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Trouble in Atlanta? MCA (long)

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This may prove to be an unpopular response but I'm a pretty firm believer that people should only make statements that they are willing to put their name on. If the writer of that e-mail wants it publicized, he or she should do it under his or her name. Sniping is only appropriate on that banned auction site and anonymous accusations are, IMHO, the epitome of sniping if the writer knew or could expect that the message would be forwarded along without attribution. It is, in fact, the very tactic the writer complains about.

So, while I agree with the need for broader representation at the MCA and a more open and professional atmosphere, this sort of message will likely prove divisive and counter-productive. I'm sorry to see the infighting go public like this.
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He signed it, MCA knows who wrote it. I chose to leave the authors name off when I posted it.
Joyce, we're more on the same side than not so let me just note for the record that I don't know who the author is and that makes him anonymous (to me and probably most of the VMF community).

I'd have been happier if he'd been willing to have his name put on his words. If he wasn't consulted, he really should have been and if he wasn't willing to be identified then the message should not have been posted. Just my $0.02. You're one of the good guys; I'd like to see the good guys stay on the high road.
I'm telling's a cult.....

(except for Bill Johnson,...he "gets" it)
Well, since I figure everyone is wondering when I'll jump in, I might as well do it now in my capacity as an MCA National Director and long-time member of VMF. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

This information is an accurate and straightforward summary of the events that occurred at the April and June MCA board meetings. As Joyce says, it was not an anonymous e-mail, but was sent to a number of regional club directors. The minutes of both meetings will appear in a future issue of Mustang Times (edited version for space) so this is not secret info. The unabridged version of the minutes also are sent out to each regional club.

It is appalling behavior, yes, but also it has served to galvanize the majority of the board into pursuing our objective of making MCA a truly national club that makes a sincere effort to serve and be accountable to ALL its members and not just a select few. Of course, we will never make 100 percent of our members happy, that's an impossible goal. But, MCA needs to broaden its scope and realize that there is a great potential nationally and internationally to expand our hobby. One way to do this is to have activities and representation for as many regional members as is possible. Although I primarily represent the western members, I also am responsible to the entire membership of MCA and am doing my best to work for the benefit of the club and membership as a whole.

I fully support Bill Johnson and his goals for MCA and am not afraid to say so. At the same time, I speak for no one but myself unless I specifically indicate otherwise in my posts.

As we move toward the fall elections, you are going to hear more and more of the arguments. We will not keep them secret as they occur in public meetings and the minutes are published. I will do my best to answer questions and concerns anyone may have, but rest assured, we have a good group working hard for the MCA membership. We get angry, we say things, life goes on.

Nevertheless, for my part, I would much rather have an informed membership than one that is kept in the dark.
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Today I received an email which seems to be making the rounds recently. It is written by a member of the MCA Board of Directors. Maybe some of you have seen it, but I'd like your opinion.
First, I will say I am an MCA member and intend to stay a member. But I think the described behavior appalling!

Regarding MCA

Hopefully some of you have seen what were put out as
“minutes” from the April meeting of MCA held in
Atlanta. What were sent out were the secretary’s
personal feelings and one-sided view of what went on.
As many know, the club near Atlanta that has been
fully in control of everything MCA has been doing for
several years, lost power in the last two elections.
People from all over the country got tired of the same
old routines and decided instead of complaining they
would do something about it. The Presidents letter in
this months Mustang Times mentions the small faction
that is holding us back, and they are getting worse.
Read the article!

At the April meeting, the former President stood up
and had someone pass out sheets of what he called
illegal expenses by the MCA President. (MCA covers
the costs to have the President attend MCA shows
during the year.) Three pages of what they called
incorrect/illegal charges were passed out to all there
at the meeting, making a person guilty beyond reason
before he could even answer. In short, he was
blindsided! As the small group went on ranting and
raving about these expenses, I made a motion that they
follow procedure and have it looked at first by the
executive committee and then if it is warranted it can
be brought to the board of directors. That is the
established procedure in this case, and it was known.
By attacking in this way they knew it was going to be
in the minutes. I also made a motion to have it
stricken from the minutes until there were answers.
Well, the minutes came out with just enough in it to
get people asking questions about what spending
problems is going on in MCA. Those same minutes were
also sent out without being reviewed by the President
or Vice President. They are unofficial until they are
approved so in reality they are just the secretary’s

At the June meeting, this week the treasurer reported
his findings. He found that the MCA Presidents travel
agent had made a few mistakes in which credit card she
used for his travel expenses, (because he is also a
traveling businessman.) When the MCA treasurer
completed his analysis, he found only a few mistakes
made on billing to his MCA card, and also some on his
business card, which meant in the long run MCA
actually owed him some money! Since this whole thing
took place, Mr. Johnson ordered all people with an MCA
credit card return them and the accounts be closed.

The bad part in all of this was the vicious attack
placed on him by those wishing to topple him from
power. In any other case, had an irregularity had
happened, you know that common sense would dictate
taking a person aside and letting him know that there
are billing problems. The bills came in through the
main MCA office in Georgia and people there took the
bills and kept everything secret for a year. It was a
well orchestrated attack and well planned attack on
Mr. Johnson’s character, but they were proven wrong
this week.

Another problem happened near the end of the meeting.
I asked last year, and again in January about taking
meetings from Tuesday night and making them on a night
all can attend. All the people that live in the local
traveling area got up in arms. They repeat the mantra
that you know when meetings are and shouldn’t run for
the board if you cant attend. My response back was
“lets do the right thing and make it easier for all to
attend!” I was asked to bring it up again in April
and I did. I found a Ford dealer willing to give us
space for free (vice the $1,200.00 MCA spends annually
now) for the meetings, and at a location close to the
Atlanta airport. Presently if you fly in, you have
over an hours drive to make the meeting in rush hour
traffic. Common sense dictates that you help people
out and work with them. I don’t see why anyone not
living locally should have to take vacation or sick
time from work every other month to go to a meeting.
I asked for a vote and it passed 17 – 9. All nine
were the local people. Funny how those least affected
fight it the most!

The unofficial minutes that were sent out talk about
the use of proxy votes. A proxy vote is a vote that a
club rep can have an MCA board member cast for them.
Without proxy votes the motion passed, but the minutes
make you think that people wanting change went out and
gathered votes to make it happen. (with proxy votes it
would have been a blowout!) Nothing illegal was done,
but because they lost the vote they are raising a
stink over it. As a parliamentarian, it is my job to
get answers, so I consulted college professors in
business law to assist me. They looked at the proxy
form the MCA has used for many years and said that if
it has always been used, then why is there question?
(I didn’t tell them because someone who made up the
form lost a vote...but I should have!) (-;
I am trying to get MCA to start sending all regional
directors a real list of what is expected at a meeting
and to not allow any “new items” to be brought up,
without them first being added to the agenda and sent
to all clubs ahead of time. I want our regional clubs
to know ahead of time so they can send a form with a
vote already filled out on it.

The main thing is, MCA is your club and your ideas and
comments are welcome. There are those there that
dislike me because I dare bring up things that the MCA
members ask! Funny, when people vote for you, isn’t
that part of what you are there for? Keep sending me
your ideas and questions and I will keep getting you
answers. As some of you saw on the vintage mustang
forum a few months back, there are some very arrogant
people down there that totally disregard the
membership, as long as they are benefiting in the
wallet. I never get a penny from MCA, and pay to be a
member just as you do.
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The only thing I can say is: Who cares?

I put it to Laurie when she was posting about getting on the board and all the goings-on back then: The MCA will be 'fixed' when it attracts someone like myself. All this infighting and beauracy certainly isn't making me jump up and down to join ;-)

The MCA came up at CF 2.0 - no one was able to figure out what they actually get out of the MCA other than the standards for concours judging.

I agree with you.
Bob: You've got a good point, and -- actually -- one that I've heard in all parts of the US: East & West Coast! Other than the knowledge factor (for detailing, authenticity, etc) it seems like folks don't get much from the club on a personal basis.

PS: I'm an MCA member, too.
I'm also an MCA member, mostly because I support Laurie. As to what you get out of it....

- Mustang Times, although that's not clearly of value since most of us pay for Mustang Monthly, Mustangs & Fords, etc.

- Some local clubs require national membership. If you get something out of joining a local club.

- It makes MORE sense where a person does not have access to / chooses not to participate in VMF.

- And, finally, you get a nifty little sticker as a placeholder for the eventual VMF sticker! [Where are those, Bob???]

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I think Secretary minutes are official as prepared; the board ammends or accepts minutes as written by an approved motion. Those words removed should still be there with strikeout marks; words added should be italicized. Anything other than that may appear disengenious and manipulating the proceedings as recorded.

I do not belong to the MCA because I simply do not see it in my interest to do so. My perception of the MCA is an organization invested in recognition and emphasis on un-modified versions of one of the most modified cars in automotive history. I suppose Duesenbergs may be the most modified car since they were all custom built.

I have been a board member for both for profit and non profit organizations. Other board members cannot simply rewrite board minutes and bury what has been written by the secretary; it is done by those not understanding their obligations and at times possibly their legal peril.

I agree with any comments reguarding those wanting organization control only for the sake of being in-charge and not wanting to seek board concensus, or being open to ideas not invented by them, as the most un-enjoyable people to serve on a board with. I have served with some of those people and they suck.
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Though I am not an MCA member, I have been following with interest the apparent evolution of the club's focus from the MC of Atlanta to the MC of America. At some point I might even join.

FWIW, I am President of a non-profit Board here in California and from a corporate housekeeping standpoint, our agendas include "information only" and "action items". If an item is listed as an action item, everyone knows in advance that it will be voted upon at the meeting. If there is a last minute add on to the agenda, it is automatically an information only item for that meeting and if action is necessary, it will be agendized for the following meeting as an action item. Thus no one is blind sided.

As for minutes, they are considered proposed until they are formally approved at the following meeting. If the minutes are corrected or otherwise amended, the corrections appear as part of the minutes for the meeting at which they were corrected.

Might term limits serve to keep the blood fresh and the ideas flowing?

In closing, at the end of the day, it's "only" a car club, so why do some members appear to be so obsessed with power and control? Isn't this supposed to be fun?
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Good point but I'll offer my view as a non-MCA member but willing to be one once they meet one condition /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

My local mustang club is a MCA Regional club. Joining MCA lowers my local fees by $5.00 per year but also supports our position as a regional club. What that gives our club is a huge liability insurance coverage in order to stage a large Mustang show every year. So beyond the personal benefit I see it as a club benefit also.
Now, what is the *ONE* thing that keeps me from joining MCA? Imagine me as a computer geek who does nothing the old fashioned way. I prefer not to touch stamps and envelopes and what am I expecting on the new MCA Website July 15th? On-line registration dammit! I mean if they at *least* had phone registration it'd be ok. But I hate print and mail my credit card info with a vengence....and if you want to know why that is you'll have to give me an hour and 20 pages about identity theft /forums/images/icons/frown.gif
Just my 2 cents,
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We're working on it Bob, we're working on it. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif A club like MCA is never going to be for everyone, no matter how it changes, and that's fine. It is very possible that MCA has become too big to be a viable organization, which may be part of the problem.

Regional MCA clubs get much more out of MCA in terms of benefits than do individual members. Maybe we can change that, we're certainly trying. If MCA members can give us time and their voting support, we have a good chance to make some positive changes. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
Laurie came on VMF quite a while back and asked for VMF support for her election to MCA Board of Directors. She won that position. The she came here and asked why you were or were not MCA members and your wants/expectations of that organization.
Lauries represents new blood, attempting to modernize/upgrade/improve the club. Many of the dislikes we expressed here and elsewhere is what she (from Tucson) and President Bill Johnson (new blood from Seattle) are attempting to address within the club.

The post I made above is not asking your reasons for membership or not. That's already been done. It is to show how the old guard is reacting to the new blood most of you seemed to want. They attacked the character of a man.
How can Laurie carry out what you sent her to do - at her own expense BTW - if you don't care how she is treated while doing it.
So many people have the "what's in it for me" and apathetic "who cares" attitudes when the going is rough. But it is the risk takers such as Laurie, Bill Johnson, the author of that letter, and others who in the long run create something, or remodel it to all our benefit.

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The minutes are official as prepared; however, they are draft and not approved until the board does so at the subsequent meeting. MCA has a substantial set of by-laws that is followed, and this is one item covered by the by-laws.

MCA is changing, yes, an emphasis on concours cars will remain; however, modified and driven classes still make up the majority of shows and so a focus is being placed on those cars. And, racing events are being strongly promoted by MCA--we see those as being a big part of the future of the club.
Actually, there are term limits for the officers who can only serve two 2-year terms in one position. They can, however, move to another position. But, it's not the officers who are the problems, it's the board members, and there are no term limits there. MCA is reducing the number of board members per recent by-law changes, but it takes time. It also is hard to convince people to run for the board (gee, wonder why?) so you will get repeat members for that reason alone.

Now, if we could move the board meetings to other places during the year--such as at the National and Grand National shows--we just might get more interest from potential candidates. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
I have some good news and some bad news regarding the website. The new website is ready for the July 15th unveiling, unfortunately the credit card program is not quite ready. Furthermore, because the MCA office manager will be on vacation for two weeks in July, we don't want to start up the website just as she comes back.

Our main concern is that we want the new website to work properly from Day 1 (oh please, oh please). So, it's looking like the start-up date will be more like August 1. I'll keep you posted.

BTW, I believe you can renew over the phone by calling the MCA office. Marilyn can take your credit card info and process the renewal.
I am posting the following at the request of Jim Keenan, who is a member of the MCA National Board, chairman of the Regional Support Committee, and parlimentarian. This is a direct quote from Jim:

With regard to staying with MCA, it needs you as much as you need it. While many are quick to point out the shows are always east coast, I will agree but until we see several clubs on the west coast applying for shows, that will never change!

Credit MCA for being part of the group that saved the Mustang from ceasing production, and push MCA to do more for you! Be active with it. Do your part and vote this year and every year. If you don't know anything about people running for the office, send them an e-mail and learn about them. Ask those questions! Some will say there is a lot of tension in the MCA board, and it is true but it is better than a do-nothing board!

The MCA webpage lists all the present Board officers and you will be surprised to see the distances people travel just to attend meetings (at their own expense). The meetings will move to weekends in August, so people won't have to take vacation time/sick time to attend. It also opens it up better for you, if you should desire to attend. MCA is stagnant with the same level of 8,000 members when over 7 million Mustangs have been made. Get with the people in your clubs and invite them to join. We need more people and more voices!

I have no problem getting anyone's concerns heard, so please send your questions to me or anyone on the board. I see where some ask for meetings spread out around the country, and while I love that idea, the current MCA bylaws call for 2/3rds of the directors attending (or the meeting can't happen) and many feel it would be hard to get that many to travel. Then again, bylaws can be changed and I have already seen a proposal to lower that requirement, since it is a volunteer position.

If you have questions, FIRE AWAY! That's why we serve on MCA's Board. I will bring anything to the floor that people have concerns about, whether or not I agree with it.

MCA is trying to be more National and by being active, you will help in that respect. Let your feelings be known. That's what we are there for!

Jim Keenan (#22619)

I would like to add that Jim is a hard worker for MCA members and is largely responsible for getting me to run for the board. He tells it like it is.
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That was a very well written letter & is what I'm sure most of us want to hear from the elected officials in our club. Sounds like things might be making a turn for the better, hope everyone hangs in.
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