Thursday, November 17, 2005

Roy Snyder Defends Proposed Board Restructure

Originally posted November 13, 2005:
 USNA At Large, Joe Procopio passed this along, I've got lots of comments, but thought I would turn it around immediately since this is the first quasi-public attempt to defend the proposed restructuring that I have seen from anyone in any sort of official capacity (hey, we're only two weeks away from the BOT mtg, what's the hurry to get some sort of official justification out for alumni to review?!?), more later, John Howland
-----Original Message-----
To: Blackfin SS322
Sent: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 2:13:32 PM Eastern Standard Time
Subject: Fwd: 62 USNAAA info on the proposed change to BOT org'n

Attached Message
From: Slingley
Subject: 62 USNAAA info on the proposed change to BOT org'n
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 1:13:09 PM Eastern Standard Time
Hi Folks,
I pass the following from Dick Hayes, who received it from the Alumni Association.
This is just so you have some background on the issue.
You may hear other opinions in your travels around cyberspace.
USNA Board of Trustees (BOT) Composition.
The next USNA BOT meeting will be discussing a proposed change to the BOT organization.  Essentially, if the proposal by ADM Trost, Chairman of the Board, is approved, the Regional Trustees will be replaced by "National Trustees" and there would be a slight reduction in the membership of the BOT so that there would be an equal number of Class Presidents and Chapter Presidents on the Board.    It is important that you understand that the revised BOT will have equal representation by Class Presidents and Chapter Presidents.  Class Presidents represent the Class - Chapter Presidents represent a geographical area.
A CDR Rezeau (and some others) complained about the proposal because basically they thought it was somewhat of a "DC/Annapolis power grab" - whatever that means.  RADM Roy Snyder responded to CDR Rezeau and his response is below.
Warm Regards,
Dick Hayes '62

Dear CDR Rezeau,

Thank you for your comments regarding the proposed change to the composition of the board of Trustees and for the opportunity to respond to your comments.

In my view, the key element to the proposal is the replacement of four Regional Trustees and two Board Appointed Trustees with six National Trustees elected by the entire membership of the Alumni Association.  The purpose for this change is to open the election process to the entire membership.  Under the current composition, any member of the Association has only one opportunity every three years to vote for a trustee.  With six National Trustees serving staggered three year terms, every member of the Association will have the opportunity to vote for two trustees each year.  I frankly cannot understand why any concerned member of the Association would not support this change.  While I recognize that most of the regional trustees are not in favor of this change, I sometimes get the feeling that the Regional Trustees are afraid to subject their candidacy to the entire membership of the Association rather than to a small group of supporters within their region.

With regard to your comments regarding the Governance Study Group convened in 1998, let me make a few comments.  The impetus for convening the Governance Study Group resulted from a desire to provide representation for Class Presidents on the Board.  The Study Group provided a good result that has served us well for the past six years.  One should recognize, however that in the past six years there have been some significant changes in the organizations and functions of our alumni.  Six years ago there was no Leaders To Serve the Nation Campaign, the structure of the Naval Academy Foundation has dramatically changed, and there was no Council of Class Presidents.
Since the restructuring of the Foundation and the commencement of the Leaders to Serve the Nation Campaign, the Foundation has raised over $240 Million in contributions and pledges.  The bulk of this sum has come from Alumni contributions and the fund raising structure established by the Foundation is primarily oriented to the class structure.  The results of this campaign have been dramatic in raising the bar of excellence at the Naval Academy.  You need only to read George Watt's periodic Leadership Updates on the web site to get a full understanding of these changes.  To mention a few, the Naval Academy is now rated among the top engineering schools in the country, the engineering laboratories are the best in the country, the improvements to the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium have been dramatic.  It is unfortunate that those of our alumni who live at great distances from the Naval Academy do not have the frequent opportunity to visit the Academy, interface with the Brigade, and witness the significant changes that have occurred and are continuing to occur.

In the six years since the study group reported, the Council of Class Presidents has grown into a mature, functioning advisory group to the Alumni Association.  The Council has a committee structure that parallels and complements the Board of Trustees committees.  These committees provide continual opportunities for face to face coordination among class, Alumni Association and Foundation  representatives, to resolve issues that improve the effectiveness of each of the organizations.  A Communications Committee works with the Alumni Association and Foundation to improve communications to and From Alumni; a Membership Committee works with the Alumni Association to increase membership in the Association, a  Class Giving Committee works continually with the Foundation and Naval Academy to identify priority projects for class giving, to establish class projects and to provide advice for organizing and conducting fund raising projects;  a Wardroom sponsorship  committee coordinates assignment of classes to sponsor midshipmen company wardrooms and to provide opportunities for class sponsors to interface with their company in various activities throughout the year;  a Planning Committee coordinates the agenda for semiannual Council meetings attended by more than sixty class presidents or designated representatives during which issues of concern are discussed and attending class presidents are brought up to date on activities of the Alumni Association, the Naval Academy and the Foundation;  a Governance Committee has established a Charter for the Council and maintains an up-to-date Class Presidents Handbook providing useful procedural and organizational information for class presidents.

The support of the Council of Class Presidents has contributed to two programs cited by George Watt as the most effective programs in developing leadership awareness in the Brigade of Midshipmen, the Link in the Chain Program and the Distinguished Graduate Awards.  The expanded Link in the Chain program, initiated by the Class of 1950 when senior members of the Class presented the first set of Ensign/2nd Lieutenant insignia to the graduates of the Class of 2000 at the graduating ceremony, now includes a complete program where members of the fifty year senior class meet incoming plebes on induction day and continue this association with various activities throughout their four-year experience at the Naval Academy and culminating with the presentation of insignia at graduation. The Distinguished Graduate Awards are strongly supported by the Class Presidents through the annual submission of nominations.  These awards are presented annually in Alumni Hall with the entire Brigade of Midshipmen present and represent to the midshipmen the outstanding accomplishments and demonstrated leadership of these Naval Academy Graduates, each identified by his Naval Academy Class.

I find your comments the alumni are better represented by Chapter Trustees to be rather interesting.  I too did a quick scan of the most recent Shipmate.  I found the of 76 classes (nearly 78%) with living Association members, 59 classes had substantial columns in shipmate.  Those classes without columns were primarily from those classes prior to 1930 with few living members and those classes later than 2001 who are currently too involved with active duty obligations to worry too much about a Shipmate column.  Contrast this with 30 chapters having columns out of 98 listed chapters (31%).  I don't quite understand how these numbers demonstrate better representation or interest in Alumni affairs by Chapters.

I do recognize the important contributions by Chapters in representing the Naval Academy throughout the country, but in view of all I have mentioned above, I fail to understand why there should not be equal representation on the Board of Trustees by Classes and Chapters.

Thanks again for your interest and comments.  I would be pleased to comment further if you desire.

All the best,

Roy Snyder
President, Class of 1950  


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