POTOMAC VALLEY SWIMMING
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Attendance - Jim Garner, Chair, John Hirschmann, Bill Marlin, Donald Riedlinger, Jim VanErden, Ronald Whalen, and Greg York. Non-voting members and guests: John Ertter, Boots Hall, and Linda Klopfenstein.
Call to Order - The meeting was called to order at approximately 7:15 pm by the General Chair, Jim Garner.
Jim had provided the Board with the attached slightly updated agenda for the meeting. A prior version had been circulated prior to the meeting and Board members invited to suggest additional items.
Jim requested approval of the November Board minutes. Riedlinger asked whether the draft minutes fully reflected the discussion pertaining to having procedures to verify that athletes participating in PVS meets are properly registered. It was agreed the minutes should be revised to include this discussion. The minutes of the November 12, 2003 Board meeting were approved as amended.
General Chairman Items:
Senior Athlete Representative -- Jim advised he had not been able check further on the status of our Senior Athlete Representative and her ability or interest in continuing to serve as a PVS Board member. He indicated he would try to have the matter resolved by next month's Board meeting.
Endorsement of Coach's Training -- Greg York presented a proposal to have PVS co-host coaches training clinics pertaining to certifications required to be registered as a coach with USA Swimming. A copy of the proposal made is attached. Greg stated he felt there would be several advantages to PVS in agreeing to this arrangement, since it would allow our coaches to complete the verification of training part of the certification process much more expeditiously. He explained this is because NV Pools have the authority to issue certification cards upon satisfactory completion of the course and can file them directly with the PVS Registrar and USA Swimming. In contrast, most others organizations authorized to train do not also have authority to actually issue the certification cards. As a result, it can take the other organizations several weeks after a coach finishes a course before he can physically present his registration card and complete the registration process with USA Swimming.
Greg stated that NV Pools would most likely run the courses in September, January and May - dates of the greatest demand for the training. They would do it in both Virginia and Maryland.
NV Pools owns the equipment necessary to do this training. The costs to coaches receiving the training would be similar to what PVS coaches are now paying. In addition, there would be no requirement to use this source to receive the training.
In return for providing this service, NV Pools is asking that that PVS publicize these clinics on its website and any other similar means that it would use. No formal contract would be involved.
It was noted PVS has already provided similar publicity for others providing this type of training on its website. It was agreed it would continue to do so for all providers. NV Pools is not seeking a formal contract with PVS and either party may terminate the arrangement at any time.
Bill Stephens was not able to be at the meeting, but had advised others that John McDonald is aware of these proposed arrangements and John has not raised any objections.
It was agreed the PVS Senior Coaches Representative would be an appropriate person to provide guidance to NV Pools as to when and where the training would be of greatest value to PVSs coaches.
Several PVS Board members felt it was important in publicizing these clinics that PVS include in any website posting or similar publicity that PVS was not formally endorsing any particular instructor or organization, but is simply making information about required training opportunities available as a courtesy to its coaches. USA Swimming determines periodically who is eligible to provide the training necessary for coaches to maintain their certifications as a registered coach.
Basis for Determining Sanction Fee -- The Board was also advised that some Meet Directors, when determining the sanction fee owed to PVS, are confused by use of the term "splashes" since the sanction fee is charged for all entries - including situations where the swimmer scratches or fails to swim. Hirschmann had circulated prior to the meeting a proposed clarification of the policy. A copy of the specific proposal submitted is attached.
The Board agreed that such a clarification in terminology would be beneficial and would help to reduce confusion. It also agreed to expand the current policy to explicitly state what has been PVS practice - i.e , that sanction fees are not charged for swim-offs or swimming finals of prelim and final events.
Retention of Attorney - The Board was reminded that it had authorized the hiring of an attorney on retainer last Spring, but no action had ever been taken to formalize that relationship. The attorney under consideration has considerable experience relative to the Amateur Sports Act and issues that have arisen in connection with it. The Board felt it would be useful to have this individual on retainer - particularly given his relevant experience and other potential advantages.
John Ertter explained we could either agree to have a certain number of hours available to us as part of the initial agreement or simply place him on retainer and pay for services as incurred. The Board was concerned about the potential for various PVS Board members requesting advice under this arrangement and the costs that could be incurred. Accordingly, it was agreed only the General Chairman may authorize use of this service.
It was agreed that John Ertter will handle making the initial arrangement to put this agreement in place. Jim Garner should be the one to formally sign the arrangement with the attorney. It is important that the formal arrangement with the attorney provide that only the General Chairman may authorize legal services to be provided to PVS under this agreement.
Senior Division -- Don Riedlinger indicated the Senior Division had no matters requiring Board attention.
Administrative Division -- Bill Stephens could not attend the meeting due to a family matter. He did however send the Board notes on the status of several items and his views on certain items on the agenda.
Jim Garner reported that the Registrar's contract still has not been finalized. Bill Stephens has expressed a desire in the notes he provided the Board, to get a better understanding of what will be the recurring normal requirements of the position, once the transition to SWIMS is farther along and there is a better understanding of what the requirements are likely to be in a steady state environment. This includes looking at the amount of work performed by the Registrar and to what extent this has changed due to transition to SWIMS -- including new features of SWIMS which PVS may wish to utilize.
Bill Stephens had also advised the Board in the notes submitted prior to the meeting that he had bought a copier for the Registrar. He also indicated it had been made available for use at the Swim and Rock Meet. He had cited the minutes of the PVS November Board meeting as authority for the purchase, though others felt the minutes simply acknowledged the matter had been discussed and that such a purchase might be an appropriate alternative to pursue, since it was agreed it was not feasible to attempt to use the very large copier for which PVS had acquired a long term lease in 1999. The Board was advised the cost of the copier that was purchased was approximately $500.
Several Board members expressed concern that the copier had also been used at a club sponsored meet without prior consultation on the appropriateness of doing so. Most doubted that it would be feasible or realistic to expect the Registrar would give up the copier on most weekends to allow it to be used at club or PVS sponsored meets. Also, the club was not charged for use of the equipment. If PVS were to regularly provide this type of equipment for use, some felt it should be under the control of the PVS Equipment Manager and issued from the same location as the PVS timing equipment, meet box, etc.
The Board was also made aware by the Controller that he had recently received several invoices pertaining to the purchases of items which it was not clear had been authorized or whether it was appropriate to charge that item to an account under another person's control without that person's concurrence. Concerns were also raised because it was not known whether the transactions were occurring on an "arm's length" basis and whether the items being purchased had previously been authorized in principle, were items generally regarded as appropriate or cost effective for PVS to purchase, etc.
It was noted that historically PVS had not found the need to have in place formal controls to assure significant inappropriate expenditures did not occur. The matter had been brought up several years ago when Bob Fout was Treasurer, but no action was taken at that time. It was agreed that it was important that the General Chairman, Treasurer and Controller talk to the individual involved about this matter. It was also agreed that PVS should set up a working group to address whether changes/enhancements to PVS's financial controls are needed.
It was further agreed the Controller and Treasurer will go through PVS's table of accounts and specify who within PVS organization has authority to spend against which line item.
There was also a discussion regarding the current status of a process to assure that athletes competing in PVS sanctioned meets are properly registered. No specific information has been received from the Registrar as regards to exactly what procedures have been or are about to put in place in regard confirming that only properly registered athletes are competing in PVS sanctioned competition.
The Registrar provided a report that showed that as of the end of November, 5248 athletes, 24 clubs and 462 non-athletes (primarily coaches and officials) had registered for 2004.
Hirschmann noted he had sent the results of his progress in loading times into the SWIMS data base to the Board in advance of the meeting. In summary, he reported the following. 34,819 times had been attempted to be loaded into SWIMS since September. Of these, 1002 times had not loaded due to either inconsistencies in the swimmers name or registration number or failure to register. This involved 301 swimmers, some of which were repetitions if a particular swimmer swam more than one meet and the matter had not been resolved in the interim. He also reported that there are concentrations in where these problems are occurring, suggesting that the vast majority of clubs and club registrars are being diligent in making sure all their athletes are properly registered and are entered into meets using their legal name and correct USA Swimming registration number.
Specific information regarding which swimmers times did not load automatically and the apparent reason (inconsistent name and/or registration number, not registered or not currently registered) has been available to the Registrar, Administrative Vice-Chairman and the General Chairman for follow-up as appropriate.
A motion was made that the Administrative Vice-Chairman be directed to provide to the Board at its January meeting, a specific report regarding what procedures are in place to control and determine that only properly registered athletes are competing in PVS sanctioned meets. This includes both pre and post meet verification procedures.
It was noted the end of November registration activity had just been received from the Registrar. The Board was advised that PVS Controller and Registrar still need to put procedures in place to assure that registration receipts either agree with registration records or the reason for the difference is known.
The report received from the Registrar also showed that as of the end of November, 24 clubs had registered for 2004. The list of the remaining 12 clubs, which had not yet registered for 2004, was reviewed. It was acknowledged one club was not expected to renew, and another was presumably still in process as a newly registering club. Of the 10 remaining, three are collegiate clubs. It was recommended that the remaining seven clubs be contacted to make sure they know they still need to do so. At this point, it is not known how SWIM will handle the situation if athletes but not their club are registered on January 1. It is possible those swims will be assigned to US-UN rather than their club.
Athlete Representatives -- There was no report. The status of the Senior Athlete Representative is unknown and the Junior Athlete Representative was studying for finals.
Treasurer's Report/Finance Division -- The November 30, 2003 PVS financial results had been submitted to the Board in advance of the meeting. As requested last month, a column comparing the current month (November, 2003) with the comparable current month last year (November, 2002) was added to the report. Board members were urged to not place too much significance to comparisons between the two years, as PVS was still in a transition at this point in time last year.
PVS assets on hand as of November 30 were $473,091, including $4,453 in the Dave Davis fund. As noted at the November Board meeting, much of the decline in PVS's cash position during November was due to the need to remit to USA Swimming, their share of the substantial registrations that had been processed by PVS in October.
Two questions were raised. As a result, it was clarified that the October and November columns on the income statement represent financial activity from the beginning of the current fiscal year (September 1) thru the end of the respective month. Therefore, the November column represents three (not two) months worth of activity. This helped clarify that PVS's current rate of expenditures for Contractor Services was within budget.
It was also noted that until all clubs complete the process of renewing registrations for athletes returning for 2004, it is difficult to make a meaningful analysis of how registrations compare with the prior or with budgeted assumptions for this year. It can significantly impacted by the month in which the larger PVS clubs submit their renewal registrations.
Hirschmann reported that work on auditing PVS's financial statements for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2003 are nearing completion. He was pleased to report that we have been advised that PVS should expect to get a "clean opinion" on its financial statements for this period. Hirschmann noted this would not have been possible without John Ertter's considerable efforts over the past year with regard to returning order to PVS's financial records. The auditor continues to advise that PVS should expect the audit will be completed within budget. He also reported that PVS has been advised by our auditor that all our required government filings are current -- including those that need to be filed with the State of Maryland which is where we are incorporated. Ertter and Hirschmann have each signed a representation letter to the auditor assuring them that all material information had been provided to them.
CTS Timing System -- John Ertter reported that the System VI timing system ordered from Colorado Timing Systems has not yet arrived. John said he would check if it is not received soon since it was supposed to be shipped on November 24.
Convention Reimbursement -- John Ertter provided convention reimbursement checks to those present who were entitled to receive them. They will be mailed to the others. Linda Klopfenstein apologized for the delay in reviewing the requests. It was noted that some minor revisions may be needed and those receiving checks should review the basis for their reimbursement and advise John E and Linda K if additional adjustments are needed.. Linda K was advised that she may continue to process any requests still received from any people still entitled to receive reimbursement.
The desirability of simplifying the process for convention reimbursement -- determining the amount to be reimbursed --in future years was discussed. This includes the possibility of paying for actual airfare (up to a specified limit), actual hotel room costs based on the nights used and for meals and incidentals on a per diem basis. Linda K noted that PVS had previously paid airfare (up to a specified limit), actual hotel costs (based on sharing a room) and $100 for incidental costs.
Strategic Planning -- VanErden reported he had sent a quick update pertaining to strategic planning out today. The issue of whether it is PVS's or the member clubs responsibility to provide competitive opportunities - particularly during the SC season -- continues to be a primary topic of interest. Hirschmann noted that pool arrangements for 2004-05 need to commence and therefore it was most likely that any changes resulting from recommendations of Strategic Planning could not be implemented before the 2005-06 SC season. Many thought it would be beneficial to have retreat or special meeting do discuss this issue as they felt the topic warranted a separate extended 2-3 hour discussion.
A question as to why the RMSC meet was on the same weekend as the November Open was raised. It was explained that it was originally scheduled for a different weekend, but when the November Open had to move due to the Redskins schedule and PGS&LC availability, RMSC advised they could not reschedule this meet due to pool availability.
It was noted that any club can create a meet and request that PVS sanction it. It was noted that unless the meet was being proposed for the same weekend as a PVS sponsored meet, it was very likely to be approved and receive a sanction. It was observed that clubs tend to request sponsoring meets where there is high profit potential, leaving the less profitable meets (financially) to the LSC (i.e. distance, summer qualifying meets, championship meets.) It was also noted that since PVS does not offer the equivalent of the February Open, there has been considerable scrambling by many clubs to find a meet during this month at which their athletes could attempt to qualify for the season ending SC championship meets.
It was noted that in addition to how often our coaches feel it would be beneficial for their athletes to have competition, PVS's ability to conduct meets can sometime also be constrained by pool availability, number of times volunteer officials are willing to work, etc.
It was agreed it would be useful for Jim V to brief the January Competition Committee meeting on what issues Strategic Planning is addressing and invite their input. It was agreed the purpose would be to have discussion - not an attempt to make final decisions.
It was also agreed it would be useful to do a survey of coaches at the upcoming Dolan and PM Holiday Invitational meets. Jim VanErden said he would put a draft survey together and invite Board input. It was agreed that questions on coaches desire to have various types of meets, including distance, open water etc., would be appropriate questions to ask.
Age Group Division -- Greg York reported that the camp flier is about ready for the PVS 8 and Under Mini Camp that will be held January 25th at Oak Marr. He was asked to get the flier in a Word (.doc) or similar format to the webmaster for posting.
It was agreed a reminder should be sent out through PVS Flash Mail to remind coaches to apply to be Assistant Eastern Zone SC Coaches for the meet in Manassas.
A question was raised whether PVS should take the initiative to get a new clinic coordinator - noting the that the current coordinator has not been that active in the recent past. Also raised was whether PVS should take the lead to organize these clinics and then ask for a PVS coach to run them
Coaches' Representatives -- Bill Marlin indicated he was still working on the selection process for the PVS 14/U outstanding coach - the award would be presented at the annual ASCA meeting. He hopes to meet with Todd Benedick shortly to discuss it further.
Operations Division -- Program Fees Garner raised as a new agenda item a proposal (which had just been submitted by Bill Marlin) to amend PVS's Policy and Procedures regarding the maximum that can be charged for programs at PVS sponsored meets. The specific proposal was to allow the fee to be raised to $2.00 per session on Saturday and Sunday of the meet and to reduce it to $1.00 on Friday (when a light program of only a few events is conducted.) (The current limit is $1.50 per session.) Bill explained the motion was primarily motivated in order to reduce the need to make change in coins and that many people were not that anxious to receive change back if it were coin. (The motion did not address whether there should be a change in the maximum permitted charge for programs at either PVS sponsored championship or distance meets.) The Board voted to approve the motion as made.
Equipment Manager's Contract -- Ron Whalen reviewed with the Board that status of the Equipment Manager's contract. He went through the major revisions that had been made to the scope of the contract since it was discussed with the Board in November. The most significant change is now requiring that the Equipment Manager deliver and pick-up equipment for both PVS sponsored and club sponsored meets. In the case of PVS sponsored meets, all equipment (even if just a meet box was required) would be picked up and delivered. Installation and break-down of the timing equipment (and other needed equipment) at the pool venue would still be the host club's responsibility. For club sponsored meets, the club would now have to pay the Equipment Manager to pick-up and return the equipment. They would no longer have the option of just renting the equipment and taking responsibility for the pick-up and return of the equipment. Paying the Equipment Manager for installing and break-down of the equipment at the pool site will still be an option. Revised rental schedules will need to be posted to the website. The Board approved these changes.
The Board also agreed that these changes be reflected in the scope of the new equipment manager's contract. A motion was also made that the PVS Personnel Committee be authorized to approve the rate of compensation that would be included in the final contract.
Questions were raised how the amount that was anticipated to be offered would fit within the budget line item for Contractor Services. The Board was advised that there should be no problem paying the Controller, Registrar and Equipment Manager within the budgeted amount. However, the amount remaining for an Administrative Assistant (if such service were contracted) would be less than was originally envisioned when the budget was prepared. This is less likely to be a problem this year as such a person would no longer hired for a twelve month period. However, it does imply the amount budgeted in FY'05 might need to be higher than the FY'04 amount. The MOTION PASSED.
Rental of PVS Equipment -- The schedule of possible PVS Equipment Rental charges for use of PVS timing and meet related equipment was presented. This was based on recovering the full cost of the equipment based on its expected useful life and the number of times per year it was expected to be used. It was noted that the schedule had been prepared partially in response to observations made at the last HofD meeting that when PVS clubs and others rent our equipment for use at club (and other non-PVS) sponsored activities, they ought to pay the full cost to PVS of providing that equipment.
It was emphasized the schedule was being presented for discussion only, not adoption. Ron indicated he had already heard from several members of the Board who expressed the view that PVS clubs should not be asked to pay the full cost of renting PVS equipment. Many Board members felt this is the type of support PVS should be providing its member clubs and their athletes, since it provides a benefit to a very large part of its membership. They also did not think PVS should refine the fee schedule so it would vary as a function of the number of lanes being used. The fee schedules currently in effect were not based on a formal analysis of what should be charged to fully recover PVS's cost of ownership.
It was also noted that now that the calculations had been made, it was recognized that these costs, prorated on a per meet basis, might be greater than was previously thought. Nevertheless, having this information can very helpful to the Board in making future decisions regarding appropriate equipment rental charges.
It was noted that these potential per meet equipment charges are in part as high as they are since there is now less demand/need for PVS timing equipment. Over the past several years, many of the facilities now being used for competition have their own timing equipment, scoreboard, etc. so that PVS owned equipment does not need to be used. Also, PVS bought sufficient equipment to provide electronic timing on three courses (plus prudent spares) based on guidance received at the 2002 House of Delegates meeting.
Hosting Distance and Open Water Meets -- There was also discussion whether PVS should pay more to clubs to host PVS sponsored Open Water and Distance meets. Several observed the $250 per session minimum currently guaranteed by PVS for distance meets is not enough for most clubs to want to host meets. (PVS does not currently sponsor Open Water meet so presumably under current arrangements - any additional support would be in the form of direct financial assistance.) Others noted that the Board had just improved the support provided distance meet by agreeing to have the Equipment Manager deliver and pick-up all equipment at no cost to the host club. No further action was taken by the Board on this item.
Water Depth -- Operations had been asked to address whether PVS will be in compliance with the new four foot depth rule for PVS sponsored meets. Ron Whalen advised there has not been time to do a formal survey. However, many pools used for PVS sponsored meets are clearly in excess of this requirement. FCPA has provided measurements for pools we are renting from them that show they satisfy the 4' depth requirement.
Requirement for hard copy Colorado print out & HyTek Timing Adjustment -- A proposal was made to amend PVS Policy and Procedures to require that a printer always be used with an electronic timing system being used (CTS or Daktronics.) A problem can arise when the Hy-Tek operator overwrites the pad time with a button or watch time, because they believe the pad time was not a valid official time (OT). However, unless there is a hard copy print out from the timing system, the pad time is no longer available (since the keyed in time will overwrite the pad time.) Thus, the pad time is not available in the event there are subsequent questions regarding the basis for determining the official time - thus the "audit trail" is lost.
The Board was advised print outs directly from the timing system (HyTek or Daktronics) does not always occur due to situations such as lack of available printer, operating problems with printer (paper jams, lack of toner, ink, etc.) or lack of a timing judge who can monitor the printer and keep it functional, track its output, etc.
Others pointed out that is now possible to do a hard copy print out of the Hy-Tek screen before making the adjustment, thus preserving a written record of what was the pad time. The relatively new ability HyTek has to also capture button times, has meant that in practice, the function of timing judge is now sometimes being done by the HyTek operator. It was noted an alternate way to maintain documentation is to "capture" (i.e., print) the screen in HyTek before any adjustment to the pad is made.
The Board agreed that it was important that an audit trail (retention of all relevant times - pad, button and watch) and basis for the adjustment anytime the primary timing system is not the source of the "Official Time" must be retained. The specifics of how to do this was not decided. It was also noted for the purpose of certain Master's records, a hard copy print out from the timing system may be needed to support the record application.
Boots will put the word out regarding this new requirement to the key meet officials via the Referee mailing list.
Sanctioning meets involving only one club -- The Board was informed several inquiries have been received recently as to whether meets in which only one team was participating could be sanctioned by PVS. It was agreed that there is nothing in the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations that would prohibit this. PVS has historically not sanctioned such meets. This is due in part to prior experiences many years ago within PVS, where there had been concerns about the basis for some of times within the meet results that were reported. It was also noted that historically the requirements for receiving an NTV for such a time may be different than receiving a sanction, though this distinction may be disappearing with the advent of SWIMS.
There was concern that there still might be environments where it would be difficult for a Referee from the same club to assure the integrity of the official times from the meet. It was also agreed that the use of touchpads (versus watches) for official times reduced this concern. Another proposal is to require that the Referee not be from the team to whom the sanction is issued. There was further discussion of the pros and cons of various options. The Board took no action on this item at this meeting. Jim G volunteered that he would write up a proposal for discussion at a future Board meeting.
The Board was advised that networking was successfully done at the recently conducted Swim and Rock Meet. This included successfully transmitting the results between two courses as well as having two computers available on each course. Several observed that having two computers on the same course can be very helpful in reducing the pressure that is involved when one person has to handle positive check-in, process relay names, etc while also concentrating on receiving times from the timing systems, possibly also serving as timing judge, providing results, etc.
Old Business -- No old business came before the Board.
New Business -- Linda Klopfenstein thanked John Hirschmann for loading times into SWIMS and supporting the NTV process while she has been unable to do so.
Adjournment --The Board adjourned at approximately 9:50pm.