|Subject:||AMCA Presidentís Newsletter||Date:||Tue Apr 3 04:31:01 2012|
AMCA Presidentís Newsletter|
Dear Chapter Presidents and Newsletter Editors,
Many of us who live in the Northern States look forward to the AMCA Sunshine Chapter National Meet as a chance to the enjoy the warmth of the sun after months of cold, snowy, dreary weather. I left home with my wife in the snow and drove south to Daytona Beach, only to find out a few days later that the weather back home was sunny and warm with record-setting temperatures in the 70s. Thereís just no anticipating the unpredictability of the weather.
That was certainly true for the Sunshine Chapter National Meet. Every Chapter sponsoring a National Meet prays for good weather, but unfortunately, rain fell on the meetís new location in New Smyrna Beach. In spite of the rain, the meet was, by all accounts, a success, even though some vendors had a problem with water accumulation on their sites, along with other, normal first-year problems. If this site is the venue for the meet next year, some of these problems will surely be addressed by the Sunshine Chapter.
A "Meet and Greet Your AMCA Board" was held at the Sunshine Chapter Meet. For one hour, members were able to engage attending Board members with questions and comments. The exchange of ideas and suggestions was positive. This program will
continue at all National Meets when Board members are present. I intend to attend as many National Meets and Road Runs as possible this year, as I did last year.
There was another swap meet in Eustis sponsored by the Vintage Motorcycle Association. This meet was not an officially sanctioned AMCA National Meet. I attended both meets. The VMA was supportive of the AMCA in its literature, and promoted the ideals of the Club. Unfortunately, the VMA meet coincided with the Sunshine Chapter meet this year. Although there was some confusion about this meet, many AMCA members and others attended both meets. Hopefully, after the upcoming meeting of the Sunshine Chapter this month, both groups can get together and agree on a single site for a National Meet next year. Your AMCA Board will continue its support for AMCA Chapters that sponsor National Meets.
The Board considered several matters at its meeting in Daytona Beach. One matter was the reporting of the Club's financial statements for 2011. Treasurer Jim Graulty revealed a new format which provides more line-by-line detail of revenue and expenditures. Those statements have been forwarded to you previously by Jim, and I think you will agree they are more detailed than any previous financial statements issued by the Board. Future statements will continue the same format. Please direct any questions you may have to Jim by e-mail (and thanks, Jim, for all the effort).
Another important matter the Board has been addressing concerns compliance of the Club and its Chapters with all tax laws. Raymond Dhue was the Club's Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer prior to his untimely passing in January 2011. He was responsible for all aspects of the Club's financial affairs, including the filing of required tax returns and advising the Chapters of their financial reporting requirements to the Club Treasurer. Raymond always performed his duties with great dedication and the best interests of the Club and Membership in mind.
After the appointment by the Board of current Treasurer, Jim Graulty, a comprehensive review of Raymond's extensive financial records was conducted. During the course of this review by Jim and I, and well before any member inquiries about the Club's financial status or compliance with IRS rules and regulations, it was discovered that the Club and several Chapters may not be in full compliance.
Jim and I, after consultation with the Board and with our general counsel, John Wendel, decided to seek opinions from experienced tax counsel and a CPA firm knowledgeable in advising non-profits in relation to IRS rules and regulations. After consultation and much discussion with these professionals, it would appear that the Club and some of its Chapters will need to address how they conduct operations, including treatment of revenue items, net income, if any, generated by Club and Chapter activities, and possibly the nature of their tax-exempt status. Jim and the Board are in the process of reviewing the recommendations of the professionals, and we will be consulting with them in the near future to determine the best method to assure that the Club and the Chapters are in full compliance with all tax laws and regulations.
The changes that may be recommended could alter significantly the way Chapters, particularly those that sponsor National Meets, report revenue. The changes could result in the payment of taxes. Please be assured that Jim and the Board are doing everything necessary to assure full compliance, notwithstanding the practices in place previously. Once the recommendations are accepted and finalized by the Board, the Membership and all Chapters will be advised fully.
Please have patience while this review process takes its course.This is not the time to point fingers and criticize those who made decisions in the past. The Board is looking forward in a positive way to address this situation, and we want to devote all our energy to assure full compliance.
Another area addressed by the Board was a concern raised by a member that the Club was not in compliance with IRS rules and regulations because the AMCA did not permit members to vote for the Board. This concern was addressed by a review of the Club's 501 (c)(7) application process with the IRS. The AMCA was incorporated in Florida as a non-profit. Florida requires the filing of Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. Those Bylaws included a provision that there would be no membership voting. Those Articles and Bylaws were attached to the Club's application with the IRS. The IRS issued an approval letter granting the Club 501 (c)(7) status, thereby accepting the Club's Articles and Bylaws. Out of a sense of caution, the Club obtained an opinion from outside tax counsel, who confirmed the Club was in compliance with IRS Rules and Regulations.
The matter of governance in the AMCA was discussed by the Board. The Board did not make any changes to the current method of electing members of the Board. The Board also took no action on the two proposals submitted for consideration by a Chapter and a member. However, the Board concluded that the whole issue of governance of the Club deserves review in a thorough and thoughtful manner without rushing to conclusions and decisions that may not be practical or fair. In the coming months, the Board will conduct a survey of Membership on the subject of Club governance. Once the survey results are compiled and analyzed, the Board will make a decision on how best to address the governance issue. Again, this process will take patience, but it will be thorough and guided by the principle that whatever decision is made on governance, it will be fair to all members and in the best interests of the Club.
In the meantime, the Board will continue to accept applications for Board positions for elections scheduled at the Board meeting on October 5, 2012, at the Chesapeake Chapter National Meet. Applications are due by June 1, 2012, and should be sent to Board Secretary Kelli Webb-Stauffer at firstname.lastname@example.org
No action was taken on the Club's advertising policy, but the Board retains the right to review all advertising submitted for publication to insure accuracy, full disclosure and compliance with Club Philosophy, Policy and Procedures. Bill Wood made an operations report to the Board. It included membership trends, new advertising rate card information, an update on the Virtual Library and a demonstration of the new judging software. Membership appears to continue to fluctuate depending on the time of year a membership expires. Bill will monitor the trends to determine the direction of the membership numbers.
Based on Bill's report on the Virtual Library, this project is at a critical juncture. He and Matt Olsen have been conferring on this project and it appears that finding people to do the manual work of copying and uploading the materials continues to be crucial to the success of this project. In the absence of volunteers, the Board may have to consider paying for this service. The Board continues to believe the Virtual Library is a project the Club should support, even if it will mean money will have to be budgeted for it. The demonstration of the new judging software confirmed that the revision of the old software was the right thing to do. It is very user-friendly and, if necessary, the software can be used to access judging information on the field to reference any bike previously judged by the AMCA and also the identity of the owners. Instead of having just one person knowledgeable about the software, as was the practice in the past, several
people involved in the judging system will have knowledge about the program, so there will not be any disruption if one person quits the program. There will be adequate security in the program. Thanks, Bill, for a great job on this project.
Chief Judge Carl Olsen and Assistant Chief Judge Don Dzurick reported on the judging program. They summarized the judging for last year and their plans for the coming year. They reported continued strong interest in judging, but cautioned that the program needs to attract new judges who are familiar with some of the newer brands coming into the system. Carl and Don suggested encouraging members who are having a bike judged at a meet volunteer to become apprentice judges, with the hope that they will continue in the program and become AMCA judges. Judging seminars will continue at all National Meets. The list of current AMCA judges will continue to be updated, and an e-mail list will be used for ongoing communication with the judges. Carl also requested, and the Board approved, allowing himself and Don to make judging decisions with Judging Committee approval, and then submit them to the Board for later approval. These decisions will not involve judging policy, but practical judging issues that arise on the judging field.
The Board was pleased with the results of the Judging Survey that was reported in the Spring Issue of the magazine. The survey revealed the overwhelming majority of members participating in the program were more than satisfied with the judging process at National Meets. Thanks to the Assistant Chief Judge, who supervised the judging program in 2011 upon which the survey was based.
Merchandise manager Susan Brutus made a report. She has reduced the inventory to a manageable level and is recommending that we continue the current practice of selling Club merchandise online and through National Meets by sending product to the Chapters and giving the them a 10% commission on all sales. This practice appears to be working, but will only be utilized if a Chapter wants to participate. The Board invited three members to speak at the meeting. Brian Groff, Dave Panella and Pete Sink addressed the Board briefly on membership and governance issues, civility in dealing with Club issues among members, and the judging program, both past and future. We thought this session was productive, and we will consider continuing this practice in the future.
The Board added a requirement to the Honorary Nomination Process. Because of the AMCA and Community conduct requirement in the nominating process, the Board will now ask for comment from Chapter Presidents about each nominee before the Board votes on the nomination. Since the Board believes an Honorary Membership is very special in the Club, we are hopeful this process will help the Board in the decision making process. The Board may also ask the Nominee to attend a Board meeting.
Finally, I hope that as we all go forward in discussing issues which are important to the membership and the future of the Club, that civility prevails. We have seen what can happen when civility takes a back seat. Please remember, as Carl Olsen has stated recently and as many have stated in the past, it's all about the OLD BIKES! And the friendship and camaraderie that brings us all together is because of these OLD BIKES. Yes, there will always be disagreements among members. Some of the disagreements can get heated. But I firmly believe there is no place in this Club for incivility among Club members. Hope to see many of you at National Meets and Road Runs, or just down the road, having fun riding our old motorcycles.
Thanks for listening.