Copyright WHR 2007

By Christy Howard Parsons

Though I spent much of the meeting in the hallway as the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association met in executive session, the discord among the executive committee members continued as it has developed over the last several months.

The meeting began with a continuation of the discussion of the conference call regarding the National Futurity. That meeting via conference call was never adjourned, and a subsequent call was never able to be scheduled, so the discussion resume on the National Futurity.

After the committee was unable to reach a conclusion on the conference call, Executive Director Chuck Cadle met with Ron Thomas and David Howard of the Celebration the next morning in an effort to resolve the situation by noon that day. “We discussed this in detail and we discussed the importance to our mutual customers. At the end of the day, it’s all about the families and their horses that have to make this trip . . . We didn’t want to inconvenience them. This is a longstanding tradition for years and years,” explained Cadle. “It was the right thing to do to have it on Wednesday night.”

“We also talked about sponsorship of the Celebration and areas of concern. I told them we couldn’t sponsor an unsanctioned event. We get calls all the time for funding for unsanctioned events. If we do that here, we set a precedent. For everyone else that calls us. However Mr. Sid Baucom mentioned the importance of using the Celebration as a promotional opportunity. Hopefully there are a lot of people coming to the Celebration. At the end of the day, we agreed we would provide them $25,000 in other ways… I learned there has been an increase in unused box seats. We can use this as a membership opportunity to offer a discount to our members to use those seats and protect the Celebration by using these funds.,” said Cadle.

Marty Irby expressed his displeasure that a decision had been made regarding the Futurity and sponsorship without reconvening the conference call.

Jane Meredith made the motion to approve the decision to have the Futurity on Wednesday night. Marty Irby abstained from the vote, but the remaining members voted unanimously to approve the motion.

With that the conference call meeting was adjourned and the regular June meeting was called to order.

The meeting began with friction about how agendas and information were sent to the Executive Committee prior to meetings. After much discussion, it was determined that information would continue to be mailed to EC members, but that those who wanted to would be allowed portal entry into the TWHBEA system by password where all relevant information would be uploaded.

President Jerrold Pedigo’s opening remarks were short as he generally praised the participation in the May meeting.

Senior Vice President Jane Meredith praised Kristy Lane and Chuck Cadle for their presentation in Washington. She reported that a member from Georgia had been very impressed with the presentation and the professional material that was handed out.

Chuck Cadle announced the hiring of Nancy Lynn Beech Green as the new director of Operations for TWHBEA in his opening comments. He also announced revisions in the TWHBEA website including putting the Voice online.

Cadle also clarified his role as Executive Director to the committee. “I exchanged a series of emails with Marty over the weekend. There appears to be some confusion as to my role as executive director. As executive director, my responsibility to the Association is to run the finances of the business. Once the budget has been approved, all budgeted items under the financial statements are under my control. What I have to do is to make the hard decisions about where to meet negative cash flow… I have to make decisions that don’t affect the goals and mission of this organization but give us some flexibility. There seems to be some confusion about my role in that area. But based on my contract and job description, I do have financial authority. We can discuss that if something has changed, but I wanted to make that clear,” explained Cadle.

Wayne Dean immediate responded by asking for a copy of Cadle’s contract. Marty Irby followed up by requesting that all executive committee members see a copy of Cadle’s contract today. As discussions escalated regarding Cadle, Pedigo asked if perhaps an executive session was needed. Without a motion, the conversation continued.

Kathy Zeis expressed her displeasure. “One of the things I felt was inappropriate was the redoing of the Ipeds program. This program put $28,000 on the bottom line. We need to update that and make it more user friendly. That’s my problem. If you make a decision, I’d like to be able to tell my Committee that I was at least talked about it. To decide to put Ipeds aside, when we had approved updating it, and when we took that money to the bottom line was inappropriate.”

Zeis continued, “Making unilateral decisions without talking to the committees is inappropriate.”

Kristy Lane followed with her report. She discussed ongoing meetings with Opryland, the Kentucky Horse Park regarding the 2010 Equestrian Games, and the ongoing youth camp. This week, TWHBEA will host 32 kids and horses in the largest youth event ever held by TWHBEA.

Bruce Vaughn was frustrated by learning of TWHBEA activiities along with the general membership. “I take offense to not being notified before the mailing goes out. I don’t think that makes sense. We need to know about the clinics before we start getting questions. I wasn’t notified,” said Vaughn.

Kristy Lane responded, “I don’t disagree with you at all. We have a lot on our plates. It was not done intentionally. We are trying to get better about notification. We want to drive the success of these clinics. We will try to get better about notifying Executive Committee members.”

The discussion continued in great detail about TWHBEA’s customer service level with many opinions expressed on the phone system and the best way to handle the larger than normal volume of calls being received at TWHBEA due to the DNA conversion.

Charles Wharton presented the financial report for the month of May. He reported a loss of $20,000 for the month compared to a $17,000 loss for the same period last year. After six months of business (TWHBEA has a November 30 year end), TWHBEA has reported a loss of $242,000. Revenues were $2.3 million, up $136,000 from last year due primarily to a change in accounting for unprocessed transactions. Voice revenues were down $126,000.

Expenses were up $384,000 to $2.6 million. Much of the increased expense was DNA conversion costs ($76,000), money reserved to cover the costs of bad blood at Shelterwood, and bad debt writeoffs of $59,000. Voice expenses were down $55,000.

More detailed discussions relative to the financials were held in Executive session, due to a motion made by Sid Baucom and seconded by Charles Wharton. According to President Jerrold Pedigo, no action was taken in the Executive Session.

Kathy Zeis’ Breeders report centered on recommendations made at the May meeting by her committee. After unanimous recommendation by her committee, Zeis has asked the admin/fiscal committee to review the financial implications of her recommendations to cap the cost of transfers and registrations relative to late fees and to limit non member fees when a party to the transaction is a member. Charles Wharton passed the responsibility for that financial analysis on to Chuck Cadle and Kristy Lane.

Zeis also asked the board to take action on the request by the Racking Horse Association to allow them to use TWHBEA’s parentage verification information for their records. The board decided to consult a legal opinion before making a decision due to ongoing litigation relative to the registry with NWHA.

Marty Irby’s marketing report began with the introduction of a new Voice marketing proposal which would include two new programs. Essentially, the Gelding Opportunity High Point program and Youth Medallion High Point program would mimic the existing programs which payout money, but which are limited to points being collected at TWHBEA HIO sanctioned events. The new programs would be voluntary programs (users submit their own points) to be verified by Voice staff in a marketing effort to sell additional advertising. There would be no payout for the programs, but there would be awards presented through the magazine.

Discussion of the programs clearly indicated that some EC members felt the program was subversive to the HIO Sanctioning Plan. The programs initiated when Irby questioned Chuck Cadle how the Voice could accept advertising from horse shows that were non sanctioned events. Cadle’s answer was that these were a marketing effort by the Voice. Thus the programs were born.

Pedigo asked that the programs be clearly spelled out in black and white before they were voted upon. The committees to develop the programs are Bruce Vaughn, Stan Butt, and Christy Lantis for the Youth Medallion High Point Program and Kathy Zeis, Jane Meredith and Stan Butt for the Gelding Opportunity High Point program.

Irby pushed hard to present a motion and have the programs established even if the details developed by the subcommittees had to be approved by the full Executive Committee. Discussions revealed questions about when points could begin accruing, what shows could be included (4H, Fun Show, etc.), and what guidelines would be followed. There was also a lot of discussion regarding the financial cost of the programs including labor costs from Association staff who would verify the submitted points.

Holly Reynolds spoke aloud the question that was brewing in many minds, “ I have to question why a breed publication of our association would do something that I feel is in conflict with our HIO Sanctioning Plan?”

Sid Baucom retorted “I can’t understand why we have to be tied to the Sanctioning Plan.”

Marty Irby followed up “If we can’t do this, we don’t need to be running people’s advertising in the Voice magazine from shows that are not sanctioned.”

Reynolds responded “I’m tired of marketing to ourselves. I don’t think we need to market specially designed programs to ourselves. I think we need to be putting ourselves out to people beyond ourselves.”

“I agree,” said Irby. “But it we keep just one person in the Tennessee Walking Horse business with these programs, we’ve done a good job.”

The motion to establish the program pending a final approval of the Executive Committee passed unanimously with Holly Reynolds abstaining.

Irby also addressed the Celebration sponsorship. He made a motion that the Executive Committee expend the budgeted amount of $17,500 for the Celebration Premier Sponsorship and $6500 for TWHBEA signage at the Celebration as budgeted to be paid as budgeted in the months of July and August.

Chuck Cadle explained that he and Ron Thomas and David Howard had worked out “better labels” for how these monies could be labelled. Cadle represented the Thomas and Howard “enthusiastically supported the change in these labels.”

Jerrold Pedigo supported Cadle. “Our Executive Director, acting in good faith, has worked with the Celebration to market TWHBEA at that event in an arrangement that markets TWHBEA and benefit’s the Celebration. Now to undermine what has been worked out, in regard to how we will promote TWHBEA at that event, will undo everything he has done so far. David [Howard] and I have talked and we felt it was best to leave it to the CEO and ED to work this out,” said Pedigo.

Charles Wharton attempted a friendly amendment which kept the amount at $24,000 in any mutually beneficial way and to find $24,000 in other areas of the budget to be cut to make up for that money.

This met with resistance as the $24,000 was already budgeted. When Jamie Hankins asked the obvious question about what had been worked out between Cadle and Thomas, Craig Evans interjected and suggested that TWHBEA go into Executive Session again.

At the end of the Executive Session, Marty Irby withdrew his motion about the sponsorship. Cadle made this statement. “I met with David Howard and Ron Thomas and we’ve agreed to commit $25,000 to the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration for a variety of programs we will be announcing over the next few days to not only show our support of the Celebration but also to showcase our breed.”