POLITICAL MAILING FINANCED BY USCF?
I received an enormous packet today from USCF, entitled "Quarterly Delegates Mailing- Spring 2001." Included are apparently hundreds of pages, some with legitimate information and some with material of a political nature. I have heard that this mailing was sent not only to Delegates but also Alternate Delegates, and that the cost to USCF was thousands of dollars.
Featured on page 3 of the mailing is an attack by USCF President Tim Redman on Sam Sloan, who launched an effort in January to recall four Executive Board members: Redman, Jim Pechac, Doris Barry and Helen Warren. It surely is an improper use of the USCF name and USCF funds to defend Board members against a recall effort, just as it would be if USCF did a mailing for or against a candidate for election to the Board.
Redman states that he and the three other recall targets "have chosen not to respond to" Sloan's mailing, but then proceeds to respond to Sloan's mailing.
Following are Redman's comments about the Sloan recall effort in this mailing.
Mailing by Mr. Sam Sloan
Most of you will by now have received a mailing from Mr. Sam Sloan, a "Petition to Recall Members of the Executive Board of the United States Chess Federation." The Board Members who are the target of Mr. Sloan's attack, USCF Vice President of Finance Jim Pechac, USCF Secretary Doris Barry, USCF Member-at-Large Helen Warren, and I, have chosen not to respond to his mailing. The mailing contains so many misstatements, distortions, half-truths, libels, and slanders that few have been willing to sign the recall petitions.
Further, our reputations are well known to you, despite Mr. Sloan's attempts to besmirch them. Mr. Sloan's "reputation" is also known to many. His web sites, postings, cross postings, and flames are notorious among those who visit rec.games.chess.politics. He is a convicted criminal with a prison record. I certainly believe he has the right to do a mailing to the voters of the USCF (I even intervened at his request with the New Windsor Office to make sure he received the mailing labels in a timely fashion), but don't let this ex-con con you.
Mr. Sloan states that "the current Executive Board majority has effectively destroyed the established rating system by instituting a 'fiddle points' system where every player will be awarded two points for every game played, up to 2000 points." Not true. The Board adopted an activity bonus in October to fight rating deflation and then modified the plan in accordance with recommendations from Professor Glickman and the Rating Committee in January. No one was ever going to get 2000 points.
Mr. Sloan states that "The new board majority has not issued any financial reports. The most recent balance sheet for the USCF is dated May, 1999." Nonsense. The Federation issues annual, audited financial reports each year. They were circulated to the Delegates at the meetings in Reno in August 1999 and St. Paul 2000 and they will be circulated to the Delegates in Framingham this coming August. Ask anyone who was at the Delegates' Meeting in Reno or St. Paul. A copy of this audited report is included in the Annual Report that is part of this package.
The Board and the Finance Committee receive detailed year-to- date reports on the performance of New Windsor Operations on the 15th of each month. These reports are current to the end of the previous month and generally run over forty pages in length. The December report (seven-month) showed that USCF Operations is finally moving into the black; January and February reports continued this positive trend. Quarterly summaries of operations financial data, in comparison to the budget approved by the Delegates, have been posted regularly on the USChess Website, a practice that was instituted when this Board took office.
The Life Member Asset Committee (LMA), a separate, Delegate- appointed Committee, has separate, Delegate-approved authority. Separate financial reports are prepared on LMA investment performance.
In Fiscal 2000, the finance team of Vice-President of Finance Jim Pechac and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Loomis concentrated on addressing the consequences of a failed computer conversion, weak internal controls, and Y2K. Little emphasis was placed on the LMA.
In Fiscal 2001 the USCF finance team and the LMA Committee headed by Tom Dorsch accomplished the objective of centralizing all LMA assets under one custodian, thus providing management with the ability to use custodial report summaries and analysis for decision support. The USCF finance team is now in the process of implementing a monthly financial reporting schedule similar to that of operations described in a previous paragraph. After that is accomplished, they will address consolidation accounting.
Mr. Sloan states that "USCHESSLIVE software is infected with spyware. It installs spyware into your system, enabling the operators to read your entire hard drive, including your credit card numbers, your bank account passwords and the like." This irresponsible, erroneous, and misleading statement causes harm to the Federation and its partner GamesParlor, Inc., by discouraging members from taking advantage of a free benefit of their USCF membership. These statement have caused material harm to the Federation as they were widely circulated during our recent 30,000-piece mailing to expired USCF members, telling them about the new $32 on-line membership category (all the privileges of regular adult membership without a mailed copy of Chess Life.) The report of an on-line subcommittee, chaired by Myron Lieberman, of the Computer Chess Committee, demonstrates the falsity of Mr. Sloan's claims.
Mr. Sloan states that "Several members of the Executive Board are known to want to close down the books and equipment business and to close down USCF correspondence chess." Rubbish. The professional staff has acted to make our books and equipment business more efficient; Board members expressed strong support for USCF correspondence chess at our Miami meeting.
It is not easy being a member of a turnaround Board. Tough and unpopular decisions have to be made. People wishing only good for the USCF can disagree openly and honestly on many issues, and I expect we will have productive discussions in Framingham. Responsible dissent is healthy for the Federation; slander of hard-working volunteers is not. You know what Doris Barry, Jim Pechac, Tim Redman, and Helen Warren have done for chess in well more than one hundred years combined service to the Federation. What has Sam Sloan ever done for chess?