LEWISBURG, TN – A year ago, folks in the Tennessee Walking Horse World were on the edge of their seats waiting to see if the TWHBEA members would cast a decisive vote in the Pat Stout Poll in favor of approving the PAST ACT.
On October 15, 2013, a landslide 63% of the eligible TWHBEA members voted “YES” to pass the PAST ACT, with 37% voting “NO”. The turnout was 26% of the TWHBEA membership. TWHBEA VP Pat Stout gave the members an opportunity to be heard, and they responded.
A year later, the Tennessee Walking Horse world awaits the outcome tomorrow of a historic vote on the sore Big Licker By-Law Proposal which will eliminate 40% of the States which presently have directors. Approval of the By-Law change will reduce TWHBEA to a regional registry with the power vested in the Sore Big Lick states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama.
BLACK STATE DIRECTORS WILL BE ELIMINATED
HERE ARE THE OPPONENTS IN THE TWHBEA BY-LAWS FIGHT
LICKER LEADER STEVE SMITH:
FLATTER LEADER KEITH DANE:
Since taking over the TWHBEA in December 2013, the Big Licker Steve Smith’s regime:
- Went on record opposing the PAST ACT,
- Suspended Pat Stout’s membership privileges,
- Put together a By-Laws proposal to change the composition of TWHBEA,
- Provided sketchy and late financial information regarding the Association.
The By-Laws measure would eliminate Directors for about 20 states, including the Maryland Directorship held by HSUS official Keith Dane. Dane was originally elected with 2 votes. This aroused the ire of the Lickers who then tried to kick Dane out in 2012 because he wouldn’t swear fealty to the sore Big Lick.
After being vocal early in 2014, the Dane led Flatters went strangely silent. They stopped demanding to be informed of the business of the Association and be provided with vital records and information such as membership records and revenue/outgo figures.
Maryland Director Keith Dane and Arizona Director Dr. Pamela Reband attended the Semi-Annual May TWHBEA meeting. At this meeting, the proposed TWHBEA By-Law changes were presented by By-Laws Chairman Tom “I”M A PROUD HPA VIOLATOR” Kakassy. Dane and Reband questioned some of the Big Lick actions at the meeting, but following the May meeting, the rope went limp.
The Flatter apathy continued during the Summer of 2014, and then following the Celebration, on September 15, 2014, the Licker By-Laws Proposal was mailed to the TWHBEA members. Strangely, the Dane led group had nothing ready to counter the Licker proposal.
Finally, on September 30, 2014, a “Flatter Flyer” opposing the By-Laws change was delivered to the TWHBEA members.
Seasoned observers say, most likely, that was too late to be effective.
The Pat Stout Poll results show that the 76% of the votes were cast during an 11 day period from the time the Ballots were mailed.
The “window” for the By-Law Proposal closed on September 30, 2014.
The Dane group “Flatter Flyer” didn’t make arrive at the TWHBEA members mailboxes until September 30, 2014.
Additionally, the “Flatter Flyer” had no campaign slogan or graphic around which the TWHBEA members could rally.
IF the draconian TWHBEA By-Law proposal passes, it appears that the Flatter delay in mounting an effective campaign, and preparing and delivering the “Flatter Flyer” could well determine the outcome of the election.
The only Flatter hope appears to be that when the members were polled in 2013, the members voted for the PAST ACT by 63% to 37%. This was with 26% membership turnout. Normally, the TWHBEA election turnout ranges from 22% – 32%. Since 2013, the eligible voting members has dropped by 6,950 to approximately 5,650.
It is possible that the TWHBEA members are much more educated now regarding the issues facing the Association, and the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed, than they were prior to the Pat Stout Poll and the ensuing Campaign to PASS THE PAST ACT.
Will this be enough to overcome the late fumbling and bumbling by the Flatter group?
People will soon know.
It is paramount that the Flatters get a fair and accurate count of the ballots.
The Licker controlled Steve Smith TWHBEA hired the Gwinnett CPA firm in Shelbyville, Tennessee to count the votes. For the past 10 years, the votes were counted by Cook & Co. CPA of Arab, Alabama.
BGB asked the Sound Directors if they planned to be present or be represented at the By-Law vote count:
OCT. 6 – QUESTION TO FLATTER DIRECTORS:
“What, if any, arrangements have been to have persons present when the votes are tabulated on the TWHBEA By-Laws Proposal and the Directors election?
Additionally, please advise:
- What arrangements have been made to ensure that the vote count is fair?
- Who will be present when the Ballots are tabulated?
- Will the Ballots be tabulated only after close of business on October 15, 2014, or are the Ballots tabulated as they arrive each day?”
OCT. 7 – ANSWER BY ARIZONA DIRECTOR DR. PAM REBAND:
“The ballots are being sent to and counted by a reputable accounting firm. I believe that makes the count fair. It is my understanding that they are counted as one large group at the end.”
OCT. 7 – FOLLOW-UP QUESTION TO DR REBAND AND FLATTER DIRECTORS
Are you aware that in the past the method by which interested Directors have been present to observe the tabulation of ballots regarding proposed By-Law changes and Directors elections is that a request was made to the TWHBEA Executive Director to allow a director to be present for observing the entire process including, but not limited to:
- The opening of the envelopes addressed to the cpa firm containing the ballots.
- The verification of members membership numbers on the returned envelopes on the list of members eligible to vote.
- An inspection of the list containing the members eligible to vote.
- Confirming that the member’s membership number on the returned envelope is eligible to vote.
- A count verifying that the number of envelopes with membership numbers on them matches the number of ballots to be counted.
- The actual tabulation of the ballots contained in the envelopes.\The sealing of the envelopes returned to the cpa firm along with the counted ballots and the membership list which was used to determine the eligibility of the voters, and who will retain custody of the sealed documents/records.
Based on the enmity that exists between the Sound Directors and the current Executive Committee, which has unanimously recommended the proposed By-Law changes which would eliminate about 40% of the States currently having Directors from being represented (see attached graphic), and the gravitas regarding the proposed By-Law changes, do you think that it is prudent for:
- Sound Directors not to be present to observe the above set out steps regarding the tabulation of the By-Laws ballots?
- Have any such requests been made of the President, Executive Committee or Executive Director for you to be present at the tabulation of the proposed TWHBEA By-Law changes ballots to represent the members of the Association who elected you to be their Director?
Based on all of the above, do you plan to be present or retain someone to be present to represent the your interests and the interests of the members who elected you, and the members of the Association, when the proposed TWHBEA By-Law changes ballots are tabulated?
OCT. 7 – ANSWER BY ARIZONA DIRECTOR DR. PAM REBAND:
“Yes, I am aware of my right to request this. No, I do not intend to do so as I do not believe it to be necessary.”
OCT. 7 – QUESTION TO THE REST OF THE FLATTER DIRECTORS:
Dr. Reband, Thank you for making it clear that you do not believe it is necessary to have anyone present to observe the tabulation of the By-Laws ballots.
My question to the rest of you is, based on all that has occurred from December 7, 2013 to the present, do you, individually and on behalf of the members who elected you, concur with Dr. Reband’s position that you do not feel it is necessary or would be in the best interest of the Association to have observers present when the By-Law ballots are tabulated?
None of the rest of the Flatter Directors responded
So the stage is set, and it looks like the Steve Smith hired accounting firm with NO Sound Horse Directors present will ultimately decide the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders & Exhibitors Association.
Nephew Eugene says you always have somebody there watching when the votes are counted.