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Jan 1, 2002

Communication Lock-down Sees Reduced-content Board Of Trustees Meeting Minutes On AMA Website

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

By David Swarts

In what may be a reaction to the use of Board of Trustees meeting minutes as source material for Roadracing World and stories, AMA Trustees have reduced the amount of information and the detail contained in the minutes released on the official AMA website,

The reduced-content minutes seem to mark a serious change in position on the part of Board Chairman Rick Gray, a lawyer (and former dirt track sponsor) who in the past advocated increased communication with members.

The recent reduction in minutes content runs counter to a previous decision to post detailed minutes as a way for AMA members to stay informed about what was happening with their organization, that decision made after fallout from the AMA's losing legal battle with Roger Edmondson, a case that the AMA settled by paying Edmondson $3 million last June.

During an April 29, 1999 Board meeting, the Board addressed the issue of making meeting minutes available to the membership.

From the April 29, 1999 Board meeting minutes:

"Thereafter, the Trustees discussed the distribution of Board meeting Minutes to the membership via the magazine [American Motorcyclist] and the website []. Mr. [Rick] Gray moved with a second by Mr. [Mike] Farabaugh that Minutes be prepared timely after the meeting and submitted to the Board for a seven day period of review and comment. Thereafter, they will be posted on the website subject to final approval by the Board, Mr. Farabaugh seconded the Motion and it was unanimously approved.

"Following further discussion, Mr. Gray moved, with a second by Mr. [Dal] Smilie, that:

"Affirming that the membership has a right to be kept informed concerning the governance of the organization, it is the policy of the Board of Trustees to provide meaningful information to the membership concerning Board actions and Association affairs. Actions by the Trustees which are conducted in executive session should be limited to sensitive personnel matters or those actions which public disclosure of which would be contrary to the best interests of the Association.

"The Motion passed unanimously."

Checking the AMA website for meeting minutes regularly over the past year, Roadracing World found that the posting of the Board meeting minutes was usually delayed by several months, but the minutes contained meaningful information.

But after found that the AMA's own Board meeting minutes contradicted AMA press releases (see August 6, 2001 posting "Board Meeting Minutes Prove AMA Claims Of Existing Air Fence Acquisition Program Were False"), the Trustees seem to have altered their policy regarding the posting of Board meeting minutes.

In the week of Christmas 2001, the AMA posted Board minutes from the June 11 meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the August 23-24 meetings in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both postings lack the detail of previous postings.

In the past, the minutes included background information, the factors concerning the items up for discussion, specific points raised during the discussion and who raised them, who made motions, who seconded motions, who voted for or against motions, if items were sent to committees, if items were deferred for continued discussion at following meetings, specific dollar amounts involved with topics, etc. The new meeting minutes only provide a short summary of the items discussed and very few details.

Posted meeting minutes regarding the AMA financial report given at the August 23-24, 2001 Board meetings at Colorado Springs, Colorado read:

"The financial report presented by the vice president of finance reported that an increased number of first-year members had been processed, but certain membership categories were down, likely as a result of last year's dues increase.
"Financial results and net loss on the inaugural Crossroads Rally were reviewed, and the Board was advised that schedule changes for 2002 should improve the outcome. After considerable discussion, the Board approved the 2002 budget."

Compare that amount of information to what was provided in the posted Board meeting minutes from the June 19, 2000 meeting in Bow, New Hampshire.

"Treasurer's Report

"In Ms. [Patti] DiPietro's absence, Mr. [Ron] Widman [Board Treasurer and rank-and-file-elected Trustee from the South Central region] provided the treasurer's report. He noted that the projected net profit of $1.3 million is primarily a result of the sale of the Westerville property [AMA's former headquarters]. If the sale proceeds are excluded from calculations, the net profit is $360,000. Projected revenues (excluding the building proceeds) are over budget by $225,100, or 2 percent, while projected expenses are over budget by $520,000 or 5 percent. Growth in revenue is due to membership sales and EA Sports supercross video game royalties. Most other revenue sources have remained consistent with past years, but the anticipated growth in membership list rentals, legislative supporter donations, emergency road service sales and product sales has not materialized.

"The Board was asked to approve an amendment to the Corporate Resolution appointing Fifth/ Third Bank as the 401K plan trustee. It was moved by Mr. [Dal] Smilie, seconded by Mr. [Clyde] Fessler, and unanimously voted to:

"Approve the appointment as Fifth Third Bank as Trustee of the AMA 401K plan.

"The Secretary will execute the necessary resolution and submit it to the Bank."
Twice as much text was provided in the Board meeting minutes from an October 26-27, 2000 Board meeting in Pickerington, Ohio than in the Board meeting minutes from another two-day meeting, August 23-24, 2001 in Colorado Springs.

To view AMA Board of Trustee meeting minutes and see the reduction in the amount of information provided to AMA members for yourself, go to, click on "About the AMA", go to "Links", click on "Board of Trustees", click on either "Current AMA Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes" or "Past AMA Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes". Meeting minutes from the past three years have been posted and are accessible as of this posting.

While reading through the past Board meeting minutes for this article, we stumbled across more interesting information. At the August 23-24 meetings in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the AMA Board adjourned to a secret "Executive Session" to review "certain issues regarding professional racing"; the Board authorized the Committee on Strategic Partnerships "to act on behalf of the Board on any proposals for strategic partnerships with Paradama"; and AMA Board of Trustees Chairman Rick Gray presented a report on "confidentiality of Board communications". It was after this meeting that AMA Pro Racing announced its new "strategic partnership" with JamSports, splitting Supercross between the existing Clear Channel Entertainment Series and a new start-up AMA Series.