(*6*)|| Pardon the length of the following - but there have been MANY
attempts by the board to limit my service, and MANY attempts by myself
and others to resolve this difficult situation, and here are just enough to give a sense of how difficult the situation was for me to continue doing the good job that I naturally do!
I don't understand how a volunteer service which
was given with such a degree of love and care and which has ALWAYS been
run very well and which members continue to enjoy (see above), could ever have met
with anything other than gratitude by the OBC Board, but instead it seems to
have become the object of attempted destruction by the OBC Board. I have
experienced a deep depression over this, but I have continued to do what
I love to do and what I believe is right, and I do believe that what I do is
right and good.
Here are some of the things which have occurred:
In 2002, as newsletter editor, Rod did not let me continue to use
the club web site for the tt web service which I had set up. It has cost
me approximately $2000 out of my pocket over the past six years to pay
for my own personal web hosting.
I asked Bob (Racing Events Director for the last ten years!) for help. Bob's response was "I am not going to go against Rod's portfolio"!
Before the start of the 2002 tt season, Bob phoned up both Barb
Wilson and Jim Glover, the TT coordinators, and told them that they were
not to give me the results any more - that I was difficult to work with
and disrespectful towards volunteers and hence had been replaced by
Randy Plunkett, Rod's twin brother! He told them that they were to bring
the results to the club office (overhead for them!). They both disputed his comments, refused to comply and continued to give me the results to enter into my, now unofficial tt web site. Jim commented that Randy didn't even have seed
sheets (and in fact when Randy finally started producing them, they were wrong - for several years, and may still be!)
On Thursday 2002-May-02, Rosmarie was sent out to collect the
results from Jim. Jim insisted upon giving BOTH of us the results.
Volunteers expressed surprise at how upset Rosmarie was when Jim did
In the May 2002, members asked Rod to put a link to my site (which
I had resumed on my own personal web space). Rod refused, even though
the results were being shown on my site and his brother was taking weeks
to copy them into the club web site and was making many errors in the
Members complained that there were no results on the club web site
for the previous seasons. Rod found an old partial copy of results and
put them on the club web site. I indicated that the results were
incomplete, and asked him to link to my site instead. He refused.
There was a five week outage in the club tt web site during June
and July 2002. Members again requested that Rod link to my site where we
still had same-night service. Rod refused and both he and Avery
responded on the topica public email list, saying that they could not
link to my site because MY site was INACCURATE! In addition to making
such a false (libellous?) statement, they also wrote (on the public
topica list) that I was arrogant, acerbic, acrimonious, aggressive, etc.
- and that was just the A's...
Other member complaints about the general state of the web site (tt
and otherwise) were either ignored entirely or met with excuses (that
the board had been left in a "difficult situation"), or that these
complainers should volunteer - Interestingly, one who wanted to
volunteer officially (me) was not allowed to...
Members were also told not to issue such complaints or requests
publicly on the topica email list - a la "divide and conquer"?
Sometime in the summer, Bob made a motion at a board meeting that
a link be added from the club web site to my tt site, but he did not in
any way try to convince the others of why this was appropriate or not.
All but two of those at the meeting voted against adding a link, so no
link was added.
At the end of August 2002, Michael Coldwell formed a petition
requesting that the club link to my tt web site for the time trial
results (he wanted to make the petition much stronger, but by this
point, I was so distrustful of the board, that I urged him to limit the
scope to something that they might actually do!). He brought the
petition to the last five time trials and got almost 100 signatures -
more than half of all the OBC time trialists that year and virtually
100% of those who were at those last 5 time trials.
President Avery Burdett spoke out at one of these time trials that
members should not sign because there were things that they did not know
underlying the problem! When Michael brought the petition to the board
in October 2002, the Vice President (Bruce Lowe) stated that he didn't
believe in petitions, and indeed the board did not do the small, simple
thing which the petition, asked for, even though it wouldn't have hurt
anybody to do what so many members had requested and would have
In October 2002, Bob offered to mediate between Rod and I. I was
thrilled, though Barb, remembering Bob's phone call in the spring,
told me to bring along someone who was "on my side"! I brought along
Peter James, but Bob did not bring along Rod(!), and it was quickly
clear that Bob was not there to mediate. He again asserted the model of
supreme dominance by the board, regardless of the service ramifications.
He would not go against what he believed was Rod's portfolio. The
problems with the "Captain in the Engine Room" model are well known.
When the captain tries to both micromanage and guide the work, often
neither job is done well. Service suffers and there's no accountability
for the lack of service. Surely this is what we've run into with the tt
results for the past six years.
In April 2003, Rod told Barb that if she didn't have someone enter the
results into the club database, the WTT results would not get into the
newsletter. I volunteered to enter the results into the club database as
well as into mine. There were MANY problems with the club input form,
and eventually, Lucy Cole took on the job of trying to fix the form and
enter the WTT results into the club database from my online results. She
thanked me for some technical advice in this area. There were similar
problems with the OTT result entry. At first there were a few people
trying to enter them, but eventually Kevin Feenan, a board member who
was now running the OTT series, ended up entering all the results as
well as running the series. Kevin also wrote a seeding program, since
members kept complaining about the incorrect seedings that Randy
generated. Kevin had the tt data in spreadsheets on his computer, so it
would have been a trivial job to write a piece of software to input them
automatically into the club database. I offered to do so, but instead he
continued to type the stuff in manually! There were many errors in club
membership, some in birth years, and I don't know how many other
problems. Understandably, it sometimes took quite a while to get our OTT
results posted, and eventually (Aug 2005) Kevin resigned.
On 2004-May-04, Trish Murray, the new newsletter editor arrived at
the WTT event and told Barb that we were going to do things her way -
She would take the results and have them entered in the club database
from which I could get them. Barb and I were surprised and let her take
them away that week. There's still an error on the officially posted
results for that day - Lucie's time. The error was reported but never fixed. I noticed
the error immediately, since it was nowhere near the normal riding speed
of the rider, and I fixed it from the material which Trish faxed back to
me. Anyway, Trish wasn't back until late in the season, and I resumed
entering the WTT results into my database.
I sent a note to newsletter editor Trish early in 2005 requesting
a link from the club tt web site to mine - I had a reciprocal link on my
site. Several months later, having received no response I phoned her.
She phoned back after speaking with Perry and indicated that there would be no
link since my site DUPLICATED the club's official service - a rather
bizarre thing to say to the creator of the service who had been copied from
extensively (both data and web page layout ideas!). I indicated that my
site provided a lot more functionality than the club tt web site, some of which was used specifically for the WTT awards, and
had a lot more data (the ABC results and 9 more years of WTT results). I
indicated that I wished to make a presentation at the next board
meeting. Again various people wrote notes on my behalf to Trish, and I
got a link in the bowels of the OBC web site (where nobody could find
it!) along with a set of conditions that would have been more typical of
Stalinist Russia - gag orders, and result handling procedures which had
nothing to do with the link request and which were not required of other
link holders or result handlers. When members wrote to her and advised
her to drop the heavy handed conditions and just put in a link (as had
been petitioned for 2.5 years earlier), she referred to me as a "third
party" - an odd label for a 20+ year member and volunteer of the OBC.
Another TT season passed and the OTT result handling in 2005 was
really slow and there were lots of member complaints. I phoned up Perry
to discuss. I also indicated that nobody could find the link which Trish
had put in place in the spring. Perry said that he would do something
that would make everybody happy.
At the 2006 GF TT, Perry showed up with his non-negotiable offer -
I would do all the work of typing in the results into my database and
Rod would suck them in from my site into the club site. Rod's site would
remain official with no possibility of change in the foreseeable future.
I would continue to have a link where Trish had put it (with the "third
party" people). This was certainly a rather disrespectful offer. Can you
imagine him switching Rod and I in the offer? I tried to negotiate with
Perry - say, perhaps using my site officially for the WTT and ATT
results and Rod's for the open, but NOPE, NO NEGOTIATION - No Sharing! It took
whoever did The GF results a few weeks to get them up, so, not wanting
another season of slow postings, I phoned up Perry and accepted his
awful offer. Apart from two weeks of interference from "the network" (who I guess felt that Perry's offer was too good for me!) early
in the season, I had access to the raw data and entered it on the
evening of the event for the rest of the 2006 season. Time Trialists
were happy with the quick availability of results.
A link to my web site was finally added in the Tools area of the
club's tt web pages in the summer 2006, but when members used it, there
was a 10 second delay and a rather ominous warning that people were
leaving the OBC web site and that the OBC had "no control over the
accuracy or currency of the material" - Thank goodness, considering the
ongoing OBC data management problems! There were no such warnings or delays for
other external sites which the OBC linked to (eg., the Grand Prix
results on sportsstats or the cyclocross results on the site run by Ian
Austen and Bob Woods. Several months later, Perry had the odious comment
modified, but the delay remains to this day and should be removed.
I held up my end of the bargain in 2006, but Rod still had trouble
with the data - His input software seemed to be buggy. There were
several instances of members' results missing for some unknown reason
from the club web site (Peter James was one such person who phoned up
both Perry and Bob when his result wasn't there after one time trial),
and there were many cases of the club and category information being
At the end of the season, I wrote Perry a note indicating the
member satisfaction at having same night service again, but also
indicated that we still had problems with the data which was making its
way into the club database and asked for a re-evaluation of our method.
I offered to help fix the problems.
Perry indicated that he had no time to consider any changes.
Though being thanked at the 2006 AGM for doing the 2006 results by
Bob and Perry, I ran into a closed door when I suggested that we (read
Rod) would do better by integrating the tt database with the club
membership/birth-year database. I'm not sure who wrote up the minutes of
that AGM, but their summary wasn't accurate... (Can we try to get the
AGM minutes right after the AGM in the future? None of us even had time
to read them before last year's were approved at the AGM this year.)
I asked that the tt database be discussed at the November 2006 board
meeting and I arrived to discuss on 2006-Nov-06. I suggested that Rod
and I join forces on this. I indicated that the problems which Rod was
having with club information and birth years could be largely addressed
by revisiting the club's data model, and I offered to help with this.
Bob, though, said that he would do the job and didn't need my help. He
said that if he didn't get back to me after 3 months, I should contact
him. (It would only take me about half an hour to do a data model for
this...). Perry asked me how many errors there were in the 2006
published results, and I indicated that I would get back to him with the
I sent Perry the number of errors in the OBC's published 2006 tt
data on 2006-Nov-14 - By the end of the season, there were 170 errors
out of 1366 OTT finishes (5 incorrect times, 63 wrong categories and 102
wrong club markings). This was a 12% error rate! There were also many
problems during the season - missing results and errors which took weeks
or months to fix. I don't think that Rod was reading the tt BB or the
ttadmin email messages, since messages from members were sent there
about the errors... Riders also sent emails to Trish Murray and Bob Hicks about errors, but months went by without fixes.
A week or so before the 2006 Awards banquet, Bob sent me a pdf
file of the awards which he had determined from the club web site and he
asked me to verify. There were 6 incorrect awards listed on his
page(!), and other errors in times listed for the awards. Though he
could have easily read the correct award listing from any of my result
pages, I assisted him by indicating the errors and giving helpful
diagnosis so that the appropriate fixes could be done in the club
database and software. There were three contributors to the errors -
Having the same person listed more than once in the database (with the
rider's times divided between the entries), the wrong birth years stored
in the club tt database, and the wrong club membership information in
the club database. Bob's reaction to my note was unpleasantly critical
and curt - He said that I gave him more information than he wanted, and
I felt as if I was being held responsible for Rod's result handling problems.
In fact Jocelyne did get the impression from Bob that I had caused the
problems in Rod's results by changing results, though she accepted blame
for misinterpreting what he had said to her when I indicated the
I sent three other requests to the board asking that the
tt result problems be fixed and offering my help, at monthly intervals
(2006-Dec-02 and 2007-Jan-12, 2007-Feb-05), but received no responses
until Perry indicated that the subject was closed (even though the
results remain unfixed) and told me that I was not to send further
It was not clear to me how to deal with the OBC Board concerning
the tt web site errors, which I believe should be fixed. In 2002,
I was told that
the newsletter editor was supreme, and then in 2007 (and still now?), it seemed
that the board was/is deferring to the Racing Events Director, and none of the peole in those positions since 2002 were fixing the errors which I had pointed out. Nobody seemed to be accountable. I decided it would be helpful to read our Constitution. I sent a note to Jeffrey Furry on 2007-Feb-14 asking if our Constitution could be posted on the club web site, and he forwarded my request to the board of directors. No response to that note was ever received.
On 2007-Mar-05 I sent a note to Bob to see if he had finished with
his data model investigation, since more than 3 months had passed and he
had not contacted me. He indicated that there was a problem with having
only the current year of club membership on line. He said that this may
have contributed to the ongoing problems with the birth year and club
membership information. He indicated that "they" were looking at
improving the situation. Since the problems continued through the 2007
season, I suspect that that work has not yet been done. Again, I offered
to help but didn't even receive an acknowledgement of my offer.
I indicated to Bob that I would still continue entering the OTT
results in 2007 as per my open-ended agreement with Perry and also
offered to write some software to import them correctly into the club
database, but when I arrived at the GFTT, Gunther indicated that Bob had
told him to bring them to the club office. The results were not
posted until 2007-Apr-28, more than three weeks after the time trial.
The result reporting was very slow all season and the errors
continued... Members who complained were told that they should
volunteer, and yet, my offer to volunteer had been flatly refused...
On 2007-Oct-04, still not having received any response to my
request for the Constitution to appear on the web site, I sent a note to
Newsletter Editor Andre Gauthier and President Perry KcKenna.
Andre replied that he didn't know if there was an
electronic copy available and Perry replied "The constitution will not go on the website. If you wish to get a copy please do so by coming to the OBC board office.".
When I asked when/how I could pick up or make a copy, I was then
told by Perry that
"We don't have a photocopy machine at the office and Rosmarie will not be going out on her own time to do photocopies."
I brought the issue up on the BBS asking if anybody had a
photocopier or scanner that I could borrow to make the copy myself, and
apart from Rod
expressed surprise at the obstacles I was running into in trying to get
a copy of the constitution.
On 2007-Oct-13 I went to the club office with Rosella Mac Neil to
scan in a copy of the Constitution. Rosella (a former OBC newsletter
editor) indicated that she could lend me her scanner and lap top to copy
the document and bring me to the club office, since it's kind of
difficult to carry such equipment on a bicycle (and not good for the
equipment). When I arrived, Rosmarie, who was on the phone with Perry,
said "What do you think you are doing! What are you up to now?". I said
that I was going to make a copy of the constitution (which she already
knew, since I had sent her a note indicating that I was coming). She
said that I could NOT do so, and though I pointed her to legislation
that allowed me to do so, I did not push my right any further, but sat
down to try to read it amidst constant criticisms from Rosmarie (we're
on good terms again now). Soon it was closing time and Rosmarie told me
to let her know when I wanted to come back for another read. She offered
to come in on her own time... Being far too busy to sit and read in the
club office, I sent another note to the BBS
and Michael DeKelver contacted me and made a copy for me of the constitution and other operating documents which I picked up from him and read.
At the AGM on 2007-Oct-30, the issue of the Constitution was
raised by Don Montag, one of the former Board members who had been involved with the original constitution.
He tried to make a motion to
have it posted on the web site, but was informed that he could not make
such a motion at the AGM. Michael DeKelver said that he would bring the
issue up at the next board meeting.
Also at the AGM, Ingrid Coney tried to add an item to the agenda to discuss the problems which were seen with the
tt result service in the 2007 season, but Perry immediately
indicated that the board had discussed the issue and it was closed, and
he would not permit a discussion of this at the AGM.
Bob gave an opportunity for Ingrid's complaint after talking about his
portfolio, but Ingrid indicated afterwards that she was too
uncomfortable to say anything. We all were, but I finally added a simple
one sentence offer of help with the the results for next year. Bob
thanked me but gave no affirmation.
After the AGM, Bob called Ingrid over and I joined them. Bob
indicated that he knew that the service was bad in 2007, and that he
wanted to rectify the problems. He indicated that he wanted my software
skills but called me a "liability" in terms of my dealings with
volunteers! (By the way, Bob also spoke out against having Don Moxley
back - so there may be a problematical pattern in Bob's biases. Don does as good a job with the youth coaching as I do with the tt results!). She
indicated her impression that the club was in serious need of conflict
management. Bob asked her if she could fulfil that role, and she
indicated that she would give it a try...
On 2007-Nov-01, I received a registered letter signed by Perry
McKenna (and postmarked 2007-Oct-31, the day after his presidency ended)
threatening me with expulsion from the club if I repeated behaviour such
as whatever I did when I went to the club office to try to copy the
constitution. A phone call to the new president indicated that I had
apparently been "threatening" to Rosmarie. I was quite surprised at this charge, as was my witness, Rosella, and certainly Rosmarie gave no sign of being threatened - In fact she offered to come in on her own time to allow me to finish reading the document during the coming week!
I merely came to do what the law permitted me to do, cited the legal reference which allowed me to so, and then sat down to try to make the best of the
situation when it became clear that the law was not going to be followed
that day. As a law abiding citizen, I found this action by the (now former) President
of the OBC to be deeply disturbing. I would like an official letter
apology from the club for Perry's behaviour and letter, with a copy of this letter
added to the club archives. I would also like a letter, with a Cc to
myself to be sent to Perry McKenna and added to the club archives
indicating that his behaviour on that day was not only unlawful within a
"Not for Profit Organization" such as the OBC, but was also unfitting of
the position of trust he held in the club as President.
Ingrid scheduled one meeting between Bob and I on 2007-Nov-21. She
indicated that the sole purpose of this meeting was for me to
demonstrate my tt input software - Just one half hour with no other
issues dealt with. Bob and Ingrid came to my house and I demonstrated my software and how it
allowed easy checking of the times against the tape and summary sheets,
easy avoidance of the duplicate name problem, and how only a small
amount of material needed to be typed in of the person's name. This was
all that the meeting was supposed to be about, but Bob extended the
meeting to double the scheduled time, telling me that my software was
too slow - That he wanted the software to only involve typing numbers on the keypad, and he suggested that AJAX be considered to speed things up. I found this to be a rather rude way to treat a volunteer - not even a thanks, and goodness me, what I have works really well for me. Even when there were close to 100 OTT riders out, I could enter and check all the results within 20 minutes - I take a lot more time writing those event comments! Anyway, I indicated that Bob already could type id numbers rather than names for people if he preferred (I don't since I'd make more errors and I don't even have a keypad on the laptop where I usually type in results). I also indicated that I'd look into whether AJAX made sense, but indicated that since I provided service to two other clubs, I would only use it if it worked for the ther clubs too.
At this point Bob started pushing his model of having a
whole bunch of different people who don't currently volunteer entering
the results (though I guess that those who couldn't run AJAX would be off the hook!).
I asked Bob to consider the following:
- the extra overhead of lining up and training volunteers to do this.
- the security issues - how do you protect the results and yet allow arbitrary volunteers to enter and fix errors that they make?
- the skills needed to fix errors which are made inadvertently.
- how the unskilled data enterers would deal with the kinds of anomalies which arise upon occasion.
- accountability for the results.
- whether the club has any right to force unwilling people to "volunteer".
- whether unwilling "volunteers" will put the necessary care into the entering of the results
I believe that we should have a few people able to enter the results, but that they must have the database skills and accesses necessary to fix any problems which they inadvertently create.
I made a few improvements to my software and played around a bit with AJAX to see if it was appropriate for here. I found it to be SLOWER than what I was currently doing, and being browser dependent, it would be a life-long maintenance headache. As such, I do not see it as being appropriate for this task.
Even before I reported this back to Bob, he decided that the result project was closed - He told Ingrid that we were "too far apart".
Actually, I think that we share the same goal of having correct results available soon after the time trials, and I hope that we both believe that how the goal is achieved is irrelevant, as long as the volunteers are happy enough to make it happen.
Hey, I know a thing or two about volunteer work and tt result entry, and have a long history of accommodating all kinds of people and requests and successfully making things happen with happiness.
My service is always good, and, who knows, perhaps Bob could benefit from some of my ideas and experiences.
At my request, Ingrid asked Bob for a meeting to discuss our different perspectives, but he refused.
I guess we'll see if Rod manages to put together some input program that
works. The good news is that Bob will likely
accept anything from Rod, whereas unfortunately he'll accept nothing
from me, no matter how well it works...
The latest attempt to eliminate my service is the privacy
legislation issue. As Pippa Lawson, a lawyer (professor) with legal expertise in this area, indicated,
there is absolutely no problem with me continuing to handle the WTT
results as before (or the OTT results). She offered to provide the club with free
legal advice with regard to this legislation.
Note in particular that the service losses for the WTT would be considerable if I was not allowed to manage these results. My specialized software is used to calculate our awards. Also, our WTT awards have never yet appeared on the club web site. As well, shouldn't women run this series??? I think that we're capable!