POTOMAC VALLEY SWIMMING
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Attendance - Jim Garner, Chair, Ethan Bassett (late due to attendance in class), Todd Benedick, John Hirschmann, Donald Riedlinger, Bill Stephens, Ronald Whalen (arrived late due to work), and Greg York. Non-voting members and guests: John Ertter, Linda Klopenstein.
Call to Order - The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm by the General Chair, Jim Garner. He had provided the Board with the attached updated agenda for the meeting. Prior versions had been circulated prior to the meeting and Board members invited to suggest additional items.
Approval of Minutes - The minutes of the September 24 Board meeting were approved as submitted. It was clarified that the Senior Athlete Representative is the athlete who is serving in their current term of office for the longest period of time.
General Chair's Report - Jim reported that Sue Anderson had recently sent out information regarding USA Swimming making swimposiums available. Some felt that PVS may need to look to fall '04 date to have this clinic. There was also some discussion whether USA Swimming is or is not already holding a slot for us in the Spring '04 timeframe -- based on inquiries we have already made regarding sponsoring such a swimposium. This had included the possibility of holding it in conjunction with the VA and MD LSC's. Bill S said he would check into whether we had this option. Jim also distributed material to the Board on how to prepare for and conduct such a swimposium - which he had recently received.
Garner advised the Board that the Cleveland Chamber Music Society had sent an acknowledgement for the contribution the PVS Board had made in the memory of Hans Hirschmann.
Bill Stephens reported that Patti Fowler had received additional information on how to do Scholar-Athlete program from Thirl. She had also gotten the remaining pins and certificates and determined she needed to order more pins and certificates -- which had been done. Bill Stephens was reminded to get to the PVS webmaster the names of those who were being recognized so it could be posted to the website. [Note: This was done shortly after the Board meeting.]
Ertter reviewed with the Board the phone numbers currently being leased by PVS and the plans to reduce those rentals to our current needs. This had been discussed previously amongst Garner, Hirschmann, Stephens and Ertter. It was agreed PVS would have prime administrative number (cell phone) which John Ertter would have primary responsibility for monitoring. Sumie would retain a number as Registrar and PVS would assure calls to its prior administrative number could be forwarded to its new administrative number for a prudent period of time.
The Board discussed whether it should alternate board meeting locations between Maryland and Virginia as previously proposed by Garner. The consensus was that River Falls was also a relatively convenient location for Board members in Virginia, so it was agreed all meetings would continue to be held at River Falls. It was agreed the next Board meeting would be the second Wednesday in November - November 12. Also, the Board would probably continue its past practice of not meeting in December.
The PVS Board had recently received a request to drop the $5 surcharge for officials and coaches that had been in place for several years. Several noted that while the idea had merit and several had objected at various times in the past (when earlier budgets were developed) about charging officials (in particular) when they volunteer so much service to the LSC. It was noted that we were already well into 2004 registration year and many officials had already paid, it was on the annual application form, etc. It was agreed this an appropriate item to consider as part of the preparation of the 2005 PVS budget.
There was also a short discussion whether what PVS is charging for its portion of the athlete and non-athlete registrations was similar to what other LSC's are charging. It was agreed that PVS should attempt to find out what other LSC's are assessing.
Athlete Representative - Ethan Bassett arrived later and gave his report at that time.
Inquiries have continued to be made by various Board members regarding the status of the Senior Athlete representative and her willingness to continue to serve in that capacity. Jim Garner indicated he would also pursue the matter and report back at the next Board meeting.
Treasurer's Report/Finance Division - PVS's financial statements for the period ending September 30, 2003 had been sent to the Board in advance of the meeting. It was noted there was not much activity in September. PVS's assets on hand as of September 30 were $372,720, including $4,451 in the Dave Davis fund.
Ertter advised the Board that both a General Operating Fund and Restricted Operating Fund were being established. All disbursements would be made from the General Operating Fund. The Restricted Operating Fund would receive all deposits. Only Jim Garner and John Hirschmann have signature authority on this account and they would only use it for periodic electronic transfers to the General Operating Fund, as the need to make disbursements arose. The Board was also advised that two Board member signatures (different for each account) would be needed on all PVS investment accounts - including Dean Rauscher.
A few situations related to reimbursement for attendance at this year's convention was appropriate or ought to be modified were discussed. One situation involved whether an individual exercised their vote and/or received reimbursement for this travel from another party. A Board member agreed to obtain additional information so a decision can be made. Another involved an individual entitled to a vote but who may not have performed the functions expected of them at convention. It was agreed they met the requirement for reimbursement by PVS and should be reimbursed. The third involved an individual who was not technically entitled to travel (other than registration reimbursement) but did noteworthy work on a national committee. The Board authorized up to 1 travel share ($250) to be paid.
Linda K indicated she would look into ways to improve the policies and procedures prior to next year's convention.
A motion to approve a contract to hire John Ertter to perform financial and related services for PVS was made. The proposed contract had been circulated to Board members prior to the meeting, less the compensation amount. The Board was advised that while it is under a general obligation to reveal its expenditures, there are exceptions - one of which pertains to compensation and contracts. It was agreed that Board members who wished to know the amount would be advised upon request. The Board also agreed to reactivate the Personnel Committee, which are provided for in its by-laws and appoint Garner, Whalen, Hirschmann and Stephens to it. They would review and monitor personal service contracts and any subsequent employment decisions.
There was some discussion of the scope of the contract. One pertained to an item of immediate interest, which it was recommended be excluded from the formal contract, since under the contract, there is provision that it allows for "related activities" to be performed. The other pertained to the indemnification provisions of the contract. It was agreed alternatives to providing appropriate protection to the contractor would be pursued and the contract could be modified at a later date, if appropriate.
Some questions were raised whether the need for these services had been appropriately bid and whether they should be paid for after not being compensated for last year. Others noted this contract had been under discussion for several months and that last year was unusual in PVS's history - when John E took over the day to day accounting activities as PVS Treasurer, following the need to terminate the Tatoodles contract. Many observed PVS's financial records were in the best shape ever thanks to John's efforts and PVS collection procedures had been materially improved.
The Board voted to approve the proposed contract as submitted to the Board for its consideration.
Strategic Planning - Jim VanErden was not present due to family obligations. No report was given.
Age Group Division - As requested at the prior Board meeting, John Hirschmann (after discussing with Greg York) had circulated a proposed policy regarding the selection of zone coaches. A copy of this proposal is attached. There was a general discussion of the matter. This included the fact the prior practice had been used for the SC meet on an interim basis for the past three years without any change in the formal policy. Also, there is no written policy for the LC meet - though it generally has followed the same process as SC in recent years. The Board voted to divide the question.
The proposal regarding the selection of PVS Eastern Zone Short Course Zone coaches passed.
The proposal regarding the selection of PVS Eastern Zone Long Course Zone coaches was then discussed. The Board approved the proposal regarding the selection of the LC Zone coaches.
It was noted that all actions of the Competition Committee - both regarding selection of Head and Assistant Head Coach and the selection process for the remaining zone coaches would remain subject to Board review and approval.
The Board then addressed the part of the proposal designed to assure both sexes would be represented on zone team coaching staff. It was felt this was important for chaperone and other reasons. The proposal allowed that if the zone coaches otherwise selected were all of the same sex, then the head coach would pick an additional coach of the opposite sex, subject to the Board's concurrence. The Board approved this addition to PVS policy.
Greg reported that the current Zone Team Coordinator had not yet initiated plans for accommodations for the Zone team for Spring 2004 Eastern Zone meet at the Freedom Center - Manassas, VA. He said he would make sure the necessary arrangements are made so the PVS team would have housing near the pool venue. There was discussion whether the PVS needed to make the team's housing arrangements and rather let the swimmers stay at home as they did when the meet was at PGS&LC. The feeling was that it was important that the team stay together over night and that treating it as a travel meet will help recruit swimmers to want to be on the team.
Greg will check with Linda Crudup as to her future plans regarding staying involved as Zone Team Coordinator. It is recognized that Linda may wish to phase out her involvement and, if so, somebody to take over the leadership will need to be identified. It was agreed that it was important that the PVS Board be involved with any selection process that may need to occur. If such a process is needed, the application should be posted on the website and the duties of the job should be described. A committee of the Age Group Chairman, Senior Swimming Chair and the two Coaches Reps was appointed to oversee any needed transition.
This Committee would also address zone outfitting and the vendor selected to handle zone outfitting. The feeling was that PVS should seriously consider reducing mandatory zone outfitting to 3 T-shirts (4 in summer), 2 swim caps, and a small bag. In particular buying a zone swimsuit would become optional. Athletes would still be able to buy swim suits and many other zone items as optional items.
It was also felt that whomever PVS selects to handle zone outfitting ought to be reviewed from time to time, but with other matters likely to be in transition in the immediate future, this might not be the best time to also consider changing vendors.
Athlete Representative - Ethan Bassett arrived earlier in the meeting and gave his report at this time. Ethan expressed the desire to have the athletes to know he is there so he can get feedback from them. It was noted that such a flyer had previously been posted on the website and circulated at meets in order to encourage athletes to provide feedback to Ethan. Earlier efforts had achieved moderate success.
He is also interested in finding ways to get out items of interest to the athletes (e.,g. articles on nutrition, etc)
Senior Division - The travel assistance requests for the Phillips Conoco National Championships at College Park were reviewed. In contrast to most meets, since this meet was held within PVS's boundaries and no air travel would be required, travel assistance was paid on a per event basis. (Normally it is paid based on participation in the meet, regardless of the number of individual events swum.)
The Board was advised that 19 out of 21 swimmers for whom assistance was requested qualified and were recommended for payment. A list was provided for the Board's review. It was also noted that the amount requested did not come to close to the maximum travel assistance that could be paid for this meet. Also, no assistance was being paid for time trial events. Two situations were initially identified as appeal situations. One was determined upon additional review to not require appeal consideration as the athlete was not required to satisfy the meet participation requirement due to the college exemption. The other situation did need to be handled as an appeal since the athlete had only participated in PVS for one year before swimming in college. The Board approved payment on an appeal basis. All requests for travel assistance were then approved.
The Board also agreed given the circumstances that the athletes would not be asked to prove actual expenses at least equaled the amount of assistance requested.
The question was then raised whether PVS ought to continue to pay travel assistance and instead reduce PVS's share of the athlete registrations fee. It was noted the House of Delegates has affirmed the payment of travel assistance as recently as the 2003 meeting - which included adopting a cap on the amount of assistance that can be paid per meet. In view of this, most felt the Board should not readdress the issue for the '04 budget cycle. However, it was an appropriate issue for the Board to consider as part of its recommendation to the House regarding the '05 budget. Board members were urged to start giving the matter some consideration.
Riedlinger advised that USA Swimming was planning to hold a clinic for LSC Adapted Swimming Coordinators. Each LSC was invited to send one - whose cost USA Swimming will partially underwrite. It was agreed that PVS (since it has co-chairs for this Committee) should attempt to send two and that the LSC will underwrite their expenses to extent USA Swimming does not do so. It was felt they were likely to be accepted - the greater risk being there will not be sufficient acceptances to allow the clinic to proceed. Jim Garner will notify USA Swimming of our desire to send two attendees.
Don R will try to make a recommendation to the November 12 Board meeting regarding the selection criteria for Eastern Zone spring meet, in the event PVS has more than the maximum (2 12/U and 2 13-18) applying to go to SC Eastern Zones as disabled athletes. He noted he has received suggestions regarding what these criteria might be and they reflect different perspectives.
Coaches Representatives - The Board discussed what guidance should be issued regarding assuring coaches on the deck at PVS sanctioned decks were properly registered, including having their certifications current. Stephens and VanErden had been asked to develop a proposed policy at the prior Board meeting. Various proposed strategies had been proposed and discussed in the intervening two weeks.
Two additional proposals were circulated at the meeting. Jim G made a proposal pertaining how the process should proceed on the pool deck at a meet. Bill S prepared a paper that addressed the importance of having coaches properly registered and the conditions under which USA Swimming provided insurance would be in effect. There was discussion of both proposed items, including what was practical and realistic. The desirability of encouraging clubs to support this effort for their own reasons was recommended as well as desirability of trying to avoid any confrontations. It also noted that Bill S's proposal be circulated as a summation of the requirements and that people should be referred to USA Swimming and its insurance carrier for official guidance.
It was also noted that it was desirable for PVS to be able to demonstrate a reasonable effort in trying to enforce these policies. It was also pointed out that at some venues, given the nature of pool access, there is the potential for parents (who are not serving as timers or in some other official capacity) to get on deck without being challenged. It was agreed it may be appropriate in some cases to ask the coaches to assist in making sure their parents understand the rules, but that in some cases this may create an awkward situation for the coach.
Greg noted there can be problems with coaches getting their certifications quickly, which are needed to update their registration status with the PVS Registrar.
It was agreed that the item Bill Stephens has prepared along with Jim Garner's material related to meet procedures be circulated by both sending it out via PVS Flash Mail and posting it to our website.
Operations Division - Whalen requested Board guidance to go ahead and purchase the Colorado Timing System VI that had been approved for purchase in the prior fiscal year, but whose purchase had been delayed since the equipment was not ready for shipment. The Board agreed it was appropriate for PVS to proceed with the purchase, if Colorado Timing now indicates the item is ready for purchase.
The Board also agreed it was appropriate to proceed with the purchase of up to three external strobes - primarily for use with hearing impaired swimmers.
Whalen reported that the apparent inability of the new laptops (purchased in the summer of 2003) to communicate via the USB port with the CTS and printers had been resolved the prior weekend. Therefore, the need to discuss possible alternate uses for those computers no longer needed to be addressed.
Whalen also advised the Board that the new contract with the Equipment Manager was still under review and was not yet ready for Board approval.
One Board member suggested that PVS consider splitting the equipment management and computer functions as outlined in PVS's By-laws. It was generally felt that this might not be the best time to make such a transition, though it was acknowledged there would be benefits to having somebody more familiar with computers (including software and networks) more involved in these aspects of PVS's program. There was also discussion of whether PVS ought to put the XP operating system on all its computers and/or acquire more computers.
It was noted that USA Swimming had approved a new rule effective May 15, 2004 that provides that for starts to be out of the water, the water depth in front of the block must be at least 4'. Hirschmann noted for pools being used for PVS sponsored meets, it either has reports on file showing the pools satisfy the requirement or the depth is clearly in excess of this requirement. It was suggested that Ron should survey pools being used for PVS sanctioned meets or modify the sanction form so that the meet sponsor indicates that pool for which the sanction is being requested satisfies this requirement.
A proposal was made to eliminate the $3 recertification fee required of officials when they recertify. It was observed that the income produced from this fee is de minimus and many Board members indicated they did not feel it appropriate to charge officials who are already providing many hours of volunteer service. The Board voted to waive this fee effective January 1, 2004.
Clarification was requested regarding who should pay for the the special radio acquired for the 5K Open Water Meet held at Pohick Bay. The radio has been paid for by PVS, but it was noted it currently only envisioned to be used by one club. It was suggested under those circumstances the club should pay for it and take custody of it. That club had been encouraged to request PVS assistance to support Open Water swimming, but to date has not done so. The consensus of the Board was that PVS wants to encourage Open Water and help support it by assuming ownership of such equipment. This means clubs using it for club sponsored events should make arrangements to rent it from PVS. An appropriate rental rate for this radio should be established.
It was also noted that the new radios initially acquired in time for USA Swimming Nationals at UMD are both much more powerful and cost considerably more. The Board felt the rental schedule for these radios should reflect their greater value and the rental rates should be set to recover those increased costs over their expected useful life and expected usage.
It was also noted the fee structure for renting PVS equipment has not been formally reviewed or revised in several years. It was felt such a review was appropriate. The Board directed that a fee schedule be developed that could be used to recover PVS's costs over the expected useful life of each type of equipment, be developed taking into account both its use in PVS sponsored meets and when rented out for use at PVS club sponsored meets or other approved uses.
Hirschmann noted that while a formal bid had been anticipated earlier, SDS had never formally bid to host the PVS January 2004 Distance meet. Such a request had now been received. The Board voted to award meet hosting responsibilities to SDS.
It was explained that since this is a PVS sponsored meet, PVS timing equipment would be made available at no cost to the meet host. However, it is also PVS policy to give clubs the choice of picking-up/installing and/or removing/returning the equipment or paying Don Smith to do one or both of these tasks. There was discussion of whether there should be a change in this policy, but no conclusion was reached.
There was also discussion whether a condition of using PVS timing equipment should also be a requirement to use the PVS Equipment Manager to transport and install/remove the timing equipment in order to reduce wear and tear on the equipment. No decision was made to change PVS's current policy in this regard.
Hirschmann advised the Board he had recently received a request to sanction a dual meet after the meet was conducted. He requested Board guidance on the matter. It was noted when a similar situation had arisen last year, a $100 fine was charged. The Board voted to assess a $100 fine plus the normal sanction fees for this meet.
The Board was advised that Fairland was experiencing maintenance problems with its movable floor, thereby limiting the ability of the facility to make full use of its competitive pool. It was anticipated that for the October Open, only 14 lanes (in two courses) would be available. There were concerns LC competition would not be possible until permanent repairs were made in June, 2004. However, PVS learned just prior to this Board meeting that limited use of the moveable floor would be possible and therefore LC competition could be held there before permanent repairs were made.
The Board was advised that PVS was still awaiting a response from GMU as to whether they could host the PVS Senior meet in March 2004 with prelims being swum SCY and finals being swum LCM. [PVS was subsequently advised this would be possible and plans are proceeding on this basis.]
Concern was expressed that a complaint was made that PVS was amending its meet announcements without the Meet Announcement high-lighting such changes. It was emphasized that PVS has consistently followed a practice of clearly noting any changes when they were made.
Whalen reported that the clinics for officials on past weekend went well - however it was noted that a large percentage were recertifying officials - indicating not as many new officials were being recruited as desired.
Concerns were expressed about the fact it appeared no new officials were receiving assignments at major meets. Others suggested that such officials may not be volunteering to officiate. Meet announcements indicate who to contact and number of volunteers in general has not been that great as to preclude accepting volunteers ready for assignments at this level.
Administrative Division - Bill provided the Board with an outline of topics he hoped to discuss at this meeting, only some of which were discussed given the limited time available.
The Board was asked to approve RIPS (Riptide Swim Team) as a new PVS club and did so. The Board was advised that their address of record was within PVS's boundaries and they had satisfied the new requirements (effective for the 2004 registration year) to be a new United States Swimming club. The club recognized the need to attend the business management course within the next twelve months.
Bill advised the Board that the Registrar's contract was currently being extended on a month to month basis. He anticipated some need to revise its scope has changed with the advent of SWIMS and additional electronic filing. Some requirements are proving to be more challenging than anticipated and others are less so than was the case when the prior contract was agreed to in September 2002. He stated his intent was to have new contract in place by November.
Bill Stephens indicated he would turn over his post office key to John Ertter since it was in his contract to be the primary one to check on PVS's mail. Sumie will still retain her key.
Bill S had reported that he taken possession and was storing at his firm's warehouse - the copier PVS had leased for five years in the fall of 1999. It had been removed from Tatoodles premises following the termination of the Tatoodles contract in September, 2002. The lease on it expires in September 2004 and PVS is responsible for making monthly payments of $223 until then. There was discussion whether given its size and other consideration whether it made sense for PVS to attempt to make use of it for remaining time of the lease, and if so where to move it to. Several Board members felt it was not clear it would be beneficial to attempt to do so, given its size and weight and the limited need for copying PVS currently has. It was left for Bill S and Sumie to decide what would be the most effective use to make of it.
Bill reported that registration statistics were very fluid and active, given we are at the beginning of the registration and competition season and clubs are busy registering new athletes, updating coaches and officials registrations, etc.
He also reported that Sumie was working directly with the club registrars who did not attend the Registrars Clinic on September 21. She did not mail the material to the clubs that were not there, but rather worked with them individually.
It was agreed it was PVS policy that an athlete must be registered in order to compete at a meet. If necessary, athletes would need to take a form and check to the meet. If it were uncertain whether the athlete was already registered, the material could be held in escrow until such a determination could be made.
It was stated that something would be prepared for PVS's FLASH MAIL on how the registration process would continue to proceed.
The Board asked for a more in-depth report on the status of the registration process at its November meeting.
The Board also discussed whether it should have legal counsel on retainer. The Board had been advised that this had been done several months ago, but apparently no steps had been taken to formalize this relationship. John E had contacted the attorney in the process of preparing for the audit.
John Ertter suggested that we may to wish to retain an attorney and outlined some task they could undertake and identified one issue on which their assistance might be needed. Others raised questions whether these services were need by PVS and/or whether they were worth the cost.
He indicated the attorney could be retained and compensated on an hourly basis for services performed. The firm under consideration has considerable familiarity with the Amateur Sports Act. Ertter also distributed a sample letter they might provide our accountant regarding whether PVS has any litigation pending, -- none is known of. The Board took no action on this matter.
Old Business - Riedlinger asked if concerns about getting billing detail from Kinko's raised at the July Board meeting had been resolved. Ertter replied they will provide the necessary detail upon request. Riedlinger also requested that the research he did (as agreed to at the July Board meeting) regarding NCAA rules as it relates to financial assistance the PVS gives to clubs of athletes attending national level meets be referenced in the minutes and an appropriate link to his work be provided.
It was noted that since Potomac Valley Swimming is incorporated in Maryland, we need a registered agent in that state. It was agreed Jim Garner would serve as our registered agent
John Ertter informed the Board that he had told Sue Anderson of USA Swimming headquarters to change in their files, PVS address information pertaining to our new Post Office Box in McLean, VA.
New Business - No new business was raised.
Adjournment -- The meeting was adjourned at 11:25p.