Monday, April 2, 2018


How to Win Friends and Influence Boxer People…NOT!

It’s 2018. Boxer entries are down all across the US, the new AKC point schedule shows our breed in decline and the AKC just announced that the German Shorthaired Pointer made it onto the top 10 most popular dogs list in 2017, knocking out the Boxer, who had been in that group for the past four years. In the same vein, ABC membership continues to fall and the print-your-own-ballot scheme that the board came up with not too long ago in an attempt to save money has had the unintended consequence of ensuring that only a fraction of the membership votes. In addition to all that bad news, ABC member clubs are also losing members and more of them are falling by the wayside every year.

So why did the ABC leadership choose this inauspicious moment in time to take a simple problem – the judge elected to officiate at the Maryland Regional had to withdraw due to illness, and the judge who came in second in the election had already accepted another assignment – and turn it into a crisis?

When the ABC was notified that the original judge had to withdraw, the president could have called a special meeting of the full board and asked for a consensus on a new judge from the directors, who are after all elected to conduct ABC business. Instead, a couple of officers unthinkingly appointed a judge who had just judged one of the pre-ABC shows in May 2017.

Naturally the Regional show chair, Tom Davis, objected to the ABC’s hasty choice, which he felt would hurt the entry at a show that Maryland Boxer Club members had worked long and hard to make a success. So he called the Salisbury KC show chair and suggested a popular breeder judge who had previously judged the ABC Futurity (and was also an ABC director) and the Salisbury Kennel Club hired her.

But because Tom Davis refused to accept the ill-considered decision of the officers who originally selected the new judge and acted on his own to solve what he saw as a problem the ABC was only making worse, a majority of the board voted to expel him from the ABC; because Bridget Brown, the breeder judge hired by the Salisbury KC, refused to withdraw from the Regional assignment, a majority of the board voted to remove her from the board by suspending her for six months; and finally, despite that the other members of the Maryland Boxer Club had done nothing wrong and had put on a great show, a majority of the board voted to sanction MBC for a year, during which time the club cannot put on an independent specialty show or even a designated specialty. Which brings me to the point of this blog:

Both sides made mistakes here, starting with the ABC officers who selected a judge who had just judged during the 2017 ABC week, in contravention of the spirit of the ABC’s own judges’ selection rules. But only one side was punished, and by any measure, punished out of all proportion to their actions. Expulsion?  A six months suspension?  A year’s sanction? And most of those actions were taken in the secrecy of an “executive session” of the board.

It’s 2018. Our votes for a new ABC Board of Directors are due to the teller by April 30. I have served as both an elected member of the board and as a zone director – I know how the board is supposed to act and it seems plain to me that the actions of most of the current directors in this instance were “prejudicial to the best interests of the club and the breed.”

If you agree, read the candidate questionnaires carefully and elect a slate of new members to the ABC BOD. It’s time to change with the times.

Thanks for listening.

13 comments:

  1. Setting aside the violated Regional contract and judge criteria, as well as the fact that any member could prefer charges against any other member (including a board member or officer) for conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the club and the breed, it is only fair to note that Robert's Rules of Order *require* disciplinary action to be held in executive session. It has nothing to do with subterfuge or "secrecy" of the board; it has to do with protecting the reputation of the accused, should the charges be found unsustainable.

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    1. I'm sure you're right, Jen, you almost always are about this sort of thing, but in that case, why was the sanctioning of MBC not held in executive session?

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    2. Sanctions don't involve a hearing; had the club been facing suspension, there would have been a hearing and that process would have been in executive session.

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    3. Jen, I care about only one thing here: from everything I've read and been told about what happened by the people involved, I believe a reprimand from the board for *both* sides would have sufficed. And knowing the people involved I also believe this situation was escalated due to the personal animosity of two of the principals. I know you're very knowledgeable about RRNR, but RR has very little to do with whether justice was done here. IMO it wasn't, and that's all I care about.

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  2. Perhaps it is because MBC is not a person whose reputation needs protecting. The minutes of the MBC sanctioning meeting provides no rationale for the anctioning other than AKC informed the club that they could sanction. Kathryn Edwards
    Virginia, thank you for your blog on this. I would conclude that by sanctioning the MBC, the ABC board has hurt ABC and all of its members and member clubs. MBC is one of our stronger clubs in a time when clubs are waning. To lose a specialty in one year will change the pattern of attendance at shows and reduces all our opportunities for majors. The sanction reflects a lack of better interest for every member, every club, and ABC IMHO

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    1. That was one of the points I was trying to make, Kathryn. I was told that 3 ABC member clubs have folded in just the past year. :-(

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  3. oops, dont' know how to publish my name: Kathryn Edwards, rynwards@gmail.com

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  4. Virginia what 3 clubs have folded?? There has only been one club removed from the Directory and ABC website and that was a club that folded in 2016 (Greater Cincinnati Boxer Club). ABC has not received anything on any club folding in 2017 or 2018?

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    1. Well I'm glad I was told wrong, Vickie, but Greater Cincinnati?!? GCBC was a super-strong club for ages! And I know personally of two clubs that are about to fold right now. :-(

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    2. VZ....there are a lot of clubs that are hurting and it has nothing to do with anything related to the ABC. Does not matter if you have 10 members or 50 members...if a club only has 3 people that actual work and the rest do not do anything.... those 3 people finally burn out and no one else will step up. I personally know of 6 clubs that have that problem. Many local clubs have not had a quorum in months. It is not just the boxer world either.... shows (AKC, UKC etc.) all across the USA are way down on entries. Even the Stud Books are showing people are not breeding as much. As you know I was a member of a club that was suspended by the ABC...we could not do anything for almost 2 years. We would have gladly taken a sanction...at least then we could have done other events.

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    3. Your club richly deserved to be suspended, Vickie, and ironically, its suspension also involved the expulsion of an ABC member who didn't deserve to be expelled. My point was not that the ABC had anything to do with the clubs that are folding, but that as you noted, the ABC board picked a time when dog clubs and our breed in particular are doing very badly to make the situation even worse. :-(

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  5. I need to make a correction....another reason I hate texting on a cell phone....I meant to type Greater St Louis Boxer Club folded NOT Cincinnati.

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  6. Thanks for the correction, Vickie, but my point was that the ABC picked the wrong time (not that there was ever a right time) to start another huge controversy that could have been better handled if the board members involved had taken a deep breath and acted like the adults in the room.

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