MCCRARY FOR USCF EXECUTIVE BOARD
Most USCF electors appear to be justifiably upset with the record of the current Executive Board. Such issues as the huge TLA fee increase, the Games Parlor contract renewal, the damage done to the profitable book & equipment sales program, the attempt to enact fiddle points and to shut down correspondence chess, and the rejection of risk-free sponsorship have caused many to say, "let's clean out the whole bunch and put in new blood."
While the desire to retaliate against those responsible for the above mistakes is justified, it would be a great mistake to react by voting against all incumbents. For there is one current EB member running for re-election who has led the fight against every one of the above Board blunders, as well as many more. He is the Vice President of USCF, John McCrary, and he thoroughly deserves re-election.
McCrary has a long and distinguished record of service to chess. A former President of the U.S. Chess Trust and Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee, his work played an important role in the creation of the new World Chess Hall of Fame in Miami, and in 1988 his committee was "Committee of the Year." In 1996 and again in 1998, he volunteered to conduct confidential interviews with USCF employees, which led to a better understanding of office problems.
He filled in as Acting USCF Secretary for over six months during 2000, was instrumental in writing the USCF Code of Ethics, helped to create the Scholastic Council, won USCF Special Services awards from two different Boards, was named USCF "Volunteer of the Month," and has attended 16 Delegates Meetings. He also initiated the scholastic chess program in South Carolina, and was an 8-term President of his state chess association.
Many decisions of the current
Executive Board have been made by a group of four Board members who plan their strategy in advance before the other three members can express their
views. These four Board members are Redman, Pechac, Barry, and Warren.
This highly disciplined political alliance has been responsible for every Board
action described above.
If you would like to see such policies changed, don't vote for Pechac, whose support has made them possible, and don't vote for candidates allied with Redman, Barry and Warren, but do support McCrary, who has demonstrated where he stands through both words and deeds. John McCrary supports promoting and advancing USCF, not tearing it down through mindless destruction of successful programs and wasteful spending on futile projects.
The past two years have been unpleasant for EB members who were not part of the alliance. McCrary, as well as Smith and Ippolito, have been repeatedly attacked and ridiculed by the ruling cabal. Smith was hounded into resigning as President, and then censured by the majority after failing to appear at the last Board meeting.
Typical of alliance tactics: in an email discussion last year involving the Board and scholastic organizers, McCrary expressed some views on scholastic chess, and was challenged by Richard Peterson, who claimed that McCrary had no scholastic credentials. McCrary replied to describe his scholastic organizing in South Carolina, whereupon Helen Warren sarcastically suggested he may have also invented the internet and sliced bread. To his credit, McCrary has refrained from responding in kind to this sort of behavior.
When the first Games Parlor contract was signed in July 2000, McCrary was not even informed. He learned of its existence at the October EB meeting, and it took four more months, and several requests, before he was able to see the contract. A member of the alliance has continually asserted that both this contract, and the extension signed in May 2001, should be kept secret from him!
McCrary fought valiantly to try to save the no-risk sponsorship offer from Club Kasparov. In October 1999, McCrary and Kasparov met and agreed in writing to terms, including about $50,000 in scholarships provided by CK the first year and a promise to include USCF in Kasparov's major-media publicity (such as things like his later Super Bowl commercial.) This was a non-exclusive agreement under which USCF would recognize the CK 2000 World Schools Championship but not be limited in any way regarding other online opportunities. It was referred to a Board subcommittee of McCrary, Barry and Pechac, and the latter two refused to approve.
Then McCrary asked Smith to schedule a conference call, as USCF was at risk of losing the deal through Board inaction. CK agreed verbally to include purchase of a banner on the USCF website for $25,000, but this was right before the call. Barry tried to get Smith to cancel the call, and then Barry and Warren objected to McCrary presenting the tentative deal on the call because the new offer was not yet in writing! The Board approved the deal and authorized Dullea, the interim ED backed by the alliance, to finalize it, but after further delay, CK set a final deadline of Dec 31, 1999. On that date, Dullea suddenly repeated the same basic questions to Club Kasparov that they had gone to considerable trouble to answer in October. They withdrew their offer in disgust.
McCrary and Smith had to fight hard to save the outstanding sponsorship offer from the Seattle Chess Foundation. Barry and Warren actually voted against this proposal. Earlier, Warren had refused to affirm a nonbinding objections-procedure motion merely encouraging the Seattle group to make an offer!
When George De Feis took over as Executive Director, and President Smith was unable to go to New Windsor to discuss Board-approved matters with the new ED, he suggested that his Vice President make the trip instead. Even though McCrary was going to pay his own expenses, the alliance attempted to block his trip! Pechac and Gerry Dullea had signed a contract, negotiated without McCrary's knowledge, under which Dullea would represent USCF in dealing with Games Parlor, and the alliance apparently did not want McCrary around as he supported competitive bidding. Here is the alliance motion that resulted:
EB-00-84 (Redman) Board travel to New Windsor must be approved by the Board. FAILED 4-4, Smith, McCrary, Ippolito, Scott opposed.
Here is another example of what Board members not part of the alliance were up against. On May 2, 2000, Helen Warren sent the following email to her three allies, which was accidentally copied to the entire Board by Pechac the next day. Note that the alliance was planning a surprise vote of no confidence against President Smith at the coming May Board meeting. This was probably avoided only because their plans were exposed and criticized.
Date: Tue, 2 May 2000 11:25:40 EDT
Subject: bubba's e-mail to eade
To: Pistola@worldnet.att.net, JPechac@aol.com, email@example.com
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
X-Mailer: AOL 5.0 for Windows sub 105
I guess I'm just amazed at the content of Smith's last mailing in response to
an e-mail from Jim Eade. He says he fully intends to attribute any deficit
to Tim Redman (and to us by extension, I suppose), objecting to the phrase
"Smith deficit". You read his reasoning. Jim, Tim, and Doris, I really have
had enough of upmanship like this. I'm at a loss about what to do about it.
There's something almost sinister in Smith's e-mails, sort of like he's in a
meltdown, thrashing around for a window sill to grab while falling off a 100
storey building. He has now succeeded in drawing in the entire scholastic
comm/ over the CK matter, got Goichberg and Ferguson activated, and almost
seems out of control.
We have a little over two weeks to plan a strategy to meet this attack. I
truly believe Ippolito is a write-off. I don't think we can handle things
between now and August. You see what the two of them are doing before the May
meeting; think of what they're going to do before the delegates' convention!
I think something has got to happen at the May meeting to settle this
impasse. I will join any no confidence vote in Smith at an appropriate time
at the May meeting, strategy to be agreed upon among us.
Meanwhile, I mention the following: we haven't (or at least I haven't)
received the full Feb. financials which were to have been sent on April 20
after the three page FAX; we have no word from DeFeis on a framed
counter-proprosal to the Seattle group's US Championship bid; we need to
develop a consenus statement on FIDE for Kelleher (we must control this
process); the communication (if any) between our attorney in the AM
negotiation and their attorney has not been sent to us; US Open
plans/publicity appears to be at a standstill; we haven't been informed if a
counter proposal to Dullea has been made--and he goes to Small Claims Court
tonight--who goes there for us--DeFeis? our NY attorney?
I've pushed ahead with the LMA list project. I know Doris has had her hands
full. I'm determined to finish this before the May meeting. I'll have a
brief (5 minute) write-up presentation of the Koltanowski Seminars project
for the EB for implementation by the Trust/ I'm in the process of a battery
of medical tests (I am not yet at Yeats' "old and gray and full of sleep",
but I'm working on it...) so may be sporadic with e-mail. My self-prescribed
therapy has my putting in my petunias this week and spending time on my porch
giving the evil-eye to voracious rabbits who insist that "this land is my
land". I wish Bubba would just go away.
"We must control this process," from Helen's third paragraph, pretty well describes the attitude of the alliance, not just on one issue but on everything. Keep pushing hard for control, always try to disgrace the opposition, wear them down with attacks and ridicule, consult no one about anything, because we know it all.
How unpleasant it must have been for John McCrary to serve with people like this in control. Most Board members would retire from USCF governance in disgust after such an experience. The federation is very fortunate that he has not given up on turning USCF around, and remains willing to be a Board member. The electors should not pass up this opportunity.