TACOMA, Wash. – Taking note of complaints by directors of an Olympia credit union, the Washington Credit Union League is now moving ahead with an outreach program aimed at giving outside directors a bigger voice in trade group policy-making. As expected, the complaints by O Bee CU of Tumwater, voiced in a petition submitted to the League last May and asking for more volunteer input, surfaced during the closing minutes of the League’s annual meeting here, but the issue was handled with little fanfare or rancor. However, Jim Goche, an Olympia attorney and director of O Bee cautioned that while the Tumwater board was quite “happy” with recent developments, his CU does look for positive results from a new Volunteer Networking Council set to debut in January. Goche, former vice chairman of O Bee along with Bruce Cramer, its CEO, had argued in its petition and “white paper” that the League was doing little in giving “equal treatment” or reaching out to volunteers in a serious manner to manage League affairs. Specifically, CEOs were given lopsided coverage over volunteers in League communications and volunteers had no chance to network to win elected office, O Bee claimed. In hedging judgment on new League efforts, as outlined at the annual meeting and in earlier correspondence, Goche said O Bee “does want to see the details worked out” on the Volunteer Networking Council expressing concern about its financing. In comments after the meeting, Goche said the Council “needs a budget to work with, so these unpaid officials can afford to attend a few meetings and also have the added incentive to do so.” “In the past,” said Goche, “some of us have challenged WCUL to set aside 5% of its budget for elected officials. Frankly, if the League put aside 1% of its budget (say $60,000) this would provide the financial support to get this committee going.” And after all, he concluded “these elected officials are the ones who appropriate the League’s dues.” In his farewell address, the League’s outgoing chairman, Byron Edgett of Spokane praised Goche and other members of the O Bee board for “wisely and astutely” bringing the representation cause before the League Board last May. Giving volunteers wider input in League affairs was something League directors had neglected but now is being corrected on several fronts, said Edgett, who also is CEO of Spokane FCU. Despite past differences, Goche said he is eager to work with the League Board and the Volunteer Council to come up with a workable package and he, in turn, lauded Edgett for being forthright in negotiating with O Bee. “He has been very good to work with and has helped focus the WCUL’s board’s attention on O Bee’s petition and kept the discussion headed in a positive direction,” said Roche. The O Bee petition also came up in year-end summary by League President/CEO John Annaloro, who echoing Edgettt agreed “more could have been done” to bring volunteers closer into the leadership fold. Aside from the Networking Council, volunteer communications and conferences are being revamped, he said. Cramer, the O Bee CEO, said he plans to take comments made at the League meeting back “to my own board” to gauge their reaction before pursuing any new steps. [email protected]

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