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Election yields changes to TWHBEA’s executive committee

By Sadie Fowler 

LEWISBURG, Tenn. — Two contested positions that required a ballot vote as well a couple more uncontested nominations resulted in a TWHBEA executive committee for 2019 that looks quite a bit different from last year’s. The election closed out the nearly three-hour annual International Board of Directors meeting Dec. 1, which was called to order at 12:30 p.m. by president David Williams.

The roles for vice president of audit and financials as well as the vice president of the pleasure horse came down to ballot votes that were both neck-to-neck, with Denise Rowland receiving 22 votes in her favor to incumbent Nancy Lynn Green’s 20 votes; and new pleasure horse president Dr. Joe Leith earning just one more vote than Kristen Reichard, who was also a new nominee aiming to fill the position that has officially been vacant since last May. 

Prior to the election, highlights of the meeting included the approval of TWHBEA’s operating budget for 2019 and expanded reports of each executive committee member for the year 2018, which fiscally ended yesterday. 

Approximately 50 people attended the meeting, with now former vice president Greene’s Admin/Fiscal/Audit Division report taking up the largest amount of time prior to the approval of the $1.2 million operating budget. 

“I’d like to spend some time talking about the proposed $1.2 million balanced budget, which starts today,” said Greene as she began her report. “The key assumptions include membership, registry, G&A marketing, programs and staff.”

Shortly after getting into her report, director Christy Lantis raised several questions and later abstained from the budget vote, mainly taking issue with not having ample time to review the report prior to voting on it.

“I have a lot of concerns,” she said. “I have (previously) served the executive committee for five terms, so these concerns come from a place of knowledge … I’m very concerned about this division as it relates to financials.”

At the start of Greene’s report the packet pertaining to the 2019 operating budget had not been given to directors, as pointed out by Lantis. According to the executive committee, this was an oversight and about 20 minutes later, each director in the audience was given the packet containing the proposed 2019 operating budget.

Lantis then pointed out that it was hard to follow the budget without having had the chance to review it before the meeting, and also said it was difficult to make judgement about it without having comparison figures.

“We do not have a year over year comparison, which it is hard to make decisions if you are only looking at current year,” she said, adding that the figures used to be more accessible to the public via being published in the Voice, for example. “It’s hard to understand if you don’t have a comparison.”

Lantis also questioned the transparency of the financial division, in addition to expressing concerns about the membership, which stands at 426 short of year-end expectations.

“We are obviously losing trust and value in our horse breed,” she said. “We need to find a way to address it because that is a big part of our budget. I am concerned about the value of our memberships.”

Lantis made a motion related to requiring minutes and financials regarding each executive committee meeting to be placed on the association’s portal as well as emailed out to directors within one business day following each executive committee meeting but no decision was made to confirm any change on this matter.

Other discussion about the financial report related to pay roll services, property tax notices (and whether or not those notices could have been better and more quickly delivered to directors), a possible revision to the conclusion of TWHBEA’s fiscal year (to either October or December from its current Nov. 30 ending date), and questions about a $100,000 asset listed as horse show research. 

“I think a $100,000 of an intangible asset for an association of our size skews our bottom line,” Lantis said, with Greene responding that this was done as a result of the guidance and instruction from the association’s accountants.

Lastly, Lantis questioned why some staff members were off this weekend, calling it inappropriate, and also making reference to a comment made by a TWHBEA staff person to a member prior to last night’s banquet, although didn’t elaborate on the specific nature of the comment. 

Later in the discussion, Greene said she and her team are looking at ways to offer more perks to attract more potential TWHBEA members. She also encouraged directors to communicate with the executive committee throughout the entire year as opposed to waiting until the annual meeting to share their concerns. 

Highlights from the approved $1.2 million budget reflect the following revenue projections: Membership, $292, 553.19; Registration, $451,017.56; marketing, $7,812; and The Voice, $63, 273, with the following projected expenses: G&A, (263, 269.23); and payroll, $553, 387.13.

The other major part of Saturday’s meeting related to the election of the 2019 executive committee with two positions being contested. Two people were nominated for the vice president for admin and financials, Greene and Denise Rowland. 

The pleasure horse position also received two nominations, Joe Leith and Kristen Reichard, who had also been nominated for the bylaws slate but removed her name when she was nominated for the pleasure horse slate. At that point, Margo Urad accepted the nomination for vice president of bylaws. 

Those nominated for the contested positions each had a chance to give two minute presentations prior to the vote, which followed by way of ballots. After 43 ballots were counted, the announcement came, surprising some.

The new executive committee for 2019 will be as follows: David Williams (president), Stephen Smith (senior vice president), Jim Heiting (secretary), Keegan Meadows (International), Robin Webb (new performance/former bylaws), Ashley Wadsworth (marketing), Rowland, Carrie Benedict (Breeders’), Urad (Bylaws), Russ Thompson (Trainers’), Chris Hazelwood (Youth), in a position vacated by Allison Thorson who received great comments from Williams regarding her service before asserting that she was not going anywhere too far.

 Committee reports were also given Saturday, with very few additions to the reports from yesterday’s general membership meeting. Coverage from that can be found here.

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