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Posted 2019-06-19 5:27 PM (#15322)
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Posts: 251
Location: Russellville, Ar 72802

1200, JUNE 17, 2019
National Commander Wayne Standerfer opened the meeting at 1200 on June 17, 2019
National Commander asked for a moment of silence for our departed shipmates.
National Commander recognized the lost boats for June: USS Herring, USS R-12, USS BONEFISH, USS GOLET, USS S-27, USS O-9, USS RUNER,
National Commander read the USSVI Creed.
WAYNE STANDERFER--- I have been talking with Fred Williams concerning the status of developing our new website. Fred started working on converting our multiple data bases on a pro bono basis last October shortly after we cancelled our contract(s) with outside programing companies that have invoiced. He has contributed an untold number of hours in this endeavor and has completed about 80% of converting the multiple databases we presently are using into one (relational) database. Once he completes this process, the next phase of connecting that database with our up-front Word Press Website which has been developed by Lou Hammill begins. Fred has found some software that can possibly assist in doing this but will not know to what extent (if any) until he has a chance to work with it. This process will also require some program code writing. Since this is normally accomplished by contracting a professional, I would rather pay one of our inhouse Subvets instead of an outsider. Since Fred does this for a living and considering the amount of pro-bono time he has contributed to date, I recommend we give him the first consideration for this contract. As I stated previously, if we have to pay someone to do this code writing I would rather pay one of our members.
Does anyone have any objections to that?
JIM DENZIEN---Is that going to be included as a budget item?
WAYNE STANDERFER---We have had a line item of $7500 in our budget that covers this. I don’t know where we stand at this time, but I can look it up. How much of that have we used so far, Jon?
JON JAQUES---We have not used any of that
WAYNE STANDERFER--- In order to arrive at an estimated figure for 2020, I will have to talk with Fred. I can’t give you a completion date at this time.
STEVE BELL---Is there any way we can get a rough order of magnitude of the cost from Fred himself so that Jon can prepare better for his budget next year or at least be in the ballpark?
WAYNE STANDERFER----No, I talked to Fred about that yesterday and
he doesn’t know which software he can use to connect the database with the upfront website, which will also determine how much code needs to be written. It can be a considerable amount or just a little.

STEVE BELL---I was just hoping he could give us a number on the high
side so we don’t get tripped up too bad. That’s all I was concerned

JON JAQUES---There is $7500 in the 2019 budget. We should just put
a number in the 2020 budget with a note that that this is a projection.
Whatever the update costs we will have to fund whether it is a budget
item or if we have to come back and agree to pay the additional. We
are at the point we have to pay to get the website functional so the
organization can move forward.

WAYNE STANDERFER---Yes, I know we have to fund it no matter which way we

JIM DENZIEN---Can we get Fred to join us online and have him talk with us, even if it is on a higher level, because some of us can understand it.

WAYNE STANDERFER---I talked with him yesterday about that and he said he
would rather not because most people will not understand his technical descriptions. If any of you have questions, get them to me and I’ll will attempt to get an answer in a language we can all understand. At the present time I feel the old website is covering our needs at the national office. Is that correct, Fred
Borgman? Fred agreed. The only concern with the old website is the antiquated servers it is located on, which could go down at any time. This could happen tomorrow or in 10 years, even Ken VeArd doesn’t know, and he is the closest to them. Some have asked “why don’t we move it to another server”? but that can only be done at a considerable cost, at least that is the way it was explained to me. Is that correct, Patrick?

PAT HOUSEHOLDER---That’s the way it has been explained to me. The cost is mainly buying the server box and whatever it takes to transfer to the new server. I would guess, probably you’re talking $5000 or in that range.

WAYNE STANDERFER---That is what I understand and if the present servers do go down, the data is backed up so we wouldn’t lose anything. We would just be down long enough to get the backed-up data onto a new server.
Anything else on the Website? We will now go to item 2, Membership dues.


STEVE BELL---I have talked to all you Regional Directors about this, but we have about 40 members in arrears. 13 of those have been turned in during June so they have not yet been entered so that leaves 27 still out there. I am asking you to turn up the flame on these to send the names to Fred; I sent the list out to you a day or two ago. You need to get the bases to send the check numbers and names to Fred so he can get them cleared up or sooner or later someone who has paid their dues is going to get dumped and they are not going to get their magazine and they won’t be able to get logged into the website. So, let’s turn up the heat and get the problem fixed All I care about is to get this cleared up, some of these problems go all the way back to November. Jim, most of this is in your court, buddy.

JIM DENZIEN---Yeah, unfortunately at the base meeting I met with the Base Commander and we are going to pay that again until we come up with a resolution on this. We have check numbers and I think they have been provided to Fred.

STEVE BELL---What we need is the check number written by the base and not the number written by the member.

JIM DENZIEN—Yes, I understand but we are having a hard time getting those. Our base treasurer has submitted a sheet with the name and the other name on it, but he was having a bit of trouble getting his hand on those sheets. Perch is obviously the worst on with 13 people.
STEVE BELL---Fred and I would like to get this cleared up soon. I have one other issue I would like to discuss. When bases do not use Tools and mail in their stuff and discuss it over the phone, you are just making more work for the office which doesn’t have a lot of bodies and every base is capable of using Tools and putting new members in and putting dues in during dues season. We still have three bases that do not have a Tools Manager, one is Baton Rouge base in Southeast Region and two belong to Central Region which are Placaderm and Carbonera. Capital Base wanted a Tool Manager, so I entered the Base Commander about or 3 months and he has not logged on yet. I realize this is an old website and it is going to change but until it does, we need to do our job and they need to do their job.

PAUL HISER---I have something to add along the same lines. Bases need to make sure their leadership and POC’s are correct and when an officer is relieved and the new person takes over that change is made on the website because it is important that I can contact the treasurers and base commanders for their EOY reports and such as that.

STEVE BELL---So, Regional Directors get your bases to keep these up to date. I know you have District Commander elections going on and when the elections are over let me know who the new guys are so I can put them in not only in Tools but also on the website.

TOM WILLIAMS---Steve, I have a new District 6 which is not on the website. Is that going to be included?

STEVE BELL---I thought that was done, just send me an email on that, please.


WAYNE STANDERFER---Our Liability Insurance premium has gone up considerably, in fact, it jumped $5400 per year. I have asked Paul to contact Rust Insurance to find out why this has happened. Insurance premiums nationwide are going up drastically but a little more than a 50% increase was more than I was expecting.

PAUL HISER---I received an email from Rust Insurance today. The reason for the increase was when we changed the liability insurance for the Clubhouse to the Groton Base that put us in a different tier, but they are going to change the Clubhouse property insurance to minimum so that will bring us back to the original tier. It is just like if you have your cable, internet and phone in the same package and you drop one of them, and one and/or both of the others will increase.

WAYNE STANDERFER---I don’t understand how insurance companies arrive at their premiums. One item that the Regional Directors and District Commanders need to do is start hounding their bases in December to submit their $25 for Liability Insurance. This donation helps in covering our premium. Our operating cost is going up and with membership attrition to Eternal Patrol and other reasons, our income is not keeping up with our expenses.

PAUL HISER---I will send out invoices to the bases beginning in November for them to pay their insurance premium.

WAYNE STANDERFER---Along that line the District Commanders have been instructed to work up a “Tickler” list that tells them what needs to be done each month, which can also be passed down to the Base Commanders and Treasurers. It gets frustrating when National has to constantly remind bases that membership dues are due in December and that Insurance payments are due in January and Boat Sponsorships are due in January. Jim Denzien, how are you coming with the “Tickler” list?

JIM DENZIEN---The tickler list is out and being worked. I’ll make a note to myself to go out and ping on them again to find out where they are so we can get that finished.


JON JAQUES---I will be sending out a draft of the proposed budget on June 17. I waited until after this meeting in order to get some insight on the Insurance issue and some other issues. I encourage each of you, when you review this proposal, that you look at the PPM online from page 12 to 15 for the travel requirements and policy. Many of our members do not understand the importance of our travel expense. Several members have reached out to me and other officers to see if they could be reimbursed for their travel to the convention. The PPM lists who can be reimbursed for their travel and then there are exceptions for members like the Parliamentarian, DCOY, Fred Borgman, and others who have been approved for reimbursement. But now there are more and more people who want their travel reimbursed and I don’t see that in the PPM so when you review the proposal you look at the PPM for the policy on travel and who gets reimbursed and for what. Also, I want to propose to the board that we have not increased the mileage reimbursement from 40 cents all the way back to 2013 and gas is more expensive so I would like to make a motion that we increase the rate from 40 cents to 45 cents effective July 1, 2019.

WAYNE STANDERFER---Okay, do we have a motion?

JON JAQUES---Yes, I made the motion to increase the reimbursement mileage rate from 40 cents to 45 cents effective July 1, 2019.

JIM DENZIEN---I second the motion.

WAYNE STANDERFER---Any discussion?

STEVE BELL---Yes, I have a couple comments. One, I am not sure that gas is any more expensive today than it was in 2013. It was in between there that it went up to $4.00 a gallon. Two, after listening to you beating up on us for travel expenses, why do we want to increase the reimbursement?

JON JAQUES---Okay, here is the answer to that. Gas is more expensive in some areas than it was in 2013 and we have to be fair to USSVI people who drive their private vehicles for USSVI business so they can afford to conduct business for USSVI.

WAYNE STANDERFER---Jon, I want to add to that, that it does not just cover gasoline. It also covers the use of your vehicle, the repair cost of your vehicle and normal wear and tear on the vehicle.

JIM DENZIEN---I ran across that here recently and the IRS allows 58 cents per mile. So, take that into consideration that 45 cents is not out of range.

WAYNE STANDERFER---Okay, we have a motion and a second motion. Is there any other discussion?

JOHN MARKIEWICZ---I want to mention that the IRS rate covers insurance
and a whole raft of things. And a whole lot of people do not fly because it is an
unpleasant experience. But we can’t let people select the drive option for a 2000
mile trip and collect the 45 cent or 50 cents per mile, whatever we decide on.
There has to be a reasonable amount over which they need to select the coach
airfare otherwise we will have more people drive than fly at a lower cost.

WAYNE STANDERFER---John, I think that the PPM states you have to take the cheapest of the two methods.

JON JAQUES---That’s right. On page 13 and 14. I don’t think we have run into a Senior Vice that is going to approve a 2000-mile road trip.

Wayne Standerfer---If there is no further discussion, we will move to the vote and will do this with a roll call.

Voting Aye to increase the mileage rate to 45 cents:

WAYNE STANDERFER---We have enough votes to pass the motion Jon, make it happen.

STEVE BELL---This will require a change to the PPM, will it not?

JON JAQUES---Yes, it will. Also, when you look at the budget proposal, let me know of any comments you have because we want to make the budget as real as we can for the 2020 business year.

WAYNE STANDERFER---Any other questions on the budget. If not, we will go on to Item 5, 2019 convention

WAYNE STANDERFER---I will start out with the present situation in Austin. At the present time we have a room block of 1401 room nights with our host hotel in Austin. We are obligated to fill 80% of this block, which is 1121 room nights and at present, 9 weeks out, we only have 950 registered room nights. Ozzie negotiates a clause in every hotel contract that allows us to reduce our room block by 5% on or before June 14, which will bring our room block down to 1065 room nights, but we still haven’t met that as of yet. Ozzie will take that option on June 14. The hotel has also reduced the food and beverage requirement from $50,000 to $45,000 which can be seriously impacted by a low number of attendees, which is only 262 as of today. Normally, at this time out from the convention we would be bumping 400 or better. Meeting these requirements at this time is rather iffy and I am getting concerned about it because the number of room nights between now and the start of the convention will be somewhat reduced as some of those that have registered early with the host hotel will decide not to attend and cancel their reservations. A good number of our members make next year’s convention reservations immediately after the previous convention ends without knowing if they will be going to the convention or not, then about 2 weeks before convention time they decide not to attend and cancel their reservations. So, the present hotel reservations of 950 is not a good number and we will not know to what extend until starting 2 weeks before the convention. We have found ourselves in this situation for the last few years and I don’t know what can be done to improve on it. The Austin crew has done everything that a base can do to get this convention set up. The two bases involved have gone above and beyond and they are not getting the desired registrations. Everyone remembers what happened in Orlando where we did not meet the room block and the food and beverage limit. We owed $29,000 before the hotel reduced that to $15,000 with the agreement, we would return in 2021 with the same room rate of $105 per night and a reduction in the room block and food and beverage requirements. We must discuss future conventions in depth at our upcoming Pre-Annual Board of Directors Meeting in Austin. A plan B must be approved and in place in order to prevent a bleeding of USSVI funds while conducting future conventions. A couple of points to be thinking on is to reduce the number of convention days from 6 to 4 and schedule them during periods of lower travel and lodging costs, reconsider having conventions every two year’s which was approved several years ago, but was revised back to every year the following year due to membership complaints. One item that carried the previous decision to go to every other year was how it would affect our aging WWII veterans. If they missed a convention it would be four years before they could attend another one, which at their age was just too long. If the decision is made and approved to go to every other year, the Regional conventions will have to be held in the off years, so they don’t compete with the National Convention. We may also have to start looking at smaller suburban hotels that have the facilities available to match our declining attendance. As mentioned previously, be prepared to discuss what areas of change may be needed during the Austin Pre-BOD Meeting. I would like to announce a listing of any proposed changes to the attendees during the Annual Business meeting in order to prepare the membership, but bear in mind we are under contact with host hotels through 2021, which means any approved changes cannot be implement until after the 2021 convention.

JOHN MARKIEWICZ---In regard to our 2021 convention in Orlando we are getting a really good deal on the room rates. I am attending a DAV convention at Rosen Shingle Creek this year and the best rate we could negotiate was $137 per night. The DAV is only getting 10% off amenities where we were getting 25% off. We need to get this information out and the Regional Directors need to let people know what a good deal we have been able to negotiate but will lose that leverage if we continue to have declining attendance at our conventions.

WAYNE STANDERFER---I have made two trips to the Groton Club House in the recent past and the majority of comments I received were our conventions are too expensive and they can’t afford to attend. I tried to impress on them that we are not living in 1955 anymore. The days of $70 and $80 hotel rooms are gone, and I have not seen a Motel 6 that has the facilities to accommodate our needs. The cost of activities in Austin are higher than we have seen in the past, but the cost is a pass through without the Base adding anything for a profit.

TOM WILLIAMS---Everything we have planned there we have cut to the bone. It is not going to be a money maker for anyone. We are just trying to get people down there.

STEVE BELL---The big money maker on recent conventions is the magazine or booklet as far as finances go. It has been a financial lifesaver for the last 4 or 5 conventions as far as I’ve seen.

TOM WILLIAMS---The vendors don’t want to come either. We are having a real hard time to get vendors to come down.
WAYNE STANDERFER---Well, that depends a lot on what the hotel charges the vendors to have a spot in the vendor room.
TOM WILLIAMS---There again, we have cut that to the bone. The vendors tell us that it just isn’t worth coming down.
WAYNE STANDERFER—Some of the hotel charges are getting to be a bit exorbitant. They started going up right after the Fort Worth convention. Some of these hotels are charging $25 to $50 just for a vendor to plug something in for electricity.
Any other comments on the conventions
WAYNE PHILLIPS---Have the boat reunions helped? I see there are three boats holding their reunions. I know Ozzie’s boat is having theirs there.
WAYNE STANDERFER---Yes, it helps tremendously towards our room block and food and beverage requirements. The more boat reunions we can get to our conventions the better.
Another problem we are having is attendees will go across town and find some cheap hotel to stay in but come back to the host hotel and take advantage of all of the free amenities paid for by our members who are staying in the host hotel. We seem to be having more of this every year. We are not referring to the RV’ers who stay in an RV Park.
JIM DENZIEN---I want to make sure I understand that we are going to discuss this at the pre-board meeting and come up with proposals to present to the members at the ABM.
WAYNE STANDERFER---Yes, that is correct, but we have to remember any approved changes cannot go into effect until 2022 because we are committed through 2021. Any other comments. Okay, we will move on to the good of the order
WAYNE STANDERFER---I’ll start off with the Good of the Order. Paul Hiser reported that individual Base Holland Club donations year to date are only $1409, which is $2200 down when compared to last year. We are only asking each base to donate $1 for each of their Holland Club members. The Holland Club costs go up every year and the line item in our budget for this does not cover everything. We need the Regional Directors to start hawking their bases and ask why they have quit donating. Some years back, I put out a POC about this and in a couple weeks, Bud Atkins received about $6000. Bases were asked to put this on their calendar at that time as a reoccurring expense.
JON JAQUES---I just want to give a shout out to our Magazine editor, Mike Bircumshaw. He is doing a great job of driving down costs of the American Submariner both in printing and mailing and in shipping. He is really doing a great deal and I just want to let him know we really appreciate him saving us money.
WAYNE STANDERFER---He is saving us money in the thousands not just hundreds.
STEVE BELL---And also, he has improved the quality of the magazine.
PAUL HISER---I want to mention that there is now a special rate for bases and boat reunion groups that they can run a quarter page ad in the American Submariner for $200 for one edition.
PETE JUHOS---I have been charged to revise the District Commanders’ Manual (DCM) and I am planning to include the tickler that Wayne is talking about. If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations or things you want on the tickler file you want to see or changes to the DCM, let me know by the end of the month and we’ll get it done.
JIM DENZIEN---Are we doing or are we going to do anything about the Batfish in Muskogee.
WAYNE STANDERFER---No, we haven’t heard anything from them, and I don’t know of any damage other than they had some flooding inside, but they haven’t requested any assistance.
JIM DENZIEN---The reason I asked is because I understand that the hull was setting in the ground in a cornfield and the flooding there floated the boat and it did not float on an even keel and they had to flood ballast tanks to right it. They also have a lot of stuff in the museum and I am particularly interested in the Batfish itself.
WAYNE STANDERFER---The Boat itself I don’t know about, but they did get all the artifacts off the boat.
JIM DENZIEN---The other thing, I donated a huge stack of Batfish prints so they could use them as a fundraiser for the base.
WAYNE STANDERFER---I’ll attempt to contact them this afternoon and find out what their status is.
KEN NICHOLS---We put an ad in the American Submariner about a Sea Owl reunion and last week we had 70 shipmates show up.
JIM DENZIEN---The other question was about our Library and the collection of books and other materials of historical nature that are stored in North Little Rock. Are they okay and are we doing anything to get it up so people can use it?
RAY WEWERS---The books are in good shape as there was no flooding on the barge where they are kept. Joe Mathis and I spent the last two Mondays cleaning up the stuff in the file cabinets. There were pissin letters from some guy that was upset, and he wasn’t going to Montreal for a convention because he didn’t like who was the National Commander. Also, there were 20-30-year-old newsletters that we discarded. We reduced 3 – 4 drawer file cabinets to 1-4 drawer file cabinet. As far as the Library, we are not set up to loan books and retrieve them since the Library was originally set up to be a research library and you had to come to the library and do your research.
JOHN MARKIEWICZ---The library is actually part of the Charitable Foundation and we will be discussing it in the future. Another item about the Charitable Foundation is we will not have a CF board meeting today. We are in the process of developing a PPM for the Charitable Foundation. Bob Bowman and Steve Bell have been working on that and Bob Bowman will have it ready by the end of this month and then we will have a meeting in July or in August before the convention to approve it.
PAUL HISER---Our CPA has filed for an extension on our 990. There was an issue with the California Attorney General Office, and they wanted to make sure we are in compliance and I have been notified that the issue has been resolved. I expect the 990 to be filed shortly
PETE JUHOS—I want to thank the RD’s and DC’s for 100% participation in the Silver Anchor Award this year.
WAYNE STANDERFER---I want to thank the 9 DC’s in addition to our DCOY that joined us for today’s meeting, it is much appreciated. It appears you are more prone to join in a Teleconference than an online meeting, which at times has stretched out for over a week.
Since there are no other items to discuss I now close this meeting at 1310 on June 17, 2019.

National Officers:
Wayne Standerfer, Jon Jaques , Steve Bell, Paul Hiser, Ray Wewers and IPNC John Markiewicz.
Regional Directors:
Ken Nichols, Tom Williams and Jim Denzien.
District Commanders:
EN2 Michael Bost, EN3 Huey Dietrich, EN5 Jim Irwin, ES1 David Campbell, ES2 Wayne Phillips, CD2 Phillip Owens, CD4 Bill Scott, CD5 Marlin Helms, WD3 Joe Tarcza, DCOY Pete Juhos
Parliamentarian – Skip Turnbull
National Office Manager – Fred Borgmann

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