Dear Fellow Members,
July is here with a large amount of information to get out to the general membership. First, The Election Committee led by club member Glen Blue forwarded a recommendation to me for the Board of Trustees to “Postpone” the annual summer elections at the GPYC until next August due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was the committee’s opinion that Public Safety, Health, and Welfare was at the forefront. Glen spent a tremendous amount of time researching our By Laws and Robert’s Rules of Order and a Board Resolution was drafted and presented to the Board of Trustees during a special meeting held on July 1, 2020. Upon receipt of Glen’s recommendation, I forwarded the Committee’s report to our board attorney, Gregory P. McGuckin who’s firm Dasti, Murphy, McGuckin, Ulaky, Koutsouris, & Connors serve as General Counsel for the GPYC with the Committees’ recommendation for a legal opinion. Mr. McGuckin also has the most updated copy of our By Laws and is familiar with Roberts Rules of Order.
The attorney correspondence states “In this unprecedented time, the club might very well subject itself to liability from its’ own Members in the event it were to go forward with the election process and said election process resulted in a Member or Members contracting Covid-19. As noted, in the Resolution, this would be of critical importance to those Members who must conduct the actual election process and placing them at risk to conduct an election at this time would be inappropriate. As a result, we recommend the Board adopt the proposed resolution.”
During the Official meeting, six (6) GPYC Board members decided to vote “No” to the resolution disregarding the Election Committee’s recommendation and “Legal” opinion of our Board attorney. On July 2, 2020 Glen Blue submitted a “Request to be Excused from Duty.” Glen stated the following:
“The Board of Directors rejected the Election Judge’s recommendations and also rejected the Clubs Attorney or GPYC General Counsel Recommendation that the GPYC Board of Directors adopt the proposed resolution, Resolution # 2019/2020-01; 2019/2020 Nomination, Election and Appointment of Officers.
I believe the failure of some members of the Board of Directors to accept specific legal advice and recommendation from our GPYC General Counsel, who willfully ignored legal advice & recommendation, have exhibited gross negligence of their duty to act in the best interest of the Gilford Park Yacht Club and safeguard the members of the Gilford Park Yacht Club.”
On Friday July 3rd, I Emailed the full Board of Trustees and asked the (6) no voting members of the Board to submit to me their respective ideas to move forward due to the fact that several of them indicated this can be safely done. I asked two things: Supply me your ideas while guaranteeing the safety of our members and submit your “individual” ideas in compliance with our By Laws. One member responded that we cannot go forward without breaking the By Laws. One member suggested we hold a meeting. One member indicated he does not wish to vote contrary to the Committee’s recommendation or jeopardize safety but feels the By Laws need to be followed. The other three recommendations were all similar, possibly authored by the same person during a meeting of minds requesting a meeting. Not one of the similar three responses made any mention to guarantee the safety of our members from the COVID-19 disease.
As of the week of July 7th, I am holding another Special Board Meeting to move forward with the elections. I am hoping that the Board will “Compromise” and come to a solution that will bring this difficult issue to an end. As your Commodore, I respect the Board’s vote to move forward and we ‘Will” get this task accomplished. Speaking as you Commodore again, I won’t move the Board forward until the safety of every member of our organization is safeguarded from the COVID-19 during this pandemic.
The GPYC is not an active first responder business or essential personnel business. We are a closed organization with no expenditures being made until it is safe and legal to open. There are “No” emergencies at the GPYC that rise to the level of rushing into something without guaranteeing your safety. I am however actively seeking an Election Committee Judge and Tellers for nominations as several ideas are being explored to move forward.
I have said in the past, this is one of the best Boards to ever govern your club. My words were sincere and we will work through this and respect the views of each side of the argument. They are all good people but are currently divided in half on this issue because every member of the Board feels strongly in his/her views on the matter. I personally know of members of this club that have been affected by the COVID-19 by being sick, have a sick family member, losing a family member due to this illness, or simply being at high-risk to contract the COVID-19 disease.
I will bring this board together to resolve the election discussion. Many of you have either called me or stopped by my house in the last week to talk and express your points of view and keep the discussion going. A few have said, “If we hold off on elections for any period of time, it is depriving me of my voice and vote. I have also heard, “If you have elections now, I can’t come down and you are depriving me of my voice and vote.” The overwhelming majority have said they support holding off until its safe.
It’s been an honor and privilege being your Commodore this year and at times I know some of you haven’t agreed with some of my decisions and even a few of us have drifted apart, but I will never put your safety and health on the back burner especially during an unprecedented, uncharted time like this. “Always” placing my family and my GPYC family first and upholding my oath to you as your Commodore is my top priority.
My phone is always on and my garage door is always open until dusk. I look forward to each one of your calls and visits and I will send out a follow up message as soon as possible.
Ron Heinzman, GPYC Commodore
Vanessa Heinzman is the current Commodore of the Gilford Park Yacht Club.