THE "U.S. CHESS SUCCESS SLATE" AND ITS TACTICS, UPDATED

Four of the Executive Board candidates this year are running as a self-described "slate." They also call themselves the "U.S. Chess Success Team." The slate's campaign tactics are highly questionable.  They appear to believe that if you repeat a falsehood enough times, it will be believed.  I hope the voters are paying enough attention to the facts to prove them wrong.

One slate member, Elizabeth Shaughnessy, says in the April issue, "A year ago, I promised to make tough, fiscally sound decisions to bring USCF from the brink of financial ruin to solvency. I was one of the team that did just that." In the May issue, she says, "In this last year I worked to achieve the financial turn-around that put USCF back in the black..." Will she claim credit for saving USCF again in the June issue?

Update, June 2: Yes, she will!  "Primarily the current board has taken the USCF out of the red and into the black."  And even more dramatic, "It involved making hard choices between cutting expenses where it hurt or letting the USCF go under. I promised in my statement when I last ran, that I would make those hard choices and I kept my promise." 

The truth: USCF was on the brink of financial ruin in the summer of 2003, owing $400,000 to $500,000 more to creditors than it could pay. On May 31, 2004 USCF completed its best year ever with an audited profit of $285,000, and had some $200,000 more in the bank than needed to pay its bills. Shaughnessy did not take office until August 2004, therefore it was impossible for her to have been part of a team that brought USCF from the brink of financial ruin to solvency! It was also impossible for her to work in the past year to achieve the financial turn-around that put USCF back in the black, because USCF was already back in the black before she took office.  USCF did not go out of the red and into the black under the current Board, this happened on the previous Board that did not include Shaughnessy and Bauer.  Nor was USCF in any danger of "going under" since Elizabeth's election; the vote to "cut expenses where it hurt" took place in August 2003, a full year before Elizabeth joined the Board!

Another slate member is George John, webmaster of the "US Chess Success" website. On this site, John posted, "Three of us are on the current Executive Board which has taken the tough steps needed to curtail expenses so that in fiscal 2003-04 USCF had its first surplus in many years."

This is highly misleading, as it suggests that three members of the slate, by taking tough steps to curtail expenses while on the Board, caused USCF to have a surplus in fiscal 2003-04. However, two of these three, Randy Bauer and Elizabeth Shaughnessy, were not even on the Board until after fiscal year 2003-04 ended! The third slate member, Steve Shutt, was on the Board in 2003-04, but on the most important vote to curtail expenses, the vote to downsize in August 2003 by letting 17 employees go, Shutt voted no!

Update, June 2:  George writes in the June Chess Life, "Current Executive Board members Randy Bauer, Elizabeth Shaughnessy, and Steve Shutt are members of the team which has turned the USCF around."  However, it is clear that the financial turnaround took place in the fiscal year ending May 2004, and Bauer and Shaughnessy didn't join the Board until August 2004.

Update, June 2:  Steve Shutt writes, "Despite these challenges, the current Board has maintained its course saving the USCF from bankruptcy." More of the same nonsense; if the current Board saved USCF from anything it was sponsorship, not bankruptcy.

Update, June 2:  Randy Bauer writes, "I've been encouraged by the results the current Executive Board has achieved, For example, the current year's budget is in the black.  Last year's budget surplus reversed eight years of deficits." Bauer fails to point out that the current Board had nothing to do with either last year's budget surplus or the preparation of the current year's budget.  

In the April issue, Bauer wrote, "We've lowered dues, and regular membership has grown the last three months." While this is actually true, it is hardly the whole truth.  I proposed before the Delegates Meeting that dues be lowered by $2 if purchased online, and the Board accepted this.  I also moved at the Delegates Meeting that Adult dues be lowered by $4 and Youth dues by $2, and this was not passed due to unexpected Executive Board opposition.  Among the Board members who spoke against the dues decrease at the Delegates Meeting was Randy Bauer!  Yet Bauer now credits the Board with lowering dues, but says nothing about the ED's role!

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