by Eric Johnson

Following is a discussion of USCF book and equipment outsourcing from the chess politics newsgroup, in which former federation Assistant Director Eric Johnson replies to a post by Bill Brock.

>I see no problem in enriching a
>third party by several hundred K/year if USCF's cash flow also
>increases by several hundred K/year.  If USCF's cash flow ISN'T
>improved, I have a problem giving ten bucks/year to a third party.

The only problem that I see is that we hired certain highly-paid office persons to manage the operation, and (amazingly) their major argument for outsourcing is "I/We cannot do this...we don't know how" (!)

So instead of replacing the highly paid but apparently incompetent staff, we "reward" them by retaining them and outsourcing the work they cannot do.  What other business would do this? Check where you work --- if you told your boss "I can't do the job you hired me for, but I would like to outsource it.  Can I get a bonus for finding the outsourcing group?", do you think you'd get a good reaction?

The outsourcing is being proposed solely because the current highly-paid office managers admit they don't have a clue how to run a direct mail business.  Period.

>Also: both Lawrence & Pein are reputable folks who'd probably be
>effective, but it wouldn't hurt to request proposals from other
>parties, so USCF could strike the most advantageous deal.

Indeed, at least one of them has such internal "connections" that the absence of an open bidding process makes the entire deal smell.  I would have no objection to HIRING such persons as marketing managers, so long as they would be working IN THE OFFICE in New Windsor.  I DO OBJECT to handing them a franchise based on secret connections.

>I really like the possibility of making much of inventory risk go away. 
>This is Redman's big concern, although if you have someone smart in-house
>who understands both the catalog biz & chess, I think that risk is nominal
>compared to the upside potential...

Why not just "outsource" the entire US Chess Federation business --ratings, books/equipment/ magazines/customer service -- to a pre-existing federation such as Chess Federation of Canada?  I mean, outsourcing doesn't have to stop at catalog concerns.  You can take the ENTIRE operation, which consists only of various brands (USCF name, Chess Life, rating system, catalog brand) and hand them over to any third party you like.  No brain surgery there.  Of course, that extreme example makes it abundantly clear that the folks hiring the top management don't care that the folks they hire have no skills whatsoever, if the plan is to reduce the federation to one guy and a desk, a fellow who has the "job" of checking in with the outsourcing company once a week. 

I oppose retaining $100,000+ managers who have the "job" of selecting outsourcing companies to do the work that THEY were hired to do internally.  I especially object to such a change by board action alone, without delegate advice and consent.

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