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The Secret Criteria for Joining the GCA: "Insights Document"

What are the criteria for joining the Greyhound Club of America?

Here is what Greyhound Club of America's constitution and bylaws says about the club's purposes and eligibility for membership:

"The objects of the club shall be:
      (a) to encourage the quality breeding of purebred Greyhounds and to do all possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection.;
      (b) to urge members and breeders to accept the standard of the breed as approved by the American Kennel Club as the only standard by which Greyhounds shall be judged;
      (c) to do all in its power to protect and advance the interests of the breed and to encourage sportsmanlike competition at dog shows;
      (d) to conduct sanctioned matches and specialty shows under the rules of the American Kennel Club."

"Article I
Section 1. Eligibility. There shall be one class of membership, open to all persons eighteen years of age and older who are in good standing with the American Kennel Club and who subscribe to the purposes of this Club."

In 2000, a GCA committee proposed bylaw changes that would have make membership criteria more strict. The AKC told the club that the it was unacceptable to require all new members to have finished a conformation show champion so that provision was dropped from the proposal. The amended proposal then went to the membership for a vote and was not adopted.

I have been a member of the club since 1986. In the past, it was pretty clear how one joined the club. You were allowed to join if you were a Greyhound fancier who took good care of your dogs, and you made sure you actively rescued dogs you bred (if that became necessary.) In 1994, the GCA board decided to consider all membership applications in open board meetings. One reason for this change was to require anyone who objected to an applicant to go on record about the reasons. The applicant and his or her sponsors had the opportunity to attend the board meetings and counter any mistaken information or explain misunderstandings.

In recent years, the GCA Board has made some controversial decisions regarding such things as limitations of the rights of club members, committee appointments, and the breed's stud book. Finally, in 2002, rather than risk accepting qualified Greyhound fanciers who might have diverse opinions on such issues, they compiled a research dossier on each applicant. Without directly questioning most of the applicants, they tried to determine whether these Greyhound fanciers would "support the GCA Board's commitment to the proper conduct of business" (in other words, they wanted to know, "Will these people agree with us?".

The club rejected 10 out of 17 applicants for membership in 2002. By way of comparison, from 1990 through 1999 they accepted 117 of 120 applicants. (See Membership Statistics for more information.)

The following "Insights Document" was used by the directors of the Greyhound Club in America to evaluate potential candidates for membership in 2002. Note that most of the questions in the document were never directly asked of the candidates, so the questions were both asked and answered by an officer of the club. Part of the research done to determine what the board believed the answers to be involved reading quotations taken out of context from email sent by the applicants to internet discussions.

Click on the
footnote numbers to see comments.

CONFIDENTIAL GCA BOARD INFORMATION - NONE OF THIS MATERIAL IS TO BE DISCUSSED OR DISTRIBUTED BEYOND GCA BOARD MEMBERS AND OFFICERS. 1

To all GCA Board Members:

We will be discussing the new applicants for GCA membership at the Board Meeting at Lompoc.

In the past ten years (1992-2001), the number of people applying for and being accepted into GCA membership has averaged 8 per year. As of now, midway through 2002, the Board has been presented with 19 membership applications, with at least three more waiting in the wings. The current complement of 16 new applications is unprecedented in GCA history. 
2

In order to ensure that each of these applicants is considered fairly and equally, we have consulted with several executives at the AKC, who have had experience with other AKC Parent Clubs who have been challenged by such spikes in membership applications. It was their unanimous advice that it is consistency of process in evaluating these applications by common standards that is critical, not the outcome itself. This will require that we look at these and possibly, future applicants differently.

These AKC executives emphasized that we must look to our Constitution, bylaws, and other GCA and AKC core documents as our primary resource for evaluating each applicant, employing the same process, same scrutiny and due diligence, and same questions for each applicant individually. They both said that quotations and alleged statements or actions by applicants (and sponsors) would be most useful and appropriate in evaluation.
3

As a part of Board due diligence in this process, I was asked by our President, Sue LeMieux, to:

1. compile such quotations and alleged statements or actions from public internet and other sources
 4
2. develop such charts, tables, or other tools which will allow us to exercise the required consistency of process in our consideration of all candidates for all feasible candidates and sponsors. This is enclosed for those candidates where I was able to garner such insight, to be supplemented by firsthand input at the Board meeting.

Because this is somewhat lengthy, please review all this material prior to our Board meeting, as well as, obviously, the applications and sponsors' letters, and any other materials you may have that would provide insight on these candidates. Please bring all these with you to the Board meeting. 
5

I emphasize that this is important and private GCA Board Membership business, not to be copied, forwarded, or in any way reproduced for distribution or discussed outside the GCA Board without specific permission from the President.

Thank you,
Rose Mary Conner
GCA Recording Secretary


Per Robert's Rules of Order, GCA's Parliamentary authority, In most societies it is understood that members are required to be of honorable character and reputation, and certain types of associations may have particular codes of ethics to enforce.

"An organization has the ultimate right to make and enforce its own rules and to require that its members refrain from conduct injurious to the organization or its purposes."

Since a society has the right to prescribe and enforce its standards for membership, it has the right to investigate the character of its members as may be necessary to this enforcement.

          SECTION 1: INSIGHTS

CONDUCT AND CHARACTER 1: GCA's and AKC's core documents below set basic standards for appropriate member behavior. Has the candidate made any alleged derogatory public statements orally or in writing against the GCA, AKC, AKC Greyhounds, or GCA Board or members? 6

CONDUCT AND CHARACTER 2: As above. This has a broader implication than 1 above, and can apply to either the corporate entity or individual members/staff, including, but not limited to, alleged actions, words, behaviors which violate GCA/AKC rules and core documents, may be injurious to its reputation, image, or the orderly conduct of its business. In other words, has the candidate engaged in any alleged misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of the AKC, GCA purebred dog events, or in violation of GCA's bylaws, constitution, ethical standards, policies, or rules?

MEMBERSHIP 1: To the best of your knowledge, do you believe that there is a specific cause, issue, or other influence, which has prompted the candidate to apply for GCA membership at this particular time, as opposed to previously? 7

MEMBERSHIP 2: To the best of your knowledge, do you believe that this candidate will positively contribute to and support the objectives and activities of a Parent Breed club whose primary venue is conformation showing? 8

BREEDING 1: One of GCA's Constitutional objectives is to promote quality breeding to the AKC Breed Standard. To the best of your knowledge, does this candidate endorse the potential breeding or actual incorporation of dogs, which are not purposefully bred to the AKC Breed Standard, into breeding programs? 9

BREEDING 2: See above. To the best of your knowledge, is this candidate primarily interested in (1) companion or ILP Greyhounds or in (2) proving breeding stock in the show ring, purposefully bred to the breed standard?

GOVERNANCE 1: To the best of your knowledge, do you believe that this candidate will agree to accept any majority vote of the club as the wishes of the club, and to support the GCA Board's commitment to the proper conduct of business, as set forth in GCA's bylaws, and responsibility to the majority of the club membership? 10

GOVERNANCE 2: To the best of your knowledge, do you believe that this candidate will positively support the achievement of established GCA Parent Club goals, breed and Standard guardianship, operational compliance with AKC guidelines, active support of GCA's Specialties, consensus and community?

          SECTION 2: ACTIVITIES

Competes in conformation venue.
Competes in coursing venue.
Competes in other performance venues.
Competes exclusively in conformation venue.
Competes exclusively in coursing venue.
Competes exclusively in other performance venues.
Is active in AKC rescue/adoption.
Is active in NGA rescue/adoption.
Has attended recent GCA Specialties.
Has exhibited/ owned dogs at recent GCA Specialties.
Has helped at recent GCA Specialties.
Has previously contributed positively to GCA activities.

          SECTION 3: NUMBERS

Note: For these purposes only, AKC Greyhound = show-lines only for at least 4 generations, and NGA/Mixed Greyhounds = pure NGA or mixed NGA/show lines for at least 4 generations.

Applicant ..
Has owned Greyhounds for (X) years (include only years actively involved/).
Currently owns (X) AKC Greyhounds (see above)
Currently owns (X) NGA/ mixed Greyhounds (see above).
Has bred (X) AKC Greyhound litters (see above).
Has bred (X) litters of NGA/ mixed Greyhounds (see above).
Has finished (X) AKC Greyhounds (see above).
Has finished (X) NGA /mixed Greyhounds.
Has exhibited Greyhounds for (X) years

          SECTION 4: PREFERENCES (PER APPLICATION)

Is interested in Specialties.
Is interested in Newsletter.
Is interested in Health Comm.
Is interested in Rescue.
Is interested in Judges Selection.
Is interested in Boutique.
Is interested in Breeder Referral.
Is interested in Statistics.
Is interested in Education.
Is interested in Archives.

Inclined to Accept
Inclined to Decline
Inclined to Table

1 "CONFIDENTIAL GCA BOARD INFORMATION"
Why are the criteria used to evaluate membership applications kept secret from club members?

2 "16 new applications is unprecedented in GCA history"
This is not the case. Several of the club's directors and their families joined in years when the number of applications was similar or higher than this year's total. Specifically, board member Shari Mason, her husband, and daughter all joined in 1991, a year when there were 22 applications. Vice-President Mary Ellen Gorske and her husband joined in 1994, when the GCA accepted 22 new members. In 1992, 17 members were accepted, and in 1990 and 1995, 13 new members were accepted, including Sue Lemieux, club president. The number of applications is clearly not "unprecedented".
For detailed statistics and data, see Membership Statistics.

3 "alleged statements or actions by applicants (and sponsors) would be most useful and appropriate in evaluation"
The term "alleged" means "unproven" or "supposed". Do American Kennel Club officials encourage the use of unproven accusations to evaluate candidates for membership in AKC dog clubs? And why would the opinions of sponsors matter? Aren't all members in good standing allowed to sponsor applicants?

4 " compile such quotations and alleged statements or actions from public internet and other sources"
Why look on the internet for quotations? If these are valid questions to ask, they should have been asked directly of the candidates. Instead, the answers were supplied by a club officer using quotations taken out of context from internet posts.

5 "please review all this material prior to our Board meeting..."
Although the GCA constitution and bylaws require that membership applications be discussed and voted on at board meetings, and the board's policy has been to decide on applications in open meetings, this group of applicants were discussed and voted on by email and the votes were kept secret.

6 "Has the candidate made any alleged derogatory public statements orally or in writing against the GCA, AKC, AKC Greyhounds, or GCA Board or members"
Are GCA members not allowed to disagree with the AKC or the GCA or members of the board on any issue?

7 "...do you believe that there is a specific cause, issue, or other influence, which has prompted the candidate to apply for membership..."
If an applicant is otherwise qualified why would their stand on any particular issue matter? Isn't the point of membership in any organization partly to have a say on issues that affect one's own interests?

8 "... do you believe that this candidate will positively contribute to and support the objectives and activities of a Parent Breed club whose primary venue is conformation showing?"
The Greyhound Club of America is the Parent Club for the breed within the AKC. According to the constitution the objects include bringing ALL the natural qualities of the breed to perfection. This is why the club has sponsored specialty lure coursing, specialty obedience classes, and coursing classes at the specialty shows.

9 "does this candidate endorse the potential breeding or actual incorporation of dogs, which are not purposefully bred to the AKC Breed Standard, into breeding programs?"
Does this include dogs from other countries or dogs who have faults when compared to the written standard? The Greyhound standard is one of the oldest ones in the AKC, and it was written to describe coursing dogs. The fact that a dog may not have been entered in dog shows does not mean that dog was not bred to meet the breed standard.

10 "do you believe that this candidate...will positively support consensus and community"
Does the club have no diversity of opinion? Are all members in accord on every issue?


Revised 4 November 02, S. Pober, Golightly Greyhounds
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2002 S. Pober