The 2017 GCSAA Chapter Delegate Meeting was held on November 7th and 8th in Kansas City and at the GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas. It gives a chance for a representative from each chapter to meet all of the GCSAA board members, GCSAA staff, other chapter delegates and the individuals running for the 2018 GCSAA Board of Directors. There were 88 Delegates representing 94 chapters. To say the least it is a packed full trip to fly, receive all this information, shake everybody’s hand and fly out two days later. Your head begins to swim with all the information that they throw at you but I thoroughly enjoyed it and happy to understand more what the GCSAA is doing for us as members.
The evening we arrived the information started flowing from CEO Rhett Evans talking about the GCSAA Disaster Relief Fund. With so many natural disasters occurring this year like hurricanes and fires, so many golf courses and GCSAA members were affected personally and professionally. Monies have been distributed to members to help them through some very tough times. One example is the Director of Agronomy, P. J. Ringenberger, at Silverado Resort in Napa, CA lost his home and all his possessions to the fires. GCSAA was able to get him a check within hours to help him and his family in their time of need. Rhett Evans also spoke of the budget for GCSAA, Rounds 4 Research, branding for GCSAA, international outreach, and government relations. All of these initiatives that GCSAA is focusing on are all to grow our visibility in the golf market and to have credibility in our local and national governments.
The next day at GCSAA headquarters we jumped off the meeting with a government affairs update. This information included the new GCSAAPAC (political action committee), National Golf Day, and the Grassroots Ambassador Program. All of these programs and initiatives are designed to help our profession be a player in the way legislation is introduced and passed that affects how we do our day to day business.
The meeting continued with an update on all our GCSAA Task Groups. These groups include an Equipment Manager Task Group which has launched a certificate program for equipment managers through the GCSAA. This is a way for your equipment managers to prove their knowledge base and to add credibility to their position. There is another Task Group for Assistant Superintendents, and they are working on a similar certificate program. The last Task Group discussed was for students. They are working on an online mentoring program, GIS topics for students, and how to integrate the students into GIS in a more positive way. Students are our future assistants, and we need to steer them in the right direction.
The last informational presentation was on the First Green and its successes in different parts of the country. This was my first introduction to this program of bringing kids out to golf courses on field trips to show them what it is we do and demonstrate it through our living laboratory. It is a great program that I encourage anyone who can to get involved in.
After all the information was thrown at us we got down to the nuts and bolts part of the GCSAA. There are a number of proposed by-law changes set for 2018. GCSAA retained the law firm Hutton & Howe, who specializes in association law to review our governance documents Including the GCSAA Bylaws, Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Guidelines and offered recommendations. There are also a couple of changes to the voting process, and to the appointment of members to the board of directors by the president of GCSAA. In short this gives the power back to the members to be able to vote in a cleaner way for the board of directors. The Standards and Bylaws Committee reviewed the recommendations and agreed that they should be brought forward to the delegates.
- Proposed revision to Article 1, Section 1: Currently, only A and B members living in the United States (excluding Alaska) are required to belong to an affiliated chapter. Now that GCSAA has two international chapters, Ontario GSA and Mexico GCSA, the proposed change to the bylaws will extend the dual membership requirement internationally if there is an affiliated chapter nearby.
- Proposed revision to International Member: The changes to the definition would only allow international superintendent membership in countries without a GCSAA Affiliated Chapter. It goes hand in hand with the change in Article 1, Section 1.
- Proposed revision to Article V, Section 4: This change would allow vacancies, or unexpired terms due to the election process (Secretary/Treasurer election) to be filled by ballot immediately following the election for the open positions for director.
- Proposed revision to Article VI, Section 2: The revision states the appointments to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors will only remain in effect until the next scheduled election. At which point, the delegates would vote to fill the remaining term.
- Proposed revision to Article VI, Section 3: This revision cleans up and consolidates language surrounding the process of removing a GCSAA Board member.
- Proposed revision to Article VIII, Section 1 (B): Brings the technology used while holding “Special Meetings” up-to-date.
- Proposed revision to Article VIII, Section 1 (D): Speaks to allowing board members to waive notice of meetings by emailing or messaging the Secretary of the Board. Adding 21st technology options.
- Proposed addition to Article VIII Meetings: Adds the Chapter Delegates Meeting to the Bylaws and outlines the consequences of nonattendance. This is consistent with the Affiliation Agreement.
- Proposed revision to Article XIV Dissolution: Cleans up language surrounding how the assets of GCSAA would be distributed if it dissolved.
GCSAA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Guidelines: Hutton & Howe offered their thoughts based on recent court cases and the defensibility of certain items in the GCSAA Code of Ethics. The board made the following revisions:
- Struck all items that were not legally defensible.
- Item 1 now refers to a member being convicted of a felony.
- Item 2 refers to falsifying membership documents.
- Items 3 and 4 refer to seeking employment in a slanderous or defamatory manner.
The Professional Conduct Guidelines were revised to include items that were struck from the Code of Ethics as not being legally enforceable. Any item referring to employment seeking activities were removed. The GCSAA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Guidelines can be found on gcsaa.org.
All of these items will be voted on at the 2018 GIS, they have not taken effect yet. At the chapter delegate meeting everyone seemed to agree that these were important changes to make in order to have governance documents that are legally enforceable, and the voting changes were all accepted well.
Towards the end of the meeting we heard presentations by the members seeking election to the board of directors. As a reminder, the President and Vice President run unopposed, as a chapter we vote for a Secretary/Treasurer, and 2 Director positions. The Members running for the Board are:
- Office of President – Darren J. Davis, CGCS
- Office of Vice President – Rafael Barajas, CGCS
- Office of Secretary/Treasurer – John R. Fulling, Jr., CGCS and Mark F. Jordan, CGCS
- Director (electing 2) – T.A. Barker, CGCS, Kevin P. Breen, CGCS, Nelson Caron, Kevin P. Sunderman, Rory Van Poucke and Jeff L. White, CGCS.
All of the members running for office are very capable and have their own area of expertise which would be of great help to the board of directors.
If anyone has any questions on the candidates, proposed changes to the governance documents or about the information that was presented at the chapter delegate meeting I am more than happy to provide feedback, I can be reached at 808-896-7973 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.