The Commodore’s Ballot

I’m often asked “Who should I vote for in the upcoming election?”

I’ve always been willing to share my opinion but in the past stayed pretty discreet.  For me, it was more important to maintain a positive relationship with whoever the members chose than to campaign for one person over another.

All candidates have the passion and are pretty thoroughly vetted by the Nominating Committee.  This means most are capable of doing the job they are elected to do. Whether or not they do it is another matter and only time answers that question.

But now I am in the last two weeks of Board participation and because this year I have been asked for input more than any I can recall I’ve decided to share my ballot and the reasons for my vote.

You know this is just one person’s opinion so take it for what it’s worth.

The only value I can bring is to suggest I know the difference between a myth, a misinterpretation, a misunderstanding and a misstatement because I was there.

Upon being elected Fleet Captain in 2007 I immediately began working with the FDEP on the mooring field project.  In the spring of 2008 I was appointed Secretary and worked continuously with the City of Sarasota until our Lease was finalized in 2010.  In 2010 and in 2011 I ran unopposed for Commodore.

I have worked with 5 managers and “interim” managers, reported to two Commodores, networked with 4 Mayors and their Commissions and (what I am most proud of) I was a Ball Buster for one whole year!  (Albeit, this is a mere fraction of time compared to most Ball Busters).

So, for any who may be interested, here are my selections.

Commodore.  John Huber.  John can be a stabilizing influence on the organization at a time when we need someone with “Chamber of Commerce” diplomacy.  He has been Vice Commodore twice and became part of the Finance Committee this year preparing him for what could be a more expansive review of Club finances.  While Bob Miller is a tireless volunteer and wants to be Commodore, he would leave a vacancy in the Vice Commodore position creating the need for another election or giving a Board of Directors the ability to appoint his replacement.

Rear Commodore.  Barry Millbourn.  This is a difficult position because of the attachment we all have to the Squadron’s physical property.  We love our buildings and landscape and can be a bit irrational when it comes to changes whether paint color or the location of a tree.  This is a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” position but Barry has held up.  We are also in the middle of rebuilding our docks.  This is the largest capital investment in Club history and I would not favor changing horses in the middle of the stream.

Treasurer.  Michelle Lee.  We have not always had competent people in this position but Michelle has had a positive impact on Club finances.  I would also go so far as to say we are more healthy and knowledgeable about our situation than at any time in the last 10 to 15 years.  She is willing to address difficult and unpopular issues and has a long term outlook for the benefit of the Club.

Regatta Director.  Peter Robinson.  Although Peter is running unopposed his credentials are well know around the Squadron.  I appreciate his willingness to take on the role and we are lucky to have him.  Thank you, Peter.

Social Director.  Vanessa Hamalian.  Vanessa was appointed Social Director earlier this year and with the help of her husband, Knight has done an outstanding job with our social calendar.  After 9 months she has demonstrated her capabilities and remains interested in the job.  She heartily participates in all Board dialogue and decisions but does not lose focus of the Social Director’s responsibilities.

Bylaws Ballot.  I vote YES.  I know this is a lot to digest and a big step for us compared to previous years but there is little in here we have not discussed for years.  We just finally had a team of volunteers willing to take the time to address a number of issues and get them to a ballot.  It represents a tremendous amount of work by a rather large committee made up of people I trust a great deal, including my choice for Commodore.

YES to remove Laurel Kaiser from the SSS Board of Directors.  I remember a previous Board member having trouble getting some things accomplished in a collaborative manner.  In his frustration one day, he said “I think my favorite Committee is a Committee of ONE!”  I sympathized because moving forward as a group and working as a team is really hard.  It’s even harder when your focus is on more than Club business.  A larger discussion on “conflict of interest” looms in our future.  As our organization grows we need to be mindful of what businesses are operating on (or near) our property and whether or not the individuals involved in these businesses can objectively participate as Board members.

So there it is; one person’s opinion.

Now don’t forget to express yours by voting on or before November 17th!

David Jennings, Commodore
Sarasota Sailing Squadron
November 2013

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