Flawed Election Process
The SRRBBL election was slated to be held on April 27, 2017. One SRRBBL Coach and one SRRBBL Member, within two days of the last Board meeting on April 5, 2017, pleaded with the Board, via email, to hold elections that:
- Were fair and equal
- Allowed for all nominees to provide their platform to all of the SRRBBL coaches who are the only ones who can vote
- Have a non-biased third party count the votes
On April 20, 2017, one week before the elections, the SRRBBL Board sent out an email to a partial list of SRRBBL Coaches, with a list of the nominees for the Board. The email provided a bio and platform of every incumbent SRRBBL Board Members: Commissioner Anton Perkins, Director John Salamone and Director Charles Sweazie. There was one additional nominee on the ballot, Brian Piccioni, and his name was misspelled, it provided no bio or platform for him (nor did the SRRBBL Board ask for his bio or platform) and it stated he had one child in the league while in fact he has three children in the league for the past three years, the oldest having played for six years in SRRBBL and still plays.
In that same email on April 20, 2017, the SRRBBL Board listed out the voting rules and procedures. They were listed as follows:
A. Per the SRRBBL By-Laws only Head Coaches that are registered and in good standing with the League are permitted to cast a vote or nominate person(s) for the Board of Directors.
It is a fact that one head coach, who meets this rule above, nominated two people for the Board. (She is now no longer receiving emails from SRRBBL.) The SRRBBL Board only accepted one of those nominations. Also, when all head coaches (and most likely all SRRBBL members) are not receiving emails about the SRRBBL Board meeting where elections will be discussed, or there is no email sent from SRRBBL soliciting nominations, there is an issue. When all head coaches are not receiving emails and are not able to nominate individuals for the Board, there is an issue.
B. If voting via email, the voting must originate and be received from the email address that is on file in the SRRBBL database for the previous season. No other email address will be accepted.
First, voting by email contains not one shred of integrity, at all, unless a third-party is tallying the votes. Second, where does this database reside and who manages it? Regardless, it has failed to serve its purpose. Again, it is a fact that head coaches are not receiving the voting emails, so it is not clear how the SRRBBL Board can list this as part of the process? Furthermore, head coaches who coached for SRRBBL, albeit not from the beginning but stepped up because SRRBBL needed their help and head coached from at least right before the All Star weekend through the All Star tournament at the end of the season–the Board told them they are not registered coaches–how can a youth sports league do that to volunteer head coaches?
C. Each ballot must contain a minimum of 1 and no more than 3 names for Director(s).
No clarification was provided. What does it mean? What if a head coach voted for one nominee, what happens to the other two votes they could have cast? How are head coaches guaranteed if a head coach votes for one nominee that the other two votes don’t automatically go to an incumbent? This is a major loophole / reason for concern. If a head coach only wants to vote for one nominee, how is that being addressed? Otherwise they are forcing coaches to vote for incumbents, or have their non-votes count for incumbents.
D. The absence of cast vote will be a no change vote for the incumbent Directors currently serving on the Board.
This is completely unacceptable. The SRRBBL Board says they are using this rule because of the “low participation we get from coaches who are not interested in being caught up in this smear campaign. If it were not the rule, every malcontent that to be removed from the league….” It is not a smear campaign, not even close. It is a movement by the SRRBBL Community to impact change in a league their kids play in and a league they pay for, that they own, and do it in a proper way. It is concerning that the Board does not see this.
E. Head coaches can vote in person at the Cascades Library. Votes will be accepted in person from 3-5pm on April 27th.
An in-person election, done during work hours—that seems odd. Why would it not be held in the evening, similar to SRRBBL Board Meetings?
F. The votes will be tallied by the current Board of Directors.
This screams “conflict of interest”. Numerous Members of the SRRBBL Community asked for a third party to do all the vote counting to ensure a fair an equal process, and those requests went unaddressed.
Hope For a Legitimate Election Process
The SRRBBL Board canceled the election the evening before the election was to be held, due to over 10 requests from SRRBBL Coaches and other requests from SRRBBL Members. The only non-Board member on the nomination ballot, Brian Piccioni, sent the following email to the SRRBBL Board the morning of April 27th, copying 80+ SRRBBL Coaches and Members:
Thank you very much for cancelling the elections, delaying for now, based on the requests you received. The action is greatly appreciated and is a major step in the right direction.
In terms of next steps, given I and others have proposed or advocated for change, it seems only fitting that we step up and propose some next steps that would help with the process. Those next steps would be:
1. At this time there should be no re-writing of the by-laws, that should be something that gets done post-election with the future Board.
2. Email lists should be all inclusive. There should be one database that contains all emails of the entire SRRBBL membership base, and there should be a subset database that contains all emails of the SRRBBL Head Coaches and Assistant Coaches. As far as the emails of all of the head coaches and assistant coaches, the best way to go about this is taking your files that show who every head coach and assistant coach was this past season–the Board obviously knows who all of the coaches were for each of the teams–and reconcile it with your email list. If there is something not in sync, revise the email database for head coaches and assistant coaches. In the case of a head coach who was not a head coach at the beginning of the season, but later became the head coach, this person needs to be considered a legitimate head coach with voting responsibilities. (There is no doubt someone on this email distribution who is a tech genius and most likely can assist with making this process easier, if need be.)
3. In #2, there is mention of “assistant coaches”, because head coaches are appointed / approved by the Board, and that will raise concerns. It would be prudent to allow assistant coaches to vote, in order to avoid noise about “conflict of interest” as it relates to head coaches, as well as this addresses the Board’s concern about lack of participation via votes and a vote that favors people who only want on the Board to address a specific complaint. In essence, you are killing two birds with one stone.
4. If there is on-line voting, there should be an on-line “Voting Plan”. That plan would not rely on emails, but rather an online software or program that is free or of minimal cost. That plan, once determined, should not involve anyone nominated for a Board position. There would be an “inspector of elections”, there are plenty of people on copy of this email who could serve in that capacity such as auditors or accountants.
5. If there is in-person voting, there should be a place and time that is in the evening, not during normal work hours, similar to SRRBBL Board meeting times and locations, and is again run by an “inspector of elections.” Though if the Voting Plan is created correctly, the need for an in-person vote is eliminated, most likely. A Voting Plan and an inspector of elections provides transparency and integrity of the results.
6. An email should be sent, to the entire SRRBBL membership base, making mention of the election and that nominations are now being accepted. Please go look at most other youth sports leagues, especially basketball, anyone can be nominated and there is no rule stipulating that a nomination has to come from a head coach. In fact, someone should be able to nominate themselves if they so desire, and in other leagues they can do that. In the email that is sent to the entire SRRBBL membership base, the Board should list out the election process, dates and times where necessary, all of the Board positions that a person can be nominated for and open it up for anyone in the SRRBBL membership base to provide nominations. Those nominations, would then, need to be confirmed with that nominee, that in fact they do wish to be a nominee. You could require that the nomination received be accompanied by the nominee’s email and contact #.
7. Per previous emails from coaches and others, the Board should increase the number of members on the Board, creating the following positions, to be in sync with how most other youth sports league Boards are structured:
-President (Commissioner) (referenced in current SRRBBL by-laws)
-Vice President (referenced in current SRRBBL by-laws)
-CFO / Treasurer (referenced in current SRRBBL by-laws)
-Secretary (referenced in current SRRBBL by-laws)
-Head of Referees / Referee Representative (to the Board’s point, they are part of are league and they play a pivotal role, they need a voice)
-Parent / Player Representative
-Travel Team Director (this group needs to be handled by a Board member and not by others on the Board)
The positions listed above enables the Board to take on more members who can volunteer and can absorb more work, lightening the load of the current three (3) Board members at this time. It also gives voice to the refs and players/parents.
8. For any nominees listed on the ballot, either all nominees list their bio, or all don’t. The key is to provide the opportunity for nominees to provide it, and if they do not, that is a different story and then that is their loss and they will not have a bio listed while others do. Equal opportunity is the key here.
9. If a vote is not cast, it should not count as a vote for the incumbent. By allowing anyone to be nominated (what other leagues do), by increasing the number of positions on the Board (like most other leagues have) and by opening up the vote to assistant coaches, there should be plenty of voting where there is no need to have no votes count for anyone. It is clear that this election matters.
10. Head coaches should not be in a Board position. Assistant coaches might be a different story. But a head coach on the Board is a major conflict of interest and a Board member needs to be focused on the league and not their team, both from a job duties perspective and a team preference perspective.
11. Set firm dates and deadlines and stick to them. The email exercise will most likely take two or three weeks. The Voting Plan can be worked in parallel. You can allow the SRRBBL membership base one week to provide nominations once email lists are cleaned up. In summary, you could have a valid Board in place the first week of June.
Hopefully what I have outlined here in this email can be the stepping stone for holding a fair and equal election. The key to all of this, and most likely the most time consuming item, is the validation and compiling of all the correct emails into the right categories. Again, I encourage the Board to reach out to anyone on this email distribution that might have certain tech or programming skills that can help speed up the process.
Please add all on copy of this email, to any communication about the election or related items, as a large portion of us are having to get information second hand from people who are receiving communication. (For example, I did not know that my name made it on the ballot, as I never received an email or any notification.)
Again, thanks for your action on the election today, and thanks for your consideration of the above proposed plan and election process. I look forward to the continued communication by the Board.
SRRBBL Board Re-Elects Themselves
After Brian Piccioni sent his email, with a clearly defined plan to run a proper election, the SRRBBL Board went silent, even after multiple Members of the SRRBBL Community inquired about the status of the revised election process.
On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, Dave Carver at PRCS notified Members of the SRRBBL Community that he had spoken with the SRRBBL Commissioner and one other SRRBBL Board Member on Friday, May 26, 2107. During that discussion, the SRRBBL Commissioner informed PRCS that the SRRBBL Board held their own elections and voted themselves back in as SRRBBL Board Members and they had rewritten the SRRBBL By-Laws to allow for this, with help from their recently retained attorney, Robert Showers. The new SRRBBL By-Laws can be found here on the SRRBBL website.
To summarize, the SRRBBL Board tried to hold an election that was rigged and unfair. The SRRBBL Board then cancelled the election due to complaints by SRRBBL Coaches and Members, but never held another public, fair election. Instead, the SRRBBL Board held their own election amongst the SRRBBL Board Members, all of three of them, and voted themselves back in, and rewrote the SRRBBL By-Laws to allow for this and to allow for an unfair election process. This is election mismanagement.