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Thread: NLA - Love It or Leave It?

  1. #1
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    In the past two months there have been a number of postings in these forums concerning the NLA, the functions and responsibilities of NLA officers, directors and staff, deviation from the by-laws of the organization, and general criticism. Those who have been following these forums know that a number of questions have been posed to NLA directors, and few answered. After waiting a couple of weeks and putting the CTCP issue on "hold" while the results of the certification forum are compiled and distributed, and giving the NLA directors who have participated and lurked here ample opportunity to answer numerous questions without response, it is now time to refocus attention on the management of NLA.
    This topic has been named along the lines of the arguments made during the Viet Nam war - "America, Love It or Leave It." Hidden in that phrase was the implication that the policies of the U.S. government were beyond criticism and that if citizens didn't agree with them, they should simply leave. For whatever reason, this seems also to be the prevailing attitude of the NLA, and the organization has reacted to criticism in these forums with the same stonewalling techniques used in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the Federal government and its supporters - hence, the name of this topic.
    Those who have been following these forums know that I have always put forward my agenda as to NLA: (1) Terminate the management contract with Host Communciations; (2) Replace the by-laws of NLA with something that assures member democracy and director and staff accountability; (3) Move NLA headquarters back to the Washington, D.C. area; and (4) Locate and hire an experienced association executive who will hire a qualified and competent staff.
    This new topic is intended to initate a more organized discussion of the structure of NLA, compliance by the board, its officers and its staff with the by-laws, its financial affairs, the accountability of the directors, officers and staff (or lack thereof), and the need for change.
    The intention here is to avoid any ad hominem references that are not supported by fact, but to focus sharply on the issues without distraction.
    Insofar as possible, each post shall deal with one subject since it appears that when an NLA director responds to a post he or she thinks they have "answered" the questions raised if he or she addresses a small part of the issue and ignores the remainder.
    Please do not mix comments or responses to posts! If you have a comment or response to a post, reply to it and confine your comments or responses to the particular post. This may mean that participants here will respond to several posts, rather than one that contains multiple subjects, but it is the only way to keep everyone focused on the issues.
    I will be raising many questions which, if not answered here, will be posed directly to NLA in private communications and which, if not responded to, will be pursued, if necessary, by legal means in the District of Columbia (where NLA is incorporated). So if members of NLA don't want their dues being spent to pay high-priced Washington lawyers to avoid providing information that the members are entitled to have, this forum should provide the means for NLA to avoid doing so.
    Having said that, here we go . . . . . .

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    The Annual Meeting -
    The by-laws of NLA, at Article 5, Section A, provide for an annual meeting of the members of NLA at a time and place to be set by the board of directors. The by-laws also require that 10% of the voting members of NLA must be present in person or by proxy to establish a quorum to conduct business. Section B of Article 5 provides that written notice of the date, time, place and purpose of any meeting of the members shall be given by mail to all members of NLA not less than 30-45 days (whatever that means) prior to the date of the meeting. Section D provides that members of the NLA may vote at the annual meeting by proxy, but requires that the proxy be on file at the office of NLA prior to the meeting and be in a form determined by the Board of Directors, and that a signature card must be on file at the Executive Director's office for verification before all meetings.
    Given those requirements, a number of questions have been posed, none of which have been previously answered. Forum participants are invited to provide input on any of these questions.
    1. Has any NLA member ever received the required notice of an annual or special meeting of the members? Has such a notice ever been given?
    2. Has any NLA member ever been solicited to give his or her proxy to vote at any meeting of the members? If so, what did the form of proxy look like? What form of proxy has been "approved" by the Board of Directors? Has anyone ever submitted a signature card to the Executive Director? What does that form look like? Is there a form to submit a signature?
    3. Has there ever been a legally constituted meeting (i.e., 10% of members present in person or by proxy) of the members of NLA since its organization in 1986? If there has been no legal meeting (I am informed that there has not been), how have any directors been legally elected? How has any business been conducted? Are there minutes of any such meetings?
    The point here is that despite the provisions of the by-laws, SOMEONE is conducting NLA business in an extra-legal fashion and without the authority intended by the by-laws. This has robbed the members of any active role in the government of NLA and has permitted a few persons to usurp all of the powers of the membership and remain virtually unaccountable to the members.

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    The Management Contract -
    Few members know that the NLA staff is not employed by NLA. Since its inception years ago when NLA was a much smaller organization, management of NLA was out-sourced. As I understand it, from the beginning and for some years NLA contracted with Wayne Smith's company to "manage" NLA. More recently, management of NLA has been contracted out to Host Communications, which is a subsidiary or Bull Run Corporation, a publicly-held company. For information on these companies, see http://www.hostcommunications.com Click on "About Bull Run" for information on the parent company, and also look at the most recent financial statements. Also look at the other associations which Host "manages."
    Now, for the issue at hand.
    The management contract with Host Communications expires at the end of this year. Why should it be renewed? Why does NLA need to out-source its management? When an association is too small to financially support its own management it may be advisable to contract for management with a company that manages several associations to spread overhead costs. But that does not appear to be the case here. It is perfectly possible for NLA to employ its own Executive Director and staff, rent its own offices, own its own office equipment, and attend to its own affairs without the need for another company to make a profit (at the expense of NLA) managing NLA.
    Equally important is the inherent conflict of interest in such a management contract. It has already reared its ugly head once, perhaps twice. When NLA decided that it needed to replace its dismal website, we are told by one NLA director that it solicited interest from three (maybe four) companies who were interested in developing the new web site. This is astounding because there are literally thousands (if not tens of thousands) of companies in the business of developing and managing web sites. We are also told that of those, not all submitted proposals (perhaps because they knew the job was "wired" from the start), and only one appeared in Vancouver at the NLA board meeting to make a presentation, and that company was awarded the contract. The company - Host Interactive, an affiliate of Host Communications. How much was the contract to develop the web site? How much is NLA goinf to pay to maintain the web site after it's up and running? No one will say! Are NLA members entitled to know? Yes! More recently, it has been heard that NLA may be moving to terminate its relationship with Bobit Publishing (publisher of LCT magazine) with respect to sponsorship of the annual limousine show in Las Vegas. Needless to say, these shows make a lot of money. Who might NLA associate with to sponsor the limousine show - you guessed it right, Host Communications! Look at the Host web site and you will see that one of the areas Host wants to do business in is trade shows. Is NLA really driving this move away from Bobit, or is Host manipulating the NLA board of directors?
    It's time to dump Host, not only because out-sourcing management is unnecessary, but because as long as the "management company" is in affiliated lines of business, there is an inherent conflict of interest and a tendency for it to pick the low-hanging fruit offered by NLA.

    [This message has been edited by jhj (edited 09-26-2000).]

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    Nomination of Directors -
    Before any member can be elected as a director of NLA, he or she must pass through the "Nominating Committee." The Nominating Committee is created by the by-laws of NLA at Article 5, section I(b). The Nominating Committe is charged with the task of issuing a "report" to all members, identifying those persons that the committee thinks should be eligible to serve as NLA directors. There is NO OTHER PROCEDURE in the by-laws to run for NLA director - no petition by the members, nothing, NADA. The Nominating Committee has a "chokehold" on the control of NLA because it, and it alone, like old Soviet Politboro, determines who may be an NLA director. Last year, the Nominating Committee gave us 6 candidates for 5 open directorships. In other words, the Nominating Committee effectively gave the members no choice. What criteria does the committee use to select candidates? Apparently, far more than the bare bones qualifications provided in the by-laws, for the committee has developed the practice of selecting candidates by "region" - East, Central and West (whatever those terms mean). Nothing in the by-laws of NLA mandates or even permits selection of directors by region - yet this all-powerful group has written such a procedure into the internal government of NLA. Who are these people? Is what they are doing lawful?
    Article 5, Section I(b) provides that the Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the President and shall consist of five members of NLA, four of whom shall be members of the NLA board. The fifth member is supposed to be appointed from the NLA general membership. The most interesting thing about this arrangement is that the chokehold on nomination of directors is maintained by a committee that is solely appointed by the president of NLA, which gives him or her almost complete control over who is or is not going to be nominated for election to the board of directors. Now for the interesting part - the July (2000) LimoScene says the chairman of the Nominating Committee is Cory Rozen (who is not identified in the 2000-2001 NLA Directory as a board member, but who is identified as a director eligible for reelection in the LimoScene - what is going on here???). The other members of the Nominating Committee are: David Seelinger, Don Kensey, Randy Throckmorton, Curt Andrews, Mike Bedard and Kay Hoskins. By my count, this is a committee of seven instead of the mandated five. By the way, LimoScene refers to "the following seven members of NLA," and then lists six. David Seelinger is listed in the 2000-2001 NLA Directory as a director, as is Kay Hoskins. Good people though they may or may not be (who knows), Kensey, Throckmorton, Andrews and Bedard are not directors. Only one of them can be on the Nominating Committee, assuming that Rozen is a director even though he is not listed as such in the NLA Directory. In other words, this Nominating Committee is totally unlawfully constituted and its recommendations are a nullity. If that isn't enough, the committee's nominations go on to an election at an annual meeting that isn't lawfully called or organized. The end result of all these shenanigans is that the board is not lawfully constituted and any business it contracts for is not duly authorized, and NLA is operating, plain and simply, as a rogue organization.
    As bad as the by-laws are, they are required to be followed. Until they can be revised, they need to be enforced - legally, if necessary. Members need to maintain oversight of NLA, particularly in the up-coming elections and the non-existent annual meeting at which directors are putatively elected.

    [This message has been edited by jhj (edited 09-26-2000).]

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    The Director Shell Game -
    One of the more interesting aspects of the structure and management of NLA is the director shell game. It appears that there are persons sitting on the NLA board of directors who do not meet the requirements to be a director. When challenged, the response is, "Well, they don't vote." Who knows whether they do or don't? Does that matter, since they can seriously influence NLA policy? Let's look at what's going on here.
    First, Sara Eastwood-McLean (nee McLean) is an employee of Bobit Publishing. She is listed in the 2000-2001 NLA Directory as a member of the board - not an "allied vendor," mind you, but a "director." She meets none of the qualification set forth in the by-laws to be a director, yet there she is! Second, there are listed four "Vendor Members" of the NLA board - Curt Andrews, Mike Bedard, Greg Casteel and Dave Ransom. Casteel is not in the limousine business anymore, and his company, Pinnacle Performance Systems, is no longer operating the Chauffeured Transportation Certification Program. The company is no longer eligible for NLA membership, and Casteel has no business on the board. But, then again, neither do two of the three remaining "Vendor Members." Let's look more closely at these folks. First of all, there is no such thing as a "Vendor Member," nor a "Supplier Member," as the term is sometimes used. Other than "Regular Active Members" and "Associations," the only other membership category is "Allied Trade Members." All of this is set forth in Article 3, Section A of the by-laws, under the heading "Types of Membership." Only persons who are "Regular Active Members" may sit on the board of directors. So what are these "Vendor Members" doing there? Who knows! Article 8 of the NLA by-laws, entitled "Chairmen and Executive Director," provides in Section A for an "Allied Trade Chairman." According to the by-laws, "One Allied Chairman shall be chosen by the NLA Board of Directors upon recommendation received from the Allied Trade members. The Allied Trade Chairman shall represent the members of his/her category, with a non-voting position on the Board of Directors." Well, which one of the four is the Allied Trade Chairman? Or do they take turns? Now you see it, now you don't - which shell is the real Allied Trade Chairman under? And why are they all listed as "Vendor Members" of the board, when there should only be one? Who's running this association anyway - it ain't the members!

    [This message has been edited by jhj (edited 09-26-2000).]

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    The "Real" Shell Game, or, "Money, Money, Who's Got the Money" -
    I already posed the question above as to how much money NLA is paying to develop its new web site, and how much is it paying to maintain that site when it lights up. But this is only a small part of a much larger issue. Article 9, Section E of the by-laws of NLA, entitled "Audit of Accounts," provides that "[t]he accounts of the NLA shall be audited not less than annually by a certified public accountant who shall be appointed by the Board of Directors and sho shall provide a report to the Board of Directors and be supervised by the Executive Director." Are there any minutes of any meeting of the Board of Directors where a certified public accountant is appointed? Who is this person or firm? Is it someone the board appointed, or did Host Communications hire him or her? Has anyone been hired, as required by the by-laws? Is there an annual audited financial statement? Has anyone ever seen one? Any member can request such information, but I'm told that any such requests are met with the same response you get anytime you ask the NLA staff for anything - none. If a copy of the annual audited financial statements are not forthcoming shortly to persons who have asked for them, this matter is going to move into the legal arena.

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    My Point, And I Do Have One -
    Among all of the issues of responsibility, accountability and association democracy and internal government raised in these posts, I must harken back to the post about the "management contract" with Host Communications. What does Host bring to the table for NLA - certainly Host has no clue what the by-laws say, or any intention of following those by-laws. Under Host, NLA has turned into a rogue organization that, before it is all over, is going to be not only an embarassment to prominent industry representatives who have hitched their wagon to the NLA star, but could lead to the collapse of the association itself and to ITLA becoming the dominant voice of the chauffeured transportation industry. And when we talk about management, let's take a look at the consolidated financial statements for Bull Run Corporation (the former gold-mining company that owns Host Communciations) and note that for the last two reported years it has operated at a considerable loss. And what about NLA? We need to find out.

    [This message has been edited by jhj (edited 09-26-2000).]

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    I don't know where to begin. Other than your innuendo about Host Communications, can you elaborate on why you want the NLA Board to terminate their contract? And as for competent staff? Bob Scott has worked tirelessly for this industry both in running the association at the Board's direction, and in Washington. The addition of Linda Bouland has been a Godsend!! She has wonderful time management skills, and a phenominal background that has allowed the NLA to upgrade the LimoScene and take on the CTCP.

    Why in the world does it matter where the NLA HQ is?

    As far as elections are concerned, it has been well publicized that there are several vacancies and how to run.

    Cory Rozen is the Treasurer of the NLA. His name is listed on page 3 of the NLA Directory. Mike Bedard and I are NOT serving on the Nominating Committee as we are not voting memebers we cannot.
    Additionally, your criticism of my serving on the Board is unfounded. Please refer to Article 3, Section A 3.f " Four vendor-members shall be added to the board, with a 1-year term, non-voting, and paying their own expenses."

    As far as our annual audit is concerned, the board does hire an outside audit firm annually, and this information is available to members upon request.

    I am outraged that you say Host has turned the NLA into a "rogue organization". We have made much progress in the last year in growing the association, the re-tooling of the CTCP, we've increased the number of and quality of communications with members through our monthly Road Shows, and we have established a very credible reputation in DC.

    You may not agree with the board, but the board does work very hard on their own time and money to serve the membership. We are always open to discussion,

    Curt

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Curt Andrews:
    Other than your innuendo about Host Communications, can you elaborate on why you want the NLA Board to terminate their contract?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I thought I did. It is unnecessary to contract with a management company, there are conflicts of interest that are inimical to the interests of NLA, and you may be one of the few who thinks the staff is responsive.
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> And as for competent staff? Bob Scott has worked tirelessly for this industry both in running the association at the Board's direction, and in Washington. The addition of Linda Bouland has been a Godsend!! She has wonderful time management skills, and a phenominal background that has allowed the NLA to upgrade the LimoScene and take on the CTCP.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    There is no question Bob Scott has worked hard for NLA but the buck stops with him, and he has to assume ultimate responsibility for the administrative and management failures. Contrary to your comments, Linda Bouland does not return phone calls or e-mail, and her non-responsiveness was the immediate cause of our company pulling out of the CTCP and obtaining a refund of our fees.
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Why in the world does it matter where the NLA HQ is? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Because the center of gravity of a regulated industry is Washington. Why don't you call NLA headquarters and find out what the airline fare from Lexington, KY to DC is, and what the cumulative travel costs are so far for 2000 and post that information here for everyone to see - that post will answer much of your question. The next major reason is that for the same reason technology companies tend to cluster in specific area is because that's where the talented and experienced personnel are. The same is true of trade associations, the vast majority of which are locatyed in the Washington, D.C. area. There is a pool of experienced association executives in that area who, for the most part, are not going to relocate outside the beltway because of the long-term damage to their careers, and there is also an experienced pool of administrative talent for trade associations in that area. Perhaps the question that needs to be answered is, what is the NLA doing in Lexington, KY, which is convenient to almost no one?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>As far as elections are concerned, it has been well publicized that there are several vacancies and how to run.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    How to run? I think you missed the point. It doesn't matter how to run because the Nominating Committee is inventing its own requirements to exclude people from running. Let me give you an example. Say that there are 5 vacancies to be filled. Let's also say that 10 members submit resumes to the committee and who desire to be nominated for election as directors. Let's also say that one of the members is from California, one is from Illinois and the other 8 are from the Eastern seaboard cities (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc.). Since the Nominating Committee has, without any authority whatsoever in the by-laws, taken it upon itself to categorize the directors by region, they would automatically nominate the two aspiring candidates from the West and Central "Regions," and then would presumably nominate one from the East, leaving still two vacancies. The reality is that 5 of the candidates from the East may be better qualified than the two from the Central and West "Regions," but they are excluded because of a "rogue" Nominating Committee. By the way, a "rogue" is something that is functioning outside the realm of natural or artificial laws - in this case, the Nominating Committee is ignoring the by-laws and inventing criteria to suit some agenda that the NLA members have not agreed upon.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Cory Rozen is the Treasurer of the NLA. His name is listed on page 3 of the NLA Directory. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I'm not sure what his position has to do with the Nominating Committee. If he is not a director, then he sits on the Nominating Committee as the ONE member who must come from the general membership.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Mike Bedard and I are NOT serving on the Nominating Committee as we are not voting memebers we cannot. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Then why did the "new and improved" LimoScene for July, 2000. in which you say Linda Bouland had "godsend" input, say that you ARE on the Nominating Committee?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Additionally, your criticism of my serving on the Board is unfounded. Please refer to Article 3, Section A 3.f " Four vendor-members shall be added to the board, with a 1-year term, non-voting, and paying their own expenses." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I am aware of that provision, which is in direct conflict with the provision of the by-laws which I cited in the initial post. Of course, this doesn't surprise me, as there are a number of such inconsistencies in the by-laws. When provisions of the by-laws are in such obnvious conflict and no one has the presence of mind to correct them (I think NLA presently pays a "management" company that should be alert to these kinds of problems, but which isn't), courts must deal with the issue and this is expensive to the association. One of the provisions at least states how the one Allied Trade Chairman gets on the board - the one you cite does not. Tell us, Curt, how DID you get on the board? Who invented the procedure to put four vendors on the board? How are the four selected? This provision doesn't pass the "sniff test." Smells like something a rogue board did for reasons unknown to NLA members - perhaps by caving in to vendors? Who knows? Maybe you can tell us.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> As far as our annual audit is concerned, the board does hire an outside audit firm annually, and this information is available to members upon request.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    If you know NLA does so, why don't you know who it is? And why have so many members reported their inability to obtain the "audited" financial statement? But let's put this to the test. Later today or tomorrow, I'll send a letter to NLA headquarters making a formal request for the audited financial statements for the last several years and we'll see what happens, and how fast.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I am outraged that you say Host has turned the NLA into a "rogue organization". We have made much progress in the last year in growing the association, the re-tooling of the CTCP, we've increased the number of and quality of communications with members through our monthly Road Shows, and we have established a very credible reputation in DC.

    You may not agree with the board, but the board does work very hard on their own time and money to serve the membership. We are always open to discussion,

    Curt
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> It is getting very tireseome in these forums to keep hearing how directors do things on their own time, as volunteers and without pay. When they accepted nomination for election to be directors, that's what they signed on for. If they thought they were earning extra credit, they're wrong. Virtually every criticism of the directors is explained away by stating that they are unpaid volunteers, which apparently confers a mantle of immunity from criticism. The news flash is that it does not immunize them. You also seem to have extended my criticism of the nearly complete failure of Host, the directors and NLA staff to follow the rules which they are required to follow to some criticism of certain selected achievements. Although the putative achivements you cite give rise to opinions different than yours, I did not open this subject to second-guess the policy decisions or their efficacy, which is a subject that might be appropriate for newly-nominated directorship candidates to address. The subjects raised here are far more fundamental, such as basic association democracy, fiscal conduct and compliance with the law. Are you suggesting that because in your opinion there have been some achievements that the ends justify the means and we should "wink" at the gross misconduct of the governmental, legal and fiscal affairs of the association? This is like suggesting that if your chauffeur is willing to drive a company comp trip without pay that he may drive on the wrong side of the road, ignore traffic signals, fail to stop for a police officer, leave the scene of an accident and wreck the limousine, but that it's OK for him to do so as long as the passengers get to their destination and don't notice the infractions. I don't think so. Let's quit cheerleading and respond head-on to the issues that have been floating around these forums for months without response and which have been largely restated here.


    [This message has been edited by jhj (edited 09-26-2000).]

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    I think both Jim and Curt made some valid points. Here is my take on a couple of items and some questions.

    LCT demanded a seat on the NLA Board since we give the NLA the largest single item of revenue they get on a yearly basis, about 600 k total since 1990. We are a private company and our senior mgmt team decided we needed to be more hands on concerning where Bobit $ is spent. (You can argue its NLA $ because it is show revenue but I tend to believe the biggest single factor in show success is the Bobit Trade Show dept but sorry to digress.) If that needed a by law change then I guess Jim has a valid point.

    I think Bob Scott is doing a good job. I think Jim you are being unfair to Bob in that the day he took over he has been in the middle of the 1689 fight. (at the behest of the members) Because Bob has devoted so much time to 1689, general office housekeeping has suffered.

    I think the NLA office should be in DC but if you look at the $ spent on Host, they could not possibly pay for an office. I see the wisdom of getting Host as a company only if the NLA is intent on exploring other opportunities that Host could provide. I have talked to Host mgmt, VERY BRIGHT FOLKS, and their deal with the NLA right now is not a good one for them.

    Curt, the NLA phone should be answered M-F 9-5 by a person within 3 rings. If a member calls, his call should be returned within 1 business day, no exceptions. I have received at least 13 complaints from members about this.

    Nominating Issue: If your 35 years old, a US citizen, registered to vote and not convicted of a felony and you get x number of voters, your on the ballot for Congress. If your an NLA member, in good standing, you should be placed on the ballot, period. If bad people run for office, defeat them, that is what elections are for. Get rid of the nominating committee. I'm researching what other trade associations do and I may use my December column on this subject.

    GOTTA FINISH A STORY I'M GETTING PAID FOR

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jhj:
    The Management Contract -
    Few members know that the NLA staff is not employed by NLA. Since its inception years ago when NLA was a much smaller organization, management of NLA was out-sourced. As I understand it, from the beginning and for some years NLA contracted with Wayne Smith's company to "manage" NLA. More recently, management of NLA has been contracted out to Host Communications, which is a subsidiary or Bull Run Corporation, a publicly-held company. For information on these companies, see http://www.hostcommunications.com Click on "About Bull Run" for information on the parent company, and also look at the most recent financial statements. Also look at the other associations which Host "manages."
    Now, for the issue at hand.
    The management contract with Host Communications expires at the end of this year. Why should it be renewed? Why does NLA need to out-source its management? When an association is too small to financially support its own management it may be advisable to contract for management with a company that manages several associations to spread overhead costs. But that does not appear to be the case here. It is perfectly possible for NLA to employ its own Executive Director and staff, rent its own offices, own its own office equipment, and attend to its own affairs without the need for another company to make a profit (at the expense of NLA) managing NLA.
    Equally important is the inherent conflict of interest in such a management contract. It has already reared its ugly head once, perhaps twice. When NLA decided that it needed to replace its dismal website, we are told by one NLA director that it solicited interest from three (maybe four) companies who were interested in developing the new web site. This is astounding because there are literally thousands (if not tens of thousands) of companies in the business of developing and managing web sites. We are also told that of those, not all submitted proposals (perhaps because they knew the job was "wired" from the start), and only one appeared in Vancouver at the NLA board meeting to make a presentation, and that company was awarded the contract. The company - Host Interactive, an affiliate of Host Communications. How much was the contract to develop the web site? How much is NLA goinf to pay to maintain the web site after it's up and running? No one will say! Are NLA members entitled to know? Yes! More recently, it has been heard that NLA may be moving to terminate its relationship with Bobit Publishing (publisher of LCT magazine) with respect to sponsorship of the annual limousine show in Las Vegas. Needless to say, these shows make a lot of money. Who might NLA associate with to sponsor the limousine show - you guessed it right, Host Communications! Look at the Host web site and you will see that one of the areas Host wants to do business in is trade shows. Is NLA really driving this move away from Bobit, or is Host manipulating the NLA board of directors?
    It's time to dump Host, not only because out-sourcing management is unnecessary, but because as long as the "management company" is in affiliated lines of business, there is an inherent conflict of interest and a tendency for it to pick the low-hanging fruit offered by NLA.

    [This message has been edited by jhj (edited 09-26-2000).]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Mr. Host told us straight up more than once, at board meetings, that a successful association( like the National Tour Association he manages ) has a magazine and it's own trade show, and that was the direction we needed to move in. Sincerely, Dean Schuler

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tom mazza:
    LCT demanded a seat on the NLA Board since we give the NLA the largest single item of revenue they get on a yearly basis, about 600 k total since 1990. We are a private company and our senior mgmt team decided we needed to be more hands on concerning where Bobit $ is spent. (You can argue its NLA $ because it is show revenue but I tend to believe the biggest single factor in show success is the Bobit Trade Show dept but sorry to digress.) If that needed a by law change then I guess Jim has a valid point. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Tom - You and I spoke about this briefly in Chicago. Absolutely, if it was a condition of Bobit's relationship with NLA that it have strings on the money it pays to NLA in the nature of a board seat, it required a by-law change. But I make the same point I made in Chicago, and that is that a board seat is a very clumsy way to handle the need for oversight. The appropriate way is to have the "strings" written into the contractual relationship between Bobit and NLA. This is a format that is used everyday with non-profits and is not mystery to qualified lawyers. It avoids ALL KINDS of problems that arise out of sitting on someone's board. But the whole thing makes my point about the callous disregard by NLA directors of the by-laws. Obviously, the members never knew how the Bobit seat on the board came to be, and one wonders how many other things the members don't know.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I think Bob Scott is doing a good job. I think Jim you are being unfair to Bob in that the day he took over he has been in the middle of the 1689 fight. (at the behest of the members) Because Bob has devoted so much time to 1689, general office housekeeping has suffered. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It's hard to be very objective, Tom, when the only time you could ever talk to Bob was by refusing to get off the phone line and threaten that if he didn't talk to you you'd be in his office at 9:00 AM the next day, AND I'm still waiting for a phone call from him in response to a direct e-mail request made on July 29. Note that that date was a couple of weeks before I decided the whole bunch had to be run out of town and said so on this forum, so my public position in this forum was not the cause of him not calling me, it was the result.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I think the NLA office should be in DC but if you look at the $ spent on Host, they could not possibly pay for an office. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I think if you look at the expense of having an office in Lexington, KY, including travel expenses (which includes lodging and meals while in Washington), you'll find that NLA could, in fact, afford an office in DC - and a quite nice one at that. I'll make a demand on NLA for the travel expense figure, because I don't think Curt will take me up on the challenge to him to do so, and we'll see what the numbers show.

    [This message has been edited by jhj (edited 09-26-2000).]

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dean Schuler:
    Mr. Host told us straight up more than once, at board meetings, that a successful association( like the National Tour Association he manages ) has a magazine and it's own trade show, and that was the direction we needed to move in. Sincerely, Dean Schuler<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Dean -
    I'm not sure what your response means. I don't think it means that NLA should turn over its trade show interests to Host. I think it means that NLA should do its own trade show and publish its own magazine, but I don't think NLA has the membership base to accomplish that. I don't think NLA commands enough clout in the market with its members to dominate a trade show, and it certainly doesn't have enough members to support a magazine. The antiseptic LimoScene is hardly worthwhile spending the money to print and mail, as it is. If it were my decision, I'd ditch LimoScene in exchange for a couple of dedicated pages in LCT or LimoDigest. These pages could be produced on either publishers in-house gear, and even by data connection from NLA headquarters to the publisher's printer, and mailed to NLA members at almost no postage cost. A good printer can put the pages in the magazines that go only to NLA members, and not to others, although there is an argument that letting it go to all subscribers might help non-members appreciate what NLA is doing to a greater extent than they do now. To the argument that not all NLA members are subscribers, the answer is that one or the other or both magazines should be offered AS PART OF an NLA membership. I think it would be silly of NLA to try to publish a magazine at this stage of the game. With two competing magazines in the market, NLA should be able to negotiate an attractive deal with one or the other, including an interesting trade show relationship. Although LCT is the 800-pound gorilla in trade shows at the moment, it doesn't mean that some negotiations with LimoDigest, or others, wouldn't sweeten the pot. Economic reality, however, is that NLA has to eventually bring something to the table since playing two players against one another will only produce short-term gains.

    P.S. I'll bet Bobit knows how many of its subscribers are NLA members and I'll bet Tom Mazza can get that figure if he wants to Say, Tom, what is LCT's paid circulation in the last reporting period, and how many NLA members get the mag?

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tom mazza:
    I think Bob Scott is doing a good job. I think Jim you are being unfair to Bob in that the day he took over he has been in the middle of the 1689 fight. (at the behest of the members) Because Bob has devoted so much time to 1689, general office housekeeping has suffered.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I missed this thought in my first response to Tom's post. I think the 1689 fight has been exceedingly expensive, not only in terms of money but in terms of lost opportunities to pursue other concerns of the industry. I also don't think it was a fight that benefits all NLA members, not even by a long shot. In fact, I think it affects very few NLA members. So when you say "at the behest of the members," let's face up to the fact that it is at the behest of "damn few" members. Perhaps it is a fight that had to be fought by NLA, but there should have been a special assessment for that fight because of the narrow interests involved. There are flaws in 1689 that come from, as near as I can tell, the failure to have a good lawyer looking over the lobbyists' shoulders. These flaws will jump out of the text as soon as a bunch of municipal lawyers around the U.S. gear up to challenge the wording of this version of the legislation. The fight is not over yet. I think this fight is going to break the bank at NLA because of the direct costs and staff time devoted to it. Our company is one of a VERY small minority that will benefit. Do you think NLA members in Columbus, OH, or Minneapolis, or Boise, or Columbia, SC, or anywhere in NC except Charlotte, or anywhere in Florida except Jacksonville and the panhandle, or Augusta, ME, or Wichita, or Dallas (the instances can be multiplied ad infinitum), for example, give a rats **s about 1689? The same can be said of every member that does not operate near a state line where operators can reasonably expect to have traffic move back and forth. Anybody who ever took a civics course knows that trade associations are the fig leaves of private interests, and too often the fig leaf for the interests of only a small part of an industry that the association makes look more universal. I'm not knocking 1689, it helps our company - but I'm willing to belly up to the bar and confess that the advantages to us of this legislation, if it ever is passed, will have come at the expense of a bunch of NLA members who don't have a clue and probably think its an acronym for some kind of kinky group sex.

    [This message has been edited by jhj (edited 09-26-2000).]

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    Jim I first have to say I don't think Bob Scott is doing that bad considering he had very little or no knowledge of the Limo industry.
    As far as elections, the NLA needs to have more people looking after the smaller companies.
    The big companies don't give a rats ass about about them, as I said in other forums they need directors that are not scared to speak up.
    The ITLA seems to do well without a management company and also without endorsing trade members, they just have trade members.
    I would like to know how much Curt Andrews had to give the NLA to get where he is, and what is his stake at this, where is it you want to go.
    As far as LC&T if they are responsible for most of what the NLA takes in dolllar wise, I guess I see their point, they want a say to.
    I hear the NLA is not doing the Digest show, why? Maybe someone can share the light.

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