District Director's Reports

George Retek

District 1 Director

SPRING IS HERE  

Spring is Here is the title of one of my favourite songs and it is quite appropriate to welcome the start of a new year, new ambitions and new hopes. Certainly one of my hopes is that the ACBL will drastically change the procedures of the Board Oversight Committee as described in Paragraph III/1, in my report.  

The Spring 2007 NABC took place in St. Louis under the excellent guidance of Glenn Smith and Mike Carmen. The venue and organization proved to be very popular.

Highlights of the Board actions to follow.  

I.        FINANCES  

1.    Jack Zdancewicz the former CFO of the ACBL had been assigned to do some other duties. We welcome Management’s decision to hire a new Budget Accounting Director.  

2.    Major changes in 2006:  

        The ACBL sold its product store to Baron Barclay. On one hand it eliminated a profit source for the organisation, on the other hand this eliminated some ten positions in Memphis and assured us of a stream of royalty income for a number of years and increases our advertising income.  

3.    Major changes planned for 2007

        Sale of our headquarter building in Memphis this Spring and move to a new (so far unspecified) location around the end of 2008.  

4.    Although the 2006 audited financial statements have indicated a net income of $13,000, the figures presented by Management indicated a loss of $175,000. The two major sources of this difference are the deferred membership income and the change in market value of our investment portfolio (vs. Historical cost).  

5.    A major concern for the Finance Committee is the calculation and justification of the T/D session fees charged to Tournaments.  

6.    Rescinded the motion (that I originally opposed) that mandated to charge our cost for T/D services to other bridge organizations. The new regulation will allow T/D to contract directly their free time with other organizations and keep the compensation (instead of giving it to the ACBL). This will reduce ACBL’s income that many consider to be counterproductive.  

7.    At Management’s request “hard copy” materials will no longer be distributed to Districts/Units/Volunteers in this electronic age. However, Management is committed to supply hard copy materials upon request. Should the need arise, please contact Memphis directly, because members of the Board of Directors are not allowed to call Memphis.

8.    The Board eliminated the provision (I objected) that reduced the Directors per diem, when concierge benefits and occasional lunches were provided. This will again cost more money to the ACBL.  

9.    The revised 2007 budget anticipates income exceeding expenses by $65,000.  

II.       TOURNAMENTS AND CLUBS  

1.    Replaced the compensation to NAP District Winners. Starting with the 2007/2008 event first place finishers will receive US $700 prize per player and second place award will be US $300. Furthermore, no entry fees will apply. Although this motion will save funds for the ACBL, it will hurt our players, whose airline fares are usually higher. (I opposed this motion, that passed 13; 12).  

2.    Discontinued the practice of converting foreign masterpoints earned at non ACBL sanctioned events (with the exception of World Championships) to ACBL mp.  

3.    Provided valuable exemption to GNT residing requirements in the following cases:  

a)    Snowbirds

b)    Players living near district borders

c)    Players with multiple residences  

        Players wishing to utilize these exemptions must ask permission from the District Credentials Committee or ask guidance from Memphis.  

4.    Changed the maximum carry over allowance:  

a)    Four session Board - Match: 5 boards

b)    Reisinger BaM - When 20 teams qualify (SF): 3 boards

                          - When 10 teams qualify (F): 5 boards  

5.    Clarified the regulations for the 6 ½ day Regionals to allow more flexibility to the organizers for the first half a day, whereas they can schedule the start of any type of two or more session regional event without previous restrictions.  

III       POT-POURRI

1.    I am convinced that the well meaning supporters of the following motion had no intention whatsoever to reincarnate the spirit of Senator McCarthy. Please observe the unintended consequences of a motion carried out incorrectly.  

        I have voted once again opposing the over zealous regulation (that passed nevertheless) requiring communications between District Directors and Memphis staff be exclusively in writing (Email, fax or regular mail). Only emergency phone calls are allowed and they must be directed to the CEO or his designee. While anyone else may call the office in Memphis, the District Directors who represent their members and are most familiar with the problems – are barred. Logic 101 anyone?  

        While violators of this rule are subject to disciplinary action, in practice the Investigating Committee does not inform the accused what is the “crime” they have allegedly committed.  

        I know, because it happened to me. I was warned that complaints were made against me by employees for violating the “no calls” rule and I may be sued by them. When inquired what the complaints are, the answer was that they are not specified and I should know them. Hmm. Very interesting. Franz Kaffka in his classic book (Trial) described the plight of an innocent citizen arrested, who was told that he was guilty just because he was arrested, and he should know why.  

        Except that this ACBL story took place in March 2007. Our learned League Counsel who advises every disciplinary committee to get the facts straight and ensure the charges are property presented and the rights of the accused are protected, now advises this Board Oversight Committee not to reveal details of alleged complaints. Will this jeopardize National Security?  

2.    By paying an additional US $4.00 per table clubs presently may hold unlimited number of special Fund games awarding triple master points. This regulation supports worthwhile causes (charity juniors, international representation, etc.) And at the same time challenges the survival of smaller clubs.  

        What is your opinion? Should Clubs be allowed only a limited number of these special games? At the request of the Board of Governors, this issue will be discussed again at the Summer meeting.  

3.    Masterpoint Press just published a highly recommend new book by Roy Hughes: “Canada’s Bridge Warriors: Eric Murray and Sami Kehela”.

IV      DISTRICT NEWS

 1.   Election will be held in our District for the position of first alternate District Director. Interested parties must file their nomination prior to May 31, 2007 (that is the final day when nominations must be received in Memphis).

 2.   District President, Leo Weniger, announced that our next District Executive meeting is scheduled to take place in Quebec City on Sunday, May 20 (probably between sessions). The major topic is the application for an ex-quota Regional by Quebec City for April 2008 to celebrate their anniversary and the District Web site.