TULSA, Okla. -- Even though disappointed at the outcome, Oklahoma volunteers last week were rallying around a wait 'till next year banner after two of their candidates lost in an unusual election for seats on the Oklahoma Credit Union League Board.
Still, Don Bown, chairman of Municipal Employees Credit Union of Oklahoma City, who was unsuccessful in seeking a second term, called the league leadership shortsighted for failing to support either himself or the other defeated volunteer, Frank Cory, director of Weokie CU, also of Oklahoma City. Volunteer representation on trade association boards has become a topic of much discussion in recent years.
"I guess you call it a closed shop," declared Bown in describing what he said was strong CEO influence in picking new board members for three-year terms in the five way race.
League officials maintained the defeat of Bown and Cory should not be construed as a slap at volunteer representation but more a reflection of the slate's makeup with Bown and Cory apparently splitting the volunteer vote.
Had just one ran, there was a stronger chance one would have been elected, according to the officials.
"I think it's also important to remember that more than a year ago we changed eligibility rules so more volunteers could run for the board," said one board member, Larry Weise, who also is president/CEO of Western Sun FCU of Broken Arrow.
The fact is, he said, CEOs have a better chance of getting elected "simply because they interact with one another on a far more regular day-to-day basis than the volunteers." Thus, it is only natural "they might get more votes," he said.
In the secret league balloting, the three victorious CEOs for the new board term included: Steve Rasmussen, FAA CU, Oklahoma City; Rob S. Holder, Dowell FCU, Tulsa and John Ray, NEO FCU, Miami.
The voting took place during a business session May 8 during the league's annual convention held here.
Bown, who served as city manager of Oklahoma City in the 1990s, said he was "shocked" the first time he got elected three years ago expressing disappointment now at failing to win re-election.
"There is always next year," said Cory of Weokie.