DEC. LCT Publisher's Page: The mission of this year was about focus, retooling, and turning a profit.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Members of the National Limousine Association on Monday approved a contentious measure to eliminate term limits in the association’s bylaws.
The measure passed 117-77 on a ballot vote during the meeting. Each participating member card voted Yes or No on a green card that included the member’s name.
When the vote was first announced, the total number of voters (194) fell one vote short of a quorum, defined as 10% of the 1,955 NLA members. A bylaw change must be approved with at least 10% of members present at a general meeting. But some members in the ballroom had not voted, and once their presence was verified via their voting cards, a quorum was attained.
The bylaw change allows board directors to serve unlimited consecutive three-year terms upon re-election. Under the previous bylaws, board directors could serve a maximum of two three-year terms, and then would have to leave the board for one year until they could run again for a new set of three-year terms.
Supporters of the bylaw change asserted that such intermittent term limits historically had forced out several talented, dedicated board members who would then not run again after a one-year break, thereby causing the board to lose some of its institutional knowledge and practice. The NLA also has had difficulty in some years recruiting candidates to run for upcoming vacancies.
Opponents of the measure who spoke at the general meeting claimed term limits were good for turnover and encouraged more participation from newer and more diverse industry candidates. They asserted that term limits generally help deter boards and groups from becoming entrenched good-old-boy networks.
NLA President Diane Forgy reminded the membership that any NLA member-operator may choose to run for the board, which holds elections each year as a result of staggered terms. About one-third of board seats are up for election each year. As is the case with any number of democratically-elected legislative bodies, contested elections with victorious challengers are a form of term limits, Forgy suggested.
Defending the industry
In a strongly worded statement preceding the bylaws voting session, Forgy rebutted a slew of slanderous e-mail blasts from an industry figure that had distracted and attempted to divide industry members in the weeks leading up to the International LCT Show.
The e-mails, blasted out under the name of “Limo Insider,” were written and signed by Houston operator Joe Jordan, also the former president of the Limousine Association of Houston.
The erratic, fevered, rambling scrawls dripped with insults, scurrilous rumors, malicious gossip, false accusations, sexist remarks, and veiled threats — all aimed to attack the NLA, LCT Magazine, and specific industry figures. The defamatory missives tarnished the reputations of the targets while sliming collateral people associated with the two organizations.
Attorneys for the National Limousine Association have put Jordan on notice of pending legal action related to his e-blasts.
Forgy told the audience that there is a crucial difference between opinions on policy issues and outright “lies, slander, and insults” that spread misinformation.
“Opinions are one thing, and everyone is entitled to them,” Forgy told the meeting. “Lies, slander, insults and defamation of character are another story. Thankfully most of us are above such regrettable and ill-advised tactics and know how to properly and sincerely seek out answers and express concerns. . . We will do our best to address and clear up any further misconceptions. You deserve better and we are here to serve you. . .
“Now, more than ever, our industry must stay united and not get sidetracked by isolated dissenters who attempt to confuse. Our industry is under intense scrutiny and this behavior does nothing but reflect poorly on every one of us. Do not let detractors destroy what we have accomplished for their own selfish purposes and attention getting. We have so much to be proud of and a lot at stake to defend.”
Jordan attended the general meeting and was present during Forgy’s statements. He did not speak during a member comment period.
[Click on next page to read full text of Diane Forgy's statement].
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor
FULL TEXT OF DIANE FORGY'S STATEMENT, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012
Good morning, everyone!
The 2012 Annual Membership Meeting of the National Limousine Association is officially called to order.
Before we begin, even though some of you may be aware and others may not, I feel I need to address the rash of malicious blind e-mails sent out by an NLA member and clear up some gross misconceptions.
The NLA Board was accused of illegal and criminal activities. Completely false and defamatory statements were made by him not only against the Board in its entirety, but against very specific individuals on the Board, as well as Sara McLean who is NOT a voting board member.
So let me clear up a few things.
The NLA is your organization and is run by a dedicated, hard-working board of directors elected fairly by you, and I am extremely proud to serve with each and every one of them.
Bobit Business Media, owner of LCT Magazine, is under contract with the NLA to provide administrative services. As a matter of fact, Bobit has a similar arrangement with the Limousine Associations of New Jersey.
Bobit, or more specifically, Sara McLean, does NOT run the NLA or dictate or determine its policies. Sara is our corporate liaison from Bobit and has an honorary non-voting seat on the NLA board that was originally given to Ty Bobit upon the formation of the NLA over 25 years ago.
Eleven years ago a new management contract, which allowed the NLA to avoid financial collapse, was forged with Bobit. It has been successful ever since allowing the NLA to expand its membership from 500 to nearly 2000 and grow its assets from $70,000 to over $1.3 million dollars.
The NLA also has a very lucrative exclusive contract with Bobit to promote and co-produce certain elements of the International LCT Show. This contract has typically generated $150,000 to $200,000 in gross revenues every year for the NLA. NLA also generates sponsorship revenue tied to the show in excess of $100,000 a year.
Bobit produces the NLA directory that is considered the “go-to” source for affiliate partners worldwide and splits the profit with the NLA. This year alone the NLA received more than $65,000 for directory advertising and sales, an all-time record. Lastly, NLA receives free meeting and booth space as well as up to four pages of advertising in every issue of LCT Magazine valued at another $50,000 a year or more.
In essence, as a result of the partnership with Bobit, the NLA receives no less than $350,000 every year in revenues and in-kind deliverables, accounting for over 30% of the NLA’s annual revenue. This helps keep your membership dues at the lowest level possible and allows us to do the important work we need to do for the industry. You will hear more about the history of the NLA/Bobit relationship later this afternoon at the State of the Industry address.
Opinions are one thing, and everyone is entitled to them. Lies, slander, insults and defamation of character are another story.
Thankfully most of us are above such regrettable and ill-advised tactics and know how to properly and sincerely seek out answers and express concerns.
I urge you to reach out to your board of directors as well as dedicated NLA staff. Get the real answers. Visit with us at the show, come to our booth. We will do our best to address and clear up any further misconceptions. You deserve better and we are here to serve you.
Now, more than ever, our industry must stay united and not get sidetracked by isolated dissenters who attempt to confuse. Our industry is under intense scrutiny and this behavior does nothing but reflect poorly on every one of us. Do not let detractors destroy what we have accomplished for their own selfish purposes and attention getting. We have so much to be proud of and a lot at stake to defend.
Do not lose sight of what is really important. We have serious issues to deal with in Washington DC that can impact each and every one of you in this room. Do not let a few compromise the work that has to be done.
I truly want this show to be your best experience ever in every way possible. Make the most of it, enjoy and, by all means, let’s raise the bar.
DEC. LCT Publisher's Page: The mission of this year was about focus, retooling, and turning a profit.
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