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LUTHERVILLE, Md. -Volunteers, whose call for greater representation in trade group leadership surprised top brass at NAFCU’s annual conference in Las Vegas last month, have also been turning their attention to state Leagues. Those trade groups would benefit greatly with insight and experience from more volunteers on their boards of directors, maintained J. Wesley Bone, the vice chairman of the Maryland Credit Union League, perhaps holding one of the highest ranking elected jobs as a League volunteer. Bone, a director of First Financial of Maryland FCU since 1969, said however, winning a seat on a state League board is not a given right but one that needs to be earned through active participation in League programs. The retired Lutherville school principal said he agrees with fellow Marylander, David H. Gilbert, a member of the NAFCU Board, who told reporters at the NAFCU meeting volunteers like himself need to “earn their stripes” before being tapped for elected jobs. While supporting the notion of more volunteers on national boards like NAFCU and CUNA, Gilbert of Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU told a group of Washington, D. C. delegates raising the issue at NAFCU that their complaints about the difficulty getting elected on CEO-dominated boards were a bit hollow if they failed to do their homework. He suggested they needed to take part in more trade group activities, do more writing on CU issues, seek endorsements from key CU leaders and really “learn the election and voting procedure” and how to run an effective election campaign. Regarding state League volunteers, Bone said he is particularly heartened by the May election of Dean Todd, a Keesler FCU director in Mississippi, to the League Board in that state. He said he had written to congratulate Todd after seeing an article about him in Credit Union Times. Bone also credited the Maryland Credit Union League for having the foresight to accord volunteers an important slot in its leadership by creating a volunteer director’s position on its board. Bone said he first got elected to the League Board six years ago and more than a year ago moved up to vice chairman. A sampling of state League boards found several with elected volunteers on them though a number of staff heads of the trade groups did notice a decline from a decade ago. Indeed, Al George of San Diego, a long-time member on the nine-member California Credit Union League board and a former CUNA Chairman, lamented “the general phasing out of volunteers.” “The message is clear,” said George noting the California group formerly had “six or seven volunteers and three professionals and now it’s eight and one-me.” “Let me add I don’t like that many now call credit unions an industry moving away from the word, `movement’,” said George. As to the CEO role, it was explained by both state and national trade officials that CEOs in recent years have discouraged their directors from running contending they – the CEOs – possess the needed financial skills and “big picture” view of the industry to handle director duties. Many retired directors lack the time and commitment, to the job because of other civic duties, they claim. But the directors speaking out insist they do have the time and commitment but trade group leadership is unfairly CEO-dominated, an undercurrent issue for years but was openly discussed at the end of NAFCU’s business session. One suggestion made by Gilbert of Maryland as to “who gets the ballot” at a CU remains a concern of another Washington NAFCU delegate at its Las Vegas conference, Philip E. Corolan, chairman of Treasury Department FCU. Corolan said he plans to bring that issue-as well as “proportional” representation to the attention of the National Association of Credit Union Chairmen meeting in October in Savannah, Ga. [email protected]

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