USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of January 3, 2011

Jan. 04, 2011, 5:12 p.m. (ET)


Week of January 3, 2011

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of January 3, 2011  

Welcome into 2011. This week’s report deals exclusively with a recent USA Field Hockey Board of Directors action. The news-release below as released last week explains the situation. I wanted to add further editorial content due to the nature of the election rescission. In previous weekly reports, I have mentioned a number of times my impression with this Board. The Board is a highly intelligent group and collegial. It has been my observation that they continually try to do and indeed do do the best for the sport’s growth and expansion in the mainstream’s consciousness of field hockey.

Every Board is guided by association by-laws. Our association is no different. The particular problem in this situation was caused by vagueness of our by-laws in providing guidance in specific situations. Another issue that really is not a problem is the immense success the USA Field Hockey Nomination Committee had in recruiting a large number of people interested in serving on the Board. Twenty-five people expressed interest for either independent seats or At-large seats. Pretty impressive when one takes into consideration that is past years only the number of candidates were recruited as were the number of existing vacancies. But, the success in recruiting caused a time crunch in actually interviewing in depth each candidate to determine legitimate independence as defined in the by-laws. Hence the problem. At the point of Board’s election meeting, the problem was found and then a solution was made. In retrospect, the Board determined it was a wrong decision and have rescinded the election. That was a right thing to do as the Board totally wants the process to flow properly and wants it done right. So, we will have a redo. You may think this makes the Board look bad, but, in actual fact, it provides a real view of legitimacy in Board governance.

The resolution is as defined within the news-release. However, there was a concern expressed. We have received comments regarding existing Board members being extended until their successors are appointed or elected.  We think it is important to have a full board in place prior to seating the new directors.  In accordance with our by-laws, a director may remain a director after his/her term until such time as a successor has been selected or elected.

A final step, once the election is complete, will be to review our by-laws and provide clarity of language in those areas that are ambiguous. I consider this entire episode to be healthy as association members spoke up as did the Board members themselves when an error was determined. Best thing of all is that the problem is being resolved in a business-like manner, and it makes me proud to be a part of this organization.

USA Field Hockey Board Rescinds Recent Board Election

On Thursday evening, December 23, 2010, our Board of Directors held a special meeting to discuss the following matter and take the following action:

* Following elections of the 2011 Independent and At-large directors, we received a number of comments relating to the election process. Generally, the comments expressed some concern with the steps taken by the Board at its meeting held on November 28, 2010, during which elections occurred (the “Election Meeting”). Upon receipt of those comments, the Board engaged Association counsel to discuss the nomination and election procedures and whether the Board should take further action in connection with those elections.

* In the Board’s discussions with Association counsel, a few things became clear to us. First, certain election procedures established by our Bylaws include a level of ambiguity. Those procedures are complex, and their intent is not always clearly expressed. Second, as a Board, we attempted to conduct the Election Meeting in good faith, in accordance with the Bylaws, and with the best interests of the Association at hand. Even so, the Board recognizes that its decisions at that meeting have led to some comment and concern among our membership. The Board has therefore decided to take additional steps in connection with the 2011 Independent and At-large directors.

* The Board has rescinded its actions at the Election Meeting related to the election of the 2011 Independent and At-large directors. As a result, the Board will need to hold a special meeting of the Board at which the 2011 Independent and At-large directors can be appointed and/or elected. We intend to hold this meeting in January 2011, prior to the Board’s first regularly scheduled meeting of February 13, 2011. The Association’s Nominating Committee has graciously agreed to cooperate with the Board in this endeavor. Until the special meeting can be held and their successors appointed/elected, the current directors will continue to serve on the Board.

* In connection with our renewed process for seating the 2011 Independent and At-large directors, we have asked Association counsel to work with us and the Nominating Committee to guide us both in compliance with our Bylaws and applicable law, and also in accordance with the best practices of national governing bodies and other nonprofit organizations for vetting candidates for Board nomination.

* Finally, we want to express to our members and constituents that the Board takes seriously these matters, and its fiduciary duties to the Association. The Board and each of the directors has the bests interests of the Association foremost in our actions, and we desire to see the Association successful on the pitch, well run in the boardroom, and efficient in management. We believe that the actions we have taken in this regard, and those that we will take in the coming weeks, will help us to better achieve each of those goals.

Today is my first year anniversary with USA Field Hockey. I started on January 4th of 2010. It has been a huge learning experience and, hopefully, you think we are making some progress. I want to thank you for the help you have provided; thank our Board for its direction and mentorship; and our staff for its tremendous devotion to presenting events, administrating various programs, and developing athletes into top notch individuals athletically and later on in their professional and personal lives.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: “The economy is still hurting. Every Christmas tree lot that I passed this morning was out of business.”

Have a great week!

Steve Locke

Executive Director

USA Field Hockey