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Historicon Travelogue Part two

Okay, one more time for nostalgia's sake:

Important Disclaimer
The following statement is solely my own opinion, based upon recollection.
It does NOT represent an opinion of the HMGS East organization.

I may actually be saying a few nice things here, so don't be too shocked.

This post dwells on the bits of HISTORICON that encompassed the marathon, record breaking membership meeting of Saturday morning and key event before and after. This may not be everyone's cup of tea so I broke it out from the gaming and convention reporting stuff.

Friday night I dropped into the bar at the Host, after ON TO SARGOSSA run by Pat Condrey. Flush with victory and cash not yet spent on toy soldiers.

I saw Michael M. and a few others clustered around a table so I sauntered over and gave my usual bluff n' hearty convention greetings. More HMGS business than I care to admit gets accomplished in the Host Lobby bar (that's how I got Del Stover to agree to be my publicity guy for CW07, by the way!)

They asked what I thought of the "situation". I replied with my own concerns about HMGS East's future. We all felt that something serious had been done but were kind of in a quandary about what to do next. Fred himself showed up, and sat down, obvioulsy looking for advice. I told Fred that if he wanted people to support him in reversing his firing, than he had better act like it's important to him... keeping mum and not communicating with anyone (leaving everyone to guess as to what his intentions are) might lead people to believe that Fred didn't care about it.
The assembled crowd had their copies of Roberts Rules and the Bylaws out, and that usually makes my eyes glaze.. so off to bed.

The Big, Big Meeting

If anyone were to ask me to name the person that would be the center of controversy in HMGS, and possibly be at the heart of an incident that might bring the whole organization crashing down in ruin, well, let's just say there are many names I would bring up before Fred Haub. Fred is not one of these big, bluff hearty characters. He's shy, good-natured, and thoughtful-- not the sort of guy that would beat you at a game of quarters or slurp jello shooters out of the bellybutton of a Hooters waitress. So the opening of the membership meeting probably came as a surprise to all of us assembled. (You should note that a RECORD crowd of 150 souls was present, and the back of the room was standing room only)

HMGS President P. and the BoD were taking their seats and gaveling us to order, as it were, when in strides Fred Haub, right up to the front of the room, and says in a loud, firm tone:

"Ladies and Gentlemen: I am a board member of HMGS East that was removed without due process that makes the removal illegal"

Pete attempted to gavel him down and declare him out of order. Fred held his ground, and the applause grew and grew along with chants of "Fred Fred Fred".... Pete conceded that Fred could take a seat up front.

I had to admire Fred for that. It took a lot of guts and was nice bit of political theater. The practical benefit of the maneuver wasn't tangible, but it did get the crowd riled up and somewhat on Fred's side.

A full house! It's a dark shot.. but it should show how packed the room is

The attendance was a new high in HMGS history. 147 souls at the commencement of the meeting and more people (including BoD member Mattes) showed up later.

HMGS President P. made a very nice gesture to his predeccesor, Fred Hubig, presenting a Pavlov's Grenadier figure as a parting gift and allowing Fred Hubig the floor. Hubig made a small speech outlining the results of the 7 May meeting and actions taken subsequent to it (including consulting the "corporate attorney" on the legality of the removal of Haub). Hubig's tone was conciliatory and positive, with a plea for the members to be reasonable and gentlemanly. It was probably Fred Hubig's best speech given at a HMGS function.

Our agenda was like so:

Quorum Determination
Call to Order
Reading of Minutes
Old Business
New Business (to include resolution of Procedural Issues)
Officers' Reports
Standing Committee Reports
Temporary Committee Reports

HMGS President P. dwelled a bit on procedure, naming Mike Cosentino as a Sergeant of Arms. HMGS President P. introduced the newly constituted board and led off with viewgraphs of our mission statement. It was now 9AM or close to it.

HMGS President P. started with the introduction of the new board.

HMGS President P.: President
Dan McDonaugh: Executive Vice President
Membership Secretary: Bill Rutherford (again)
Treasurer: James Curtis
VP of Education Programs: Don Manser
VP of Outreach: James Mattes
VP of ConOps: HMGS President P.
Strategic Planning Committe: HMGS President P. (and that means the HISTORICON move)
Membership Comms: Dan MacDonaugh
Membership Services: Bill R.
Exhibitor liaison: James mate's
various other committees I didn't catch.

HMGS President P. wanted to go through his presentation and get officer reports. The membership preempted that by voting to table reading of the minutes and moving OLD business to the end of the meeting. Both actions passed.

So we went to NEW business. Now, unheard of when we vary rarely get more than two motions in a single meeting, we had NINE motions that had been made in advance. Here they are (this will all be released in the minutes and was mentioned in the meeting announcement, so I'm not speaking out of school here)

New Motions all had to be submitted in writing well in advance.

1. Motion to make the Minutes from HMGS East BoardÂ’s Executive Session of 7
May 2006 available to the membership

(this was trumped somewhat by the fact that the board had removed the cone of silence on this meeting in advance of the meeting, but they will be published on the website) There was some spirited discussion kicked off by none other than Pat Condrey inquiring if the membership actually has the power to "make the board" do something. Bob Coggins actually supported this by indicating that we probably didn't record the actual discussion of the meeting. Further discussion was obviously desired by many, but someone actually called it into question early and it had to be handled by the parliamentariann (Mitch Osborne) to see if the vote was appropriate.

Pete and Bill read a precis of the events of the 7 May session with a summary of charges made against Fred.

This was a sort of non-issue because of the board's decision to release the minutes, but it got added to the agenda because motions are made so far in advance.

2. Corporate Referendum to amend Article VI, Section 10 of the HMGS East bylaws re: term limits for Directors

This was a motion by Mitch Osborne to address the high number of incomplete terms we have been getting lately-- with the exception of Pete, only Don Manser didn't start out as a replacement for someone who had left by resigning. So there's an issue about term limits for someone who picks up a position emptied by resignation. Mitch gave a little background to the motion and it sounded common sense to me. I voted for it.

3. Corporate Referendum to amend Article VI, Section 3a of the HMGS East bylaws re: requiring a 2/3 majority vote by the Board of Directors to remove a Director from the Board.

There were two of these. One of which (I think the next one) was hugely complicated.. I like the first (far simpler) motion; I believe I voted for it.

4. Corporate Referendum to amend Articles III, V, and VI of the HMGS East bylaws re: membership ratification of Board-initiated removal of Directors from the Board of Directors.

This was lengthy and complicated.. as it had many sections and we had to break it into pieces for discussion. I think I voted against this as it was amended.

5. Corporate Referendum to amend Article X of the HMGS East bylaws re: minutes for Board of DirectorsÂ’ meetings and re: Executive Sessions

I think this was part of a series of non-binding "Sense of the Membership" motions by Bob Coggins that basically would encourage the BOD not to have Executive Sessions. I did not like the sound of it. In a business sense, sometimes we need to have sealed meetings. If we reveal everything to the outside world, we lose some, if not all of our negotiating power.

Even Notoriously Energetic Bob Giglio is poleaxed by the lengthy meeting

6. Resolution regarding continued membership of a Director on the HMGS East
Board of Directors

By far the most contentious of the group. "It was the sense of the membership" that James Curtis and James Mattes should resign for not living up to their fiduciarresponsibilitiesis" Folks from the back interjected to make the language more binding and turn it into a referendum. This got voted down. Then someone suggested maybe we should split Curtis and Mattes out. So we ended up voting NO for Curtis, YES for Mattes.

I voted NO for both. In my eyes it was "ethically challenging" to throw two more BOD members under the bus to demonstrate our feelings about the first BOD member getting thrown under the bus.

Does this mean that James Mattes HAS to resign? Nope. It's a non-binding resolution giving the "sense of the membership".

7. Resolution regarding prohibiting the expenditure of HMGS East funds to defend Directors for failure to follow due process

Another Bob Coggins "sense of the membership" thing. I didn't vote for this. We already have directors and CD insurance for this purpose,and this motion would yank the rug under our established procedures. Besides, who could you recruit to run for the BOD or be a CD if this had passed with some binding effect?

8. Resolution regarding the resignation of Directors from the HMGS East Board of Directors

Another procedural thing. I don't recall if it passed or what-- the minutes will surely reflect it. It wasn't as contentious as the previous motions. I *think* Dudley Garidel submitted this one.

9. Motion to make the Minutes from the HMGS East Board's Executive Session of 12 November 2004 available to the membership

Del submitted this and wasn't here to see it pass. This was the FALL IN where he got "resign or else!" as an option. Pity he left early, it would have been amusing to have some discussion on this one. It passed.

Auggie Thiesing, CW07 Events Director Richard Wright, Dan Nedwich, Greg Hacke and a room full of disgruntled HMGS members

The discussion was remarkably civil (most of the time), considering the gravity of the meeting itself, and yes, I do credit our new President for both keeping order AND allowing even the most controversial statements to get uttered. There were definitely anti-BOD factions in the crowd... let's just say a few tournaments got delayed as a result of the meeting. I found it greatly amusing that everyone who had ANY previous military experience would announce it when identifying themselves before speaking "Such-in-such, LT COL, Army Rangers, retired!" that sort of thing. And I got flack for using the phrase "camoflauge mafia!" Silly people. I wanted to cite my Boy Scout credentials when it was my turn to speak but by that point the moment was gone.

I stayed until the bitter end, and my impressions of things are generally positive. Pete behaved very calmly and didn't get rattled. He allowed the malcontents to speak, even the ones calling him a liar and trying to shout over him. That certainly would have rattled me if I were in his shoes.

Even with outstanding reports, nobody was complaining about calling for adjournment, so I didn't get a chance to make my Cold Wars report. I will post it here in the next week or so.

Much later, BOD Member James Mattes approached me in the hotel lobby, saying he had "good news". The board had met again in Executive Session and reseated Fred Haub with 4 votes for (Pete, James Curtis, Don and Bill) and 2 against (Mattes and Dan McDonough).

And so, the great Fred Haub Scandal of 2006 is behind us. Personally, I'm glad to see him back on the BOD, out of principle. His continuing presence there may just be symbolic, but I comend the BOD for doing the right thing.