ACBL Board of Directors' Meetings in Pittsburgh

by Bill Cook, District 10 Representative

April 1, 2005




The most significant and far reaching decision for the future of bridge at the Pittsburgh meeting was the adoption of the 2005-2009 Strategic Plan and the unanimous commitment by the Board to it. This plan was developed with the assistance of a facilitator and the input of the Board and management at a two day work session in Orlando and several months of tweaking and comments. The Board and Management now have a road map toward accomplishing our mission and goals.


              Key elements of the plan are the following:

                       • The ACBL Mission is to promote and sustain the game of bridge.

                       • ACBL Guiding Principles (There are eight)

                       • Success Measures

                       • Key Functions


              Seven Objectives with Various Strategies

                       1. Sanction Tournaments

                       2. Provide Quality Member Services

                       3. Expand the Awareness & Participation in Bridge

                       4. Position ACBL as the Authority on Bridge in North America

                       5. Provide Professional Development for Teachers & Directors

                       6. Maximize Organization Effectiveness & Efficiency

                       7. Board Development


To implement the plan will cost approximately $300,000 with an annual cost of $325,000, a substantial portion of which has already been included in our current budget. Expect to hear more about the plan from me in my next report.


The Board approved a recommendation from the Real Estate committee and the Governance committee that management actively pursue the sale of ACBL'S office building with the goal of moving to a more desirable location in the Memphis area or elsewhere.


President Roger Smith appointed an Insurance committee to review all ACBL policies and make recommendations to the Board at the Atlanta meeting regarding coverage for ACBL and its clubs, units and districts. I am on that committee.


A motion to increase the minimum size of new units and to phase out or merge units of less than 100 members was withdrawn, but the Governance Committee directed management to bring back specific recommendations regarding the requirements of being a unit and the enforcement of those requirements.


The Board voted to hand over responsibility for our Junior Teams participation in international competition to the United States Bridge Federation (USBF), the organization that is now responsible for selecting and financing the teams that represent the USA in international competition. ACBL will, beginning in 2006, make an annual contribution of $50,000 to the USBF to assist in financing the cost of sending Junior teams. The contribution may be lower if that amount is not available from the Junior Fund.


The Board concurred in management's recommendation to count as members only those who pay annual dues or service fees and life masters who don't pay any service fees but have actively played or participated in some way within the last 24 months. This reduces our real membership number to 156,035 at the end of 2004.


Other actions taken were:

              • Established a Century Club to recognize playing members who reach the age of 100.

              • Made recommendations to the Hall of Fame committee for changes in their operating procedure to broaden the size of the presently very restrictive electorate.

              • Gave responsibility to the ACBL Disciplinary committee (rather than the District) for actions at NABCs referred by the Chief Tournament Director.

              • Extended the contract of CEO Jay Baum for an additional 2 years.

Bill Cook, Jr.
P.O. Box 55763
Jackson, MS 39296-5763
(H) 601-898-1672
(W) 601-981-1500
Fax 982-0555