Meeting Date: June 26, 2018
Location: National Homebrew Conference, Portland, Oregon
Present (Quorum): Gordon Strong (President, Mid-Atlantic Rep), Phil Farrell (Vice President, South Rep), Sandy Cockerham (Midwest Rep), Travis Hammond (West Rep)
Observing: Tracy Hensley (Mountain/Northwest Assistant), Bob Hall (Mountain/Northwest Assistant), Eric Cousineau (Northeast/International Assistant)
Absent: Scott Bickham (Northeast/International), Brian Joas (North), Ryan Thomas (Mountain/Northwest, Treasurer)
NEW BUSINESS AND DISCUSSION OF PROPOSALS
- Assistant Regional Representatives
- How are assistant reps working?
- Many people don’t know about them.
- Contacts with them are often directed from rep.
- They can easily handle complaints and total newbie questions.
- Assistant reps in attendance shared their experiences and views.
- Need ideas on promotion
- Maybe assistant reps announce presence at events.
- Need to talk to Dennis (comm dir) about promotion ideas in newsletters or web site.
- Travis requested city names be put on the web site on officers page (James action).
- At staff meeting, try to have assistant reps network with each other.
- Not all reps use them or not all use them the same
- Travis: Can we have additional assistants? A: Yes, three was the initial concept but isn’t a limit. However, think about the roles and what people do. You can have additional contacts and go-to people without making them assistant reps.
- Travis described the West region model, including regular phone meetings. Action: Travis to write up paper to describe how this works.
- How are assistant reps working?
- Assistant Rep Participation in Board Meeting
- All believed it reasonable to have assistant reps sit in for absent reps in board meeting.
- A review of the bylaws shows that assistant reps don’t have voting rights (assistant reps not envisioned in bylaws); reps can only give voting proxies once a year to another rep. Job descriptions for assistant reps also do not mention this.
- Vote: Amend bylaws to give voting rights to assistant reps in Section 7.4 of the bylaws, and also to update the rep/assistant rep job description. Motion passed 4-0. (Action: Gordon to draft the bylaw update, submit to board for future vote).
- All agreed that assistant reps should participate in the board meeting as observers, and take active role in the discussions.
- Previous discussions about having better (full) attendance at board meetings was raised. At the NHC, it seems impractical to have conference calls when we are meeting in restaurants or bars. Email isn’t the answer; it takes too long. If we have international people participating, having a common time can even be a problem. All agreed that using assistant reps as stand-ins could be a better solution, so we should continue to try this approach.
- Personnel Actions
- Gordon: Assistant Mid-Atlantic Rep Malcolm Frazer moved to Atlanta area (out of region). Malcolm recommended Fred Mullner as replacement. Gordon had met with him, and Sandy knows him. Motion passed 4-0.
- Rep regional travel budget
- Facebook comments indicate that members would like to see reps more.
- Assistant reps could also help cover parts of the region through travel.
- Gordon proposed increasing rep discretionary travel budget to US$1000 from US$500, and to allow the budget to also be used to cover any assistant rep travel at the discretion of the rep. Money to be taken from reserves this year, and budgeted in the future. Motion passed 4-0.
- Exam Proctor Reimbursement Policy
- Exam Directorate had previously made suggestions for changes to the policy to clarify that reimbursement was per proctor not per exam, and that investments could be made in under-served areas. These changes had not been proposed as final.
- Gordon: wording reviewed and updated, applied to existing policy. The proposed changes were circulated for review. Motion passed 4-0.
- Region Realignment Discussion
- Large discussion about many possible solutions. All agreed that there is a need due to the large amount of international growth in the past five years.
- Gordon discussed how this had been a topic of interest since 2010, with various steps taken.
- Impact of assistant regional reps not fully understood. The creation of country-specific focal points agreed to be a good idea, whether they are full assistant reps or not.
- At least four basic realignment techniques identified: (1) keep same US regions, add international countries to existing regions; (2) realign US regions, add international countries to existing regions; (3) create one or more international regions, keep US regions the same; (4) create one or more international regions; realign US regions. This is in addition to the do nothing option (no regional changes, but expand assistant reps and re-evaluate next year). All agreed that adding additional reps to existing regions is not desirable, and also creates bylaw issues.
- Issues related to adding more regions include more difficulty in holding meetings and conducting votes. For international regions with mostly new members, there would be a smaller number of people eligible to run for representative. Bigger regions make it more difficult for a rep to visit areas (may or may not be a goal), and may require more assistants.
- Regardless of regions, we intend to add country contacts for international countries. Consider adding state or regional contacts in the US for larger areas. Requires more work and coordination from regional reps for this larger structure.
- Gordon presented data on existing regions, and showed a spreadsheet model that can be used for investigating what-if scenarios. Gordon presented one example to show how option 4 (item 4 above) could be implemented. A map was used to illustrate the example.
- Gordon’s example realignment was not offered as a proposal, but could be considered after other reps reviewed the data. Phil said that regions should be numbers-driven, and that we don’t want to revisit this again soon. Gordon said that any solution should work for at least ten years.
- Gordon said that last time regions were changed, it took two or three months to implement the solution in our data systems (another reason why this shouldn’t be done too often). He also mentioned that the current year is an election off-year, so that any changes should be decided before the end of the summer so that they could be implemented before the new year.
- Gordon took the action to distribute the spreadsheet model to reps.
- Discussions at Staff and Member Meetings
- Feedback at competitions and exams. Feedback is often wrong and involves significant guessing. Why do we demand this? Describing adjustments to balance or removing faults could be enough. But without the recipe and process, how do we know what to advise? Yes, on an exam it can test knowledge, but in a competition setting, it just undermines the judge’s credibility. Adding a bunch of conditional statements (if this, then this) won’t really fit on the scoresheet. Can we at least decide this needs to be de-emphasized? It affects many parts of the program (exam, competition, training, and much of our documentation) [Decided a better topic for staff meeting with broader input]
- Facebook and public comments. Do we need a policy, or a better policy? We should not conduct internal discussions in open public forums. Should there be a private BJCP Forum with validated users with real names? Trolling is a big problem. Feedback gained from such efforts seem of dubious value. In general, we need more professionalism in our communications; can we drive more of these things through our communications directorate? [Decided a better topic for staff meeting and member meeting]
Forward spreadsheet on regional redistribution to other reps in preparation for future discussion
Prepare short paper on how assistant regional reps are used within the West region for discussion