This weekend USA Swimming is going to have a convention and they will be voting on some new rules.
If one of those rules is enacted, 503.7 REMOVAL OF OFFICERS or line number 365 in the document linked below, this rule would make it nearly impossible to replace any officer within USA Swimming without a 2/3s-vote of the entire voting membership of the USA Swimming Board of Directors. Then it goes even further. If the vote was mustered to remove the officer, the officer who was voted out gets to have a Board of Review hearing and then it would take another vote with a 2/3s-vote requirement to finally remove the offending officer.
The only officer I can name at USA Swimming is the Chief Executive Officer and his name is Chuck Wielgus. Apparently he wants to game the rules to avoid any dismissal attempt EVER!
Here is the rule as described:
503.7 Removal of Officers. Any elected or appointed officer of USA Swimming who has failed to attend to his or her official duties or responsibilities or has done so improperly, or who would be subject to penalty for any of the reasons set forth in Article 404.1.3 of the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, may be removed from office by the National Board of Review pursuant to Part Four of the USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, in an action authorized by a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote of the entire voting membership of the Board of Directors.
Any appeal of the Decision of the National Board of Review would be heard by the Board of Directors as a whole (not by a panel thereof) and any decision of the Board of Directors in favor of removal of an Officer would require a two-thirds (2/3rds) vote of the entire voting membership of the Board of Directors.
[Link: USA SWIMMING - RULES & REGULATIONS COMMITTEE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO 2012 RULES AND REGULATIONS]
The purpose of a Board of Directors from Professor Steward Hamilton from IMD.org:
"... The Scots have a saying that “the fish rots from the head”, and so it is with companies. The prime function of the board is to provide oversight and guidance, to monitor the CEO’s and senior management’s actions and to protect the interests of the shareholders. As part of this, they must be prepared to challenge and hold accountable the CEO and remove him if he fails to discharge his duties adequately. This they are less likely to do if they are financially beholden to the company, or are family members or cronies. [...]
An essential characteristic of a non-executive director must be independence of mind, which needs to be coupled with a willingness to walk away if dissatisfied. Few companies enjoy explaining to the outside world why a non-executive director has resigned. ..."
503.7 Removal of Officers as written appears to be a motion that will steal both purpose and power from the USA Swimming Board of Directors thereby making their guidance both ineffectual and lazy. The board members are the collective mind of USA Swimming and if more than 50%, 55% or 60% of Board of Directors are not in agreement with the direction the CEO is taking them, then it is the CEO's responsibility to either follow their directions or get lost.
Ask yourself this: Why does that number have to be 66% to remove an officer at USA Swimming? Why is so important for the USA Swimming Board of Director to give up any power at all? Does it take more than 51% of them to make a credible decision? The officers at USA Swimming think so and I would like to hear their argument why these officers have immunity whereas no other employee does not.
Those that will suffer the most in the long run with be the kids, the athletes and the program. The board members are the collective mind of USA Swimming and they are the veto mechanism that prevents arrogant abuse of power. I hope they don't forfeit that right.