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AMA: EC Travel or Flying Site Grants - The $$$

Old 05-29-2017, 03:48 PM
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franklin_m
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Default AMA: EC Travel or Flying Site Grants - The $$$

As many of us are noting that John Taylor achieved what AMA could not, many of us may also be questioning exact what's happening with our AMA dollars.

I've always believed that the way an organization spends its scarce resources, money, is a direct and accurate measure of its priorities. I thought I'd share what I've recently learned with respect to the AMA's relative prioritization of EC meetings vs. Flying Site Grants. Looking at the November 2016 EC minutes as an example, here's who attended and where they came from:

President Bob Brown, Bradford, PA
Executive Vice President Gary Fitch, Delevan, NY
Chief Financial Officer Keith Sessions, Burlington, KY
I-Andy Argenio, Smithfield, RI
II-Eric Williams, Schenectady, NY
III-Mark Radcliff, St. Marys, WV
IV-Jay Marsh, High Point, NC
Interim VP District V-Andy Griffith, Jacksonville, FL
VI-Randy Cameron, Springfield, MO
VII-Tim Jesky, Monroe, MI
AVP District VIII-Tony Breyen, Wichita Falls, TX
AVP District IX-Paul Frankum, Lenexa, KS
X-Lawrence Tougas, Fairfield, CA
XI-Chuck Bower, Langley, WA

Let's assume the guys from Kansas, Missouri, and even Michigan drove. That leaves eleven guys that had to fly at, say $750 a ticket on average (most appear to be going small airport to small airport vs. major hub to major hub which is cheaper). Letís assume a two full days of meetings, which means three nights in a hotel (arrive night before) at $75 a night per person per room. Then assume four days per diem at $35 a day per person (travel day, meeting day x 2, and travel day). Throw in one rental car for every other person at $50 a day for two full days in Muncie. Lastly, add four days parking at home airport at $10 a day per person per day.

Airfare: 11 x 1 x $750 = $8250
Hotels: 14 x 3 x $75 = $3150
Per Diem: 14 x 4 x $35 = $1960
Rental Cars: 7 x 2 x $50 = $700
Parking: 14 x 4 x $10 = $560

So thatís $14,620 a meeting, four times a year, or $58,480 for a year (conservatively) ...just in travel for EC members to attend EC meetings.

Now, contrast that with these same individuals deciding to spend just $23,000 for flying site grants (note 1). If flying sites for members like the rest of us are so important, why is the EC spending twice as much on their own travel as they are on grants for the rest of us to acquire and improve flying sites?

Given that "Open adult membership renewals are on the decline" ... "There was a decline in the Senior adult membership 2015 to 2016" ... and "The conversion rate on youth members is extremely low" (note 2), I don't see how membership revenue can't fall. So maybe it's past time for the EC to use GoToMeeting or similar 20th century technology to reduce costs? Not only would that free up more scare resources for flying sites, it would also allow rank and file members to "tune in" to EC meetings, thus allowing much greater transparency on how they're deciding to spend our money.

Note 1: http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/fly...nts-announced/

Note 2: http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutam...ecminutes.aspx
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Old 05-29-2017, 05:41 PM
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Stay Quiet
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I'm assuming you have some factual documentation backing your numbers on travel costs?

The $23K in grants towards flying sites could represent at total improvement of $230K. The AMA will only contribute a max of 10% of a worthwhile club project, and there are a number of criteria (type of project, club member participation, etc) that go into determining who gets a grant.

If you're going to pick and choose what to quote from the AMA minutes, you can also choose to include things like:

"through the efforts of staff, we turned around the membership decline and have had five years of growth. Looking at 2016, the paid memberships is back up to 138,224; youth membership is at 56,858; that is a tremendous growth in youth"

and

As the dues went up, the Park Pilot memberships increased almost 33%, 2015 to 2016.

It seems like the AMA has become the new version of Trump / Hillary. You either love them or hate them, and there's no reasonable middle ground.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:20 AM
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"It seems like the AMA has become the new version of Trump / Hillary. You either love them or hate them, and there's no reasonable middle ground."

LOL.........Throw in a Bernie Sanders for good measure..........He's about the age of half of the board members, past and present..........
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Old 05-30-2017, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Stay Quiet View Post
I'm assuming you have some factual documentation backing your numbers on travel costs?
Per diem comes from DoD. As for hotels, there's 9 in Muncie. Prices range from $57 to $166 with a mean of $96, median of $101, so the $75 I used is VERY conservative. As for airfare, I'm not going to research to/from each city, but it's in the ballpark (I travel a lot for business myself).


Originally Posted by Stay Quiet View Post
The $23K in grants towards flying sites could represent at total improvement of $230K. The AMA will only contribute a max of 10% ofD a worthwhile club project, and there are a number of criteria (type of project, club member participation, etc) that go into determining who gets a grant.
Nothing prevents AMA from contributing more to fields where the "unwashed masses" actually fly. They choose not to do that.



Originally Posted by Stay Quiet View Post
If you're going to pick and choose what to quote from the AMA minutes, you can also choose to include things like:

"through the efforts of staff, we turned around the membership decline and have had five years of growth. Looking at 2016, the paid memberships is back up to 138,224; youth membership is at 56,858; that is a tremendous growth in youth"

and

As the dues went up, the Park Pilot memberships increased almost 33%, 2015 to 2016.

But free memberships bring in no money, and per the minutes they're converting to paid memberships at a very low rate. Secondly, park flier memberships are much lower cost than open adult or senior. If both of the latter are declining (and per the minutes they are), then revenue has to drop. AMA pluses up the total numbers to make it sound like they're doing better than they are. Both high dollar memberships are declining, free memberships are not converting, and the only growth in paying memberships is in the much lower dollar park flier.

Leading indicators of a dying organization (revenue wise)
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
Nothing prevents AMA from contributing more to fields where the "unwashed masses" actually fly. They choose not to do that.
If by the "unwashed masses" you mean non-AMA members, why would they choose to do so?

The AMA is not some philanthropist, giving money to just anyone who holds their hands out and says they need it to promote the general hobby. They are there to assist affiliated clubs. While some may argue the AMA doesn't do enough to promote the hobby in general, I know in my personal experience that without an AMA club nearby, I would be out of the hobby completely, with nowhere to fly. Not everyone has the luxury of being in a location with miles of nothing around.
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:50 AM
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It makes no difference if the meeting expense numbers are acurate or not, the question of using internet tools to hold a meeting four times a year still seems to me to make sense. I believe it is important for any organization to save money whenever possible.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:19 PM
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Let's assume the guys from Kansas, Missouri, and even Michigan drove. That leaves eleven guys that had to fly at, say $750 a ticket on average (most appear to be going small airport to small airport vs. major hub to major hub which is cheaper). Letís assume a two full days of meetings, which means three nights in a hotel (arrive night before) at $75 a night per person per room.
Hold it......reading between the lines here. You mean AMA doesn't make expense reports available like it does for meeting minutes? You mean they could hide expenses from their members and not be accountable? I'm calling problem on that one.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Stay Quiet View Post
If by the "unwashed masses" you mean non-AMA members, why would they choose to do so?
I think his "unwashed masses" are those AMA members outside of two days' travel from Muncie, who had their NATS stolen from them and now it looks like the AMA can hide expenses at will with no recourse.

You know, the guys who make the AMA possible. Not the oligarchy but the rank and file membership in flyover country. I could be wrong but I think I understand his meaning.

Last edited by Rockin Robbins; 05-31-2017 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 06-01-2017, 03:24 PM
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By "unwashed masses" I mean those who do not turn toward "Taj-Muncie" three times daily and chant "I'm not worthy."

Sarcasm aside, the "unwashed masses" as I use it refer to the rank and file who never have been to Muncie nor never will, yet continue to fund the organization that spends as much or more on travel for 14 "Knights of the Round Table" than they spend on flying site grants for the members who fund them!

AMA contends money is tight. Ok. How about putting real action behind that? It's the 21st century. How about using a technology from the last century to not just cut costs but also increase transparency? Seems both easy and obvious to me.

But therein lies the real problem. Everything the AMA EC does administratively, from the extraordinary delay in getting minutes posted (it's been 60 days already), to stopping the practice of listing in motions how individual EC members voted is geared toward making it MORE difficult for members to hold their EC members accountable.

What we see is a small group of elites protecting their power.
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Old 06-02-2017, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
By "unwashed masses" I mean those who do not turn toward "Taj-Muncie" three times daily and chant "I'm not worthy."

Sarcasm aside, the "unwashed masses" as I use it refer to the rank and file who never have been to Muncie nor never will, yet continue to fund the organization that spends as much or more on travel for 14 "Knights of the Round Table" than they spend on flying site grants for the members who fund them!

AMA contends money is tight. Ok. How about putting real action behind that? It's the 21st century. How about using a technology from the last century to not just cut costs but also increase transparency? Seems both easy and obvious to me.

But therein lies the real problem. Everything the AMA EC does administratively, from the extraordinary delay in getting minutes posted (it's been 60 days already), to stopping the practice of listing in motions how individual EC members voted is geared toward making it MORE difficult for members to hold their EC members accountable.

What we see is a small group of elites protecting their power.
That's how I read it too. Now, did you have to back into estimates of expenses for quarterly EC meetings because the AMA hides those expenses from its membership?

The tighter the oligarchy holds onto its power the less likely it is that they will get to keep it. Eventually even the stanchest AMA defender will read the tea leaves and act accordingly. Hell hath no scorn like a betrayed loyalist.

Right now they will make up any excuse to swallow the abuse. But there is a limit and the AMA leadership shows no hesitancy to find that limit. When they do the collapse will be sudden and complete.
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Old 06-03-2017, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Rockin Robbins View Post
That's how I read it too. Now, did you have to back into estimates of expenses for quarterly EC meetings because the AMA hides those expenses from its membership?

The tighter the oligarchy holds onto its power the less likely it is that they will get to keep it. Eventually even the stanchest AMA defender will read the tea leaves and act accordingly. Hell hath no scorn like a betrayed loyalist.

Right now they will make up any excuse to swallow the abuse. But there is a limit and the AMA leadership shows no hesitancy to find that limit. When they do the collapse will be sudden and complete.
Yes, the AMA does not allow the "unwashed masses" much information on how they spend our money, not much information on actual results, and now they're not even noting in minutes or motions how individual EC members voted.

The latter is really concerning, as it makes it really tough to hold your rep accountable when they won't tell you how they voted.
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Old 06-09-2017, 09:22 PM
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Is the AMA a 501c3 corporation? If so there are fairly strict accounting regulations they are required to follow or lose their non-profit status.
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