And more light on the subject from the Denver Colorado Unit newsletter for May.
By Forrest M., Unit Trustee & Past Unit President
Will the WBCCI be Sued In Federal Court? At our April luncheon, several members asked me if it was true that the WBCCI is going to be sued, and what did I think about it. If you are just now learning about this then your likely reaction is, "What's THAT all about?"
In short, it is the culmination of a long brewing discontent with the way International officers run the club, and frustration with not being able to effect change from within the organization. It could happen. The group, composed of club members, has not only announced its intent to sue, but have collected pledges and money so that they can proceed. What does it mean to us? Most DENCO members only feel the pain when it is time to pay dues. International dues are the lion's share of what you pay, and these went up this year, and are scheduled to go up again next year. For many of us however, dues are not a deal breaker, but occasionally we feel the effects of International Bylaw & Policy. This happened at our Yuma Rally when a visiting International officer demanded that some old friends of our Unit, who were no longer members, had to leave. That created some hurt feelings that could have been avoided, if there had been some patience and confidence in DENCO leaders to rectify the situation. Was there a rule violation? Technically, yes, but a rigid disciplinary attitude doesn't take into consideration mitigating factors, such as the fact that the Yuma rally isn't entirely an Airstream or WBCCI event. It is a blended event and other brands of RV's park in the same field and share the same event and facilities as our group. The one guaranteed result of that hard line approach is that those old friends will never return to our club with an Airstream.
"If the trend continues, the WBCCI will
expire or fragment into small independent clubs
sometime in the next decade."
Rules are like tools, there are appropriate and inappropriate uses and a hammer isn't the best tool for measuring or finding balance. There is the old Japanese saying that, "the nail that sticks up will be hammered down." In other words, the Japanese are homogeneous and value conformity. That also seems to be the prevailing WBCCI philosophy.
Yet, the WBCCI is steadily declining in vitality and members. In 2001, the WBCCI treasury had about $3 million, but today it stands at about $1 million. Membership was around 9,000 but today it has shrunk to about 6,000. If the trend continues, the WBCCI will expire or fragment into small independent clubs sometime in the next decade.
In contrast, the DENCO Unit, the Four Corners Unit, the Washington DC Unit, and other similar units, have growth and vitality because they are pluralistic in their makeup and flexible in attitude.
Paradoxically, the WBCCI's response has been to file grievances against those who are critical and outspoken of the leadership or of their decisions and policies. Bob T., a 32-year member, was suspended
while he was Region 1 President. Leo G., past Metropolitan New York Unit President, has been expelled
(and has since been served legal notices). Kimber M., Vintage Advantage VAC Newsletter Editor, and her husband, Tim K., VAC Webmaster & past VAC Membership Chairman, have been harrassed and threatened
(with legal notices and anonymous phone calls) to such an extent that they have indicated they will not renew their membership. The last straw for Rob B., Past-President of the Washington DC Unit
, was being censored on the WBCCI member forum. Rob has resigned and formed his own club
(and has since also been served threatening legal notices). All of this and more, just in the past year or so. Even our own Region President and Past DENCO President, Janie L., has suffered from similar rough and insensitive treatment
What all of these members have in common is that they are all leaders, contributing members, good citizens, avid Airstreamers, and each was censored or berated for expressing their opinion. The WBCCI leadership would no doubt reply that it was not their opinion, but their manner of expressing their opinion that got them into trouble. In other words they've been labeled loud and brash. Well, that's what many people do when they are frustrated — they yell.
"The International organization
has started to eat its own…"
What else can you expect when the hammer is brought out of the toolbox to fix disappointment, exasperation and weariness? So, now bloodletting has begun. The International organization has started to eat its own
and in response, "A growing number of the general membership intends to bring a Federal lawsuit against the WBCCI. The suit seeks a return to fiscal responsibility in light of current economic times, [and] return to the use of accepted Parliamentarian Practices in decision-making."
The additional fallout from all of this is that for every leader who is expelled, suspended or resigns other members go with them, and the resulting animosity discourages others from joining. It almost seems as though the WBCCI is intent on driving current and potential members away, and that may actually be the case since an International Past President proposed that our club should be more concerned with quality members than with quantity. In fact, the WBCCI Airstream Forum Administrator presents an argument supporting that viewpoint in a thread he created titled, "Quality over Quantity."
"…an International Past President proposed that
our club should be more concerned with
quality members than with quantity."
THE alarming question is what is a quality member and who makes that decision? Were the fore-mentioned members NOT quality? How about you, or me? Are we quality, or not? For instance, the Forum Administrator labeled me a "straw man" — a person who acts as a front for somebody else's questionable activities
— for writing that his argument is repulsive, discriminatory and elitist.
Regardless of which side might win, the club's leadership or the plaintiff's, it will amount to a pyrrhic victory .. a contest won at such a great cost that it is tantamount to defeat.
This is why your vote at the May Maintenance Rally is so important. At that rally, you will be asked to vote for a slate of candidates selected by the International Nominating Committee. Among those, is a member of our Unit, Bob M. for Treasurer, who is an actual Certified Public Accountant — a qualification that position requires, and Bob is the right man, in the right place, at the right time.
However, also in the slate is a nominee for Nominating Committee Richard H
. Some of you may remember him from the IBT meeting at the 2008 International Rally. This is the officer who publicly chastised then VAC 1st VP, and DENCO Unit Past President, Shari D
., for the content of the VAC annual report .. something she had no control over. His conduct was so outrageous that later he was directed to apologize.
Now, three years later, the WBCCI has forgotten or forgiven Richard's actions, and has decided he should be on the committee that selects our Club leadership. It's been suggested that members should vote "no," but the only way to vote against a nomination is to nominate someone else and vote for them.
"…the only way to vote against a nomination is
to nominate someone else and vote for them."
That person is Ed E., Past WI Unit President and Past VAC President. He has agreed to run for that position from the floor of the Delegates Meeting. However, he needs your vote so that we can instruct our Delegate to make and/or support Ed's nomination.
Also, up for your consideration will be a motion to amend the WBCCI Constitution. The full text is on page 5 of our February newsletter. A "yes" vote on this motion will help it go forward to other Units to consider and vote on. If it is ratified, it will be a tool that every Unit can use to put an end to the heavy-handed abuses that are killing our Club.
You may download and view the original article (pages 7&8) from the WBCCI Denver Colorado Unit May 2010 Newsletter here: http://j.mp/9Jo5MQ