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District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

It’s not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game even starts.
Addison (Mort) Walker 1923 -

irst, let me join everyone in celebrating our Flight C team’s great victory in the Grand National Teams final during the the Summer NABC in Chicago.
Also, kudos to the Norm Schwartz victory in the National 0-5000 Pairs, plus the D22 team members’ photo finish (second place) in the prestigious NABC Senior Swiss Teams.
Well done to all – you made our district proud.
While still reeling with all of their successes, I’ll move on to report on a few interesting board actions.
Membership Report
Tremendous news: ACBL membership continues to inch up, and we are at a two decade high of 168,209! Alive and well.
Chicago Board Motions

f you’ve followed my previous columns you are more than aware that I strive to transfer our responsibility of paying annual dues to the World Bridge Federation (WBF) from the ACBL general account to our National Bridge Organizations (NBOs)  – United States Bridge Federation (USBF), and Canadian Bridge Federation (CBF) – and also granting them more governance of our world bridge participation. Most things international are already in their hands, and the only two remaining duties are paying the “dues” to WBF, and the selection of our delegates to sit on the WBF board. We pay the exorbitant $165,000 annual dues to WBF from the ACBL general bank account – for little or no value to anyone other than the NBOs.
Currently the ACBL Board selects four or five of its members to sit on WBF’s board, whose meetings are usually held in conjunction with world play. A motion filed by myself, Bob Heller of District 7, and Sharon Anderson of District 14, was to transfer those two obligations (dues & delegate selections) to our NBOs, thus we would no longer pay from the general account (club sanctions, sectional and regional sanctions, STAC sanctions, membership dues, etc), letting the NBOs pay from the International Fund (IF) – we annually send USBF a quarter of million dollars in player donations from International Fund games and other avenues to aid the teams they select. We feel WBF dues should be paid from the IF, not the general account of which, in my two terms on the board, we’ve depleted by more than $1,000,000 in WBF payments.
Our motion, as specified in the league’s conflict of interest policy, would require the five members of our board with WBF or USBF ties to recuse themselves from discussion and voting on it due to travel benefits ... or even the appearance of. Feeling this an undue strain as they were elected by their districts to make decisions, they deferred the motion to the Denver Fall NABC meetings while our reps prepare a possible amendment to the conflict of interest policy. So no vote taken.
A second motion I co-sponsored was for term limits for ACBL board members. Currently there are no limits, and one member recently retired after 33 years. The motion suggested limits of four consecutive terms of three years each, for a total of 12 years, and included a clause that after serving four consecutive terms, a member must stand down, but could re-run for election after only one term off. Hence, another 12 year option, so 24 out of 27 consecutive years possible.
In addition, current board members would be “grandfathered” in, so their previous tenure would not count against the limits. The motion was defeated 11 for, 13 against, and 1 abstaining.
Defeated was a motion that would have charged non-members extra fees to play in our huge Western Conference STACs.
That would have been costly to us.
Screens and Screams

ne action/argument at the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting was a continuing request by the experts and pros  for the board to reconsider a previous motion we passed to charge extra card fees to teams and pairs competing in NABC+ national championships for sessions that require the use of bidding screens. Using screens during high level events at our national tournaments entails a $12,000-$15,000 extra NABC expense for various storage/shipping/space/set-up reasons.
Who should pay the extra charges? The board has suggested that the current extra charges should be spread over all NABC events using screens, rather than just NABC+. I agree.
Some experts in attendance voiced that we were discriminating against them and their importance. One even stood to declare we need to revere and respect them more. I was wondering if I should find a ring to kiss, or just genuflect.

here was more, of course. For a list of all Chicago motions, and who voted for what, you can view the minutes at acbl.org, or on my website at www.kenmonzingo.com

Peace, my friends.