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Carla Boucher
UFWDA Executive Director & Legal Counsel
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« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2007, 03:05:54 pm »

Alan, I apologize that I did not post the most recent version of the proposed by-laws to this thread.  Some of the problems you identify have already been resolved with the 4th version, now posted here. 

I will address the rest of your questions but wanted to post the most current version, along with my apology, as quickly as I could.

Also, may I get some clear direction from you on what it is SWFWDA is asking to be changed?  Or will your delegates give me that information?

Carla
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Carla Boucher, Attorney
United Four Wheel Drive Associations
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Chesapeake, VA  23328
(757) 546-7969
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2007, 03:17:57 pm »

If you meant to post the latest revision of the Bylaws ... it's not with your post???
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Todd Ockert
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« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2007, 03:34:40 pm »

Doug

They are posted with the very first post of this thread.

Todd
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Alan Hatcher
Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association
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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2007, 05:50:27 pm »

Alan, I apologize that I did not post the most recent version of the proposed by-laws to this thread.  Some of the problems you identify have already been resolved with the 4th version, now posted here. 

I will address the rest of your questions but wanted to post the most current version, along with my apology, as quickly as I could.

Also, may I get some clear direction from you on what it is SWFWDA is asking to be changed?  Or will your delegates give me that information?

Carla
Looks like I have another round of reading ahead of me.

SWFWDA desires that NOTHING be changed in the bylaws. If you need more dues, prove your case and take it to the delegates/orgs. If individual members want/need a say in things, don't wipe out 99% of the voting rights of the ORGANIZATIONS THAT GOT UFWDA OFF THE GROUND in order to give individuals voting rights.

You are asking your current member organizations to swallow the elephant in one big bite. That's not how you eat an elephant; it's one small bite at a time.

Write a business plan that requires a few small changes to the bylaws, not a frame-up resto. We understand that change is sometimes needed. We understand that times are tough (it ain't just UFWDA that is/will suffer a drop in membership). The bylaws I read (and I doubt the latest version is radically different) creates a new organization entirely, not a modified association. Just about the only thing that stays the same is the name (which is a laugh).

Why does United feel it must compete with Blue Ribbon and Tread Lightly!? That's where individuals can go for individual activities. United was formed as an ASSOCIATION OF ASSOCIATIONS. I am unaware of any other world-wide organization that is tailored to help regional/local clubs in their/our quest for maintaining the open land still out there.

How many folks claim a political party? How many of them vote (it's free)? How many of them actually donate to their chosen political party? And you think you're going to eventually get a surge in membership because you RAISE the price of admission and in exchange let individual members vote to decide...what? The budget? The price of dues? What exactly will the newly bestowed voting members be able to vote on besides changes to the bylaws?

Time to go read.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 06:11:10 pm by Alan Hatcher » Logged

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Carla Boucher
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« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2007, 08:57:02 am »

Alan, the prime motivating factor for changing the voting allocation and the by-laws is to correct the communication problem that UFWDA has been plaqued with for 30+ years.  To the present, UFWDA relies on associations to bring information to UFWDA and UFWDA relies on associations to take UFWDA information to its members. 

Historically, less than 1/2 of all associations attend the annual meeting, one of several venues for UFWDA and associations to communicate.  Likewise, there are 62 organizations currently in UFWDA.  Of those 62 with voting rights in UFWDA, only 36 of them have provided UFWDA with a club or association with an e-mail address and therefore only 26 organizations are on the UFWDA e-mail group, one of several venues for UFWDA and associations to communicate.  Of those 26, only 19 are registered for the forums.  Of the 19 organizations registered for the forums, only 7 are participating in any discussions - land use, UFWDA programs, the proposed by-laws, etc.  In contrast, the UFWDA Voice readership is over 10,000. 

UFWDA has been asked repeatedly by its members "what has UFWDA done for me lately?".  All we have done has been shared with our voting associations, via e-mail, via website, via forum, and via Voice.  Yet the delegates from those organizations are not, generally speaking, sharing the UFWDA information with the members they represent.  I ask every organization leader reading this post to ask themselves - Have the delegates from my association provided me with the information available at UFWDA?  Have I been kept informed about these proposed by-laws since they were posted to the delegates in January?  Have I been kept informed of the large strides UFWDA is making to get support from 4x4 businesses?  Have I been kept informed about the land use work UFWDA is doing at both the federal and state level?  If you can answer "yes" to these questions I am relieved.  If you answered "no" to these questions you are in the majority. 

UFWDA made the decision that it must be proactive in taking responsbility for communicating directly with each and every member and stop relying on a delegate system that is non-functioning. To do otherwise would continue to jeopardize the existence of UFWDA because people will not pay their dues to an organization like UFWDA if they think they are getting nothing for their money. 

This decision lead to the creation of a business plan and marketing plan to outline exactly how UFWDA would communicate with each individual member regardless of the method by which the member joined - through a club, through an association, on their own. 

Finally, the board of directors at UFWDA has been telling the delegates each year that the work load is more than a volunteer board can handle.  And each year about 1/2 of the delegates tell the board that their membership will not support a dues increase.  Without a dues increase we fold.  With a dues increase, hiring of additoinal staff, and better marketing, UFWDA will flourish.  If 1/2 the delegates are unable to persuade their membership of the necessity and prudence of a dues increase then UFWDA has no choice but to reach out directly to each person who pays dues to UFWDA and outline the problem and the solution. 

UFWDA board of directors, at the insistence of its delegates, has been trying for 5 years to develop a marketing plan and business plan to improve UFWDA.  The delegates have often found fault with the solutions developed by its board, but rarely have offered an alternative solution.  What you now have before you is a final attempt to save UFWDA.

If SW and the other organizations with voting control of UFWDA want the votes to remain solely vested with their organizations UFWDA will embrace their decision.  With the exception of your dialogue here, we are only hearing from 7 organizations on the subject.  We've posted the information here in the general forum here, we've posted in the delegates section of the forum, we've printed information in the last two editions of the Voice, we've held 3 different webinars on the subject.  Yet only 7 organizations are talking to us.  The organization/delegate structure we currently have at UFWDA is NOT working. 

In light of your response to my question I now believe SW wants no by-laws changes.  Will SW be sending delegates to the UFWDA meeting to share its concerns about the proposed changes? 

Carla

« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 09:56:26 am by Carla Boucher » Logged

Carla Boucher, Attorney
United Four Wheel Drive Associations
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« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2007, 09:23:05 am »

Oops .. in the beginning ... didn't look there.
Thanks, Todd!
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Todd Ockert
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« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2007, 01:16:16 pm »

I was going to stay out of this discussion, but, I just could not anymore.

Here is my opinion on this issue.

Any organiziation needs to change with the times to remain competitive for the consumers dollars.  United is no different.  This organization has to remain competitive with all the others out there selling the same product or service, and people expect something for their money:  For this orginazation, that means that it works to keep trails open, and accessable by all. 
Without digging to far into my basic college marketing class, United has to provide the following to their consumers/users:
Solution, Cost, Convience, and Communication.

Solution - They work to keep public lands open for our continued enjoyment.
Cost - What we pay for our yearly dues, I think I paid 30.00 this year via the main page web.
Convenience - how we access, or use the services provided by United.  For me, the public lands are still open here in Cali, and other places that I recreate.
Communication - United Voice is what I read, along with the enews, and this forum.  For me, electronic media is my preferred method of delivery.  But everyone is different. 

And these are different for everyone within United's membership base.  For someone to join United, it has to fit into their life at the present time. How many other people do we know that recreate on public lands, and are not members of ANY organization or association?  I know of at least 20 that I work with, and I talk to them all the time.  And, how many other groups out there recreate on public lands, with minimal organizations, or associations that do very little to promote their choosen sport?  Take a look at the mining community?  They talk about issues with access to land all the time, and I see very little organized solutions put before them, that are fighting to keep lands open for them!

So, back to us here:  the BOD's need to keep the membership informed of what is going on with land access issues within their respective areas.  I know that Cal4wheel is an association that is part of United, but I have not heard what Cal4Wheel is doing to support United in the fight to keep lands open, or other issues.  Granted, Cal4Wheel for the most part is only concerned with California, and they should be since 95 percent of their membership is from California.  The clubs within the Cal4Wheel organization are pretty good about passing out info from Cal4Wheel.  But we also have quarterly district meetings with the leadership/BOD, and I think it is easier to put the information out the the people in the weeds.  With United, this is a little harder, since this is a Global organization.  I am not a member of the BOD's, and I do not know if they have monthly, or quarterly meetings to pass info out to the people in the weeds, other then using e-news, United Voice, or the Forum here. 

With the current voting structure, I think it would be easy for a couple of organizations, or associations to steer United in a wrong direction, or make changes that the individuals to not agree with.  This is always a possiblilty, even with letting the membership individual vote.  Look at our whole election process in our country.   I think with the change that has been proposed, it will look more like the form of government we have, and allow for checks and balances within this organization.  With this being a global organization, it is hard to please everyone, and keep everyone informed or potential changes needed to keep the organization running smoothly and efficiently. 

Speaking of running smoothly and efficiently, from the little time I have been associated with United, I have seen somethings here that I like, and the way they go about working to keep access to public lands.  But this is done with volunteers, and after a while, if the volunteers get burned out, they will leave the organization, and possibly even the sport.  Look what happened with the Nevada state association!  Only a couple of people where doing anything there, and they got so burned out, they closed the doors on the association.  Now take a look at some of the land grabs that have taken place over there since they closed their doors.  They have no one with a unified voice there to speak up for them and work with the BLM and Forest Service to keep access to the public lands.
How many other states have no state association for the OHV users there to support, and work to keep access for them. 
This is a hard, and time consuming fight that is only going to get harder for the next couple of years since we had a big change in Congress with the Democrats. 

We all need to speak up, and voice our opinion on what United is trying to do, and about what the government is trying to do to our land access rights. 

Overall, I think United is headed in the right direction, and looking to the future.  If you do not look to the future, you will become part of the history, and the books will be closed on you.

Question about the current changes though?  No Director of Environmental Affairs postion within United.  In the current by-laws, there are three directors at Large? 

Todd
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 01:25:32 pm by todd ockert » Logged

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Alan Hatcher
Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association
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« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2007, 04:42:24 pm »

In light of your response to my question I now believe SW wants no by-laws changes.  Will SW be sending delegates to the UFWDA meeting to share its concerns about the proposed changes? 

Carla
Yes, SWFWDA will have delegates attending the convention. Our delegates will convey the desires of SW, based on feedback from our member clubs. So far I have received verbal (hopefully soon to be electronic) feedback from one of the largest clubs in SWFWDA. They are contemplating not re-upping with SW if this UFWDA change happens. That is the only way they can pull out of United since SWFWDA's bylaws state we must be a member of United. Their biggest issue is the dues increase. I explained to them that I do not yet know specifically how United change in structure will effect their dues to SWFWDA. Note: it is written into our SOPs that SW dues are based on United dues and increase when United's increase.

Let me reiterate: my personal problem with the change is the RADICAL change. This new UFWDA bears little resemblance to the UFWDA that SW has been a member of for a long time. It will no longer be UNITED ASSOCIATIONS, but rather INDIVIDUALS with somewhat common goals. If an individual member under the current bylaws doesn't like having no vote, that should motivate this member to rally like-minded folks in his area, form a club, and join United. Now he/they have a vote. If you think s/he shouldn't be expected to do that, then what makes you think United will be able to get that same group of individuals to join as individual members? If you're not motivated at your local level, why would you be motivated at a national/international level?

As long as I've been involved in offroading, I have always preached the necessity and validity of SWFWDA and UFWDA, as well as local clubs, and the necessity of volunteers, and how it's too late if you wait until AFTER they've closed your favorite public piece of land. But in today's world people only want to know "What have you done for ME lately?"

Dues were increased by a dollar only a couple of years ago. Did membership drop? Dues increased by another 50%  ($5) just recently. Did membership drop? Is United doing more with it's dues increase? Could dues sort of be like taxes: cut taxes and tax revenues actually increase?
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Chris Boucher
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« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2007, 10:57:44 am »

     "I officially became SW prez on Feb 24, 2007. We had some issues with our association that were top priority. It took me a couple of months to get my head above water. I became peripherally aware of United changes coming down the pipeline [I think] in mid April. I heard "dues increasing to $25 per" and "there's a new business plan" but didn't pick up on radical bylaw changes until a member club's president recently (this past week) sent me an email asking some hard questions about how the proposed bylaw change at United would affect SWFWDA, namely the dues we collect from each club then pass on to United.

I am disappointed that I had to go on a major quest to track down details of the new proposed dues structure. Details are in neither the bylaws nor the business plan and there are no proposed changes to SOPs. I suppose if SWFWDA were to vote FOR the proposed changes we could always still decide not to re-up if the moving-target dues plan (the BOD can change it anytime they want and I still haven't found anything that concretely establishes all the dollar amounts) rises to much.

Oops...I'm off topic."


Alan and everyone,
I have copied Alan's "off topic" stuff back here where I believe it is THE topic.  The first paragraph above is a prime example of why change is needed in United…relying on volunteers, and information not getting to the members.  The "volunteer" system, while good in theory, is not working on the ground.  All organizations have volunteer delegates and/or representatives to United of some type, the list is here…

http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=680.0

Every volunteer tries to do his or her best, but wheeling, family, work, and life in general always get in the way.  It cannot be helped.  Information that the United board puts out, like the delegate webinar on Feb. 8, 2007, just doesn't trickle down as well as it should.

http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=397.0   (page 12)

This webinar and presentation pdf file explained where the board is coming from with these changes .  This presentation had details of the new and simple dues structure.  (Major quest completed.)

http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=397.0   (page 23)

It also explained that United needs to move up to a professional organization, with paid staff.  A volunteer board works great when you have dedicated people willing to help and willing to work (like the current board).  That is hard to guarantee.  I see it in our local club and in the VA4WDA all the time.  How many people do you have running for office at each election?  Those who get elected, how many can and do put in the time required to do the work?  At every general membership meeting I have attended, the members come up with a list of stuff they want someone else (the United BOD) to work on.  Every year, the board members that stick it out try their best to get the stuff done.  (See "life in general" note above).  This list of things members want done is basically the same list the Blue Ribbons and the Tread Lightlys get too.   Bottom line is folks want places to wheel on public and private land.  That is the answer to your question…"Why does United feel it must compete with Blue Ribbon and Tread Lightly!?"
United currently works to provide places to wheel on public and private land with volunteers and some paid staff and with an operating budget of less than half of these other pro-access entities.  (Less than 1% of the anti-access groups' budgets) United does a darn good job of it with what they have at their disposal.  Go United BOD!  What's wrong with wanting to better yourself?  In order to have a paid staff to do the things the membership wants, more money is needed.  More members are needed to get more money.  Equitable representation is needed among those members.  The simple solution the United BOD came up with is one man, one vote.  Personally, I do not see voting rights as a big perk for a lot of members.  Bottom line is folks want places to wheel on public and private land.  As long as United is fighting for that access, members will be happy.  As long as United tells it's members what it is doing to fight for that access, AKA "what United is doing for them", members will be happy.  United needs to get the information straight to the members, not through the trickle down system.  The "necessity and validity of SWFWDA and UFWDA" has not changed.  People either see the value of belonging to SWFWDA/United and join, or they don't.  United is just trying to cover their portion of getting information to its members by doing it directly.
The VA4WDA is set up exactly like SWFWDA, dues in VA4WDA reflect the cost of United dues.  The perk of SWFWDA and VA4WDA being members of United?  They get their money back in the "cash back program" from United…

http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=397.0   (page 23)

I believe VA4WDA is going to vote to accept these changes as presented, knowing full well that as time passes and things progress, bylaws and SOPs will be modified as needed.  United will still be the "world-wide organization that is tailored to help regional/local clubs in their/our quest for maintaining the open land still out there."  We all feel changes are necessary, we've tasked the United BOD to make changes, lets give their months of hard work a try.



***I see while I was typing this up that both Jim and Shawn can type faster and have posted similar responses in the original thread.

Thanks,
Chris (two finger typist) Boucher
« Last Edit: June 15, 2007, 11:01:45 am by Chris Boucher » Logged
Alan Hatcher
Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association
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« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2007, 12:26:35 pm »

After recovering from the initial shock of learning how major the proposed United changes will be, and after tracking down more information beyond what is in the proposed bylaws and the published business plan, I am, in general, much less against this "new" United. I don't blame my delegates for my lack of knowledge on this subject; it's my fault for not seeking my own detailed information after receiving a "things are changing" overview.

I still have three or four specific, pointed, technical issues with the wording of the bylaws, all of which I have addressed in the delegates forum.
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Steve Edmunds
Utah Four Wheel Drive Association
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« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2007, 02:01:12 pm »

Pardon my confusion...  but as a new delegate that is unable to attend this years AGM,  what provisions does our association have to vote "in absence". on these bylaw changes and other items up for vote?
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dds4x4
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« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2007, 08:45:46 pm »

Steve,

Based upon the current Bylaws, see Article 9, Section 1,

http://www.ufwda.org/pdfs/UFWDA_Bylaws_July_2005.pdf

I believe the answer is NONE.
I'm sure one of the United BOD will post a confirmation.

Thanks for asking,   ---Doug
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Todd Ockert
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« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2007, 09:22:20 pm »

Also, from Article 7

Copied directly from the bylaws.

Article 7
DELEGATES
Section 1. Each Organization in good standing shall be entitled to two (2) votes at
meetings of the membership. Each Organization shall be entitled to additional votes
tabulated on a scale that relates to the number of Organization members paying dues to
United. Such additional votes shall be based on a sliding scale pursuant to Article 1 of the
membership provisions of the standard operating procedures as hereinafter set forth.
Such votes may be cast by a single delegate or cast by splitting the votes amongst 2
delegates of the Organization provided that the delegate(s) attends the meeting in person
and are properly credentialed and seated at the meeting. Credentials can be proceedings
from formal Organization meetings, written confirmation by the member Organization as to
authority to represent, or other credentials as may be approved by United’s Board of
Directors. For these purposes an Organization in good standing is one which has paid its
dues to date.

Also, here is Article 9

Article 9
VOTING
Section 1. Votes may only be cast if the delegate(s) attend the meeting in person.
Organizations are permitted to cast their votes by a single delegate representing such
Organization or by two (2) delegates representing such Organization, provided that said
Delegate(s) attend the meeting in person. No Organization may seat more than two (2)
delegates at any meeting of the membership.

Hope this helps explain things?

Todd
Interim Dir of Env Affairs
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Steve Edmunds
Utah Four Wheel Drive Association
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« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2007, 07:11:39 am »

Thanks for the clarification...   

U4WDA had our BOD meeting last night... I proposed that we send an alternate delegate to the AGM - to vote on the new by-laws since I can not attend this year (ironically... I was in Grand Junction last week - and will be there the 12-16th)  We are working to have one of our board members that lives closer to GJ represent us - so they can drive in for the day's activities.
SE
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« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2007, 07:30:15 am »

Steve

Thanks for working to get a delegate to the AGM. 
As has been discussed on here, and in the delegates forums, this is an important change for UFWDA.

Todd
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