SaveUMCA, you are going at this all wrong!

Comment: Why don't you have the Save UMCA group convene a qualified group to draft new by-laws and a new MD employment contract that you think is appropriate. In other words, walk the walk and produce what you think are the correct governance documents. Then send them to the board as drafts, and post them on your blog, and send them directly to all board members with an executive summary of how the new versions address, per current governance standards, the needs of the organization and members. This is then the challenge that the board will have to answer to.

Answer: The contract suggestion is already posted on the blog. It was on Seana's website and it was e-mailed to all UMCA members last year.

We however are currently interested in a MD replacement, not a new contract. If you read my letters to UMCA, as a spokeperson I am urging them to find a replacement. They do know that Lou Lamoureux volunteered, so it's not like fishing in an empty lake. The question relating the contract renewal was because THEY didn't tell the UMCA members anything about this for 2 and 1/2 months now--not even on the UMCA website.

Lou Lamoureux's volunteering:

As for the bylaws, the main problem is that they are not following the bylaws already in place. They made several amendments (with the non-elected RAAM LLC's president and none of the other elected Board of Directors present--a bylaw violation) last Fall concerning only the UMCA members's rights. Not UMCA officals's own rights at all. Once we force them to follow their own bylaws, we then will be able to make healthy, legal changes.

UMCA's election committee

An anonymous person commented on the blog, asking about the UMCA’s election committee and whether we have inputs in this. Mavis told this anonymous person: “We felt like we have a foot of a mile influence on these new election rules.”

If anyone noticed, there are four anonymous people on the SaveUMCA team. These people are working hard and can’t be public yet and the SaveUMCA team have faith in them to do everything they can. In Mavis Irwin's personal case, she was asked to be on the election committee too, but she recognized she have to sign a code to be silence and give up any personal power. Mavis won’t be able to sleep well with this over her head. Mavis's hats are off to the others who are able to handle this.

Those involved did note that they are not having much influence because, like they stated, Hughes clearly wanted to have as much control as possible. If those people had more influence, below would be the election standards as opposed to those on page 26 of the Sept-Oct 2007 UMCA magazine:

1) There are no minimum years of membership. (Mavis Irwin, a member for 2 ½ years couldn’t run in the 2008 election even through she was in last year’s election because under the new rules she had to be a member for three or more years first.)

2) The election is open to all. No committees of any kind to select the candidates to be on the ballots. There are only five candidates this year because most from last year’s election were silenced by the new rules instituted by the UMCA. This was one of the ways to keep qualified people from questioning the UMCA government. The rejected applications could have petitioned at least 30 UMCA members done within four weeks by written letters (not e-mails.). This meant that a UMCA member must pay an annual due of $35.00, then an additional $24.60 in postage stamps in order to appear on a ballot, assuming one can compile all the paper work in time. Of course, the UMCA could state that the mail never arrived on time or the mail could get misplaced in the office. Some of the candidates in the last election are familiar with the stated “clerical” errors.

3) Candidates are allowed to campaign in any methods they want. Has anyone heard of the federal, state, and local’s democratic governments passing laws banning advertising in magazines, mailing endorsement letters, and hosting websites? The UMCA has tried to make the campaign fair to all candidates—as reported in the reference of this blog post:

As stated in another post, Hughes did then take part in creating an endorsement letter for those he wanted—and unquestionably over the other qualified candidates:

We would push for banning UMCA from favoring any particular candidates in their campaigning. If the UMCA gave the resources to one person campaigning for one or more candidates, UMCA must give exactly the same resources to the other candidates.

How about taking formal legal action?

Why we are not taking this to the court house, yet—in answer to one anonymous comment:

I can assume who you are, however will answer the best I can for anyone's interest.

Why not take legal action? Mainly the money. We would need a Colorado lawyer. The costs could be very high and who is going to pay? We’re spread out all over the USA and having sit down meetings and making appearances in Colorado could be very costly for us. We're not talking about $1000 or $2000. The for-profit RAAM, LLC, based in Colorado, who got over $250K from RAAM entry fees alone last year and spent an estimated $100-150K to produce the race, is highly motivated to keep ownership of the race under the non-profit UMCA, while they personally can earn all the money with no “non-profit” financial earning limitations, so they will spend whatever it takes. This deal for them is too good to let it go.

The costs could be 30K or more for this big battle. Who see, the small battle with a UMCA member over the JMC cost the UMCA 18K. Plus, it would take lots of time and drag on and on. I think we are better off slowly influencing members and soon a decent Board may emerge.

Managing Director's contract

Mavis finally found out from the new Board’s Liaison that MD’s old contract was extended to the end of February. The SaveUMCA Team is working around the clock to convince the UMCA directors to realize that our organization needs a new face to be a MD because John Hughes had been a MD for 9 years and the first 5 years was when UMCA was a for-profit organization. The UMCA members of that time fought hard to get the non-profit status, with the goal to put the control of UMCA into the member’s hands instead of a small select group. These UMCA members believe John Hughes and few others are still clinging to the for-profit habits and ways. They are deeply concerned because ever since the IRS recognized the UMCA as a non-profit in April 2005, things have clearly gone downhill. Even through some on the SaveUMCA team were in the governing boards before 2002-2003, we believe a fresh face with healthy non-profit ideas is needed to replace John Hughes.

Our new MD must not have any personal conflicts of interest within the UMCA.

Updated June 22nd, 2008:

There are no further known commuincations of the status. This post will be updated when the information is available.

Final Update (July 29th):

John Hughes's contract was renewed. Please follow this link for more information: