Throughout this series, others have covered the history behind the ABC National, how we got to
, and the acknowledged difficulty that many ABC members, notably those in the West and Southwest, face getting to ABC each year. I won’t go much into those topics, except to point out, in fairness, that ever since the move to Fort Mitchell , the ABC National has been “centrally located”, as far as the Board and the attorney it consulted are concerned. (The center of the Fort Mitchell US is 35 miles outside of ; the Board stipulated the show site should be within 100 miles of an airport that is within 350 miles of that location. Springfield, MO Fort Mitchell meets these guidelines, as does .) The problem, ostensibly, is not so much that the Board won’t move the show site as that the members weren’t clear enough when they asked for a “central location.” Indianapolis
Some have joked that the fairest thing would be to find a location that is equally inconvenient to as many members as possible – and there is some truth to that. A better plan, however, might be for the membership to vote to abandon the central location, and instead institute a roving National. It could be done as simply as that – at the next membership meeting where there is a quorum, any voting member in good standing can make a motion to send a vote to the membership, to eliminate the requirement for a central location and instead hold a roving National. Any other voting member in good standing can second it. If the motion passes, the Board will be directed to send the issue to the membership for a vote; if it passes the membership, we will begin to hold a roving National. (Stick around to the end of this article, however, for a caveat on that.)
This is the simple way, but also probably the worst way. We’ve all seen how as vague a notion as a “central location” has gone – that motion was made 13 years ago and some still feel we’re nowhere near centrally located. It will serve the membership far better, instead, to prepare a thoroughly detailed and specific motion that leaves no room for interpretation as to the wishes of the membership. Barring any Board intervention, this will need to go to the entire membership for a vote – Dr. Bob Oliver established a precedent in 2001 that any change in site location must be the result of a mandate from either the Board or the entire membership, and not of a vote made at a membership meeting.
The ideal would be for two or three driven individuals, who have time to spare, to work together on bringing this motion to the floor. Several aspects must be considered and included in the motion, to ensure that as many questions and objections as possible are addressed by the motion itself. The primary considerations are a schedule for rotation, show site criteria, show chair and committees, and ABC property that must be transported to each National and stored in between.
Establish A Rotation Schedule
This also addresses the issue of whether we’ll have enough workers to put on a roving National. While I agree with
that the ABC should be footing the bill for the events at the National Specialty, the workers must come from the local Boxer Clubs – and not just those immediately local. For a National in the Pacific Northwest, for example, the Pacific Northwest Boxer Club would not be the only Club providing workers; the Virginia Oregon and Spokane Boxer Clubs would be expected to assist, and possibly the East Bay and Sacramento Valley Clubs depending on how liberal one was with the definition of “ Pacific Northwest”.
Adjust Show Site Criteria
The current show site criteria we have is very specific, and unfortunately also very difficult for most sites to meet. That’s one large reason we’ve been in
for so many years – the several other, more central sites the Site Selection Committee evaluated did not meet our criteria for one reason or another. Fort Mitchell listed the “drop dead” criteria in Part II of this series; the more extensive list is posted on the Boxer Nationals Venues Concerns Facebook group and in the Summer 2011 Bulletin. The group making the motion needs to decide which of the criteria really are “drop dead” and on which we are able to compromise. (Can the airport be an hour and a half from the site, if free shuttle service is readily available? Can the hotel not have a full-service restaurant if there’s one right next door? Could we have the show outdoors? [Several breeds do; Rotties and Goldens recently held their Nationals at a National Park in Virginia .] Should we change our show date to allow for better weather conditions, both for travel and for flying dogs?) The minimum room requirement should, I believe, stay – no one wants a repeat of the situation in Colorado , where all the rooms sold out within an hour of becoming available. (Whether we need a hotel at the show site is a debatable topic – but if we don’t, then I’d suggest we move the National to Purina Farms and leave it there. The facility is tailor-made for dog shows and I believe meets and exceeds every other criteria except the on-site hotel.) Frederick
Provide for a Show Chair and Show Committee
I don’t mean assigning a specific person as Show Chair; that is the purview of the President with the approval of the Board of Directors. The motion should provide, however, that the Show Chair be appointed several years in advance (be specific here – they say it takes three years to plan a National, so I’d suggest appointing the Show Chair four or five years in advance). It would probably work best to have the same Show Chair for several years, but again that is the President’s decision. The point is to ensure a Show Chair is appointed far enough in advance that there is ample time to obtain a site, so we don’t end up in a situation where we don’t have another site lined up so we’re staying where we are for the next few years.
Likewise, the President assigns the Chairs of the various show sub-committees, with each Chair selecting committee members. The motion can request that certain Committee Chairs be chosen from the local Boxer Clubs: Hospitality, RV Parking, Special Events Coordinator – positions best served by someone in the area who can be onsite relatively easily throughout the planning stages. Like the Show Chair, the motion can also request that the Committee Chairs be chosen in advance.
Storage and Transportation of ABC Property
One of the arguments against moving from the Drawbridge was that we had nowhere to store the various items of ABC property used at each show between events. This property includes the large portraits that line the walls in the show room and I believe the Top Twenty archway, lighting, and ring decorations. A motion to institute a roving National should include a provision that the Board of Directors assign one person to be responsible for transporting the ABC property to each National and storing it between shows. Ideally, this person will be someone who is able and willing to drive to the National, regardless of where it is held; who has the ability to tow a trailer in which the property is loaded; and who has the ability to store that trailer in an area where it is protected from weather, vermin, and other damage. An alternative is to pay for storage and shipping each year, which may become prohibitively expensive. The motion should probably leave the specifics to the Board and/or Show Chair to decide; a motion to assign one person who is responsible for storing and transporting the property from year to year should be sufficient.
Clearly, this is a complex motion and as such, should be presented in writing to ensure clarity. The written motion should say something like this:
“That we amend the May, 1998 motion on the site location ["that the National Specialty be held in a central location in the United States of America and that the vote on this motion be put to the entire membership.”] by striking out “in a central location” and replacing with “at rotating locations”, and by adding the following after “
” and before “and that the vote….”: America
“that the locations rotate among the current Regional Zones in the order E, C, D, A, B, or in such a manner that the site rotates between North and South and between East and West;
“that the show criteria be amended to exclude the requirement for …… [fill in as/if needed];
“that the President, with the approval of the Board, select a Show Chairperson at least four years prior to the show date;
“that the President, with the approval of the Board, fill the Hospitality, RV Parking, and Special Events chair positions at least four years in advance with someone local to the show site;
“that the President, with the approval of the Board, assign one person to be responsible for responsible for transporting the ABC property to each National and storing it between shows; “
For clarification, the entire motion will read:
That we amend the May, 1998 motion on the site location to read: That the National Specialty be held at rotation locations in the United States of America; that the locations rotate among the current Regional Zones in the order E, C, D, A, B, or in such a manner that the site rotates between North and South and between East and West; that the show criteria be amended to exclude the requirement for …… [fill in as/if needed]; that the President, with the approval of the Board, select a Show Chairperson at least four years prior to the show date; that the President, with the approval of the Board, fill the Hospitality, RV Parking, and Special Events chair positions at least four years in advance with someone local to the show site; that the President, with the approval of the Board, assign one person to be responsible for responsible for transporting the ABC property to each National and storing it between shows; and that the vote on this motion be put to the entire membership.
In parliamentary terms, this is a Motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted and requires a two-thirds vote to pass, a majority vote with previous notice, or a majority vote of the entire membership. Previous notice is a little tricky with a mailed vote – although there’s nothing in the Bylaws stating a specific amount of previous notice, it appears that we’ve used the length of time between mailing the ballot and the voting deadline (30 to 45 days) as previous notice in our past mailed votes. (Alternatively, the vote to send the issue to the membership, or the minutes of the meeting at which the topic is introduced, may also arguably be considered previous notice).
For the membership meeting, previous notice means notice of the motion must be included in the call of the meeting – which means either someone can announce at the Regional meeting that the motion will be brought up at the National meeting, or someone can contact the ABC Secretary and inform her of the intent to bring up the motion before she sends the call for the National meeting. (This can be done without previous notice, again, if it passes with a 2/3 vote; previous notice simply decreases the votes needed to a majority.)
The Role of the Board
Some important aspects of this discussion revolve around the role the Board plays. A key point for the membership meeting is that the Board, as a whole, has no presence at a membership meeting. Since our Board members are also Club members, they are of course allowed to attend and participate in the meeting *as members*, but any additional privileges they have at a meeting can only be granted to them by the assembly. This includes seating arrangements – according to parliamentary procedure, the head table should include only the President, who chairs the meeting; the Secretary, who sits close enough to the President that they can pass papers between them; and the Parliamentarian, who sits close enough to offer whispered advice to the President if necessary. The membership can, if they desire, make a motion to request that any other Board members at the head table take seats with the rest of the membership. Should those Board members refuse – and since we do not have a Sergeant-At-Arms – the membership can move their chairs around the head table. (Clearly this is a dramatic gesture but can be effective when faced with a bullying Board. The motion would need to be made before the site location motion is made, however, because it cannot be made after discussion begins on the site location. It requires a second and must pass by a majority. If the motion-makers feel the Board will be “circling its wagons” or attempting to “flex its muscles”, then dispersing the Board members from the head table may help restore power to the membership.)
After all is said and done, however, the ABC Bylaws state that “the governance and management of the Club shall be vested in the Board of Directors.” In a nutshell, this means that the membership has only those powers which are specifically given to them in the Bylaws. (I verified this with the AKC, since the wording is similar in their sample Bylaws – their response was “The members exercise authority only in those areas in which the bylaws specifically give them that power.”)
In other words, the Board doesn’t have to do anything at all about moving the show if they don’t want to. Even if the rotating National idea passed the membership unanimously, if the Board doesn’t want to move the show, the Board doesn’t have to. Our only recourse in that case is to elect a new Board that will be more responsive to the membership – and that will take some time, since our Board is elected in shifts of three years each.
Of course, we can hope that the Board will endeavor to put into action the will of the membership – and certainly if the Board members want to retain their positions it would be in their best interests to do so. There have been occasions recently, however, when the members and the Board have been in opposition, and in those cases the Board always wins.