A COUNTER POINT OF VIEW TO THE SLOAN RECALL PETITION
by Bruce Draney
While I do not expect this editorial to reach the pages of this website due to political issues, I wish to express a counter point of view, opposing the Sloan recall petition.
This organization is currently in financial trouble. It has been in financial trouble for approximately 4 years. Since 1996 our organization has gone through 4 Presidents and five Executive Directors.
While all of them have had their critics and their supporters, none of them have had more than a minimal impact on the health of our organization.
Recalls are generally a last resort measure to "unelect" people who were elected but greatly misrepresented their views during the campaign, or showed such malfeasance or misfeasance once in office that allowing them to finish their term is unacceptable. To recall even one Board member should require some major grievance that the one might have committed such as complete disregard for our bylaws, misuse of funds or moral turpitude or vile behavior unbecoming of an officer of our organization.
Recently Sam Sloan sent a very well worded recall letter asking for the unprecedented action of recalling more than half of the entire Executive Board. Thus far the only challenges to a number of dubious assertions made in this letter by Mr. Sloan have come on the Usenet discussion group, rec.games.chess.politics. Unfortunately many Delegates and Alternate Delegates do not read RGCP and will therefore see no rebuttal to some of the more controversial issues that Sam claims are true and that justify his recall.
This recall is potentially very harmful to the USCF. In a period of time where working together is almost a necessity, the recall opens angry wounds and encourages backstabbing, distrust and disunity. Last year, despite disagreements over policy there were no recall efforts to get rid of Garrett Scott, or other board members that some thought were not properly fulfilling their duties. This is because Garrett was duly elected and most of us feel (rightly so), that duly elected officials should serve out their terms.
People should speak at the ballot box. If they dislike any Board members they should voice their opinions and then accept the decision of the voters. Recall petitions imply that one is being a sore loser. If this recall petition garners 75 signatures, then the USCF will have to hold a separate recall election only a month or so before the regular election which is set to happen in June and July. This will cost money, will further politicize the Board and will distract from the candidates who running for the new Board.
Not only that, the petition is almost certainly going to fail as it would require a huge majority of the voters to vote to recall in order for it to succeed. The potential exists for the recall to actually enhance bitter feelings towards those who signed the recall petition and to strengthen the hand and the resolve of those who were not successfully recalled. The potential exists for revenge recalls in the future, whenever the political group out of power gets mad at their rivals or opponents.
Many of the issues that prompted the recall, are being resolved through discussion and compromise which is how the system should work. The controversial fiddle points proposal has already been completely scrapped. Charges that Helen Warren, one of the targets of the recall was trying to dismantle the B&E business because of her husband's company have also been disproven as Jim Warren has sold his company APCT, and the USCF has not dismantled the B&E business as is charged in the letter. Although the spyware issue with USCL was an initial problem, most experts feel that the new arrangement and disclosure pretty clearly describe what people who sign up for USCL are agreeing to. Certainly, anyone who feels that signing up for USCL is infringing upon their privacy is free to avoid signing up. Why should Doris Barry be recalled for this? We should be thanking Doris for her hard work on getting this major project off of the ground, not punishing her by signing Sam's recall petition.
The financial statements were issued to everyone in St. Paul, yet Sam Sloan who wasn't in attendance continues to claim that our VP of Finance should be recalled for witholding financial information from the members. This is simply false. An EBN sent in October of 2000 gave a consolidated summary sheet and gave a phone number and e-mail address at the USCF office to get a complete copy. Not even Sam's allies agree with his point, although for political reasons many of them are unwilling to say so.
Does this mean that I agree with everything that the current Board majority has done? Of course not. I don't like the TLA policies and I feel the office needs to improve communication and grassroots efforts. On the other hand, I didn't like a deadlocked Board that constantly voted 4-4 on everything either or a deadlocked Board that constantly voted 3-3 on everything before that. If I don't like everything that Bill Goichberg did while he was Vice President, it does not mean that I wanted to recall Bill Goichberg. Reasonable people ought to be able to disagree and still remain reasonable. This recall petition is not reasonable and I ask all of you to send a strong message to people like Sam Sloan that launching recall petitions that reek of political motivations is not in the best interests of either the present or the future of USCF.
Bruce Draney, Alternate Delegate, Nebraska
Editor's comment: It is not the intent of this website to present only one point of view, and I thank Bruce for his contribution. My previous post on this subject neither endorsed nor opposed the signing of the Sloan petitions, though I did state that I tried to discourage Sloan from making this effort, partly because I feared it would be counterproductive and partly for some of the reasons stated by Bruce above. I have not signed any of the petitions, and barring some fresh EB action to cause even more harm to USCF, do not plan to sign any. However, I believe that the outrageous increase in the TLA fees and resulting decimation of the TLA section of Chess Life is a catastrophe, and I am not willing to try to discourage any voters who may react to this by signing one or more of the petitions.