|Subject:||1st Scott Lange Letter to AMCA President Richard Spagnolli||Date:||Sat Jan 14 12:24:51 2012|
This is the email that I mentioned in an earlier Post from Scott Lange to Richard Spanolli, AMCA National President.
None of these views, opinions, recommendations or ideas are mine. I am only forwarding information that was sent to me with hopes of it getting to the Highlands of Virginia Chapter members.
From: Scott K. Lange [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 1:09 PM
Dear Mr. Spagnolli,
I read with interest the first Presidentís newsletter. Now I can see why so many
people have to say what they do about you. You donít seem to tolerate critical
comments very well, even when those comments are intended to be constructive. I
will concede that I can be a bit intense, but my message is usually spot on.
Hopefully by now, youíve learned that shooting the messenger rarely solves the
problem. And there is a problem.
All of this has been building up to a proposal. I had wanted to take you up on your
offer to call and talk, but you have already established that you donít care to have
a dialogue. So instead, I will put it in writing. I will share this message only
if you a) try to preempt me on the plan for change I am going to present, and/or b)
if you break the deal I am going to propose. I am a man of my word and my integrity
is well established. If you had the same credentials, Iíd be discussing this with
you via phone or in person. There are three other individuals who know about what I
am going to propose, and they have all agreed to keep it confidential Ė forever.
AMCA is a member driven organization. The bulk of club revenue comes from member
dues and Chapter sponsored events. The rubber meets the road at the Chapter level.
I believe in a strong board. An organization canít function if the board does not
have sufficient power to conduct its affairs on behalf of the organization. I
believe the AMCA requires a strong board.
That said, I also believe as a member driven organization, the board needs to be
accountable to its members. That accountability is lacking in our club. I have
heard from many members who are distressed that their voices canít be heard. Many
are frustrated that all decisions are made at the board level without input from the
Chapters and members. The proposal I am about to make will resolve that conflict
and allow members greater input into the affairs of the club.
Whether you agree or not, I am establishing a working group of respected members of
our club. The individuals I ask to serve on this group have impeccable integrity
and credentials. Before they are asked to join the group, they will be fully
vetted. This group will contain a mix of Chapter level leaders, as well as
individuals who served in a National capacity.
No one will be asked to serve on this working group unless they agree in advance to
several conditions. Respect for every opinion is paramount. No bad mouthing of
anyone, no personal vendettas, no past disappointments, no chapter rivalries - one
purpose and one alone Ė redesign this club, with a positive attitude, so it works.
I will ask this group to come up with new by laws that will establish the goal
stated above to allow greater member involvement in club affairs. They will be
asked to find a workable balance between the anarchy that would ensue if the members
made all decisions and the current situation where all power resides in ten people
at the top.
While I do not intend to dictate a solution to this group, I do intend to support
them behind the scenes by making suggestions on possible approaches to
representative governance. I will also support them by drafting language that
captures the essence of their decisions, including the wording of revised by-laws.
Input to this working group can be made by anyone, with one condition. All
suggestions and recommendations shall be presented to the group in writing. The
group will be completely independent in its work and not subject to direction by the
National BOD or its members.
That said, I do have ideas that I believe will greatly reduce the scope of the task.
Specifically, I envision a governance structure that makes chapter leadership
accountable to chapter members, and makes National leadership accountable to an
oversight body comprised of Chapter presidents. The Chapter, or its President, may
determine that a new chapter level leadership position be created to sit on the
oversight board. At the chapter level, one member, one vote. At the oversight
level, one chapter, one vote. To alleviate administration associated with voting, I
would suggest a proxy system. In those chapters where the members are comfortable
with their leadership, they may elect to tender their proxies to the chapter board.
If chapters are in good step with their members, members will feel comfortable
entrusting their proxy to the leadership. Where less cohesion exists, and where the
chapter board does not obtain a majority of proxies, member voting on certain
matters should be the rule.
The same proxy structure can be maintained for the oversight body. If chapters feel
comfortable with the National leadership, they can tender their proxies to a
designated member of the board, entrusting that member to vote on that chapterís
behalf. A well respected management team will obtain enough proxies to allow all
decisions to be made at the board level. If the board canít obtain sufficient
proxies to make all decisions at the board level, certain types of decisions will
require approval by the oversight body.
Establishing this system does not require excessive administration. There are tools
available today to allow members to visit a website to cast their votes on issues,
and the integrity of the results can be established.
While I do not believe it would be necessary, those concerned about the disparate
numbers of members in each chapter, weighted voting could be considered. Each
chapter could have votes at the oversight level that is proportionate to the total
population of club members. This adds additional administration, but would respond
to chapters who believe their chapter should have greater input to the process
because of their relative size. This is a decision for the working group to make.
The working group will assess appropriate voting margins to apply to certain types
of decisions. I would envision that major issues would require a larger majority,
but in such cases, would allow the chapters to provide direction to the board. To
preserve the ability of the board to function, less significant matters can be
advisory only. This is the avenue for assuring there is balance between the input
of the members and chapters and the necessity of most decision authority vested in
This is a conceptual overview. It is straightforward enough that members will
understand it, it is fair, and it allows those who just want to ride their machines
to tender their proxies to their chapter leadership. This system would assure
accountability and provide comfort to members that their voices can be heard on
matters THEY believe are important.
This is my proposal. You have two choices.
One, you can reject this proposal, and it will occur anyway. I will take the chance
that the members will be sufficiently pleased with the re-designed governance
structure, and that they will respect the group that came up with the plan.
Notwithstanding your absolute authority, you will be hard pressed to resist this
recommendation as you will have open rebellion if you reject it. Your capacity as a
leader will be shattered.
Two, you can buy into this proposal and, and provided you and the BOD agree, in
writing with the full authority of the BOD, that the final recommendations made by
the working group will be accepted by the board and implemented within six months.
If you accept these terms, you can take full credit for the solution proposed, and I
give you my word, and the word of the other individuals I have advised of this plan,
that no one will ever know the idea came from anyone but you. That will allow you
an opportunity to re-establish your credibility as a leader of this organization
that is willing to give more than just lip service to ďrespectingĒ the input of all
members of the AMCA. The boardís acceptance of this arrangement will assure that
those currently ďin the boardís campĒ will support the process, and will also assure
that those skeptical of the current structure will also buy in.
If you reject the deal, you are going to put your position and reputation on the
line. If you decide instead to reject the deal, this message will be distributed
widely across the club. You will have to explain why you rejected it, and I can
assure you, people are not going to allow you to ignore it. With all of the
rhetoric about respect, and being open to constructive ideas that will move our club
forward, the rejection of this proposal will reveal your true underlying
motivations. With all due respect, you wonít have the credibility to govern,
assuming there is still a membership to govern.
It is clear from your refusal to respond to my earlier messages that you assume me
to be a troublemaker with a negative agenda. You have misjudged me, Mr. Spagnolli.
If we are going to have a war and make the members decide who is more deserving of
respect, I donít mind the hand I hold. There is strength in keeping to the high
road. Letís see if your actions can match your words.
Please note that I havenít dropped my objection to the wrongful expulsion of Charles
Finney. My advice to you on that, is to admit the board acted without a defined
procedure, and that as a result, you have decided to reverse the decision that was
made. You seem to have an absolute fear of admitting you have made a mistake, but
if you do, you will find that in doing so the perception of your leadership will be
enhanced. If you donít, your hubris will pave the road to your demise.
I will be leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow morning for the auctions, and when I
arrive, I anticipate being mobbed by club members attending that event. Iíll be
arriving Thursday afternoon, and if I havenít heard from you by then, I donít see
any reason to not share this message with others. You have through the evening
tonight to send an email response to this communication, or you can contact me
directly by phone at 425-210-8531 starting tomorrow morning through Thursday
afternoon. I apologize for leaving you such limited time, however, based on what I
know of you, giving you longer would likely result in you creating your own tribunal
to do the same thing I have just suggested. The reason I have shared this with a
limited number of people, is to be able to prove you are a liar if you try to pursue
this course on your own.
I will close with one final point. Some of your friends have noted that the problems
at the National level are the result of prior leaders. They suggest that you are
just doing your best to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, such assertions only
drive home the wisdom of my proposal. Had reasonable governance provisions been in
place, those past problems wouldnít have occurred. People in this club wouldnít
have to act like children pointing accusatory fingers at others in explanation for
what is wrong. The root of the problem is the governance structure, and instead of
talking about it, Iím taking the necessary steps to change it. I doubt many people
will find my goals to be disrespectful. I have nothing to gain, and nothing to lose
in pushing for change Ė I have already gained much respect among members for my
efforts and that is way more than I was looking for by speaking up.
Respect is earned, not an entitlement that comes with your position as you believe.
If your pride is so great that you refuse to acknowledge this as anything other than
a constructive, respectful proposal, please do not try to convince our members that
you have only the best interests of the club at heart. Your brazen thirst for
control and power will have been fully exposed, and I doubt you will ever earn the
respect you so covet.
I look forward to your prompt reply to this message. Hopefully, you realize by now
that when I say I am going to do something, it happens.