<p>I am bothered by the statements and conclusions made by Mike Welch in his publisher’s column in the January 30th issue. Since I am a volunteer professional, I am bothered by the inference that board turnover is a major problem within our industry. On the contrary; I believe that board tenure has been a most stabilizing influence over the years. Of course there are some volunteers who stay too long, just as there are some publishers and some CEOs who stay too long. But Welch only singled out longevity for directors. Why? It also bothers me that the publisher derides increased volunteer education budgets. He didn’t mention that the percentage of total expenses for board, staff, and CEO budgets may have decreased, although the dollar amounts may have increased with inflation. And why pick on volunteers? It seems to me that CEO travel costs have increased tremendously. Many now travel to numerous meetings all over the U.S.A. and foreign countries. I am confident that their travel is necessary, as well as is volunteer education. At least volunteers do not miss being at a credit union job during their efforts to keep themselves better informed about credit unions. It bothers me that Welch believes that volunteers “seemingly” know less as the dollar amount of their education budgets increase. How did he determine if they know less? I believe volunteers know more than ever about credit unions. Some CEOs believe that volunteers know too much and try to limit their education budgets! The statement in this regard appears to be counter intuitive since Welch desires more turnover. The greater the turnover; the greater the education costs should be. It bothers me that the publisher believes volunteers treat staff badly and that some staff have little respect for volunteers. I have been involved in credit unions for 28 years as a volunteer, a CEO, and an NCUA examiner. I do not recall ever seeing volunteers treat staff badly. It may happen, but I believe it is a rare occurrence. On the other hand; I have occasionally observed top level staff people who disrespect volunteers. These are occasional situations which in no way represent the majority of credit union volunteers and staff who work very well together. About CEOs being, “unceremoniously dumped,” Welch only hears one side of the story. Boards cannot legally divulge most information regarding CEO terminations. Again in my many years of involvement in credit unions in various positions, I have never witnessed a CEO termination without a valid reason. The high profile terminations seem to have the most validity. They exist in a fish bowl so many people are aware of all the warts and whatever. Additionally; some staff are usually aware of the situation; and they have many friends with whom they communicate. It also bothers me that Welch takes unusual situations and makes believe they are routine in credit unions when the opposite is true. I believe that most credit unions have very good relations between staff and volunteers and that they are equally dedicated to serving their members by the most efficient and productive means. I recommend that the publisher of Credit Union Times try to look more at the bright side of life and what is good about credit union people.; Charles Dawes Director Sierra Central Credit Union Yuba City, California</p>

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