Changing the bylaws is one of the most contentious topics in the upcoming American Numismatic Association election but you would hardly know that from the candidates forum held March 16 during the National Money Show in Charlotte, N.C.
Of the 13 candidates participating in the forum, virtually all of them opposed the changes in whole or in part.
Former ANA governor Tom Hallenbeck of Colorado Springs, Colo., raised the issue as a question from the audience. He had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the presidency earlier this year, but by the convention he had determined not to run for family and business reasons.
?Would you vote for the proposed bylaws changes?? Hallenbeck asked. He also requested the answer be yes or no.
Patti Jagger Finner, candidate for vice president, said she ?won?t vote for them as a body,? it would be issue by issue.
Carl Schwenker said he would support portions.
Tony Tumonis said he would ?vote to overturn a lot of the proposed bylaws? designed to take the ANA out of membership hands.
Former executive director and president Ed Rochette said he would ask the members.
Joe Boling said he would not support the current bylaw proposal.
Wendell Wolka said, ?some yes, some no.?
Radford Stearns said, ?as a group, no.? He would consider them one by one and listen to the members.
Alan Herbert said he would vote against them.
Cliff Mishler said, ?most of the substantive changes are preposterous.?
Arthur Fitts said, ?Parts I would favor.?
John Eshbach said, ?I would support the arbitration portion only.?
Presidential candidate Barry Stuppler said, ?As a body, I?m against.? He also said he is waiting for member feedback.
Don Kagin said he would consider the bylaws ?issue by issue, some yes, some no.?
Mishler was allowed to read a statement from board candidate Chet Krause, who could not attend. The audience applauded when that declared that Krause would make one of his principal aims the restoration of the old lamp of knowledge logo.
Two other declared candidates were not present, but they did not have written statements. They are Walter Ostromecki and ANA Gov. Brian Fanton. Fanton has missed two board meetings in a row. He sent an e-mail March 14 saying he was ill.
There were close to 100 people in the room at peak attendance after the bourse floor closed. The forum started with around 50 persons in the audience at 6 p.m., one hour before the bourse closed. The forum lasted approximately an hour and 50 minutes.
Candidates were allowed three-minute opening statements and 30 seconds to sum up at the end. In between questions were posed from the audience chosen by random drawing of tickets handed out at the beginning. All of the candidates answered every question.
Stuppler used his opening statement to tell candidates how hard they would have to work on his board. He said they would each have to chair a committee, answer chatroom questions, participate in board conference calls, attend all meetings and hold conference calls with their committees.
Larry Gaye asked for better communications and whether criticism would be viewed as negative or inspire a dialogue. The candidates endorsed better communications and stressed the importance of constructive criticism.
Gov. Don Kagin said, ?Take rumors right here. Ask me. We?re your representatives.?
Former President Bob Campbell asked if candidates if they could change one thing, what would it be?
Rochette said better communication.
Boling said he would get rid of red ink.
Wolka said he would enhance educational offerings.
Stearns said he would refocus the vision and mission statements.
Herbert said he would like to move the membership up to 40,000 from the current 31,000.
Mishler said he would like to see the board, ANA management and members mix for the betterment of all.
Fitts said he would like to see the mood change to be more receptive as a means of improving communications.
Eshbach said membership.
Stuppler said he would like to see the board meetings streamed on the Internet.
Kagin said he would like to get the numismatic community in sync.
Finner said to get membership and board to work as a team.
Schwenker wants to fix the finances.
Tumonis said he would like to get answers rather than responses that say to answer would violate the confidentiality agreement.
Another contentious issue was the confidentiality agreement all board members must sign.
Each candidate was asked whether he or she would sign.
Stuppler pointed out that the agreement applied only to mediation, employment, legal issues and awards and he would sign it.
Boling said he doesn?t agree with signing it.
Wolka said he would sign for a restricted set of issues that Stuppler later enumerated.
Stearns said he couldn?t sign it.
Herbert said it was vital to ANA operations.
Mishler said he would dispense with it.
Fitts said he would sign it because it applied only to a small number of issues.
Eshbach said the press should be present at the closed sessions so there would be no need for an agreement.
Kagin said ANA is not a secret society, the agreement applies to the four areas and that?s all.
Finner said she agreed with Kagin and would sign.
Schwenker said ANA wasn?t a fraternity but a 501(c)(3) corporation. ?Not everyone plays by the rules.? He would sign the agreement in the ?very restricted areas.?
Tumonis said, ?I?m totally against it.?
Rochette said, ?I agree with Tony.?
These weren?t all of the questions at the forum but are the most important ones and they provide some of the tone and flavor of the event.