Had a question about who is going to be running the competition room since the board member who ran it for the last 6 years is gone, also have heard some rumors that Tom and Gail Mcneal may not be running the computers for the nta competition this year? Just want to know whats going on with the comp because this is a VERY important part of the convention, for many of us the deciding factor on whether or not to go. I hope the rumors aren't true because Tom and Gail have always, IMO, done an impecable job of running the computers at the national, and WORLD shows that I have been to. Is the NTA trying to save money? Or are there people issues here?
Dave Connors LT
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Since no one seems to want to touch this one I'll tell you what I know. At last year's NTA show Judge Joe Kish was fired by the NTA in the middle of the show. Reasons given were that his comments were controversial and derogatory and so he was replaced. (The archived posts on that subject will have a lot more background.)
The fact that Joe Kish was fired for doing what he was asked to do--express his opinion--deeply distressed many people. As a judge, I found it incredible that a fellow judge could be fired for giving the opinion he was asked to give. Most judges share that opinion. I believe Tom's refusal to work the NTA show this year has a lot to do with the fact that a letter of apology was supposed to be sent to Mr. Kish from the NTA but it never happened.
I trust Tom and Gail and value their friendship very much and applaud their convictions even more. For ANY association to lose such a valuable asset is a tragedy.
Perhaps Mark Wilson could explain more on this.
I have been assigned as Competition Chairman for this years show in Souix Falls. RJ Meyer did a great job for the last six years. I hope I will do a good job also. Only time will tell. We have been working on the details for some time now. So we should be ready. The only thing I would say about Tom who is a good friend of mine is;
There were contractual difference that did not involve money. The NTA will spend what ever it takes to have a good competition. So, don't be afraid It will be alright.
I agree with Paul that to lose someone of Toms caliber is a great loss. I have and again urge Mark Wilson to show some leadership and resolve this problem. If as Tony states (and I have no reason to doubt him) that money is not an issue than it must be as it most always is, a personal issue with the NTA. I have served the NTA through many years on the board and it is basically a great group of people even though some are super hard headed (read George here) I have mailed the board in some very colorful language my feelings on this issue. I do not feel it is fair for one person or a few people on the board to do something which will cause the the most likley permant loss of an asset which we have enjoyed and should continue to have access to. I ONCE AGAIN CALL ON MARK TO SHOW LEADERSHIP AND SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. Marks term is up this year but the bad taste from this issue will last years to come. I personally offer my services as the past NTA Comp Chair for six years to personally talk to the parties involved and come to a solution to the problem. It is my understanding that a motion was made for a vote for accepting or declining Tom as the Computer operations person ........................ and the President Mark Wilson would not call a vote. This is something that has been voted on for the past six years and now that Mark is not able to get his way he stiffles the vote. Sounds like the board members are just there to vote on things Mark approves. I would ask for a simple up or down vote and to not do so is a bullcrap way of imposing your will. Maybe I'M wrong but ALL OTHER THINGS ASIDE ...A SIMPLE VOTE WOULD PUT THIS TO BED TODAY ! And it can be done via phone, email or certified mail as the Rinehart controversy was ............ LEADERSHIP PLEASE
This sound like the congress on judges,,,,,,can't get a simple vote.
I realize that R.J. is kind of a blowhard, but is it true that you will not allow a vote on this? Shame on you and shame on George who should use some of his bluster to do what is right. Give the man a vote. It is only fair.
Maybe it was one of them on the backhoe that cut my phone trunk two days ago and I haven't been here to answer these questions.
Now Paul, I recall someone, namely YOU, who remarked that if I didn't know what I was talking about, I should shut up. Sounds like some of your medicine would be sufficient right now. Don't you have enough problems with your own situation before you begin sniping at others.
Since Google SEARCH doesn't list any "Dave" I can only assume that was just another weasel squeaking here. BUT JUST IN CASE "Dave, here's your answer.
ONE ANY BOARD MEMBER serving a term only has a total of 6 years that they are allowed to be on the board PERIOD. Now that CAN be adjusted if he or she holds a position of Vice President or President, but if not, then after 6 years, you're done. That's all contingent on you getting reELECTED as well. In case you didn't notice, I was only on THREE YEARS as I didn't get re-elected.
Paul, in Pennsylvania, you may be able to rule over who gets a license and who doesn't by "YOUR OPINION", but there is a stringent set of guidelines for judges who are hired to perform a service to the NTA. We call it a SCORESHEET and it is expected to be used and documented. You don't get 100% off shtz and giggles and it is EXPECTED that a judge score areas on merit. As for a judge being dismissed, that wasn't the first time such a thing has happened and certainly, the NTA allows for an individual who thinks their mount wasn't fairly judged to pay an appeals fee and have another judge to step in and reevaluate the work. Though regrettable only to the degree that it had to happen, I'll fight anyone over the actions being appropriate for the MEMBERSHIP participating in the Huntsville show.
R.J. and I have already had words on this issue and R.J. has some skeletons of his own to deal with before castigating others. This vaunted program OR the competition director allowed for a cold water fish to be awarded a warm water fish award as well as being unable to determine the difference between a wall mount and a pedestal mount. There was also an issue of a reproduction mount not being permitted to win an award once, so like I've warned all of you before, don't take a sip out of a spittoon you don't intend to drink the whole batch from. Honesty isn't selective and only opening select areas is not going to cut it when I see the integrity of the organization being impugned over a few fragile egos.
No man is an island and one monkey don't make a circus. This issue was brought to a head by a hired employee of the NTA making demands before entertaining a contract bid. How many of you would write down specific demands on your job application and expect it to go without rebuttal? Maybe Terrell Owens can in the NFL, but we aren't the NFL. Now I'm going to stop short of telling all specifics of this matter because I'd like to think I have some modicum of professionalism. I'd hate to lose that train of thought.
NOW, the next issue is this a "motion". I want every NTA member out there to listen carefully. This "motion" was done solely through email and the internet. Now I don't know about you, but that strikes a very discordant note with me. The operations of the NTA Board of Directors MUST be open to the public. (All board members are open to any card carrying NTA member and that member may, when recognized by the chair, enter into discussions of motions before they are put to a vote.) I understand that we do need and have the capability to perform some select actions this way in cases of "emergency", but I don't see this falling into that category. This little "motion" reeks to high heaven. There was no discussion on it and no minutes recorded of it having taken place. Such issues need to be public and I don't care WHO you are or WHAT you are, you are not above the position of SERVING THE MEMBERSHIP. Such voting behind closed doors is always an issue that the membership has continually complained about. Don't you think it's time to start NOW in making NTA business open and frank to the MEMBERSHIP?
Before we had a fancy computer and one individuals computer program, the NTA had competitions. Half a dozen states with attendance rivaling the NTA hold their competitions every year without that program. And again, I'd ask the membership, what do you think about not having a competitive bid process in place when YOUR DUES are being used to fund this activity. We've had a monopoly thus far and it's time. WE don't pick convention sites without competitive bidding. There are technogeeks everywhere today, and I'm sure the NTA can find one to write a program specifically for our needs that will function just as well.
Tony Finazzo has run the California association and their shows for years. Running the NTA Competition area might even be a step down for him, but his integrity and forthrightness should never be questioned. Those that do probably won't get past Tony, but I certainly won't stand by and listen to such crap. He'll do just fine and there won't even be a blip on the screen when he's finished.
The loss of Tom and Gail is a big ouch, not just in the technology area, but in hospitality, friendliness, advice and support. The NTA may be able to replace their technology, but there will still be a huge hole.
If there was indeed a motion (which sounds doubtful) to vote on re-hiring Tom and Gail, or whether this could have been resolved by a letter of apology to Joe Kish, I agree with RJ. The president of the NTA should step in and try to mend things. Either way, I feel sure that the president understands that it is not his association to do with what he wants, but to make sure that everyone gets a fair shake and the members are satisfied. IMO, the higher up in power someone goes, the less he can expect his own opinion to be the right one, unless the majority agrees with him.
Also, I have all the confidence in the world in Tony Finazzo to handle the competition.
And George, (I know, don't ever start a sentence with "and"), I can handle almost everything you say, and get a kick out of most of it, but there are two things that make me gag. Maggots and SPIT. That was kind of gross.
But Mark DID explain the issue to the board. Some of them are just so ill informed of how the NTA works they still "havent' gotten it". The fact of the matter is that the "computer data entry person" is hired by the "Convention chairman. Greg Crain is the Executive Director, BUT he also serves as the Convention Chairman. Part of the pay Greg receives is, by legal contract, tied to the monies made during the Convention. Expenditures are tied to that contract and fall within his purview. The data entry person is no different from the audio visual, graphics, or electrician that Greg hires. He has never balked at any of these hirings. The "contract" presented to Mark was similar to all the others that have been submitted in the past, EXCEPT that this one had a caveat that certain apologies to certain individuals MUST BE MADE prior to the validation of this contract. Greg could not make that decision as those "apologies" were a complete and separate matter to the issue of the contract. Mark even advised Tom of that distinction and asked that a separate contract be drawn up, sans the demands. The members of the board who insist that they've made a "motion" have done so illegally. Greg Crain is under specific contract and his only decision was that in order for him to accept that contract, those specific demands would have to be removed and brought up as a separate issue.
This is a very exciting time for the NTA. We are right on the cusp of finally having the sponsors we've sought for so long. We are less than 3 months from holding our first convention "out West" in some time and we have celebrities and notable guests who will finally bring some credibility to our association interested in coming.
Yet instead of basking in that glory, here we are fighting petty battles over fickle egos and personalities. For the NTA EVER to become credible, as some point in time the Board of Directors is going to have to be able to separate friendships from professionalism. Each of us has our own foibles, but when those traits taint the conduct of a professional organization, then the instigators should either step aside or be asked to leave. Cold hard facts, but you can bet that if those actively involved in this issue were to be on the other side, they'd have said exactly the same thing.
I keep repeating this, but Larry Blomquist said it right. He once told me when I was researching some of the history of the NTA and found some "incidents" overlooked, that "Everyone has some skeletons in their closets, but at some point, you have to decide if it helps or hurts the organization as a whole to expose them." I've been in the NTA since 1973 and a Life Member for over 20 years. I've either lived or been closely associated enough with most of the "old guys" to know where most of the skeletons are hidden. And you know what, in every case, the skeleton might never have existed had the discussion taken place out in the light of day instead of tucked in some closet. But following Larry's advice, most of them wouldn't help a single thing with the NTA today other than sate someone's idle curiosity. Maybe one day we'll have a written history without someone remembering a few buried bodies out back, but as long as there are personal emotions mixed with professional decisions, SOMEONE out there is going to gripe about it.
Sorry George, I am a real person, not a weasel. Thanks to Paul, Tony and everyone else for their speedy replies. I figured this issue of Tom and Gail may have hit a sore spot with some, but I wanted to see if I could understand the issue a little better before I opened my big fat mouth! So if I follow this somewhat correctly the only contractual difference is that Tom wanted an apology made to certain people (Joe Kish?). A simple apology...one that many people obviuosly feel is due. I just don't understand it-to lose Tom and Gail over something so petty as this just seems...well, stupid, I mean why not just give the guy an apology? I guess there maybe something that I am missing here. As far as the new comp chairman is concerned I never questioned his integrity or forthrightness, and having met Tony at the nationals I am sure he is the guy for the job. And George you're an intelligent man and a nice guy but you're bluntness is brutal and sometimes downright rude. Yes I am excited about this big nameless sponsor and proud to be an NTA life member, maybe I should try to become a board member, I am sure then it would be easier to understand and much more difficult to criticize.
Dave Connors LT
But if I'm not mistaken, you are the same Dave Connors who worked for R.J. Now I know R.J. and if you think I'm blunt, what do you think about that guy? LMAO
So that everyone keeping up with this soap opera can keep score, Tom sent his proposal with the demands that an apology be issued to others as well as Mr. Kish. An open letter sent by him to the NTA Board and read at the winter board meetings had scathing remarks about me personally and another director with the implications that I should be "muzzled" (MY WORDING) and that an apology should be issued.
Now as has been completely covered shortly after the Huntsville show and can be found in the archives, I would ask you or anyone else this question: "What is there to apologize for?" Mr. Kish was paid his full salary and given all the perks originally promised. Should the NTA apologize for upholding a higher standard of expectations from a judge than what we got? Should the NTA have just accepted the judging and then had to field the multitude of objections and complaints from world class competitors who had mounts graded as "out of the ribbons"? Was it the NTA that created the Lose-Lose situation? Should the NTA issue an apology for the sake of an apology? Should a vote from the board members be taken on the issue and both sides comments be aired publicly on the issue? OR as several people have suggested, should we just move on? No one is going to change my perceptions of what happened there as I'm sure they won't of Tom's perceptions. In a professional organization you must pick and choose battles you're willing to die for. This battle isn't worth dying for, but if the battle is over integrity, then I guess it probably is. Sadly that means some casualties.
Those who visit this site know who I am and what I am. I don't make any effort to hide that. I'm saddened that we use a public forum to air laundry about an organization that less than 3% of practicing taxidermists feel the need to be a part of. Any of you can ask me any question you'd like through private email that I consciously post on every thread I write. You know I'm very active in the NTA and proud of my association with it. I like to THINK that I represent every NTA member out there and that if you ask me and I don't have an answer, I'll insure that I get one for you. I feel that as an obligation to my association and to the industry as a whole. I just feel that the use of the public forum is, however, much akin to voyeurism whereby those with no loyalty to our organization can gloat over our disagreements. Every board member has an address, phone number and an email to contact them personally. I'd suggest that they be used and hear from the horses anatomy exactly what is going on. That's MY perception of professionalism.
We are after all, on the same side. I love being in the NTA, most members are good people, and some are great people. I just think that if a simple apology would fix things it should be easy to accomplish, especially to keep a couple of these great people, which is the same category you fall into, George. How many people would be fighting to keep you around if you were in Tom's shoes?! My guess is quite a few because even though you come across as an arrogant, grumpy old man, you are actually a decent guy who knows alot about taxidermy and, even though abrasive at times, you help people! Thats just my two cents.
" No organization can afford to fight amongst themselves and expect to prevail against obstacles that may arise. If we are not united,then we will not stand a chance of being the strongest voice that taxidermists have. Sure we should have spirited debates and discussions. Yes,we should have differing opinions on issues. However,at the end of the day we must agree to disagree and move on. More importantly,we must all agree to speak with one voice and stand united for taxidermists every where. Unity means putting the politics of an organization in perspective and always putting the NTA first. We can have politics but we do not have to be personal. The NTA is not about any one person. It is about a shared common interest."
These awesome words were written by Cindy Crain in the Outlook,Sept./Oct.2002 issue. It has penetrated my mind and heart almost like a Bible passage. The NTA can withstand any issue,crisis,or situation from a light drizzle to a full blown tsunami under the umbrella of a statement like Cindy's. Please trust me on that one,I'm living proof of it.