By Johnny Bertrand
Most International Randonneurs (IR) members have probably received the current issue of the IR Newsletter. Based on recent posts to RANDON, many are interested in what all the fuss is about.
Let me outline what has happened / is happening and ask for your patience for a few more weeks while things are put into place and commitments are firmed up.
The IR membership and brevet organizers have been less than satisfied with IR as an organization for sometime. As US randonneurs began to go on-line and started to communicate regularly via RANDON, the various randonneuring web sites, and E-mail, a consensus developed that a change in IR was needed. A committee was formed to coordinate this change. Initial committee members were: Jennifer Wise, Director BMB, John Wagner, Seattle IR, and Johnny Bertrand, Bluegrass Cycling Club.
The committee drafted a Proposal for Change that praised Mr. Konski, IR Director, for his efforts past and present, outlined the problems with IR, and proposed solutions. Essentially, the document asked Mr. Konski to convene a constitutional convention to reorganize IR into a member elected organization and to turn over the operation of IR to those elected. This document was sent (early April 1998) via E-mail to all current on-line IR Regional Brevet Administrators (RBAs), as well as, a few well known US randonneurs with E-mail. Recipients were asked to review the proposal and reply within 2 weeks. They were told that if a clear majority were in favor of the proposal, a formal mailing to all RBAs would be made.
The E-mail went to 15 of 24 RBAs. Within 2 weeks, 13 of 15 had responded positively. The Proposal for Change was then mailed (late April 1998) to all 24 RBAs and some well known randonneurs. The mailing included a form to express favor or disfavor, and to comment as to why. A SASE for replying was also included. Recipients were asked to reply within a month. They were told that if a clear majority were in favor of the proposal, a formal proposal along with copies of their reply forms would be forwarded to Mr. Konski.
Within 4 weeks, 28 of the 30 had responded and 24 of the 28 had responded positively. Given this level of support, the Proposal for Change, along with copies of all 28 signed replies from the RBAs and other randonneurs, and a cover letter were sent (early June 1998) to Mr. Konski via registered mail. Mr. Konski was asked to reply by August 1.
The committee also scheduled a post BMB meeting (August 17, 1998) to discuss Mr. Konski's response or lack there of. The committee also apprised the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) of the situation. RBAs or their representatives who were planning to be at BMB or who were willing to make the trip for the meeting were invited to attend. Not all RBAs were contacted and of those who were, not all could attend. But, a reasonably representative group was assembled.
In the interim, the committee learned through the efforts of Dick Seebode (IR Board of Directors member) that IR had been incorporated in NY in 1994. Since incorporation, the Board of Directors (Mr. Konski and 5 others appointed by him.) had not met. Dick tried to arrange for an IR Board of Directors meeting prior to the August 17, 1998 meeting; however, this did not come about.
Mr. Konski did not reply to the committee's letter; however, he was present at the August 17, 1998, post BMB meeting. Those attending included:
- Jennifer Wise, Director BMB (RI)
- John Wagner, Seattle SIR (WA)
- Johnny Bertrand, Bluegrass Cycling Club (KY)
- Bill Bryant, Davis Bike Club (CA)
- Charlie Henderson, Rocky Mountain Randonneurs (CO)
- Dave Jordan, Boston Brevet Series (MA)
- Dick Seebode, IR Board of Directors, former OH RBA (OH)
- Sherry Reed, Ohio RBA (OH)
- David Buzzee, former Alabama RBA (OH)
- Rick LeBlanc, randonneur, lawyer (MA)
- James Konski, Director IR (NY)
- Diane Past, Mr. Konski's secretary (NY)
- Avery Juhring, unofficial ACP liaison, (Paris, France)
Avery Juhring, a neutral party, was asked to act as secretary for the meeting, to record the minutes, and to report these back to ACP.
Prior to Mr. Konski's arrival at the meeting, the group discussed options. Based on legal advice, the group decided that taking over a corporation with no recorded Board of Directors meetings since its incorporation, and as yet not officially organized, was not a good idea, notwithstanding the potential loss of funds and other benefits.
Upon Mr. Konski's arrival, the meeting was called to order. A discussion of IR problems then ensued. Mr. Konski responded to questions, brought us up to date on the doings at IR headquarters, and passed out copies of the current issue of the IR Newsletter.
After an hour or so of discussion, Mr. Konski was asked if he was willing to turn control of IR over to a committee of those present and eventually to a committee elected by the IR membership, but stay on as Honorary Director of IR. He refused, saying that an IR Board of Directors organizational meeting was scheduled for October and that no action should be taken until late 1999, post PBP. Several folks commented that further delay was not an option. A motion was then made to form a new randonneuring organization for the US. The motion carried 9 to 2. A motion to name Jennifer Wise as chair for the meeting was made and passed.
Jennifer then offered Mr. Konski a Life Membership and an Honorary position within the new organization. He refused both. The committee then moved on to the organizational details of forming the new organization, tentatively named Randonneurs USA. Mr. Konski left the meeting at this point.
An Executive Committee was elected by those present to set up and run the new organization for 2 years while a constitution, bylaws, etc. are drafted and submitted to the membership for approval. At the end of 2 years, or before if possible, new officers will be elected by the membership based on the bylaws and constitution approved by the same. Current members of the Executive Committee are:
- Jennifer Wise, President
- John Wagner, Vice President
- Dave Jordan, Treasurer
- Johnny Bertrand, Secretary
- Bill Bryant, Membership Secretary
- Advisory Members: Sherry Reed, Charlie Henderson
After the meeting, Avery Juhring telephoned ACP's international liaison, Robert Lepertel, bringing him up to date. Jennifer Wise and Johnny Bertrand also spoke with Mr. Lepertel. ACP via Mr. Lepertel made a verbal commitment to recognize brevet results submitted by Randonneurs USA.
Early last week (August 25, 1998), a mailing to all current RBAs went out explaining the above. It included a letter of commitment asking for their formal support, as well as, their 1999 brevet dates. They have been asked to respond in writing by September 8, 1998. Once we have their responses (We are confident that most will choose to support RUSA.), we will forward them to ACP as a matter of record and seek the support of the USA's randonneuring community by asking you to become members of Randonneurs USA.
By mid September, perhaps earlier, an informational flyer and a membership application will be available by mail and on-line via the RUSA web site. We'll provide further details as commitments are firmed up from RBAs, RM, and ACP.
Thanks for your patience and understanding.