Meritorious Service Awards
C/C Johnson, assisted by V/C Marshburn, presented Meritorious Service Awards to national officers who were completing their tours of duty:
V/C Frank A. Dvorak, SN National Secretary
R/C Anthony J. Aquilato, AP Member Benefits Committee Chairman
R/C Robert A. Baldridge, SN Assistant National Secretary
R/C Kenneth L. Barbour, SN Offshore Navigation Committee Chairman
R/C U. Glenn Daughtridge, AP Committee on Nominations Chairman
R/C Thomas R. Dougherty, SN Committee on Rules Chairman
R/C Ed Duda, AP Information Technology Committee Chairman
R/C Jean L. Hamilton, SN Marine Environment Committee Chairman
R/C Stephen A. Leishman, SN Electro-Mechanical Systems Committee Chairman
R/C Sarah W. McCurry, S Ship’s Store Committee Chairman
R/C Edwin E.J. Mraz, SN Basic Public Education Committee Chairman
R/C Luis A. Ojeda, SN Vessel Safety Check Committee Chairman
R/C Christine L. Rasmussen, SN Boat Handling Committee Chairman
R/C Marilyn B. Rose, P Squadron Development Committee Chairman
R/C James A. Williams, JN Flag and Etiquette Committee Chairman
Report of the Committee on Rules
R/C Thomas R. Dougherty, SN, announced that he had appointed P/C/C Lance J. Jensen, SN, as parliamentarian for this meeting.
R/C Dougherty reported that the national secretary had noted a significant increase in the volume of Ship’s Store business that had resulted in an increased workload on the committee and its leadership. He said that the national secretary, with the concurrence of the Operating Committee recommended the Governing Board, in accordance with USPS Bylaws Section 5.2.7, establish a second position of assistant chair of the Ship’s Store Committee, and further, this elected person to serve with the rank of staff commander. The Annual Meeting ADOPTED the motion. (2005-AM-1)
R/C Dougherty also reported that the Committee on Rules received a request from the members of Corpus Christi Sail and Power Squadron in District 21, to change the squadron’s name to Coastal Bend Sail and Power Squadron. He said ComRules had determined that this proposed name has geographic significance and does not conflict with the name of any other squadron and therefore complies with USPS Bylaws, Section 7.1 and that the District 21 Council approved the request. R/C Dougherty said that the Committee on Rules determined that all requirements to effect this name change were met and recommended the Governing Board change the name of Corpus Christi Sail and Power Squadron to Coastal Bend Sail and Power Squadron.
The Annual Meeting ADOPTED the motion. (2005-AM-2)
R/C Dougherty reported that ComRules receives requests to modify the wording in Article 2 of the Model Bylaws for Squadrons from “objects” to “objectives,” “yachts to yachting” and “boats to boating.” He stated that the committee has always taken the position, based on advice received years ago from the Law Committee, that this section of the model bylaws should have identical wording to the USPS Bylaws, Article 2, to protect the tax exempt status of the squadron. He said that the Law Committee has concurred that these modifications would not invalidate a squadron’s tax exemption. ComRules will now approve these substitutions where appropriate.
Report of the Finance Committee
R/C Joseph R. Mesenburg, SN, reported that the Finance Committee is responsible for managing about $2.3 million. He stated that 48 percent is invested in six equity mutual funds; 52 percent is invested in debt instruments consisting of corporate bonds, certificates of deposit and money market funds. He reported that USPS investments did well in 2004, with an investment return of $116,786, or 11.7 percent. The restricted district and squadron dollars, which total over $1 million are invested specifically in certificates of deposit with an average coupon rate of 2.6 percent.
R/C Mesenburg reported the balances in the Members and Endowment Funds were $126,624.67 and $129,332.11, respectively, as of 30 Nov. 2004. He thanked those who had contributed to these funds and recognized Mary Pacher, who recently donated $10,000 to the Members Fund in memory of her brother, P/R/C William C. Crayne, SN.
R/C Mesenburg said the Finance Committee is responsible for periodically discussing the USPS’ financial health using a method of measuring undesignated, unrestricted funds with a control limit set at $3,000,000. He said this test was adopted by the Governing Board several years ago and is designed to indicate financial stability or impending financial distress. He stated that the Finance Committee is charged with reviewing the value of the control limit at least once every three years, but that the committee reviews USPS’ financial status much more frequently. He said that he reported at the 2004 Fall Governing Board Meeting that USPS’ overall financial status was not improving. As of 30 Nov. 2004, USPS funds were approximately $400,000 short of the $3,000,000 established control limit. He said the numbers have leveled off, but were not improving and that the undesignated, unrestricted funds were not returning to the established control limit. He noted that the 30 Nov. 2004 Unaudited Treasurer’s Report indicated a $169,605 deficit, which was an improvement over the previous year, but is still a sizeable deficit.
He reported that operating revenue was $382,126 less than budgeted. He said that this negative number resulted from lower than expected dues and fees, lower net educational sales, lower net ship store sales, lower THE ENSIGN advertising revenue, and other revenue. He stated that revenue income continues to plague USPS.
R/C Mesenburg reported that operating expenses are less than one year ago and are $127,976 less than what was budgeted. He said that the bottom line, which is operating revenue over expenses, still shows a deficit of $169,605. He noted that in 1993, the Governing Board approved a $6 dues increase, or 33 percent increase, and in 2001, the Governing Board approved a $6 dues increase, or 25 percent. He reminded members that he said at the 2004 Spring Governing Board Meeting that an automatic annual 3 or 4 percent dues increase would be fiscally and financially prudent. He stated that a gradual yearly dues increase, equal to an inflation percentage or the consumer price index would give the operating budget parity with the economy and would be a more tolerable increase to members.
He said that it was too late to ask for a dues increase in 2005, but that the Finance Committee will recommend to the Operating Committee that the 2005 Spring Governing Board approve a $1 or $2 increase each year for the next five years or possibly every other year for ten years.
R/C Mesenburg closed by saying that the emphasis on containing expenditures and cutting costs remains a priority. He said that on the expense side as well as the revenue side we must be fiscally responsible to improve USPS’ financial health.
Report of the Law Committee
R/C James D. Richlak, SN, commented on a proposed Senior Mentor/Instructor Program that was submitted to LawCom for review. LawCom views this on-the-water activity as being positive for membership involvement and retention. He also said that, from a risk management point of view, squadrons should follow these procedures when implementing this program: 1) make sure the boat owner has adequate insurance; 2) do not let the senior mentor/instructor take the helm; 3) follow the On-the-Water Policy and Guidelines posted on the USPS website; 4) to use a release form drafted by the local squadron law officer; and 5) ensure the Senior Mentor/Instructor Program is properly sanctioned in the squadron’s minutes.
R/C Richlak reported that about 40 subordinate units have not completed and returned their subordinate unit letter request form to headquarters. R/C Richlak indicated that he would contact the appropriate district commanders for assistance.
R/C Richlak also reported that a Document Retention Policy drafted by LawCom is now in final review and will be implemented in the near future.
Report of the Planning Committee
R/C Alan F. Wentworth, SN, stated during 2004 the Planning Committee worked with OCom on issues of national USPS importance and also concentrated on developing easier and more efficient tools for squadrons and districts to use in their USPS work.
R/C Wentworth briefly reviewed some of the projects completed by the Planning Committee in 2004. He said that these projects have been reported during the course of the year in Governing Board meeting minutes and will not be repeated in detail in these minutes.
R/C Wentworth reported that steady progress has been made toward achieving the goals of the USPS Strategic Plan. He noted that tracking accomplishments has not been as successful and that the Planning Committee has developed a monitoring plan that is simpler and easier to follow. He reminded members that the USPS Strategic Plan is available on the committee’s website.
He stated that PlanCom members participated on the ad hoc THE ENSIGN 5-Year-Plan Committee. Committee members also assisted C/C Johnson at an operational planning retreat designed to review and further define USPS’ basic business plan.
R/C Wentworth reported that an update to the Squadron Internal Review had just been completed. He said that squadron commanders may find this checklist handy for periodic assessment of their squadron’s health and its activities. The checklist was presented to visitors at the Expo PlanCom booth. He reported that the sheet was available for downloading from the Planning Committee’s revised website under “Resources.”
Report of the Marketing and Public Relations Committee
R/C Darrell G. Allison, AP, reported that the Popeye, Olive Oyl and Swee’pea characters will be used to promote boating education and safety. He reported that King Features waived the $10,000 annual license fee for the use of the Popeye characters. He announced that the new safe boating course posters will feature Popeye, Olive Oyl and Swee'pea wearing PFDs and will include the words “Take it from Popeye, Take a USPS Boating Course.”
Reporting on 2004 Cooperative Advertising results, he said that 32 districts participated, 221 claims were submitted, and $37,573.70 Cooperative Advertising funds were paid to districts and squadrons. He said that the total spent by the participating districts and squadrons was $90,206.89. He said laptop computers and LCD projectors are not reimbursable under the Cooperative Advertising Program. He noted that the guidelines, rules and forms used to submit Cooperative Advertising requests are available on the committee’s website.
R/C Allison reported on a successful public relations effort in which USPS participated with several other partners, including NASBLA, the Sea Scouts and the National Safe Boating Council in the Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, Fla. boat parades. He reported that the USPS entry won first place for the third year in a row. The theme was “This Year, Be a Hero - Around Water, Keep Kids in Life Jackets” and featured Popeye, Olive Oyle and Swee’pea.
He reminded members of the Marketing and Public Relations contests that begin each year on 1 Jan. They are the Chapman-Scrapbook, Carl Mahnken-Power Point® and Roger Upton-Video competitions. Details are available on the committee’s website.
Report of the National Treasurer
V/C John T. Alter, SN, reported that 2004 operating expenses were $2,117,854, or 5.7 percent below the budgeted amount. He said that the national committees and their leadership should be recognized for holding the line on expenses during these challenging financial times.
He highlighted several areas where the national Bridge and OCom cut expenses in 2004 including, among other things, eliminating one OCom meeting, holding one OCom meeting by conference call, combining the national Bridge and marketing and membership meetings; and assigning chief commander’s district conference representatives to minimize travel expenses.
V/C Alter reported on 2004 revenue. He stated that dues income was well under budget and less than the previous year. He said that squadrons did a much better job of member retention during 2004. He noted that as of 30 Nov. 2004, there were 967 fewer members than at that time in 2003, compared to 2,451 fewer members at that time in 2002. If squadrons would continue to improve member retention numbers and teach more boating classes the downward trend could easily be reversed he said.
The national treasurer reported that although unaudited figures for 2004 showed an improvement over 2003 numbers, there was still a $169,605 deficit in 2004. He said that these kinds of deficits cannot go on indefinitely, and that the Finance, Planning and Budget committees were all working on strategies to restore financial equilibrium.
V/C Alter reported that the hurricanes that devastated Florida and the Gulf Coast had affected the USPS Boat Insurance Program. Year-to-date losses through 30 Nov. 2004 totaled $4,879,187, which was more than double the combined amount of the preceding six years. He said that he anticipated a rate increase because policies in Florida account for more than 25 percent of the boat insurance program.
The national treasurer reported that 100 copies of the 90th anniversary print and 31 copies of the 85th anniversary print were sold during the past two years. He said that all costs associated with the development and reproductions of these prints had been covered. Both prints are available through the Ship’s Store.
V/C Alter reported that V/C Dvorak wrote that planned giving has the potential to bring significant donations to USPS through members in his bridge message in the November THE ENSIGN. V/C Alter reminded members that the Planned Giving Committee, under the leadership of R/C Al Volkmann, SN, was available to assist in planned giving opportunities.
He reported that 16 additional districts volunteered to join districts 10, 15 and 16 in the 2005 voluntary headquarters anniversary billing trial. He reported that not all squadrons in these districts will participate because the trial is voluntary. He reported that squadrons will have access to their members’ daily renewal status through a password-protected website. He said that he will report the results of phase two of the trial at the 2005 Fall Governing Board.
Report of the Auditing Committee
R/C Albert M. Warnock Jr., SN, reviewed 2004 Auditing Committee activities. He reported that the committee members reconciled bank statements, reviewed accounts payable records and verified balances to the general ledger. Committee members met with CPAs from Langdon & Company concerning the standards for accounting statements 99 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He reported that accounting records at headquarters are in good standing.
Report of the National Secretary
V/C Frank A. Dvorak, SN, began his report by introducing headquarters staff members present at the Annual Meeting: Mary Catherine Berube, headquarters director; Lena Padro, manager, membership services; Kathy Kesterson, manager, administrative services; Chris Hughes, education department supervisor; Yvonne Hill, editor, THE ENSIGN; and Kelly Anderson, associate editor, THE ENSIGN.
V/C Dvorak reported that at the November meeting of the Operating Committee a proposal was made to create a Century Fund to commemorate USPS’ 100th birthday. He said that the goal is to raise $10 million during the next 10 years at the end of the 100th anniversary year. He said that plans are to merge the Members and Endowment funds with the Century Fund, pending Governing Board approval. He said that the merger of these funds will create one principal fund to which members, past members, boating course graduates, corporations and friends of USPS can donate. The national secretary said that the fund’s primary purpose is to provide USPS with the flexibility to respond to initiatives for the betterment of the organization. He said that a project team is being formed to oversee the fundraising and asked members to contact him if they knew someone with fundraising experience.
The national secretary reported that Marlin Bree, a writer for THE ENSIGN and an honorary member of St. Paul Power Squadron, won grand prize in the Boating Writers International writing contest, sponsored by West Marine. His winning story, A Solo Sailor Meets his Storm of the Century: The Day All Hell Broke Loose, appeared in THE ENSIGN’s June 2003 issue.
V/C Dvorak reported that he approved the following burgees and flags based on the recommendation of the Flag and Etiquette Committee: a burgee for Portland Head/19; 50th anniversary burgees for Watchung/4, Richmond/5, Youngstown/11 and Fairhope/15; and a 50th anniversary flag for District 19.
He reported that THE ENSIGN Committee received articles from more than 300 squadrons since the 2004 Spring Governing Board Meeting and that 104 of these articles were submitted to the editor for possible publication in the magazine.
V/C Dvorak reported that the headquarters staff has entered data for approximately 27,000 boating course students who completed a boating course during the past two years. More than twice that number completed a basic boating courses during that time, which suggests that headquarters is not receiving ED 26 information from many squadrons he said. He encouraged squadrons to use the Boating Course Assistant (BCA) program to submit boating course graduate data to headquarters electronically to build a more complete database.
He reported that the Historian’s Committee has completed testing of an updated DB2000 version of the squadron history form 701H. He said that the updated form is available on the committee’s website and was included in the 2005 commander’s kits.
The national secretary reported that the updated Operations Manual is available at headquarters on CD-ROM for $5 (plus shipping) and printed copies are available for $25 (plus shipping). He said that the updated version includes changes to the national organizational structure that were approved at the 2004 Annual Meeting.
The Publications Committee awarded the 2004 Distinction in Journalism Award to more than 300 squadrons.
Report of the National Administrative Officer
V/C Creighton C. Maynard Jr., SN, reported that more than 600 copies of the By Land or by Sea cookbook have been sold to date. V/C Maynard called on R/C Carmen Adame, AP, who presented certificates of appreciation to P/C/C Richard W. Miner, SN; Stf/C Lois Neef, S; and P/Stf/C Donna Selden, S, for their efforts in producing the cookbook.
The Squadron Activities Committee reported that USPS had 505 Port Captains as of 25 Dec. 2004, 17 of whom are Canadian.
V/C Maynard reported that a speakers bureau website will be available in Spring 2005. The site will contain a list of potential speakers on various topics, including boating, cruising, history, navigation, technology and travel.
The Membership Committee is preparing a CD-ROM that contains the following manuals: Handbook for Interviewers, Membership Committee Guidelines, Membership Committee New Member Orientation Guidelines and Member Involvement Manual. The CD-ROM should be available for purchase through headquarters in Spring 2005.
V/C Maynard announced that the 1st Timer’s reception, which was attended by more than 100 members, was sponsored by McGriff, Seibels & Williams, the USPS boat insurance agent.
The national administrative officer reported that the youth activities team will focus on encouraging squadrons to become involved in community outreach and civic service programs that involve families.
V/C Maynard called on Stf/C Harold N. Zitter, JN, to present 2004 Operations Training Awards to the following: 3rd place - District 18; 2nd place - District 22; 1st place - District 21.
V/C Maynard called on Stf/C Lyle Rea, SN, to present the following Power of One awards for 2005:
The Grand Squadron Challenge, which recognizes the first five squadrons that increase their membership by 50 percent, was presented to two squadrons: New River Sail and Power Squadron/27, which increased its membership by 107 percent, and St. Helens Sail and Power Squadron/32, which increased its membership by 64 percent.
The Elite Squadron Challenge recognizes 15 squadrons that meet or exceed the recruiting targets of the Power of One Campaign based on the squadron size. The following 35 squadrons qualified for the award, and 15 squadron names were drawn at random to receive a monetary award: Darien Sail/2, Rowayton Sail/2, South Shore/3, Raritan Bay/4, Annapolis Sail/5, Biscayne Bay/8, Everglades/8, Fort Lauderdale/8, Grand Rapids/9, St. Paul Sail/10, Alamitos/13, Ventura/13, Bellevue/16, Seattle Sail/16, Skagit Bay Sail/16, Spokane/16, Lakes Region Sail/19, Penobscot Bay Sail/19, Corpus Christi/21, Cape Coral/22, Clearwater Sail/22, Fort Myers/22, Sanibel Captiva Sail/22, Evansville Bend/24, Peralta/25, Beaufort Sail/26, Lake Murray/26, Durham Sail/27, Rocky Mount/27, Tar River/27, Fostoria/29, Clinton/30, Fort Vancouver/32, Boqueron/33 and San Juan/33.
Stf/C Rea explained that a Power Of One lapel pin is given to every member credited with influencing one new member to join. He reported that 2,175 pins have been earned by members in 262 squadrons. He explained that a Power of One cap is presented to members who influence between five and nine members to join; 87 members have qualified for a cap. Members who have influenced at least 10 new members to join receive a Power of One jacket; six members qualified for a jacket.
V/C Maynard reported that the Member Benefits Committee has concluded an agreement with John Hancock Insurance for a long-term care insurance policy. Qualifying members will receive a 5 percent discount. The committee also reported that a new affinity credit card contract has been completed that provides $200,000 revenue to USPS during the next five years, with the possibility of a bonus at the end of the term. The committee is also working on a potential member benefit that will offer discounted charters to members.
C/C Johnson announced that 40 students took a public boating class that was held during the 2005 Annual Meeting. He announced that seven students joined Seminole Power Squadron, and he then installed four of those new members.
Report of the National Educational Officer
V/C Spencer P. Anderson, SN, reported that the teaching aids awards were presented during the members’ luncheon to those squadrons that received first-, second- and third-place prizes in all categories. He said that photos of these winning aids will be posted on the USPS Educational Department website.
Educational Department Awards
V/C Anderson presented the 2004 Bell Award to Great South Bay/3 for its junior navigation teaching aid, which was judged best-of-show.
2005 Teaching Aid Category Winners
Course Place Squadron/District
1st Oak Orchard/6
2nd Patchogue Bay/3
3rd Palm Beach Sail &/8
1st Palm Beach Sail &/8
3rd Houston Sail &/21
Course Place Squadron/District
1st St. Paul Sail &/10
2nd Swamp Fox/26
1st St. Paul Sail &/10
3rd Santa Clara/25
1st Great South Bay/3
2nd Watchung Sail &/4
1st North Olympic Sail &/16
2nd Great South Bay/3
1st Watchung Sail &/4
2nd Columbus Sail &/29
3rd Grand Lake Sail &/31
1st Watchung Sail &/4
2nd Lake Hartwell Sail &/26
Course Place Squadron/District
1st Evansville Bend/24
3rd Thurmond Lake Sail&/26
1st Dallas Sail &/21
3rd Watchung Sail &/4
1st Poverty Bay/16
3rd Beaufort Sail &/26
1st Patuxent River Sail &/5
3rd Poverty Bay/16
The national educational officer explained that the 2004 Squadron Outstanding Educational Achievement Award recognizes squadrons that have the strongest overall educational program as measured by the greatest percentage of members completing courses and the largest number of courses offered from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004. The squadrons receiving 2004 awards are 1st place - Grand Rapids Power Squadron/9; 2nd place - Corpus Christi Power Squadron/21; and 3rd place - Poverty Bay Power Squadron/16.
The NEO explained that the Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes five members who have demonstrated exceptional skill in teaching and motivating their students. They represent the best of USPS instructors. D/Lt/C Kenneth J. Boyd, SN, Costa de Oro/13; P/R/C Donald L. Hagen, SN, Nobscot/12; P/C Stephen G. Phillips, SN, Savannah River/26; P/C Harl Porter, JN, Main Line/5; and 1st/Lt James J. Rielinger, S, are the 2004 winners.
V/C Anderson also said that sales and enrollments in Boat Smart and the Squadron Boating Course still are down from previous years. He said that he knows there is a lot of competition for boating safety courses and that some of these courses are advertised as free. He urged squadrons to focus on the positives of USPS boating courses, saying that USPS course materials are better than the competition’s and are typically taught in a classroom setting by experienced, dedicated boating experts. He noted that students receive personal attention and have the opportunity to join USPS and take advanced courses.
The national educational officer reported that the Educational Department team has fulfilled the second part of a promise he made regarding new course materials, and that headquarters would begin shipping the 2005 Advanced Piloting course materials following the annual meeting. He thanked the 12 squadrons that taught the beta class and helped revise and finalize the course.
He said that these new courses will support member retention and promote greater participation in advanced grades because they are more relevant to today’s boaters. He said that many members who have not taken Piloting will like the new course. He anticipated that a higher percentage of new members will take Piloting and will continue their education by taking additional advanced grade courses.