The possibility of a Games Parlor type contract to oursource USCF's book and equipment sales, which we feared in our post of June 9, appears to have diminished, if it ever existed.  USCF President Tim Redman has recently said, "There is no current plan to outsource B & E," and Executive Director George De Feis has expressed similar sentiments in phone conversations.

Also, at the recent EB conference call, a motion was passed requiring two weeks of advance Board review before significant contracts could be signed.  This appears to greatly reduce the chance of a "fait accompli" surprise move to award an outsourcing contract before the Board of Delegates expresses its opinion on book & equipment sales at Framingham.

Although there is no motion on the Delegates agenda dealing specifically with outsourcing, USCF Vice President John McCrary has submitted the following:

ADM 01-35 (John McCrary, SC)  The Board of Delegates overrides and rescinds EB 01-70, regarding the reduction of book and equipment offerings, and calls for a return to a more comprehensive book-and-equipment policy that addresses the larger needs of our members.  

Rationale: The Executive Board, by a slim 4-2-1 vote, endorsed a major strategic change in one of the USCF's most important membership services, without Delegate consideration. This change is resulting in dropping the number of books in the catalog from 300 titles to only 45.   $

Executive Board candidate Frank Brady, in his second campaign letter, has agreed that USCF should resume carrying a larger selection of books and equipment, and stated that based on his experience in the field of publications, outsourcing tends to decrease profitability unless the vendor has high warehousing costs, not the case with USCF.

The passage of the McCrary motion would be an important step forward towards repairing USCF's book and equipment sales, which plunged dramatically in May under the new "basic items only" policy.  The motion would not prohibit outsourcing should USCF receive a good offer, but would stop the disastrous outflow of customers to other vendors, increasing the value of the business and requiring outsourcers to make a better offer.  I still do not believe USCF should be looking to outsource- but if an established and reputable vendor makes a longterm offer better than any I expect, that would change the picture.  

ChessNews.org homepage