MINUTES OF THE DISTRICT 17 BOARD MEETING, May 23, 2009 AT THE RENAISSANCE HOTEL, DENVER COLORADO

(Subject To Board Approval at Next District 17 Board Meeting in Ruidoso, NM, October 10, 2009)

President John Van Ness called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m. Present: Board members Bonnie Bagley, Evelyn Colson, Lesley Davis, Jerry Fleming, Diane Graese, Karin Griffin, Darryl Helton, Allen Johnson, Ralph Liguori, Eugene McDougall, Carolyn Newcomb, Jerry Ranney, Marianne Spanier, Dale Sweetwood and John Van Ness.
Also attending a portion of the meeting were Barbara Dunkley, Las Vegas Unit Board President, Dan Williams and Gary Zeiger.

President's Opening Remarks
John Van Ness welcomed the board members and Barbara Dunkley, President of the Las Vegas Unit. He stated there would be two items added under New Business, one a possible World Bridge Federation tournament in Las Vegas and hotel contracts.

Approval of 01/24/09 Minutes
The minutes of the January 24, 2009 meeting were approved.

Secretary's Report
Bonnie Bagley noted an updated roster of D-17 board members is in the folders: Karin Griffin has an email change, Allen Johnson, an address change and Diane Graese, an email correction.

Treasurer's Report
Carolyn Newcomb reported a balance of $138, 339.47 in the treasury and noted that expenses and revenues are on target with the budget. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to accept the treasurer's report.

Current Regional (Denver) Report
Carolyn Newcomb reported that although the table count is down slightly from last year, a decrease was expected since last year's attendance was a record setter.

National Board Report
Jerry Fleming reported on the National Board meeting held at the Houston NABC in March.

  1. ACBL membership is holding but might increase by the end of the year due to the change of requirements to make Life Master that takes effect January 1, 2010.
  2. ACBL continues to be financially sound - all investments are FDIC insured, but some accounts with Stanford Investment have been frozen.
  3. A building in Northern Mississippi has been found that could be ideal for ACBL headquarters. The building was constructed (but not finished) in 2005 to be a medical facility. It is appraised at 3.9 million dollars but was bought by the county for one million. ACBL would lease the property for five years for the amount the county paid with interest. The property would then be owned by ACBL. The estimated cost to complete the building specifically with ACBL requirements would be 2 million dollars, the total cost would be significantly less then the 6 million dollars originally allotted for the purchase of land and building. The move to the new location could be made by the end of this year. This location is about 15 miles south of the current ACBL headquarters, all employees will be able to continue with ACBL and some will have a shorter commute.
  4. Jerry reported that St. Petersburg, Russia had notified the World Bridge Federation (WBF) that they are unable to hold the 2010 World Championships. When ACBL Management learned of this, we offered to help find an acceptable site in the US. The ACBL Board of Directors authorized Jeff Johnston, ACBL's meeting planner, to locate possible sites and dates. Previous WBF tournaments in North America have been held in Albuquerque in 1994 and Montreal in 2002 - a regional was held in conjunction with the World Championships, the table count at Albuquerque is unknown, the table count for the regional in Montreal was 3,200. The ACBL has offered the WBF four possibilities: Las Vegas, the first two weeks in October at the uncompleted Fontainebleau, Las Vegas the 3rd & 4th week of October at Paris Bally's, Philadelphia at the Marriott, the last two weeks of September or the last two weeks of October. It was acknowledged by ACBL management and the Board of Directors that although only $100,000 is authorized by ACBL for the WBF, consideration must be given to tournaments that may suffer as a consequence of the World Championships. Jose Damiani, the president of the WBF, is visiting Philadelphia this week and his recommendation will be forthcoming after the visit. John Van Ness noted that Tom Shulman, the Las Vegas tournament chairman, has been communicating with the United States Bridge Federation (USBF), which is now heavily involved with the selection process, and significant progress has been reported.
  5. . Peter Marcus and Susan Petrocelli, ACBL directors, filed a lawsuit against ACBL claiming they were not salaried employees and are entitled to overtime and pay for travel time. Thirty-seven directors have joined this lawsuit. This could have a dramatic negative effect on smaller tournaments which do not have directors in close proximity. It might be that directors become independent contractors who are hired by the tournament. A discussion followed about the use of tournament assistants, club directors, BridgeMates and the ratio of director to table count in reducing the cost to the tournament of directors.
  6. ACBL has not had a chief financial officer for over two years. Jay Baum, the CEO, has hired a woman with extensive CPA experience who has worked with non-profit organizations.
Board of Governor's Report
Bonnie Bagley reported the Board of Governors (BoG) reacted negatively to a suggestion they be renamed Board of Advisors. A motion passed that at the Spring NABC the Silodor Open Pairs start on Saturday instead of Friday when the new Platinum Pairs will begin, to prevent two NABC+ events starting the same day. The Board of Directors will have this motion on their Washington agenda. A motion was made to change the ACBL charity back to a single designee because it was difficult to determine where the charity monies were going. Since the BoG cannot pass motions involving any of the foundations and when it was pointed out the Charity Foundation had updated its web page on the ACBL web site (go to www.acbl.org, on the left, click on 'site index', then click on 'about ACBL', then 'Charity Foundation'), the motion was withdrawn.

Western Conference Report
John Van Ness stated the Western Conference (WC) meets once a year in December or January but does a lot of business via email. He noted that over the last six months the WC regional attendance is up six percent over the same six month period in 2008. Financially, the WC is in good shape. There has been no increase in WC sanctions fees for several years.

Executive Committee Report
John noted the Executive Committee met yesterday and specific recommendations will be made when the subject is addressed.

Unfinished/Old Business

BridgeMate Scoring Machines
Jerry Ranney reported the committee recommends District 17 not purchase BridgeMates for use at District 17 regionals at this time. The reasons are the financial benefits that might occur (fewer caddies & fewer directors) would only benefit the unit, shipping of these machines could be a factor and there will be new and/or perfected technology. Units hosting regionals may make arrangements for the rental of BridgeMates - Denver is using them in the I/N and Daylight Pairs games. The committee suggested District 17 offer help with negotiations for the rentals of the BridgeMates.

Pre-duplicated Boards
John Van Ness asked Dan Williams to state his arrangement with District 17. Dan said the charge for pre-duplicating the boards is $12.50 a set; he requests a minimum of 60 sets and District 17 has never fallen below 60. He also requires the book concession at the tournament (the unit hosting the regional must make their own arrangements with Dan as to the book concession) and a secure room in which to store and pre-duplicate the boards. In addition, he would like a sleeping room at the staff rate at the host hotel.

New Business

WBF Tournament
This was discussed during the National Board Report (see above).

Hotel Contracts
John Van Ness added this subject because most hotel contracts have guaranteed room nights and when these are not met, the tournament has to buy the room nights. Hotel contracts are signed before the District sees them and there can be a substantial risk of a tournament losing $20,000 due to the room night guarantee not being met. John Van Ness pointed out, for example, that reservations at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas are down two thirds from last year, but fortunately the contract with the Riviera does not contain a room night guarantee. After much discussion, a motion was made and seconded that District 17 requires all playing site contracts be submitted to the District 17 Board of Directors for review before the contract is signed, to be effective January 1, 2010. The motion passed with one nay vote and two abstentions.

I/N Tournament
Gene McDougall said the Tucson unit would like to change the I/N Regional from 0 - 300 masterpoints to up to 500 masterpoints but non Life Master. This would fall in line with the new requirements for Life Master which take effect January 1, 2010. A motion was made that the Tucson I/N Regional be increased to include up to 500 points but non Life Master. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. It was a landslide.

Completed Tournament Reports

Albuquerque
Karin Griffin reported the tournament, as usual, was very successful, the table count was 1,742.5 and a surplus of $10,390 was realized by the unit. Karin stated most of the people are very pleased with the Marriott Pyramid Hotel, they like the rooms and the playing area.

Tucson I/N Regional
Gene McDougall stated the tournament was successful. Other sites are being investigated - Tucson's tournaments are on the verge of being too large for the Holiday Inn.

Mesa
Dale Sweetwood noted the table count was 1,837 and a surplus of $1,288 was realized. Dale said he realizes the complaints that have been made, but not much can be done at this point in time. Ralph Liguori reported several players approached him to bring their concerns about playing conditions at the Mesa Regional to the District Board. The Mesa unit is trying to find another location that is affordable, but the tournament will remain at the San Marcos Resort in 2010. Dale stressed that any suggestions and/or help would be appreciated.

Future Tournaments

Five Year Schedule
John Van Ness stated it is undecided and unknown if the WBF will hold the World Championships in Las Vegas in 2010, if so, the District 17 regional schedule might have to be juggled - moving the Tucson Regional. There might be a vacancy in August 2012, if Ruidoso does not opt to stay in the three year rotation with Colorado Springs and Tucson. In 2013, a Fall NABC is scheduled in Phoenix; therefore Phoenix will not hold a regional that year. Tucson has expressed interest in moving their regional that year from August to Phoenix' October priority week, which leaves the August date available. To date, only Fort Collins has expressed an interest in the possibility of having a regional, but the hotel has not been built. Bonnie Bagley noted Colorado Springs might be willing to have the August 2013 regional. John Van Ness stated the Summer NABC in 2014 will be in Las Vegas and January is the only month Las Vegas can get a hotel for their regional. This would entail switching dates with Albuquerque. Karin Griffin said the Albuquerque unit would like a proposal in writing and would like some reassurance that if Albuquerque moves to June, they would not lose financially. After much discussion, a motion was made and seconded that a written proposal be sent to Albuquerque that their 2014 regional be moved to June, which allows Las Vegas to have the January 2014 regional. District 17 will guarantee the Albuquerque 2014 regional a surplus of their average surplus/loss for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The motion was seconded and passed with one nay vote.

At this point, Gary Zeiger, the Director in Charge, joined the meeting. He announced the table count as of Friday night is 1,233.5, which is down 56 tables from 2009, but the attendance is still terrific since last year's table count of 2,212 was phenomenal. A drop in table count will continue because the GNT District Finals start today, but Gary is confident the table count will be over 2,000. Gary reported the I/Ns are down but there was a large group of I/N players who came from California last year. Gary also noted that a fair number of I/N players are playing the Open Pairs and in the knockouts. Gary was asked his opinion of BridgeMates. He responded that they are clearly the wave of the future, but he feels they are not ready for 'prime time'. They require additional work by the directors, not less work. There are 50 BridgeMates being used here in the Daylight Pairs and in the I/N Pairs.
Las Vegas
(June 22 - 28, 2009) Diane Graese said that as John Van Ness noted earlier room reservations are down two thirds because lower rates can be found on the internet and also hotels close to the Riviera have lower rates.

Phoenix
(August 17 - 23, 2009) Marianne Spanier reported this is the last year at the Sheraton Crescent.

Ruidoso
(October 5 -11, 2009) Jerry Fleming reported there are no problems, flyers are being distributed and the unit is working hard to produce a wonderful tournament. Jerry stated he will be contributing some of his presidential funds to the Friday night reception.

Albuquerque
(January 18 - 24, 2010) Karin Griffin noted the tournament will be held at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel and presented the proposed budget and schedule. John Van Ness stated the schedule had been approved by the Regional Tournament Committee and the only change from 2009 is the I/N games are scheduled for 9:00 am and 1:00 pm instead of 1:00 & 7:00 pm. A motion was made to approve the schedule as submitted. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. Carolyn Newcomb said the Finance Committee reviewed the budget and moved to accept the budget as submitted. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to offer Albuquerque the Baldwin Plan.

Tucson I/N Regional
(February 25 - 28, 2010) Gene McDougall stated that as approved previously the upper master point limit will be increased to non Life Master less then 500 points.

Mesa
(April 5 - 11, 2010) Dale Sweetwood reported Mesa made more money holding a five day tournament then they did the previous year having a seven day tournament. Although a seven day schedule was submitted and approved by the Regional Tournament Committee no action was taken by the District 17 Board. A budget was submitted for both a 5 day and a 7 day tournament, but John Van Ness noted there are mistaken assumptions on the 5 day tournament. After much discussion, Dale decided he will go back to the Mesa unit and also check with the hotel (a seven day contract has been signed) and will notify the board if Mesa wants a five or seven day tournament. Dale also reported that Mesa would like a 30 point victory scale instead of a 20 point victory scale for the Swiss teams. John Van Ness pointed out the district leaves that up to the units. Gary Zeiger stated that the victory point scale should be noted in all advertising since it is a change.

Denver
(May 25 - 31, 2010) Carolyn Newcomb noted the tournament remains at the Renaissance Hotel.

Las Vegas
(June 7 - 13, 2010) Diane Graese reported the regional will remain at the Riviera, at least until the hotel goes bankrupt or is torn down.

Phoenix
(August 9 - 15, 2010) Marianne Spanier said the tournament will be held at the Doubletree in Scottsdale.

Tucson
(October 4- 10, 2010) Gene McDougall stated that efforts are being made to find a new location.

Committee Reports

2009 Committee Appointments
The President makes the committee appointments, which the district board ratifies during the second meeting of the year. The president is a member of all committees. The appointments for this year are as follows: Executive Committee - John Van Ness, Jerry Fleming, Bonnie Bagley, Gene McDougall and Carolyn Newcomb; Baldwin Plan - Bonnie Bagley; By-laws - Karin Griffin; Charity - Karin Griffin; Contract Review: Allen Johnson; District Appeals Coordinators - Lesley Davis, Allen Johnson and Dale Sweetwood; District Appellate Committee; Tom Shulman, chairman, Steve Kemic and Chris MacNaughton; District Disciplinary Committee: Karen Renne, chairman, Jon Gustafson, Joe Harris, Bob Wingeard and Bob Woodward; Education - Darryl Helton; Finance - Jerry Fleming, Diane Graese, Ralph Liguori, Carolyn Newcomb and Jerry Ranney; GNT - Jerry Ranney; I/N Coordinator - Evelyn Colson; NAP - Dale Sweetwood; Recorder - Judy Randel; Regional Tournament Committee - Bonnie Bagley, Carolyn Newcomb and Gary Zeiger as advisor; Scorecard - Bonnie Bagley; Tournament Coordinator - Marianne Spanier; Unit Affiliations - Lesley Davis; Web Page - Jerry Fleming. A motion was made and seconded to ratify the committee appointments. The motion passed unanimously.

Elections
Karin Griffin reported the following are up for reelection: Darryl Helton - Arizona at Large, Bonnie Bagley - Colorado at Large, Jerry Ranney - Denver, Ralph Liguori - El Paso, Diane Graese - Las Vegas, Evelyn Colson - New Mexico at Large, Marianne Spanier - Phoenix and Gene McDougall - Tucson. She asked that those up for reelection notify her if they are going to run for reelection.

GNT
Jerry Ranney stated he will be getting together with Jerry Gaer to learn the process.

NAP
Dale Sweetwood reported he sent a letter to the unit presidents asking who the unit NAP coordinator is. He sent another letter in May but still has not heard from all units. Dale sent out the Conditions of Contest, which are a modification of the ACBL's Condition of Contest. The question was asked whether the District Conditions of Contest should be approved by the District board. Jerry Fleming replied they should be. John Van Ness asked Dale to send the Conditions of Contest to Bonnie to send to the Executive Committee for approval.

I/N
Evelyn Colson reported that 460 postcards inviting I/N players to the Albuquerque regional were sent, 429 were mailed for the Tucson I/N regional, 502 for Mesa, 472 for Denver and 602 for the Las Vegas regional. Evelyn receives a listing of the I/N players at each District 17 regional and uses those lists for the postcards. Carolyn Newcomb questioned whether the local area should be targeted more. Evelyn explained that the invitation was being sent to players who had attended a previous regional and the local players tended to attend anyway. Gene McDougall stated that the unit has the responsibility for inviting the locals and the District responsibility is inviting players from a wider area. Evelyn noted she has received a listing of players attending the Lubbock, Texas and postcards will be sent to all attendees advertising the Ruidoso regional. John Van Ness pointed out District 17's I/N events are very successful - many tournaments have few tables and often the I/N events have to be cancelled, while District 17 regionals frequently have two sections of I/N players.

Charity
Karin Griffin has received eight requests for the 2010 $20,000 Charity grant from ACBL. A list of the charities submitted so far, with a brief description, is attached. Five charities will be chosen by the District Board at the October meeting to receive $4,000 each. Some units who wish to submit a charity request have not yet done so. Karin stressed that the 501(c)3 form must be sent to her with the charity request.

Regional Tournaments
Reported above.

Scorecard
Bonnie Bagley noted that she will get a job description of the Scorecard editor.

Sectional Tournaments
Marianne Spanier reported she will now receive regional sanction applications as well as sectional sanction applications. Allen Johnson asked why the Northern Colorado sectional was moved to the week before the Cheyenne sectional, usually the Northern Colorado sectional is the last weekend of August and Cheyenne is the third weekend of September. Allen says this will likely affect attendance at the Cheyenne sectional since Cheyenne draws from the Northern Colorado players. Carolyn Newcomb pointed out there are three Front Range sectionals in a row, which is a concern for all three sectionals.

Finance
Jerry Fleming stated an audit of the District finances needs to be done. There was a discussion of audit versus review. Jerry Fleming said an outside audit or review should be done once every four or five years. Diane Graese and Jerry Ranney agreed to review the books this year.

There were no reports from the By-laws, Baldwin Plan, Education, and Unit Affiliations Committees.

There being no further business a motion was made, seconded and carried unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 12:00 noon. The next meeting will be October 10, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. at Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie L. Bagley



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