A membership re-vote on the governance proposal to restructure the USHPA board of directors took place between April 17, 2019 and May 28, 2019.
The final vote was FOR the proposal at 1,484 votes (51.5%) in favor to 1,400 votes (48.5%) against. In total, 33% of eligible members voted, and we appreciate everyone taking the time to share their opinion. Results of the membership vote from the independent election service are available here. The following graphs also show the voting breakdown by region and wing type:
We recognize that this was a much-debated issue. The new board has the obligation to address the issues raised from both viewpoints on the proposal. Working together makes us stronger, and we look forward to collaborating with you to continue to improve our organization and grow our sports.
A Note on the Re-Vote Extension
On May 8, all eligible voters were notified by email that the governance proposal re-vote deadline was extended from May 16 to May 28. The extension was made after discovering that, due to a technical error, 252 eligible voters whose USHPA membership expired on March 31 (the date the voter list was created) did not receive their ballots. The deadline was extended to May 28 to ensure that everyone had ample time to vote. (This is also the reason why Election Buddy, the independent voting service, doesn't reflect all the mail that was sent. The 252 missed members were sent their postcards by a local mail service on May 7, with the voter keys provided directly to the mail house by Election Buddy.)
USHPA had no access to any election results (except total participation rate) until the vote ended at 5 pm MDT on May 28. As a result, we were not aware at the time of the extension which side had more votes, and were unable to access that information from Election Buddy. The inability of anyone to see results until the end of the election was to ensure the highest integrity possible for the membership vote. Please click here for the official letter from Election Buddy verifying the vote.
Overview of the Proposal
Key points of the proposal include:
- Reduced board size: from 26 to 10 directors, with national rather than regional elections
- Fewer regions: from 12 to 5
- Diversity algorithm: added after member feedback last summer revealed concerns that a smaller board could be all from one region or all one wing type. The algorithm would ensure that, as much as possible, all members would be represented on the smaller board (region, wing type, age, gender)
For more information and to read the full proposal and bylaws, please see the governance proposal page.
What Happens Next?
The re-vote was very close, but we're confident in our members' decision (twice!) that a smaller board of directors will be more efficient and effective, increase overall transparency, better represent all of our members, and have a greater ability to try new initiatives to grow our sports. Rather than the four-person executive committee meeting monthly with the full board meeting twice per year, the new structure will include all board members in every decision at the new monthly meetings.
Because the membership voted to pass the proposal, USHPA's board size was reduced in a scheduled board call on Thursday, May 30th (please click here for a summary of the meeting and the transitional board election results). This process implemented the transitional board plan laid out in USHPA's bylaws as accepted by the membership vote. The existing officers (executive committee) will carry forward to the new board to help provide continuity during the 18-month transition period. Board members from regions that did not pass the bylaw amendment will also carry forward for the remainder of their terms. The remaining current board members interested in serving on the board were nominated (or self-nominated), then voted on by the rest of the board. The diversity algorithm was then applied to determine the result of this vote to fill 6 positions in order to ensure that all regions, wing types, genders, and ages possible will be represented on the transitional board.
Please note that as a result of the “carry over” directors, the transitional board will be larger than 10 members. In Fall 2019, a national election will be held to begin replacing the transitional board to continue the implementation of the new governance process. If you are interested in serving on the board, we welcome you to run!
The following are the "carry over" Regional Directors that will remain on the the board for the duration of their elected terms (their terms will end on 12/31 of the year noted in parentheses, after which they may run for re-election):
- Region 7 (IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, ND, SD, WI)
- Region 8 (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)
- Region 9 (DC, DE, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WV)
- Daniel Lukaszewicz (2020)
- Larry Dennis (2019)
- Region 10 (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VI, PR)
- Kate Griffin (2020)
- Matt Taber (2019)
- Bruce Weaver (2019)
- Region 11 (LA, TX)
- Region 12 (NJ, NY)
Another important aspect of the new structure involves revamping USHPA's committee system to address issues and propose changes to be reviewed at monthly board meetings. The committees (including Safety & Training, Membership & Communications, Accident Review, Towing, etc.) rely on knowledgeable, passionate volunteers to help enhance USHPA's policies and programs. We encourage any member who's interested to get in touch!
Thank You to USHPA's Volunteers
A huge thank you to James Bradley and the rest of the volunteers who undertook strategic planning for our organization, then spent countless hours writing, revising, discussing, and promoting the governance proposal (including through two rounds of voting). We sincerely appreciate their efforts to further the organization, and the governance proposal is a perfect example that volunteers can, and do, have a huge impact on our organization and our sport.
We are a tiny sliver of the population, we few who enjoy free flight. If this vote engaged you, regardless of viewpoint--volunteer! We're always open to working with members to improve the organization for everyone. If you're interested in collaborating with us, please let us know through email or by filling out our volunteer form.
We are excited to move forward from the vote and continue our focus on preserving and promoting free flight. We're looking forward to continuing to improve USHPA and to working together to better serve our flying community and our sports.