WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

From Helen Flores, Secretary:

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:37 pm CST, October 2, 2022.

Board Members Attending: Will Anderson, Jan Cardia, Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Bennett Jacobstein, Keith Hagel, and Steve Pellinen.

Old Business

  1. Tournaments
  • Word Cup 2023 – Will reported that a detailed quote from the hotel is pending, and organizers agree with the terms in the Memorandum of Understanding.  Will plans to continue coordinating with the organizers.
  • Majors  – The November tournament in Madison and the Phoenix tournament are both announced and posted on Cross Tables. Registration is going well. Registration for the South Carolina Spring tournament will open on December 1.
  • Other Tournament issues: Board members suggested that the Crescent tourney in conjunction with CoCo needs additional publicity. It needs to be posted on the Facebook page. Bennett planned to follow through.
    Board members noted the need for increased promotion for all WGPO tournaments and additional communication and support for WGPO Directors. Bennett was asked to develop a mailing and contact list for all WGPO Directors by the November meeting.
  1. Revised COVID policy– Mike Johnson/Lynda Finn drafted updated vaccination language for the Board to review. The Board decided to require up-to-date vaccinations and eligible boosters for all tournament players. Bennett suggested that masks be optional for players in counties with low Covid threat levels. Members agreed to proposed revisions of sections #2 Vaccinations, and #3 Masking in the Tournament Guidance policy. Revised guidance will take effect for tournaments beginning November 1, 2022. Secretary Helen Flores will incorporate changes into the original policy and have it posted on the website and Facebook page.
  1. Committee Reports
  • Disciplinary Committee – Steve reported that he has a short list of members for appointment to a Disciplinary Committee. Board members suggested additional names of players for the committee. Steve will try to provide a list of appointees at the November meeting.
  • Lexicon Committee – Bennett reported that the members of the original Lexicon Committee had several conversations and one ZOOM meeting. The group noted that much energy and time will be needed just to maintain the current list. After meeting, the Committee members did not reach agreement for how to create and maintain a separate WGPO lexicon over time.
    Bennett outlined one option. Use the TWL/NWL 18 current list and remove the few words that are not also in the Collins word list. There are only 9 words of 8 letters or less. Bennett already has files for this.
    The Board discussed sources for adding new words to a list over time since language continues to change. Will noted his preference to working with Merriam-Webster – rather than Collins – as new words are recognized. Will also noted a strong preference for the Scrabble community using fewer rather than more word lists. Every list adds to the labor, time and cost for support. He hopes to see WGPO develop its own streaming process for its lexicon.
  • Elections Committee Lynda Finn and Winter forwarded a report outlining the Nominations and Election timeline and their comments. The Bylaws require that the Board take the following actions as soon as possible including:

o   Prepare list of members in good standing with email addresses

o   Appoint Nominating Committee.

o   Board Secretary send message to qualified voting members seeking resumes for open Board positions. Bylaws require 30 days prior to November Board meeting.

o   Appoint Elections Committee – Lynda Finn and Winter. The Committee is actively seeking a third member and encourage interested WGPO members to contact Lynda.

o   Approve expenditure for electionrunner. The Committee reported sending 861 ballots in 2021 at a cost of $90. 373 voted. The Board approved expenditure of $90 and look forward to increased membership voting.

The Board agreed on the above Elections Committee Report actions. The following requirements were identified for the Board to address in November.

o   November: Determine cut-off date for newly registered members to be eligible to vote. (Bylaws Article 5, Section 1)

o   November: Deadline for list of members in good standing (registered before cut-off date and eligible to vote) with their email addresses

o   November: Consider changing “majority” to “plurality” in bylaws, as well as other desired bylaws changes.

o   November: Finalize candidates

o   November: Establish Dec. Annual Meeting date and duration of voting period.

  • Communications Committee – Helen noted that she took the opportunity in Chicago at Word Cup to approach David Weiss and Dave Postal about the need for a WGPO Communications Committee. Both members are highly qualified in this area, and both agreed at the time to serve if appointed. Board members asked President Pellinen to formally appoint  David W. and Dave P. and assign them the task of developing a WGPO Communications Strategy.

 4.  Other Scrabble Organization Coordination:  WGPO is coordinating again with CoCo by providing a share of prize funds to co-sponsor the New Orleans Crescent City Tournament January 14 -16, 2023.

NASPA has changed its policy and will now permit NASPA directors to direct WGPO tournaments without penalizing them. Board members reviewed Judy Cole’s announcement regarding the decision. The Board identified areas of concern and agreed to draft a response to Judy. Steve noted the need for a congenial, cooperative relationship with NASPA leadership and members. Coordinated efforts are needed to grow the game.      

New Business 

  1. Youth Grant/Scholarship Funding– Helen noted a GoFundMe request to send a passionate young player from Texas to India to compete in the Asia Cup Youth Scrabble Championship. Board members noted that many other players may also need and deserve formal WGPO support and possible CCSFF funding. However, we need to develop scholarship application, develop a process and set an age range before approving any case-by-case funding requests. Helen noted that Lynda Finn had posted the GoFundMe request on the WGPO Facebook page, and a number of Scrabble players chose to make individual donations in support of the young player. Until we approve a policy and process, this is a good interim method to publicize, promote and support such causes.
  2.  WGPO Member Dues Discussion.– Keith noted that for several years, WGPO Funding Committee members have raised funds for the organization. He does not foresee this group raising operational and administrative funds needed on an ongoing basis. Helen and Jan both opposed requiring membership dues after just one year of incorporation. If and when dues are proposed, WGPO’s budget, accomplishments over time, and need for additional resources will need to be explained and justified to the membership. The Board tabled the discussion of dues.
  1. Annual Meeting:As President, Steve plans to draft a summary report of the year and have it available to members prior to the December annual meeting. At that meeting election results will be announced, and new Board members welcomed. Also at the Annual meeting, the new Board will elect officers for 2023.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned the meeting at 7:50 p.m., CST (Bennett/Will).