Posted on 05/08/2013 by jlgrnbrg
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MEMBERS OF THE CLASSIC THUNDERBIRD CLUB OF CHICAGOLAND: WHY WE ARE NOT HOSTING THE 2014 60th ANNIVERSARY CONVENTION
At the 2012 International Convention in Memphis, several members of the International Board approached a number of Chicago Board members about hosting the 2014 Convention. While the International Board members wanted to meet with the Chicago Board prior to the International Board meeting at the convention, at that point Chicago had not given any thought to hosting the 2014 Convention, so this meeting never occurred. However, in September, the Chicago Board decided to put together an exploratory committee to look into the feasibility of Chicago hosting the 2014 convention. After doing extensive research, the committee suggested that the convention be held in Springfield, Illinois because Chicago was cost prohibitive. A good hotel had been found, and a variety of activities were projected. Several Chicago members also volunteered to take on some of the major responsibilities associated with hosting a convention. This was presented to our Chicago Board, which agreed that our club should pursue this.
We also discussed hosting the convention with John Smith (International President at the time) and Bob Young (incoming Region 2 Director [we are part of Region 2]). John was talking with people at Ford Motor Sports and Bob was having discussions with the Ford Dealers Association regarding support for the convention.
Our next step was to have the convention sanctioned by the International. We submitted our request to John Smith, outlining our plans, and included all pertinent information from the contract with the hotel. At this point, Martin Bierman, an International Board member (Region 5 Director, an elected, voting position), demanded to see the hotel contract. Since the International was not a party to the contract, which was between the hotel and Chicago, the Chicago Board felt that since we were assuming all the financial liability, there was no need for Mr. Bierman to review the actual contract, as Mr. Smith had received all of the pertinent information. Subsequently, Rich Martin (International Concours Coordinator [an appointed, non voting position]), under the guise of "helping us," told the International Board that if Chicago did not follow the International's "Guidelines" we would "set the stage to split the club in the future." The Chicago Board was then given a 37-page document entitled "2013 Convention Guidelines and Concours Procedures," which had been revised by Rich and Lois Martin in late 2012. At that point there were "Guideline"-associated criticisms from some at the International, including the fact that we did not have every responsible convention position filled prior to submitting our request. Since the Chicago Board did not want to be involved with any perception that Chicago would "split the club," we withdrew our request.
John Smith spent several days talking with members of the International Board persuading them to vote for sanctioning. Chicago was then told that if our proposal was resubmitted there would be no problem getting the event sanctioned. Thus Chicago resubmitted our proposal, adding Concours Chairman and Chief Judge to the list of Chicago's filled convention positions. However, rather than Chicago receiving a smooth vote for convention sanctioning by the Board (voting via email), Mr. Martin resigned as Concours Coordinator Chairman. A couple of International officers and directors made a procedural motion that stopped the vote to sanction our request. They told the other directors that they did this because they heard another club was thinking about hosting the 2014 National Convention in New York City (without verifying any details). They said "they wanted to give this club until the February Board Meeting to submit its request". This did not materialize, as the club involved was never really interested in hosting a convention.
At this point, Chicago was fed up. The procedural motion was used to prevent Chicago from getting sanctioned. All this primarily because we would not let the International see our contract with the hotel. We do not feel the International has the right to review our club's or any other club's financial documents.We withdrew our request for the second and final time.
Additionally, some International Board members feel that the document entitled "Convention Guidelines and Concours Procedures" is in fact a set of RULES that must be followed to the letter. Other International Board members think it is, in fact, a collection of GUIDELINES to help clubs which need assistance running a successful convention. This clarification will have to be decided on by the International Board.
Those Chicago members who read Mr. Bierman's Director's Report in the April issue of BIRD-NEWS will note that he states "...we do not have a club to host the 2014 Convention, and if no club comes forward..." Chicago in fact did submit a well thought out and detailed proposal that we think would have presented the International's membership with a convention that would have been every bit as good as the recent Memphis Convention and a fitting tribute to the 60th anniversary of the Thunderbird, but because of the refusal of the International Board to grant Chicago sanctioning for the event, we will never know.
CTCC 2014 Convention Committee