old January 28th 05, 06:38 PM
irvin
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I couldn't agree more, Angelo!

The USCF is every low-level criminal's dream place. There, they can steal
some money, with very little risk of being prosecuted (although they always
get caught!).


--
Irvin
-------------------------
http://www.pixel69.com


"Angelo DePalma" wrote in message
...

I've been reading and posting here for about two years now. I've been a
USCF member for most of the past 37 years. I read every issue of CL cover
to cover (almost). I hold a PhD in organic chemistry. I once played a
sharp line of the Slav defense as black 17 moves deep. I admit social
studies and Roberts Rules of Order were never my forte, but I'm not
stupid.

Yet try as I might I still don't understand the labyrinthine structure of
USCF governance. There's a president and an ED, an EB and another board
(?), there are delegates, committees, volunteers, and all these personages
whose names I've been hearing since I was a kid who, in addition to
apparently being immortal, wield all manner of overlapping, conflicting
power and influence.

In other words it's a ****ing mess.

No doubt the reason for this stinking garble of governance is our
nonprofit status. Layer upon layer of bureaucracy are believed to provide
checks and balances to protect the golden goose from the whims or bad
decision-making of the few who may enjoy goose soup. In reality our
governance structure provides just the opposite -- a breeding ground for
incompetence, subterfuge, back-stabbing, and possible criminal activity
far greater than you'd expect from a business of this size. I could live
with that if the magazine were interesting, if ratings were calculated
quickly and efficiently, and if we had a couple of legitimate top-20
players. But sadly USCF doesn't do a goddamned thing right. Nothing. I
wonder sometimes if the Federation doesn't exist solely for feeding the
principals' egos and desire for occasional free food and drinks.

As in real life the government that governs best governs least; the most
efficient organizations are those run for profit.

That is why it is time for USCF to sell its assets to a for-profit,
commercial entity. USCF needs to be run by a business man or woman with
capital or salary at risk who will clean house, top to bottom.

The Seduction Artist, in one of his more lucid moments, is correct that a
competing organization should be formed but he's incorrect that the core
governing body should consist of 50-100 volunteers. That will get us
exactly what we have today, except it will probably be even more chaotic
and less effective.

US chess (note no capitalization) needs a new, for-profit organization to
serve chess players' needs. Or as our former editor would call it, a new
"organ." The world's first heart-brain-lung-kidney-liver-intestine
transplant.

Angelo DePalma





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Old January 28th 05, 10:24 PM
HAASpittle
 
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Default

$2500, another reason I'm glad not to be involved in chess politics.

Old Haasie
  #10   Report Post  
Old January 28th 05, 10:30 PM
HAASpittle
 
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Default

"It would be interesting to have one or experienced venture capitalists analyze
the list above for profit potential and to help sort out a viable business
plan." (Mike Murray)
============
No venture capitalist would waste his time looking at the USCF.

Old Haasie
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