Dear John;


I am disappointed that you still have not directly responded to my question;

It is a simple question.

Are you disbanding our search committee?


In the absence of a direct response from you, I have concluded based on my conversations today with 2 Executive Committee members that your unequivocal intention is to disband the committee.  A simple response to my question would not have been out of order.


Your comments below are disingenuous.  At no time did I state that the search committee would not continue its work.  The fact that I indicated to you that Ronnie Bridges had asked me to pass along her comments that 2-3 recommendations out of almost 50 were a good result for this process, could in no way be construed by you that we were refusing to continue our work.


If you look at the minutes of my last board meeting as Commodore (of which I believe you were in attendance) the board asked me to continue my work as Chairman of the Search Committee and I indicated I would do so until the work was complete.


In fact, if you will recall, I advised you and the Executive Committee that I had recently received the commitment of the entire search committee to continue its work unabated, and until the process was complete.  Your comment that we would not "locate more candidates" appears to be entirely taken out of context.  You will recall, you asked me to task the committee with going back and re-reviewing the resumes received to date to see if we could produce a suitable applicant from those we had received and previously rejected.  I informed you we subsequently fulfilled your request, and were unable to identify a single acceptable candidate from the group we had already rejected.  Your assumption that therefore we "were done" and were unable to “locate more candidates” is ludicrous.


At our meeting, I indicated that we still have the website up and running, the burgee continues its ads, Southwinds magazine continues its ads and no other website ads have been taken down.  You have failed to provide any instruction as to whether to pull them down or keep them up, so we have kept them up and continued to accept, review and vet additional applications.   We rejected two this weekend and received another two that merit additional investigation.  As I now believe you have disbanded our committee we are “on hold” until I have further clarification.


How you can now claim that three EC candidates seemed to understand that we were not looking for more candidates is implausible at best.  If only three thought this, what did the other two think?  Since only three were still present when I told your committee that the Search Committee was fully committed to continue its work (McCay, McCormack and Curry) is it possible that two were under a different impression.  And at least one of the three clearly knew we had not quit this process.


If you were not sure, and if you knew that at least two members may not have shared this view, why did you not extend the courtesy of a phone call or an email inquiring as to our intentions and to the state of the process at this point?  Apparently you thought that your vague email “dismissal” was more appropriate and preferable to inquiring as to our intention in light of your confusion.


And incredibly, one of your EC members at your Sunday meeting did in fact reject this premise that I had at any time stated the Search Committee was finished, and it is my understanding that this EC member read aloud at your meeting an email which I sent to him and which clearly and specifically stated our intention to continue the work for as long as the Squadron members wished us to and until the process was complete.  Why did you reject this oral recitation and fail to investigate further?


You ask what the problem is here and that does seem to be the question, doesn’t it.


Our committee members have extended tremendous effort on behalf of this project.  The impression you have created is that you are more interested in derailing this process than in seeing it to its completion.  


Please indicate if the impression you have created is inaccurate.


You will recall that before you became Commodore, you and I had a phone conversation about how you felt about the process of management transition which had been going on at the Squadron for many months prior.  You indicated you were largely unaware of the process, but that your overriding concern as Commodore would be for the welfare of Pat Murphy, the manager.  You will also recall that I questioned this premise, and asked you if you did not feel that the overriding concern as Commodore should not be the welfare of the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, which I indicated was in my opinion a much more worthy goal as Commodore, although in no way did I diminish the importance of Mr. Murphy as manager. 


It is apparent to me that we disagree on this fundamental premise.


You have made allegations that the hiring process on which we have embarked upon is flawed.  Yet you have never offered a single specific reason on how you think it is flawed, nor have you made any offer to improve it whatsoever.  Your response was to kill the committee. 


Your implication is that the efforts of the committee are inadequate.  You have failed to familiarize yourself whatsoever with the work of the search committee, or any of its fundamental documents which all have been reviewed and unanimously approved by BOTH the Executive Committee and the full Board of Directors.


Incredibly, you asked me after January’s BOD meeting to immediately begin to run ads in newspapers.  You asked me to do this immediately after my request for your EC to meet with an applicant which we were recommending.  You had not even yet conducted your meeting to interview the candidate, yet you were asking that we run newspaper ads.  You clearly did this without any thought as to the wishes of the Executive Committee or the Board of Directors and without any consultation with them.


When I advised you that we had worked on a fairly detailed list of specific ad venues and had collectively determined that “newspaper ads” were at the bottom or our list for anticipated effectiveness relative to expense, you made no response or recommendation whatsoever.  It is disconcerting to have you come in at the 11th hour and without having taken the time to review any of the work or documents that the Search Committee has developed over the past seven months and to second guess the work of our four talented and hard working committee members.


It has also come to my attention that your EC has rejected one of the two applicants that your committee has interviewed, and was trying to determine whether to hire the second applicant.  I was surprised to hear that your committee had come up with the concept of a probationary period of six months for this particular candidate given reservations you have about this applicant. 


If you had made any attempt to look at the documents that had been approved and that are on the website, you would have seen that there is already a probationary period specified in the job description and it is for an initial period of far less than six months.  Once again, I am disappointed that your committee failed to identify and understand the detail that has gone into this process.  Yet the accusation of a flawed process remains.


Finally, John, I must tell you I believe that the position of Commodore is to fulfill the wishes of the majority of the members, and to carry out and execute the Bylaws and Standing Rules. It is your prerogative as Commodore to present as new business any changes in direction that you feel are desirable.  And the Board has the right to discuss these proposals and to vote to approve or reject your proposals.   And important decisions should always have the benefit of member comment.   


You may not be aware that although you won the election by 3 votes fairly, due to an error by one of your current board members, approximately 30 to 35 ballots were inadvertently not turned in until after the election was closed.  Every one of these 30 plus ballots was cast for Doug Kresge, your opponent and the “recommended” nominee for Commodore.  In fact, if this error was not committed and had the ballots been turned in on Sunday, you would have lost the election by over 24 votes.  If I had become aware that I had won an election as Commodore on this basis, I would have tendered my resignation at the first Board meeting and cast my fate to the Board of Directors in an attempt to have the will of the members done.


Either you are unaware of this situation or you disagree with this position. 


I raise this issue now as you appear to have taken a very cavalier approach to your position as Commodore and seem to have your own agenda with respect to the process of management transition.  I would caution you that you would be well advised to take note of what the majority of the membership believe is in the best interests of the Squadron, and to garner the support of your board members prior to taking any action rather than to act unilaterally.  You are governing without a mandate.


You appear to be taking an ironfisted approach to committee appointments and it has become apparent to many members that you are rejecting volunteers that you have personally decided do not merit appointment to a committee.  There seems to be some irony in this given your call for volunteers to come forward in your most recent Burgee article.


The Squadron has always been about inclusion and not exclusion.  This tack on your part is disconcerting to many members.   


So, what is the problem John?  If your intention was to kill the process of management transition, your killing the committee is a step in that direction.  But please do not make the mistake of mischaracterizing my statements or positions in order to further your own agenda.


The Search Committee remains ready and willing to complete its work and awaits further instruction from the Executive Committee.


Sincerely yours,


Alan Pressman,

Search Committee Chairman  




-----Original Message-----
From: John MacKay []
Monday, January 14, 2008 5:52 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: Thank you for your hard work


I am confused all right. You told me after the interview with (name deleted) 

that your committee had furnished us with two qualified candidate and 

that we should not expect the committee to locate more candidates 

based on the 1 in 100 comparison from Ronnie Bridges. Three of the EC 

members seemed to understand that you were not looking for more 

candidates, so we assumed you were done. I spoke with Nancy Carolan 

today and she seems ready to continue, so what is it. There is a 

problem here. What is it?

John MacKay


Greetings from planet iPhonia!


On Jan 14, 2008, at 7:43 AM, "Alan Pressman" 

<> wrote:


> John;


> I do not understand this message.  Are you thanking us for our work or

> are you disbanding our committee?


> We have received two more resumes this weekend which have not been 

> voted

> on.


> They may have promise as one member has voted for a preliminary 

> meeting

> with our committee.  The other 3 members have not indicated their

> choice.


> Please clarify what you are indicating.


> Alan


> -----Original Message-----

> From: John MacKay []

> Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2008 5:43 PM

> To: <> <>

> Cc: Tom Dieter; Stan Zimmerman; Stephen McCormack; David Curry

> Subject: Thank you for your hard work


> Alan, The executive committee wishes me to thank your committee for

> their work on the Search Committee. We realize that a great deal of

> work has been done on our behalf. We are delaying our final decision

> for a few more days, giving us more time to discuss the matter.

> Would you please do two more things. I would like to have a list of

> all candidates you interviewed so that we may advise them of our final

> decision and to thank them for applying. As a matter of record, please

> furnish all resume's received for our files.

> We wish to thank all members of your committee with a gift certificate

> or other item. Please let me know what you would think appropriate.

> John MacKay


> Greetings from planet iPhonia!