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Congratulations to ANA, but …

Last week the American Numismatic Association announced a once-and-for-all settlement with its former executive director Christopher Cipoletti.

The seemingly endless years of litigation and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs incurred annually in them are over.

The ANA board of governors is to be congratulated for working to achieve this since the ANA electorate made a clean break with the old ways in the election of 2007.

It has been a long, tough road.

Now might seem to be the time to enjoy the fruits of victory – and it is – but it is also time to remember not to get sloppy.

The one constant in my three-decade career has been the recurring cycle of crises affecting the ANA. None of these cycles occurred because of any malevolent intent that I could detect. Always the board members had good intentions.

Would the Cipoletti saga have gone the way it did if an earlier ANA board had not decided that it would combine the roles of executive director and legal counsel in one person contrary to common practice and common sense?

It was done in the name of efficiency and to save a few dollars. It might have seemed logical at the time. The budget was tight, but oh did the board pay for not having independent legal advice along the way.

Worse, the ANA membership paid for it, too. There may be many reasons why membership is currently at low ebb, but a significant one just might be that a person who joins an organization wants to feel pride in it and its activities.
Ongoing litigation however appropriate saps this sense of pride.

This cycle is at an end. It had a happy ending.

The time has come to build a better future for the members.

Have we at last put ANA problems behind us, or will the organization fall into the mire yet again?

What do you think?

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