RENO, Nevada--In a bit of a mild surprise, the restructuring measures talked about by USA Track & Field mandated by the US Olympic Committee was approved at the opening session of USATF’s annual meeting in Reno Wednesday night.
The surprising aspect of the restructuring measures were the fact that there was not a hint of a floor fight that many believed would happen with the measures proposed to the body.
The bylaw changes were formally presented to membership for a vote at Wednesday evening's Opening General Session of USATF's 2008 Annual Meeting. The changes were approved by a voice vote of membership in which "ayes" heavily outweighed a handful of "nays", more than providing the necessary two-thirds majority to approve.
"This was a historic vote, culminating reorganization efforts that had their roots as far back as the mid-1980s" said USATF president Bill Roe. "It is about improving the organization. Our own board, the group that will be remade by this legislation - the group that will remove most of itself with these changes - recognized this fact. They put their own self-interest aside to act in the interest of the sport. I congratulate our membership on making these extraordinary changes final."
"What our membership did this evening has given us the tools to reinvent USATF, becoming more responsible, responsive and professional," said USATF CEO Doug Logan. Taking the podium moments after the vote to approve the measures, he quipped, "Somebody told me this organization was dysfunctional. It looks pretty functional to me."
Here’s a capsule summary of the changes, some of which were discussed in earlier posts this week:
* The USATF Board will be reduced in size from 31 to 15 members. Included in those 15 seats are USATF's elected president; seats nominated by each of six USATF Divisions: High Performance, Long Distance Running, General Competition, Youth, Coaches and Officials groups; three seats for athletes; three "independent" seats; one seat for "5E" organizations (groups such as the NCAA, NAIA and others); and one seat for USATF's IAAF Council member. Under the proposal, the new Board would be in place in coming months.
* The Board will elect its own Chair. If the USATF President is not elected as Chair, the President will be named Vice Chair. This gives the Board the authority to elect its own leader while ensuring the continuation of a popularly elected President to represent the interests of USATF's volunteer sector. The President will preside over the Annual Meeting and non-board committees, leading a Volunteer Leadership Group in addition to sitting on the Board.
* Each of USATF's constituent groups with a nominated seat on the Board will provide the Board with three names as potential candidates for their respective seat. A Nominating and Governance Panel, which also will select and/or recruit the Independent Board Members, will choose the Board members from among the three names listed for each Board seat. This process will ensure the overall diversity, gender equity and competence of the Board.
* Committees will continue to select their own Chairs, with the Board providing final approval of all Chair positions.
* In accordance with a Board directive established over the summer, a Youth Division is being created.
ADMINISTRATIVE/NATIONAL OFFICE CHANGES
* USATF's High Performance Plan (HPP), as developed by the High Performance Committee, will be implemented by USATF staff accountable to the CEO.
*National Team Staffs will be submitted by the relevant selection committees to the CEO, who following a review will forward to the Board for approval. Once approved, the staff will be accountable to the CEO.
*National Championship site selection will be supervised by the National Office in conjunction with the relevant sport committee.
*The Board will continue to approve USATF's annual budget. The CEO will be responsible for all financial disbursements.
Other highlights of the first general session Wednesday night included a video presentation of the year in review; the handing of Presidents’ Awards by Roe; and a short speech by each of the three candidates running for president—Bob Bowman, Stephanie Hightower, and Dee Jensen.
NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
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