EB MAJORITY VOTES TO CENSURE SMITH
Perhaps the most controversial action of the recent EB meeting in Kansas City was to censure former USCF President Bob Smith for his emails regarding the firing of longtime USCF Executive Assistant Barbara DeMaro. The dismissal of DeMaro occurred several weeks after Tim Redman assumed office as USCF President, and Smith has suggested that Redman ordered her firing. The vote was 4-2, with the usual alliance of Redman, Pechac, Barry and Warren voting to censure, and McCrary and Ippolito opposed. Smith was not present at this meeting, citing urgent business reasons.
I think a vote to censure Redman for misusing the USCF name and USCF funds to launch a personal attack on an Executive Board candidate would have been far more appropriate than the Smith censure, but the Redman alliance has the votes to avoid their leader being held accountable for this clear violation of long established policy.
The basis cited for the censure was apparently the fact that DeMaro has undertaken legal action against the federation, and that Smith's comments might have an effect on that case. However, other recent Boards have been far more reluctant to censure or reprimand their members. There is also a due process issue, as Smith was not notified and thus was unable to defend himself.
For example, in 1996, USCF Treasurer Tom Dorsch repeatedly attacked the competence of Acting Executive Director George Filippone in internet posts, creating the possibility for vastly greater liability than the relatively harmless Smith comments. Filippone threatened to sue, and after his departure, a settlement was reached in June 1997, in which Filippone received a cash payment and USCF agreed that its officers would not make derogatory public statements about him. The following month, Executive Board member Fan Adams suggested that, on advice of USCF's legal counsel, Dorsch be censured for violating this agreement. However, after some discussion, Adams removed censure from his motion. The final motion as published in the minutes was:
PB 97-116 (Board): The Policy Board disassociates itself from the inappropriate remarks by Tom Dorsch about George Filippone in a posting on rec.games.chess.politics on July 17, 1997, disavows itself from those remarks, and directs Tom Dorsch to comply with the terms of the Employment Severance Agreement with George Filippone of June 3, 1997.
PASSED 6-1 (Adams, Eade, Ferguson, Goichberg, Lieberman, Schultz in favor; Dorsch opposed)
Here was a case in which a large sum could have been at stake, and censure was actually recommended by USCF's attorney, yet a Board majority which had been repeatedly attacked by Dorsch decided not to propose censure.
Today, in response to statements creating far less risk if any for USCF, we see a single-minded majority alliance, which last year succeeded in harassing and bullying Smith to resign as President, gleefully rushing to vote to censure a man who could not defend himself. I believe the object of the censure motion was to pressure Smith into resigning from the Board- a continuation of the vicious tactics which have helped the "fanatical four" to control the federation.
Bob Smith is a long time volunteer chess organizer. He has done much to promote chess in Florida, and has chaired and served on many USCF committees. He has no friends who want to be USCF Executive Director, and is allied with no companies who seek USCF contracts for online play. In the 1999 election, he ran as the candidate who would promote Board harmony, and he was indeed well liked. No one attacked him, and he polled the largest vote of any of the sixteen candidates on the ballot.
But when Bob became President, he discovered that you can't compromise with the fanatical four- either take orders, or they will try to destroy you. Bob said that he resigned as President because the incessant attacks on him by this group were affecting his health. And he is far from the only good person who has been targeted by Redman and his allies. What a breath of fresh air it will be for members and organizers everywhere when Redman leaves office this August, hopefully accompanied by his loyal henchman, Jim Pechac.