Highlights of the ACBL Board of Directors Meeting
March 27-30, 2006
By: Bill Cook, Jr.
District 10 Representative
• Received a demonstration of Bridgemate, a hand held wireless device into which the results of each hand are entered and approved then sent to a central receiver which is connected to a computer that does the scoring. They have been widely used in Europe and Australia for several years. The number of caddies and directors required for tournaments could be significantly reduced if Bridgemate is adopted for use by ACBL.
• Defeated a motion that would have prevented members of the Finance Committee from serving on the Audit Committee. The vote was 12 for and 12 against with one abstain and 8 of the 12 that voted against were the members of the Finance Committee.
• Rejected a motion to eliminate reimbursement of hotel and per diem the Board members received after the Board meetings were concluded just so the Board could attend the Board of Governors meeting at which they have no vote or authority. (This was my motion and I was one of only 2 board members who voted for the motion. This would have resulted in a savings of over $35,000 annually.)
• Rescinded the suggested format for Unit Bylaws pending a revision that is being prepared.
• Deferred to Summer 2006 NABC consideration of combining the Charity Foundation and the Educational Foundation into a single Foundation called the ACBL Trust. The combined foundation would fund educational, charitable, social, scientific and historical endeavors that promote bridge or are for the benefit of bridge players.
• Beginning January 1, 2007 the Audit Committee will comprise of three members of the Board of Directors who are not currently officers of the Board and who have not been officers during the current year and previous year. (I am the current Chairman of the Audit Committee.)
• Adopted new election regulations that are effective immediately.
• Defeated a motion that would have required ACBL to hold a Junior Camp in North America beginning in 2007, open to Juniors around the world.
• Approved hosting the World Bridge Federation's Second World Junior Individual Championship in 2007 at the Summer NABC in Nashville with a $17,000 limit to ACBL financial commitment from the Junior Fund.
• Referred to the Masterpoint Committee the amount of deductions for masterpoints awarded in Flight B and Flight C events if the upper limits of these events are higher than 1000 points for Flight B and 500 pints for Flight C. For every 250 points raised in B and 100 points raised in C the reduction would be decreased two percent to a maximum of 10% from the current 20% reduction in points awarded.
• Motion failed that would list the all-time top masterpoint holders including the deceased on the ACBL website. Management opposed this due to certain technical problems in making the changes monthly.
• Delayed a decision on ACBL providing Officers and Directors Liability Insurance coverage to Unit and District Board Members pending a more complete proposal on our total insurance requirements from the company that has proposed to include all units and district boards in ACBL's D & O policy.
• Reviewed and updated the 2005 - 2009 Strategic Plan.
• Defeated a motion to set the per diem reimbursement rate for the Hawaiian NABC at $54.00/day, the maximum currently allowed for US cities. (I was one of 6 board members who voted for this motion. An increase by IRS is anticipated before November 2006)
Received the following information from Jay Baum, ACBL CEO:
• A status report on the ACBL Strategic Plan 2005-2009 by objectives and strategies.
• 2005 table count at sectionals and regionals were down from 2004 by 4,641 tables but STaC Tables were up 1,656. Online play was up 35% to more than 212,949 tables.
• 2006 table count is up for regionals and sectionals on tables/tournament basis.
• Total membership at the end of 2005 was 150,264. We obtained over 10,000 new members but they were offset by the loss of a similar number. 2006 paid membership @ 3/1/06 was up 1,954. Life Masters unpaid will continue to decline as ACBL drops from its rolls those who do not pay or play within a two year period. There are currently 4,700 Life Masters who do not pay service fees or dues.
• Risk management issues continue to be of concern such as affiliated or controlled organizations, assistance to unrelated entities, use of ACBL logo, activities involving underage participants, districts and units as separate entities from ACBL Club activities and unfair competition issues. President Buckman has appointed a Risk Management Committee composed of members from Governance and Appeals and Charges, Chair of Board of Governors and Staff to make recommendations.
• Exceeded 2005 budget projections by more than $343,000 the result of marketing going over $79,000, product sales loss was $132,000 more than budgeted due to overly optimistic sales revenue. Club game revenue was off $63,000 advertising revenues in the Bulletin were off $36,000.
• Changes in the Organizational Chart. Carol Robertson, Club Member Services; Linda Granell, Marketing; Nancy Foy, Meeting Services and Brent Manley, Bulletin Editor will all now report directly to Jay Baum.
• Announced AARP's plan to establish a number of ACBL-AARP games culminating with an ACBL Tournament at AARP's convention this year in Anaheim. Games are planned to be held at Regionals in Alexandria, Chicago (NABC), Phoenix, Seattle and Atlanta. AARP is committed to promote these games to their 36 million members. (This is a major breakthrough in being able to attract the 50+ age group to bridge and hopefully for play in ACBL sanctioned games and tournaments)
• A record 30 college teams participated in the 2006 North American College Bridge Team Championship held on Bridge Base Online in February. Eight teams will compete in Chicago at ACBL's expense.
• Revealed results of a 32 month program in Illinois comparing test results before and after of six sections of 5th graders matched in academic ability, which showed that the one section who learned to play bridge as part of its math instruction, had increases in their scores for reading, language, math, science and social studies from 13% to 39%.
• The Gates - Buffet, initiative to teach bridge in schools began its first major program in Houston, TX schools in March. Gates & Buffet plan to play against students in the Omaha Regional.