Thank you for Voting

Thank you to all who have already voted in the USA Dance national election.  We are now in the final week and  I hope those reading this post have already voted for the incumbent National Officers of USA Dance, and I wish to thank them for their support. USA Dance is a democratic organization, and those who vote get to play a part in deciding who the national leaders will be.  If you are not planning to vote until the last few days of the election, please remember that ballots must reach the National Elections Director by Saturday, November 2, 2013, so send your ballot by overnight delivery service so that it will arrive on time.  Again, thank you to all who have participated.



Open Letter to Yang Chen, Shawn Fisher and Michael Brocks

Once and for all, let’s speak honestly about this election rather than simply dancing around the edges.

Yang:  Since you aspire to be national president, why haven’t you come to me in the past and asked if there was any Governing Council position or other national position to which you could be appointed so that you could become familiar with the GC, how it operates and the issues involved at the national level?   You will recall that when I asked you three and a half years ago to chair a national committee, you turned me down.    Why didn’t you simply ask for another assignment if that one was not of interest to you?  If you had, you could very well be on the Governing Council today, serving as part of the national team.

Shawn:  You have received repeated opportunities to help at the national level, and while we have heard many grand ideas from you, we are waiting to see some results.  Shouldn’t you be taking full advantage of your existing opportunities to prove yourself before aspiring to higher office? Bill Rose has already proven his worth at the national level.  He was probably your strongest supporter over the last few years, repeatedly attending your events in Idaho and trying to flesh out your incomplete ideas regarding team memberships for youth.  And you repaid his support by running against him for National Senior Vice President while at the same time continuing to ask him for help with your own projects on the DanceSport Council.  This has been a real disappointment.

Michael:  I know you are proud of your experience as a CPA.  But being the National Treasurer of USA Dance requires more than just accounting skills.  It requires the Treasurer to work with over 160 chapters, answering their questions and performing assignments that may not be strictly in the accounting field but that need doing.  When National Treasurer Esther Freeman asked you to help her with projects she has been working on, you turned her down.  You could be working along side her today, with USA Dance being the big winner.

There is more than enough work for all willing volunteers at the national level, yet the three of you instead chose a path of trying to remove not just one corporate officer, but three.  Your running mate, Greg Warner, said “yes” when he was approached to help us at the national level.  He rolled up his sleeves, got to work and successfully completed his projects, and as a result he is serving as our National Secretary today.

The Governing Council is always looking for individuals with a track record of successful volunteerism who want to help the organization, and assignments can be found for such individuals.  Instead, our members are now being forced to make a choice that one way or another will result in the reduction rather than the addition of dedicated volunteers at the national level.  And added to that, long serving volunteers have been treated disrespectfully by supporters of the other side, and the result of all this is that our organization is now being seen in a negative light by the outside world that is left to wonder what is going on with USA Dance.

There can truly be no winners here, as USA Dance is losing all around.  All of this was unnecessary.  All of this could have been avoided if you had come forward and expressed your desire to help us at the very beginning.   Instead, you chose to listen to detractors who seem more intent on settling scores than on moving USA Dance forward.  The outcome of all this negativity has been to pit chapter against chapter, member against member, and volunteer against volunteer, creating so much discord and unhappiness in the organization we all wish to serve.

Personal Endorsements for the Re-election of Lydia Scardina, Bill Rose and Esther Freeman

I am proud and honored that the USA Dance members listed below have chosen to endorse me, Lydia Scardina, for National President, Bill Rose for National Senior Vice President, and Esther Freeman for National Treasurer.  I thank them for their support and confidence in our ability to continue leading USA Dance.

Peter Pover, Immediate National Past President

Mary Wethington, National Past President

Ken Richards, Vice President of DanceSport

Barbara Wally, Director of K-12 Programs

Dorene Goin, Director of Chapter Liaison

Alexandra Caluen, Secretary, Los Angeles County Chapter, 2012-2013 Chapter of the Year

Orange County Chapter Board Members and Organizers of the Southwest NQE:  Aydin Aksoy, Vice President; Vic Waki, Treasurer; Sandra Collum, Board Member; Diane Rose, Board Member

Nor Cal Chapter Board Members and Organizers of the Cal State NQE:  Karen Andersen, Vice President; Tina Moretti Rose, Treasurer and Past World Representative in Adult and Senior 1 Latin; Ken Greer, Board Member; David Getchell, Board Member; Scott Sahlman, Board Member; Mark Scardina, Board Member and Past Vice President of DanceSport

Additionally, Leland Andrew, CPA, Immediate National Past Treasurer, and  Life Member of USA Dance, has given his personal endorsement for Esther Freeman’s re-election as National Treasurer.

These are the personal endorsements of the above individuals.  Any identifying information and titles are given for informational purposes only.

Ken Richards Endorses Lydia Scardina, Bill Rose and Esther Freeman

The following endorsement was posted today by Ken Richards, Vice President of DanceSport on the USA Dance Chapter #4004 Facebook page.  Ken calls for the re-election of National President Lydia Scardina, National Senior Vice President Bill Rose and National Treasurer Esther Freeman:

“Dear Fellow Members:

I have noticed a great deal of election campaigning on this Chapter Facebook page along with many others. I encourage all of you to vote and think carefully about the composition of the National Officers for the next 3 years.

I have voted and I endorse the incumbent candidates for National President, Vice-President and Treasurer. I do so for their history and depth and breadth of knowledge of what drives USA Dance. I value the continuity and know that change and improvements have come and will continue to come from this team.

I also recognize that all the “new” ideas aren’t so new and are already under development in some manner or another. I say this with all due respect to the challengers – as I believe we all have a place in USA Dance and that transition of National and Chapter Offices is a good thing. However, for me transition comes by working together and by proving ones dedication to the company and its members. The National Office is not the place for personal agendas. It is more about fortitude and the ability to follow a project through to completion. For me – Lydia Scardina. Bill Rose and Esther Freeman deliver on that. Do we always agree – nope – that’s probably because I’m not always right. And another reason why I would be pleased to see them in office as long as they are willing to serve.
Please fell free to share this posting wherever you think a USA Dance voting member will read it.”

Thank you, Ken.  All USA Dance voting members are encouraged to vote in the national election.  Ballots may be found in the September/October issue of the American Dancer Magazine, and completed ballots must reach the National Elections Director by November 2, 2013.  Please vote!

Ken Richards Rebuttal to Shawn Fisher’s Comments

It is important to see the full answer a candidate gives to a question as well as the full rebuttal, so that voters will have the information to make an educated decision as to who is best capable of leading USA Dance during the next term of office in the position of National Senior Vice President – challenger Shawn Fisher or incumbent Bill Rose.  Therefore, this recent exchange on the USA Dance Candidates Facebook Forum between Shawn Fisher and Ken Richards, Vice President of DanceSport is provided below.

Question from Dorene Goin to Shawn Fisher: “I understand that you have previously served for several years as the  Vice President of YCN for USA Dance. My question is, how much did the  YCN program grow during your tenure and how many collegiate dance clubs  and collegiate competitions did you sign up in USA Dance?”

Shawn Fisher’s answer: “During the time I served as the  VP of the YCN, the position oversaw both the collegiate and youth  programs, so I will include both areas.  As you know I have a strong personal desire to help grow these programs.  I started to ballroom dance in college at Brigham Young University in  the 80’s. I was the USABDA chapter president of BYU (back when colleges  could register as chapters). I now have been involved with youth and  college programs for over 30 years. During those years, whether serving  as a USA Dance official or not, I have helped and promoted any youth or  college program seeking my assistance.  Here is a list of what I (with help from my wife and others) have done  or proposed (as YCN VP) for youth/college programs.  Youth Programs. 1. Introduced a program to help chapters/dancers set up community youth  programs, and then trained several volunteer instructors. Lisa Sandoval  in Lancaster California is celebrating her 10th year running this program.”

Ken Richards rebuttal:  “I am trying not to take sides in this election, but I feel that I must  weigh-in on Shawn’s response above (answer to question 1). As an  uncontested candidate I will be working with whoever wins, so I feel it  is important for the voting members to understand my perspective. These are the facts and my interpretations as I have been experiencing  them firsthand over the past couple of years. I don’t like that almost all of Shawn’s statements above can be summed  up into: good things = Shawn and bad things = the GC. This makes good campaign rhetoric but is not reality for me. I know the Dance United supporters are behind Shawn, however, I  encourage all voters to look at the merits of each candidate separately  and vote less than the full ticket if you think it warrants it. Don’t  let the skills of one or two pull others into jobs they may not be  suited for. Here we go: 1. Shawn I don’t think you should take too much credit for Lisa’s work.  We can of course ask her, but she will tell you that over 10 years ago,  I went to California and prepared and presented a power point  presentation with her to kick of a dance program to school admins… You  were not part of that.”

Shawn Fisher’s answer continues: “2. Developed and donated K-12 training materials to implement in school  Phys Ed or after-school programs.”

Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues:  “2. Please tell us where you donated these K-12 Materials – what programs  did you develop and when, what did they look like? Why doesn’t USA Dance  have a copy? How come it isn’t being repeated now around the country? I  ask because I know a lot of your focus is on your local community.”

Shawn Fisher’s answer continues:   “3: “Local (eastern Idaho/northern Utah) youth programs have expanded from  two 8-couple teams to 15 teams/programs with 1500 participants.”

Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues:  “3. The growth of your local teams is noteworthy. But isn’t the expansion  of these teams also part of your business? According to your website,  you teach these teams and run local competitions for the teams… I am not  sure this growth was all based on altruistic intent for USA Dance.“

Shawn Fisher’s answer continues: “4. Proposed but rejected by GC: YCN Certification program for dance  instructors/chapter members to become certified with state boards of  education to be able to teach in the schools. I had a volunteer with  extensive experience with the National Federation of High Schools  willing to oversee this program. The GC did not contact him for over 8  months (with repeated requests), so he moved on to other projects.”

Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues:  “4. The YCN Certification idea was a half-baked proposal to the GC with  no content. The program was falling apart and your solution was to  strike a deal with a guy you wanted to promote to “National Coach”. We  discussed extensively why this was not a good idea and outlined other  initiatives that would have been more productive before this was voted down.”

Shawn Fisher’s answer continues:  “5.  Proposed but rejected by GC:  School/Team/Club registration with USA Dance making it affordable for non-competitive youth to be part of USA Dance.  Bill Rose has taken up this cause, and it has been now approved but not implemented due to the difficulties in the new membership database.”

Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues:  “5. The way I remember the 2012 GC meeting, Bill Rose proposed this after  seeing your program and discussing it with you… more of a team effort I  would say. Unfortunately it was presented as a discussion with respects  to how it should work and who was going to implement it into the  Membership System, what to charge – teams/individuals, etc. No final  decisions were made in the meeting. So Bill was given the responsibility  to make it happen and finalize the plan. When you announced your  candidacy for his position a lot of communication broke down and Bill  focused his efforts on Chapter support of the Membership Database. As a  side note – I am glad you will welcome Bill to “stay onboard” and  continue his work with the technology… sounds like an endorsement to me.”

Shawn Fisher’s answer continues and concludes: “6. Currently working with Barbara Wally, director of k-12 programs.  Working with Ann Durocher on ballroom programs in Louisiana schools. _______________________  College Programs When I began with YCN, there was a strong foundation in place built by  Bill Bennett and Kaye Teague. At that time there were 100+ collegiate  programs running. (1998 I think). 1. Proposed but rejected by GC: collegiate registration system for  college programs. In general, only the president (club team) registered,  and as these changed the contact with the program was often lost. This  registration would allow USA Dance to have multiple contacts for each  collegiate program. 2. Proposed but rejected by GC: Collegiate Club system. The college  students who do register as members with USA Dance continue to be  assigned to the local chapter and not their club or team. This is a  problem for the chapters because the college students aren’t involved  with the chapter, but they have all of their memberships. It is a  problem for the college programs because they receive no direct  communication (as a body) from USA Dance. Currently there are  approximately 5000 college students in college programs, but only 1200  registered with USA Dance (according to 2011 figures). 3. Proposed and accepted by DSC in Aug 2013: Google registration system  for college clubs/teams. The plan is to have this functional by Oct 1. 4. National Collegiate Championships: For several years this event was  held in a small section of the convention center (Ohio) squeezing in  300+ students from 20 or so universities. I took over the event in 2005  and it is now one of the biggest events hosted by USA Dance. Over 40  universities attend with 800+ students participating.  In conclusion, I strongly feel we need to offer services and support to  schools and universities for them to feel it is a benefit to be members  of USA Dance. This should be similar to the services and support that  are available to chapters. These college dancers will be the future  members and leaders of USA Dance. Both Yang Chen and I are examples of this.”

Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues and concludes:  “6. Please help me understand exactly what you’re doing in Louisiana to  help Barbara and Ann? They both are very on-top of these things. The one  thing Barbara has been asking for help with for the past two years is  with the implementation of a State Games program that we can support. I  know you are not helping her with that. But speaking of State Games – I  spoke to you about issuing state titles for collegiate events and that  went know where.  College Programs #1 Not so sure you want to point out that the YCN went from 100+ Collegiate  Teams when you took it over to its current state of today. Before you  were the Director, the program used to have regional delegates,  structure, a comp calendar, and provide support for startup competitions  and clubs. It ran an annual week-long training event in Florida and  more… yes a lot of good collegiate dancers came from those days – but  very little happened after that, while you were in charge. #2 – Good idea. But why is it everyone else’s job to implement your  ideas. Just like the Collegiate Calendar and facebook page – the talk  isn’t being walked. Contrary to your statement, I disagree that chapters  have a problem with College members. In fact many of them now have a  liaison to college members because the national scene fell apart. Now think this through… what would happen if we had a bunch of college  team members that formed clubs? Would they share USA Dance non-profit  status or that of their university, would they run events on USA Dance  insurance, etc. What happens when the officers graduate, do they fill  out a chapter report, have treasures and minuted meetings to be legit? Shawn – the fiduciary responsibility of an officer/committee chair is to  map a plan for success not just drop an idea on the GC with no plan for  implementation. Like I said, good idea – where is the rest of it? 3. Yes – you spent well over a year on the DSC to propose a new “google  based” way to communicate with the college teams. Of course they are  already communicating with us because they attend the NCC. From what I  see, mostly Amanda works on the calendar and Daphna on the website.  Others have programs running that you have touched. In the 2012 DSC  meeting you reported on things you were going to do and in 2013 it was  about the same. You also reported speaking with 15 teams in the 2012 NCC and developing  a list of things – but no details or actions in the year that followed. Some specific items I assigned to you when appointed to the DSC have  never been broached – and that was to provide services to Collegiate  Teams by developing a guidebook on running a competition and proposing a  melding of USA Dance Rules and Collegiate rules that would make it all  come together under the USA Dance Brand.  4 . Yes you are Chair of the NCC organizing committee and that is an  important role – but the event is run by a team of people. It is  important to not take all the credit yourself..  I am concerned about a future GC that is full of big ideas with no  ability to make them reality. Shawn I worry for USA Dance and the  possibility of no continuity in the technology support we have now, and  the balance of conflict and the actual amount of time you can dedicate.  I am not impressed by talk and padded resumes where credit is not  shared. I know how much work it takes to be an effective volunteer for  USA Dance and hope you are able to focus your efforts, as a volunteer,  into one or two areas that align with your skills to help the company soar.”

And there you have the full answer and rebuttal. I know who I am voting for – Incumbent Bill Rose for National Senior Vice President. I am personally familiar with Bill’s work ethic and ability to see a project through to completion.  He has worked tirelessly on behalf of USA Dance as National Senior Vice President and our organization needs him.  Please support Bill with your vote.

“A Plea for Civility” – Too Little Too Late

The candidates running against the incumbent corporate officers of USA Dance  have recently posted a statement calling for civility in the USA Dance national election.  Yet I wonder why they have allowed their family members, friends and supporters to make very uncivil comments against me, Bill Rose and Esther Freeman on a daily basis.

Here is a sample:  “That is a lie.”  – This statement was made by the spouse of one of the challengers in response to a comment made by Esther Freeman on the USA Dance Candidates Facebook Forum.  Is accusing the National Treasurer of lying the kind of civility the challengers support?  Is this what they view as a higher level of discourse?

Then we have these comments made against the incumbents by the challengers’ supporters:

1) “Thanks to the lack of vision in the current incumbents at USA Dance”

2) “Illegally posted campaign message”

3) “They have already shamed themselves”

4) “Disgraceful but typical”

5) “The shocking cynicism and lack of responsiveness of the incumbents”

And these comments above are taken only from one Facebook page on one day.  In fact, this type of rhetoric against the incumbents has been going on now for months.  Is this the type of civility the challengers are talking about?

On another day on another Facebook page, a supporter of the challengers states that I was never elected to the presidency of USA Dance.  Why have the challengers not stepped in to remind their supporters that there was a national election in 2010 in which all the current incumbents, including the National President, were elected to the positions they hold?  Instead, the challengers seem to ignore such untruthful charges made by their supporters against the incumbents.  This does not sound very civil to me.

In other posts, the incumbents have been called “imperious”, “out of touch”, “condescending” and  “arrogant”, while USA Dance finances have been labeled as being “obscure”.  Meanwhile, on the Candidates Facebook Forum, incumbents have been accused of “misleading” the membership, of  “wasting” offers of help and of not being “transparent”.  And to top it off, supporters of the challengers accused the full  Executive Committee of USA Dance of  “suspicious” behavior and of breaching a contract for “political retaliation”.

The challengers have accused the national officers of being “uncivil” for pointing out the challengers’ lack of experience at the national level of USA Dance.  At the same time, the challengers allow their own supporters to denigrate the performance and accomplishments not only of the incumbents, but indeed of the entire Governing Council of USA Dance.

The challengers also take the incumbents to task for calling them a “takeover team”.  Yet, have they not banded together to form a slate to take over not one or two corporate officer positions but in fact all the corporate officer positions of USA Dance?  What is this if not a “takeover team”?

USA Dance national officials have worked for many years to ensure that our organization has a stellar reputation as a dance industry leader, yet the comments made by the challengers’ supporters are destroying USA Dance’s reputation, not to mention the reputation of all the national volunteers who work so hard year in and year out on behalf of the organization.

It is all well and good to call for civility, but one must first practice it and demand that one’s supporters do so as well.  Regrettably, the challengers have not seen fit to do so.

If you are as disheartened as I am with such behavior, there is something you can do, and that is to vote for the incumbents.  Let the challengers and their supporters know that USA Dance’s reputation is not to be sullied.

October 13, 2013 Addendum

While calling for civility from incumbents, the challengers have accused the incumbents of “negative, inaccurate, unfair and improper campaigning”.  They have also taken incumbents’ comments out of context and have accused incumbents of “complacency” and a sense of “entitlement”.  It is the challengers who are being uncivil, not the incumbents.

Is USA Dance Just Another Non-Profit Organization?

The challengers who are running to unseat the incumbents in the USA Dance national election point with pride to their experience with non-profit organizations when queried on their ability to replace us as USA Dance national officers.  My response is that USA Dance’s status as a non-profit organization is not the most important element in USA Dance’s mission.

USA Dance’s non-profit status is certainly important in that it allows our organization to function without having to pay federal taxes, providing an opportunity for its dollars to go further, and we would certainly not want to lose that status.  The current corporate officers are well aware of the need to safeguard the organization’s non profit status and have been doing so for years.  Our incumbent National Treasurer considers that to be a key priority of her position.

But it is imperative to note that USA Dance is most importantly defined in  the bylaws as a National Governing Body (NGB) of DanceSport, having received that designation from the United States Olympic Committee in compliance with the U. S. Amateur Sports Act.

What does USA Dance’s designation as an NGB entail?  This designation requires USA Dance to govern DanceSport in compliance with both USOC criteria nationally as well as the criteria established internationally by the international body that has been designated by the IOC to govern DanceSport world-wide – the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), of which USA Dance is a member.

I am not aware of any experience that any of the challengers seeking to take over the corporate officer positions have with regard to managing a National Governing Body.  They have attended no meetings of the USOC or the WDSF as United States Delegates.  They have not had to deal with disciplinary matters or grievances pending before either of these bodies, and they have not had to enforce the provisions in the bylaws dealing with USA Dance’s responsibilities as an NGB.

Several of the individuals on the “takeover team” hoping to unseat the incumbents have no national USA Dance experience whatsoever, so why would our members entrust the critical role of safeguarding USA Dance’s status as a National Governing Body to such individuals?

The current corporate officers are experienced in this area.  As National President, I have dealt with both the USOC and the WDSF on a regular basis on a variety of issues and have attended their meetings regularly over a number of years.  I know how important it is for USA Dance to maintain a good relationship with these bodies.  The incumbent National Treasurer is also a past National President and has also dealt extensively with these bodies during her presidency.  The incumbent National Senior Vice President, in addition to his accomplishments in the technology area that have helped USA Dance so much,  accompanied me as a U.S. Delegate to the WDSF meeting this year, and as a member of the Executive Committee of USA Dance, has been kept apprised of all important issues pertaining to the USOC and the WDSF.  None of the members of the “takeover team” have this degree of experience in running a National Governing Body, in fact they do not appear to have any experience in this area at all.

I strongly urge our members to vote to re-elect the incumbents.