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Chairman’s Column About Dues Increase and Election of Officers

There have been a lot of developments in the last quarter.

For the past few years we have been running small deficits. We always thought that they were just the result of one-time costs and would be made up the next year.

Always looming on our budget horizon has been the need for liability insurance for the club mainly because of our exposure during conventions as well as the possibility of the club actually opening the Jakk Longacre memorial park in Missouri.

For those who remember the glory days of the club just sitting around a campfire swapping lies liability insurance might sound like our friendly little club has gone too corporate.

But like it or not we have a hobby that the corporate world considers “high risk.” We also have a club that is operated totally by volunteers. It’s one thing for club members to donate their time. It’s quite another to have those volunteers exposed to potential liability.

We’ve struggled for years to put our arms around the issue. Tim Webb took the initiative this past quarter and found an insurer and got an estimate. There’s very companies that will underwrite such policies for small such nonprofits. Our treasurer Kevin Baker put together a projected budget which shows that we would need a dues increase in order to cover the steadily increased newsletter and printing costs as well as the new liability insurance.

The outgoing board approved a dues increase for members from $15 to $20/year and for those in foreign countries from $20 to $25.

The incoming board members reaffirmed the decision.

I think most would agree that $20 is probably the cheapest dues of any club that we know. Further, most would agree that you get a lot more bang for the buck that you get with most small clubs — particularly the spectacular job John Mitchler and Dave Covill do do with the newsletter. I honestly do not of any other club of comparable size that even remotely touches the bang for the buck we offer.

The other big development this quarter was the election of new board directors.

With term limits four-long term board members had to step down this quarter (the first to do so since the limits were approved in 1999)

Dave Covill – The tireless hero of Rhode Island

Don Holmes – The Founder of our constitution

Jean Trousdale – Mother Merc who has the club literally tattooed on her

Diane Winger- Our Volunteer Coordinator who creates order out of chaos

They of course deserve all the thanks in the world. Happily they will continue to be active.

Nikki Hemphill counted the votes this year and we have four new board members as well as a returning member.

Stony Burk – Our man on the scene with the U.S. Senator in Rhode Island

Lillian Elliott – The goddess of Backbone Mountain

Will Mokszycki – Mr. Washington Convention

Steve Urbanski – The man who makes the convention selection fun

Tim Webb – Our champion for the Jakk Longacre memorial (who is returning)

In addition, I want to thank Tom Karchesy from Seattle for entering the fray.

The board has selected officers for 2006-07:

Chairman – Roger (when will they ever learn) Rowlett

President – Tim (we’re going to get that memorial done this year) Webb

Treasurer – Kevin (thank god he’s back) Baker

Secretary – John (somebody’s gotta do it right) Mitchler

The board meeting will be on Saturday afternoon during the convention in North Carolina. You are welcome to attend. Get the details when you sign in.

Keep Klimbin’!