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The proposed By-Laws of the International Laser Class Association - North American Region (Version 2.3 April, 16, 2004) are posted at the URL:

Your comments in this thread would probably be appreciated both by the NA Officers and the North American Laser sailors.

The Class website notes that ILCA NA administration would like you to send your remarks to NA Secretary James Appel.


Member, ILCA-NA


I read the proposed NA By-Laws. Nice and short! That is, much shorter than the previous 9 page version we have seen last May. I like that!

The following is an adaptation of my comments posted on the "NA Mailing List" for the readership of our Forum.

ILCA Constitution grants the NA Executive Committee the power to make By-Laws "for any purpose necessary to carry out the functions and responsibilities of such Region". Therefore, I personally think such a proposal is Constitutional.

One class member - ex ILCA-NA Secretary Fred Schroth - argued that the By-Laws were unconstitutional since much of the content of the proposed By-Laws was not absolutely "necessary"

IMHO, whether any specific proposed article is really "NECESSARY" for running this Class can not be grounds for claiming the unconstitutionality of the proposal. What are "necessary" for management of an organizayion -- for instance, from "Total Quality Management" to "Just-In-Time" to "Continuous
Improvements", etc. in manufacturing -- only reflect managerial preferences. Such prefences CAN be part of our social contract, that is our "constitution".

But whether such preferences SHOULD find their ways into a constitution is a different matter.

And whether some articles of this proposal are really unconstitutional (for reasons other than Fred's "necessity" argument) is also a different matter.

I prefer to make the remainder of my remarks on a point-by-point basis:

Section 1.2 Purpose

"fostering national and international amateur athletic competition"
falls short of the "Objects" of ILCA as defined in the ILCA
Constitution, Article 3. The goals noted in Articles 3.1 (information
exchange) and 3.3 (recreational Lasering) of the Constitution are
ignored. Even if you think that "the fundamental purpose of the
association is gathering and dispersal of information" (as claimed by
Fred Schroth) is an exaggeration, Section 1.2 makes a serious (and
offensive) mistake that should be corrected.

Section 1.3 Authority

Whereas the ILCA Constitution itself does not grant "SOLE" authority to
control the Class to ILCA itself - and suffices by merely claiming
jurisdiction - this NA clause grants ILCA-NA "SOLE AUTHORITY" in North
America. This is a heavy-handed measure to ensure the perpetuity of
control under a specific volunteer organization, and IMHO, is not wise.

Section 3.1 Membership

The membership requirements may be too lax and in fact violate the
Constitution. ILCA Constitution, 10.1 (disqualification or suspension of
membership by the World Council) and 10.3 (the residence requirement)
must be incorporated into this section.

Also, special provisions that set the principles for "suspension and
removal from office with cause" by ILCA-NA action may be included.
However, there may be reasons why the ILCA Constitution Article 12
gives that right to the World Council. It's worth considering.

Section 4.2 Officers

As it stands, this section is in violation of the ILCA Constitution,
7.2. And it's not the first time this is being pointed out, either.

ILCA Constitution, 7.1 requires that the (Regional) Executive Committee
(Ex Com) be composed of 1) the Regional Chairman, 2) the Regional Vice
Chairman, and 3) the Regional Executive Secretary. No ifs, ands or buts
about it. That's set in stone.

ILCA Constitution, 7.3 grants the Regional Executive Committee "the
power to appoint additional officers for such term as it may from time
to time determine". So, the Executive Committee CAN appoint other
officers such as a "Secretary" or a "Treasurer" or a "Member at Large",
but these individuals can not be members of the Regional Executive
Committee! They can be appointed as members of some other (separate or
super) committee, say, an "Executive Board" or "Advisory Committee".

There is nothing in the ILCA Constitution that prevents such additional
officers from being granted "voting rights", either. However, such
voting rights are valid only in that special committee where these
officers hold seats. That is, they can not have voting rights within the
Executive Committee by any constitutional means.

In addition, by ILCA Constitution 7.4, the (separate or super) committee
where such additional officers hold seats can not claim or be granted
authority over the Executive Committee. The powers vested in the World
Council by the ILCA Constitution and constitutionally transferable to a
Region's administration are delegated specifically to the "Regional
Executive Committee" and no other committee of the Region.

If they insist on proposing a management by committee principle, my
advice to the NA leadership (who has been insisting on this
unconstitutional structure for more than a year now) is to revise the
proposal to recognize the presence of two separate committees, one Ex
Com and one Advisory Committee (a subset of which is the Ex Com).

Note however that insistence on such an organizational structure may
complicate Article 5 ("Meetings and Elections") of these By-Laws.

Section 4.4 Vice Chairman

This clause grants the Vice Chairman the automatic right to represent
the Chairman in his absence, and as such, violates ILCA Constitution,
7.7 in a special case. It should be reworded to ensure the Executive
Committee retains the power to nominate (and vote on) who will replace
the Chairman in World Council meetings the Chairman is not able to
attend. Without such explicit coverage in our By-Laws, the Constitution
requires the Executive Secretary to replace the Chairman in such a case.

Section 4.7 Member at Large

The responsibility of the "Member at Large" as defined here
constitutionalizes the concept that no other member of the Executive
Committee can be expected or demanded to communicate with the
membership. Recent NA history shows us that this is both unhealthy and
absolutely unacceptable to the NA membership.

Fred Schroth's reaction on the NA Mailing List was "SCREW YOU!!!"

Section 4.8 Executive Secretary

The new NA leadership has wisely revised the duties of the Exec Sec in
"Version 2.3" of the proposed By-Laws to ensure their consistency with
the ILCA Constitution. The only significant difference from the duties
as stated in the Constitution is the addition of one phrase:

Whereas the Constitution grants the Exec Sec full authority for 1)
strategic, 2) tactical and 3) operational management of the Region
SUBJECT TO "the direction of the Executive Committee", the proposed NA
clause limits the duties of the Exec Sec to "day-to-day" management of
the Region.

Since we have no "Constitutional Court" (Supreme Court) within NA, how
this "day-to-day" term is to be interpreted MUST be elaborated on in the
By-Laws in a way that will prevent the NA By-Laws from conflicting with
the ILCA Constitution.

Given merely the layman's interpretation of "day-to-day", Section 4.8 as
it stands now violates the ILCA Constitution.

Section 4.10 Other Officers

As worded now, this Section creates loop-holes for violation of the ILCA
Constitution. The issue is that pointed out above in my review of
Section 4.2, Officers.

That is, such "Other Officers" may have voting rights, but neither can
they be members of the Regional Executive Committee nor can their votes
be tallied in matters the Executive Committee is voting on.

Section 4.11 Reimbursement

As worded now, the reimbursable expenses do not differentiate between
personal, "business" and association expenses. The term used here to
define what is reimbursable is: "expenses incurred in the furtherance of
the Associations business". It is too vague to define the dividing line
between acceptable and unacceptable "business expenses".

The clearest example of my concern here was evident in last year's
version of this clause. The previous NA leadership had insisted that all
expenses related to any indemnity insurance coverage for the Officers to
protect them against "malpractice" or other legal suits for "liability
or loss arising out of the performance of duties" should be paid for
using the membership fees. IMHO, this is totally unacceptable! The
current Section 4.11 leaves such a case subject to the interpretation of
the administration.

See http://cerebus.winsite.com/archives/2001/msg05957.html for my
thoughts back in May 2003.

Section 5.1 Meetings

I would advise that the section be explicitly titled "Executive
Committee Meetings". It creates interpretation problems in 5.4!

Section 5.4 Notice

Total confusion here!

1) I think what was intended by the phrase "Any meeting may be
called..." was "Any meeting of the Executive Committee may be called..."
Otherwise, 5.4 conflicts with 5.2 and 5.3.

2) I think this section was originally intended to regulate the NOTICE
requirements for all types of meetings. But later, the writers tried to
incorporate into this clause WHO can call an Executive Committee

Wording about who can call an Executive Committee meeting should be
presented within 5.1 (as done in 5.3 for "Special Meetings").

3) This section ignores acceptable notification methods and times
requirements for "Special Meetings" and acceptable notification methods
requirements for the "Annual Grand Meeting".

My advice would be to specify the notification method and time
requirements for each meeting type in its own section. Get rid of 5.4.

Section 5.5 Action Without a Meeting

What a terrible sign to give to the membership at large!

For clarity, "if all the voting members consent to" should be replaced
with with "if all the voting members of the Executive Committee consent
to". I believe that's what the writers had intended.

Also, please remove the parenthetical "(including amendment of these
Bylaws)" from this Section. See the discussion of Section 7.1 for

Section 6.2 Records

In the spirit of ensuring transparency in government for perpetuity, I
would suggest:
1. adding "and publish" (right after "keep") to the statement "The
Association shall also keep a copy of these Bylaws, any organizing
documentation, minutes of all meetings and a record of current Executive
Committee members and District Chairmen eligible to vote";
2. adding "and contact information for all Fleets in the Region" to the
very end of the above.

In fact, if we add the adjective "correct" to 6.2 (Records) to refuse
"mom and pop grocery store" type accounting practices, maybe we should
also add that adjective "correct" to the above as "correct minutes of
all meetings". Both are due to the general membership.

Section 7.1 Amendment

This has been the killer for me!

The only thing I can do is to give you back history:

> Even amendments to our own ILCA Constitution require approval by
> both the leadership and the membership! Why not follow the same
> democratic example in our Region?
> The article is too open to abuse and seems to be designed to make
> any future direct membership involvement in Regional affairs as
> hard as possible.
> I would suggest redrafting the whole thing so that this NA By-Law
> and any and all future amendments to it are required to be
> approved by the membership at large. Maybe the Executive Board can
> retain a veto power on an amendment, with a two thirds or larger
> majority vote of ALL its members.
> I would also suggest any member should be able to propose an
> amendment at any time, subject to certain seconding conditions
> by other members, and votes on an amendment should be scheduled
> whenever necessary, not only in "November".

The above is from one of my related posts on the "NA Mailing List" dating
back to 26 May 2003! One year has passed, and what have we learned?

Shevy Gunter
Member, ILCA NA


New Member

I have rarley seen someone read by-laws with such attention to details. Great work! Although I do not have the ability to comment on the constitutionality aspects, I am certainly worried by the fact that there seem to be a bias to creat an "elite" controlled organisation.

As an ordinary member, how do I have a say on those by-laws? What can we do about it or I sould say what can I do about it?

I am an avid reader of Shevy's and Fred's comments on the mailing list and recently on this forum. I know that there are 2 faces on a coin but for a reason that I do not understand our elected officers have decided not to use this forum or the mailing list to inform "us" what they intend to do and where they want the class to be in the future.

It leaves us with only one face of the coin and what we hear should concern us all. Is there anyone out there that still have a dream about what this class can be? Laser sailing is not only about goint to the olympics and or international events, it is also 5 or 6 (1974-84) boats racing on sunday afternoon on lake in North Hatley or anywhere in North America. It is the boat on which most sailors learn to sail, It is the camaraderie among people who share the same passion for a great sport. It is sailing just for the fun of sailing...

If the new by-laws are created to favour control of an "elite" concerned with only the "pros" then we have to do something. I leave the "how / when" to others but this class deserve better.

Thanks Shevy for waking me up!

François Sylvestre


>> I am certainly worried by the fact that there seem to be a bias to creat an "elite" controlled organisation.

I'm equally concerned that people seem to think there is any attempt to create an elitist organization. That is certainly not the intent. In fact, I would argue that the intent is just the opposite in that the bylaws are attempting to have MORE, not fewer people involved.

>> As an ordinary member, how do I have a say on those by-laws? What can we do about it or I sould say what can I do about it?

1) If you have comments on the structure, contents, wording, etc. of the draft bylaws and want them to be incorporated into the draft, the best is to send them directly to James Appel (james@laser.og) as the Executive Secretary, or to Eric Faust (efaust@flash.net) as the principal author. Or you can send them to me, Peter Johns, your District Secretary, etc., and we will pass them along. You can even make comments on the Laser e-mail list or TLF, all of us are subscribed and read the them. I am not saying that if you have your pet bylaw that it will be automatically adopted, but all of us (and especially Eric Faust) are going to consider what is sent to us.

2) The District Secretaries will vote on whether to accept or reject the draft bylaws. As a former District Secretary I can tell you that most of them almost never get any feedback from the class members in their respective Districts on these issues (yes, even after much prodding). As such, you letting them know your opinion will carry a lot more weight than you might think.

>> but for a reason that I do not understand our elected officers have decided not to use this forum or the mailing list to inform "us" what they intend to do and where they want the class to be in the future.

Some people feel that the Laser e-mail list and the Forum are of somewhat limited usefulness for class business items, especially those particular to the North American Region. One ILCA-NA specific reason is because the Laser e-mail list and The Laser Forum have worldwide appeal, in fact it appears to me that a great number of TLF members are Australian (and German!) and it is hard to imagine they have much more than a passing interest in North American class issues.

However, the most important reason is that the combined membership of the Laser e-mail list and TLF represent only a fraction of the total 3100+ ILCA-NA class members. It is important to get the information out to as large an audience as possible, that is why the bylaws are available at www.laser.org (and yes, there should have been an announcement made sooner, that was a case of everyone thinking the other guy was going to do it... well, we are just human!), and both the Laser e-mail list and Forum can faciliate this. Still, the "official" announcement of the draft bylaws is an insert in the mailing of the Winter edition of The Laser Sailor (hopefully arriving at a mailbox near you soon!) - which remains the "official" mechanism for communicating class business solely because it is the one thing we have which goes out to the entire membership (I should add that previous issues of The Laser Sailor has had countless discussions of the underlying reasons for the current draft bylaws...).

The North American region is not alone in this. When was the last time you saw an "official" announcement from ILCA on the Laser e-mail list, Laser Forum, or any e-mail list that you could respond to? Or similarly in other regions?

>> Is there anyone out there that still have a dream about what this class can be?

Well... I guess it wasn't until after I got this job that I became a braindead zombie... :)

Look, the primary focus of ILCA-NA is on racing at the regional level (just as ILCA has a large focus on international championships and the olympics) in just the same way it always has been. This doesn't mean that nothing else matters, it means that it is a higher priority. There are many ideas in progress, or under consideration, on ways to help grow the class, from promoting the Laser 4.7 (the 4.7 Worlds will be in the Canada or the US Northeast in 2005 which will represent a great opportunity for kids to come sail in an event and meet other kids their ages from lots of other countries), to a great idea from Tim Landt, which is but one of the reasons for converting the class to IRS 501c3 status (meaning we can accept tax deductible donations), to have people donate old boats to ILCA-NA which can be relocated to community sailing centers to get more people sailing, etc. All this stuff takes time, in particular, we have been working on converting to 501c3 status since before I was elected Vice Chairman and, coming full circle, a set of bylaws is last remaining step needed before we (finally!) submit the application to the IRS.

Ok, I do hope this helps clear up some misconceptions. Please let me know if you have more questions!

Tracy Usher
ILCA-NA Vice Chairman


oops, sorry, in the previous post I meant Spring Edition of The Laser Sailor coming soon. We already have the Winter Edition!

Bruce MacInnis

New Member
Unfortunately The NA Executive member sees the ILCA-NA only from his perspective.

“Look, the primary focus of ILCA-NA is on racing at the regional level (just as ILCA has a large focus on international championships and the olympics) in just the same way it always has been. “

Fortunately the International Laser Association has a much broader view as stated in the constitution:

3. The objects of the Association are
(1) to provide a medium of exchange of information among Laser sailors throughout the world and to enhance the enjoyment of these sailboats;
(2) to promote and develop Laser class racing in all countries, under uniform rules; and
(3) to encourage and foster the enjoyment of the sporting and recreational aspects of sailing.

The constitution is not for racing only. It explicitly states that it exists for both racing and recreational aspects of sailing. It is inappropriate for the current group to enshrine their bias, as Tracy’s previous post reveals, in the by-laws. It is my belief that the exclusive nature of the association partially explains why the participation rate of laser sailors in the association is so low. I initially joined, found there to be no benefit in being a member if I did not want to race, therefore I did not renew.


Re: Tracy on ILCA and member participation

Thanks, Tracy, for all your replies. We appreciate your comments and posts on this Forum, those with and without your formal, official signature.

François wrote:

> I am certainly worried by the fact that there seem to be
> a bias to create an "elite" controlled organisation.

Tracy responded:
> the bylaws are attempting to have MORE, not
> fewer people involved.

Clearly, the response is not addressing the concern. You can have six "elites" rather than just three "elites" and have an even more "elitist" organization. If there is such a problem, the cure is not merely in increasing the number of people in control.

I can not rationally suggest that the Class is now or will soon be "ELITE CONTROLLED". WE, the membership-at-large, elect the District Chairmen. And they elect the President et al. We are free to elect "non-elitist" district officers. So, we have some say in the matter -- in ideal, democratic Districts with efficient information markets. (The problem is, the NA Districts are neither ideal, nor democratic, nor efficient. Much of the reason is our own apathy.)

But I can suggest and prove that this proposed By-Law is "ELITIST". Reviewing Section 1.2 (Purpose) is sufficient for a proof:

While the proposed By-Law states that the raison-d'etre of ILCA-NA will only be "fostering national and international amateur athletic competition", the ILCA Constitution notes that the Class must ALSO:
3(1) "provide a medium of exchange of information among Laser sailors ...and ... enhance the enjoyment of these sailboats," and
3(3) "encourage and foster the enjoyment of the sporting and recreational aspects of sailing."

Deliberately excluding these other goals is definitely ELITIST! It says "we don't give a damn" about certain things (that the hot shot racers who buy new boats every two years do not care about). That's ELITIST.

Tracy tells us the bottom line further down in his reply. He says: "Look, the primary focus of ILCA-NA is on racing at the regional level". The fact of the matter is, there is no "is"! This will be our Constitution! It addresses the question "What should our class be?" And the ILCA Constitution tells us that that primary focus can NOT just be "racing". (And it even spells out the punitive measures if you insist on violating that Constitution!)


François wrote:

> how do I have a say on those by-laws?

Tracy replied:
> the best is to send them directly to James Appel as the Executive Secretary...

I would like to add that it helps NO ONE if you just send your remarks ONLY to Class Officers. WE are neither challenged nor guided by your thoughts if you use private channels to communicate them ONLY to the leadership. And your voice remains as ONE (odd) voice when you contact your District Secretaries.

This is "deja vu"! We lived through this in 2003! It is well established that a request to communicate your thoughts secretly and directly to ONLY the leadership is tantamount to a junta! Not that Tracy is asking you to do that! But beware! Such requests are not tolerated in democracies.

In 2002, there were two Class Officers who INSISTED on all comments being sent to them directly, without opening such views to public discussion on the Laser media. One was ex-Secretary Mark Kastel, the other was ex-President Ryan Eric Minth. (Tracy Usher has never taken that censorship path!) Full details and evidence are available in the series titled "ILCA-NA's Minth Leadership Flunks" on the "drLaser" web site, "Class & Racing Rules" section.


François wrote:
> our elected officers have decided not to use this
> forum or the mailing list to inform "us"

Well. Tracy is here, talking to us, isn't he?

I respect the NA Vice Chairman Tracy Usher tremendously!

François's question is a bad question. If François had asked instead, "Why have our elected officers decided not to use this forum or the mailing list to LEARN our opinions?", then Tracy would have a much harder time providing a reasonable reply. (This statement does not mean that I agree either with the content or the tone of his current reply.)

But the real question here is "Why hasn't the NA REGIONAL CHAIRMAN ever provided us an opportunity to listen to him and question him online?" Please note I do not say "INFORM US" online. I am talking about civic participation! As Tracy does here.

I will now digress a bit and then bring you right back here.


I must confess that I was once tremendously dissatisfied with the incompetent, unethical, immoral and undemocratic NA administration of early 2003! (Ibid.) I quit my ILCA-NA membership. "drLaser" web site stopped supporting and promoting ILCA-NA memberships. I didn't even follow the Class matters anymore. I was plainly disgusted. After the elections in late 2003 which saw to replace the Secretary and the President, I became a member again. "drLaser" web site started promoting NA membership again. In good faith. To give a fresh chance to the new, untested top brass. (And what a fool I was!)

We had a new President. And a new Secretary. And Tracy had stayed as a member of the team. The President, I hadn't even heard about before. I vaguely remembered that he was involved in the organization of the Hyannis Worlds. But beyond that, he was a nobody, publicly. He had never participated in any of the on-line Lasering media. No common, mortal Laserite knew anything about him publicly. But apparently, with his "Position Paper", he had won the hearts and minds of our learned, trusted District Secretaries to win the race 14 to 9 against the incumbent President.

I had mixed feelings. I felt redeemed. I was happy to see that the voice of the free press might have had some positive role in convincing our District Secretaries to get rid of the incompetent, the unethical, the immoral and the undemocratic. But I was also perplexed that the vote was 14 to 9. Why wasn't it 23 to zero? Did the nine secretaries know something I did not know about?

Months passed. I even forgot who our President (whose name was announced once in the election results) was. His name was "Peter Johns". Then I started wondering what kind of "kismet" had replaced one media-hater NA President with another media-shy one...

Three days ago, I decided to investigate. On the WWW, I came across a web page of the Beverly Yacht Club in Buzzards Bay (Marion, MA). Lo and behold, there was a reference to a "Peter Johns" sailing 175133 in some 2003 club series racing... competing against our very own "Chip Johns" (the President of Vanguard) on her 157881, week after week, at the same club. Only then the possibility hit me!

Ladies and gentlemen: I must confess that I, who have been away from Class matters for months, may have been guilty of plainly missing a publicly announced bit of information, but...

it appears that our new class PRESIDENT is the BROTHER of the OWNER of the NA Laser Builder!!!

It may not be news to you. It was to me.

Our NA District Secretaries had voted to Presidency of the International Laser Class North American Region the brother of the owner of a corporation who has the monopoly power to produce and sell Lasers in the North American Region!

Did they see no impropriety in this?

Did they see no conflict of interest?

With all the good will and tolerance for what Peter Johns' visions and goals may be, I FEEL VIOLATED!

Effectively, the Laser Class (which, for years now, has been characterized as a "Builder owned one-design class") now has a Class Association in North America that is literally controlled by the Builder! The President has close blood ties with Vanguard's owner, plus the NA Executive Secretary is the past Marketing Director of Vanguard! That's 2/3 of the Regional Executive Committee!

I FEEL RAPED! No matter how honorable the intentions of these individuals may be.


So... let's now get back to Tracy's responses:

When Tracy responded "The bylaws are attempting to have MORE, not fewer people involved," he may well be telling the bitter truth! With the President and the Executive Secretary in the hands of Vanguard, expanding the Executive Committee (no matter how unconstitutionally) from 3 to 6 members may well be the only way of controlling the Builder now!

When Tracy responded "The best is to send them [your comments] directly to James Appel as the Executive Secretary," he might well have had the best interest of the NA Class in mind. Imagine forcing the President to respond to correspondence on the Lasering media, signing his posts repeatedly as "Peter Johns, NA President"! How long would it take for someone to start noticing the "Peter Johns - Chip Johns" consonance and start asking awkward questions?

And finally, when Tracy responded to "why the NA Officers do not to use this forum or the mailing list" as:
"the Laser e-mail list and the Forum are of
somewhat limited usefulness",
he may have been actually referring to the "risk" I noted above, plus the online experience of 2003 which resulted in some Officers managing to make complete asses of themselves. Our beloved, always hilarious "Laserbabee" on the NA Mailing List recently put Peter Johns' absence from the Lasering media as "Our President is being protected from free speech"!


In retrospect, it's a sad state of affairs!

It is up to you to decide whether this is YOUR class or not!

There will always be 1500+ hard core elites who will always join the NA Class because they HAVE TO, just to attend the District Championships or the NA Championships or the Worlds. It's fun to race this boat! Then, there is another 1000 who join just because they care about the Class, the boat, and occasionally also enjoy such high level racing. And then, there is another 30000+ who own Lasers, rarely race at more than club level, and prefer not to join the NA Class.

It is up to you to decide who the NA Class belongs to. It is up to you whether you want to accept the "learned, trusted District Secretaries" -- who voted the brother of the owner of Vanguard to NA Presidency, maybe as the lesser of two evils -- should vote on your behalf to decide whether this "Constitution" is good for you.

As I noted in a recent post on the NA Mailing List, "I have little trust in these elected friends."

If they were trustworthy and morally on high ground, Jean-Luc Michon would no longer be the Chief Measurer and an ILCA Member! (See my related posts here.)

My advice is, GET UP, STAND UP, STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHT! But whatever you do, be constructive. Don't confuse the issues. Scream where they go astray, and IF you know better, suggest solutions.

As for me, I will have only little more time to say more. A more or less permanent end to my days as an ILCA-NA member is approaching fast. But that's another long story.

With affection towards all of you, except "the elite"... and the wise who would classify the above as "worry wart".

Shevy Gunter
Member, ILCA-NA

PS. All this may remind you of the "Do you think the ILCA´s in bed with the boat builders?" question by "Overdraft" (Hugh Wainman-Wood) on this Forum.


Mr Usher's comment that all we need to file our 501c3 application is Bylaws,is inaccurate.I am the one who started the application process.The reason the application hasn't been filed is because the ILCA has failed to produce any financial statements for the past 3 years.Under the affiliation portion of the IRS application we as an affilate are required to disclose this information.Mr Usher is a member of the world council and represents the ILCANA.I have requested this information for three years and have never recieved proper documentation for application.The ILCA is conducting business the same way as ILCANA did for years92-02, the link is the ILCA current president was ILCANA president for ten years.His financial track record speaks for itself and looks as the ILCA is head the same way.
Tim Landt
Ex Com member/Resigned


On Constitutionality of an Expanded Regional ExCom


Tim Landt's last words which link the current ILCA President and previous ILCA-NA Regional Chairman Ian Lineberger to many of our problems are certainly thought provoking. I have written evidence to support that Ian is also involved in my recent personal complaint about Chief Measurer Jean-Luc Michon and Vanguard President Chip Johns, but none of the above are related to this thread. If necessary, they can be addressed in separate threads of this bulletin board.

I believe it is important to try to stick to the topic here. We must prevent all urges to dilute our attention from the proposed NA "constitution". These By-Laws will affect the future Laser sailing in North America and beyond.

Hence, I come back to the infamous topic of whether an expanded Regional Executive Committee is allowed or envisioned by our ILCA Constitution. I must note, however, that this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. This one has a solution, and there are much more serious problems with the proposed By-Laws.


The administration's claim of the constitutional validity of a Regional Executive Committee (henceforth, ExCom) with more than three members can be based on two arguments. These are:
1) When naming the "Regional Executive Committee" as composed of only the "Regional Chairman, Vice Chairman and Executive Secretary", Article 7(2) of the ILCA Constitution is merely listing the INITIAL CONDITION on the composition of the Committee when a new Region is first created by the World Council. 2) There are other examples of Regions where the Regional Executive Committee is composed of more than three members.

I will consider these two arguments one by one.


ILCA Constitution, Article 7(2) states that when a Region is created by the World Council (WC), that the WC name a ExCom composed of 1) the Regional Chairman, 2) the Regional Vice Chairman, and 3) the Regional Executive Secretary. On the other hand, Article 7(3) grants this ExCom "the power to appoint additional officers for such term as it may from time to time determine".

The proponents of the "ExCom with Unlimited Officers" theory suggest that
7(2) is only an INITIAL SET UP condition. They then interpret 7(3) as allowing the ExCom to later expand itself, as is sees fit itself. Note that Article 7(3) quoted above does NOT state that the ExCom has the power to appoint additional officers "TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE", per se. However, the "ExCom with Unlimited Officers" theory presumes that this was exactly the intent of the forefathers of Lasering, and that the qualifier "TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE" was omitted simply to save space or for some other trivial reason.

On the other hand, the proponents (like me) of the "Three Officer ExCom" theory claim that although 7(2) is worded as a starting condition, it also limits the size of the ExCom even after a Region is created by the WC. Yes, 7(3) grants the Regional Executive Committee "the power to appoint additional officers for such term as it may from time to time determine", but by not explicitly saying that these additional officers are appointed to the ExCom, it implicitly bars them from becoming members of the ExCom.

So, it is a matter of interpretation. Or is it?

The situation we face is analogous to a non-governmental public interest organization or club governed by two rules like:
RULE 1: A "Board of Trustees" is created by naming ten Board members.
RULE 2: The "Board of Trustees" may appoint other administrators/managers as they please, "for such term as it may from time to time determine".

We can not second-guess what the rule-makers intended here. What's even worse, there is no trusted and learned "Supreme Court" to enlighten us by offering us the intended interpretation. We can blindly trust neither the current "Board of Trustees" nor the current rule-makers. The only thing we can go by is the text of RULE 1 and RULE 2.

In my opinion, there are two striking features of RULE 2. One, as noted above, is that it does NOT say that these additional administrators/managers become members of the Board of Trustees itself. The second and more striking feature is the terminology "FOR SUCH TERM AS IT MAY FROM TIME TO TIME DETERMINE"!

Apparently, such administrators/managers CAN be appointed for some specific, short period of time (a day, a month, the duration of a project, etc.)! Furthermore, they CAN be appointed only in special cases and occasionally ("from time to time"), if additional administrative skills are needed.

If we are forced to second-guess, it is obvious that the rule-makers intended the appointment of such additional administrators as a TRANSIENT or TEMPORARY flexibility.

Can you imagine an NGO Board of Trustees where "some members are more equal than others"? Can you imagine an NGO Board of Trustees with some permanent members and some other members appointed by and terminated at the whim of these permanent members? (Maybe one can, in the case corporations where a family or person holds a majority of the shares, but that's not what we have here with ILCA-NA... I hope.) It is clear to me that the two sets of members referred to can NOT be members of the same administrative / legislative body.

In fact, ILCA Constitution's article 7(4) offers a DEFINITIVE TEXTUAL EVIDENCE in support of the "Three Officer ExCom" theory.

7(4) notes that "The Regional Executive officers, other than the Executive Secretary, shall be ELECTED annually..." So, if these "additional officers" were actually members of the ExCom, 7(4) would require that they be ELECTED annually, too. But this would then contradict the power granted by 7(3) to the "Three Officer ExCom" to directly APPOINT them!

That is, if the ILCA Constitution were originally written to support the "ExCom with Unlimited Officers" theory, it would be a self contradictory document!

But life is not that simple, either!

Article 7(7) notes:
"In the event that a Regional Chairman shall be unable to attend any meeting of the World Council, the Executive Secretary of the Region or such any other member of the Regional Executive Committee nominated for that purpose may attend and represent the Chairman and vote at such meeting of the World Council."

So, if a Regional Executive Committee consisted ONLY of the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Executive Secretary, wouldn't the above be written to reflect that?? Even if the usage of term "such any other" implies that those who drafted this Constitution did not have a grasp of the English language in the first place...

IMHO, the text of the ILCA Constitution offers much more reliable evidence in support of the "Three Officer ExCom" theory than the "ExCom with Unlimited Officers" theory. The only arguments in support of the latter are that 1) the rule-makers expressed the composition of the ExCom in relation to when it is first set up, 2) by not listing the two alternative representatives to the Chairman, they implied that the ExCom may have more than three members. IMHO, these are trivial and circumstantial arguments compared to the textual evidence in support of the "Three Officer ExCom" theory and the LOGICAL CONTRADICTION THAT RESULTS OTHERWISE.

Tracy (a Physicist in one of the leading universities of the world) would agree that a PROOF BY CONTRADICTION is always superior to any interpretation.


The second argument for constitutionality of an ExCom with more than three members is that there are other examples of Regions where the Regional Executive Committee is composed of more than three members, and that these examples form a legal precedent.

In particular, it is claimed that the Asia-Pacific Region has expanded their ExCom to four members to include a 1st and 2nd Vice Chairman and a Secretary. (There is no written documentation of this on the ILCA website.) Also, the NA Laser Class openly operated for years with two "Vice Presidents", albeit in a three-person ExCom (where the Executive Secretary also held a "VP" title). Evidently, these were all condoned by the World Council.

The primary question here is: Does any action or lack of action by ILCA's World Council regarding the formation of an ExCom form a "legal precedent"?

The answer is "NO!" In fact, no action or lack of action by ILCA's World Council ever forms any precedent!

Do you think that the WC set a precedent when in 2001 they wrote and passed new Class Rules by themselves, claiming that when we gave them the right to "go ahead and develop new rules to implement the blocks in rigging idea", we also gave them the right to violate Class Rule 29(c) which requires two thirds of the Membership to approve ANY changes in our Class Rules? If you or they think that that set a precedent, you are in for a big surprise!

Do you think the WC set a precedent when in 2000 the Secretary of the World Council publicly promised to offer the drafted rules for public comments prior to passing them, but later the WC approved and published the new rules without even letting the Membership see them? If you or they think that that set a precedent, you are in for a big surprise!

Do you think that the WC set a precedent when they sat and idly watched the Objects of the Laser Class and international laws being violated by an immoral and elitist North American leadership during 2003? If you or they think that that set a precedent, you are in for a big surprise!

Do you think that the WC set a precedent when in November 2003 the World Council published new rules under the pretext of "interpretations"? If you or they think that that set a precedent, you are in for a big surprise!

Do you think that the WC will set a precedent as they sit and idly watch a Chief Measurer violate the Constitution and criminal law in 2004? If you or they think that that will set a precedent, you are in for a big surprise!

So, in all likelihood, that there are or were OTHER Regions where the ExCom is composed of more than three officers or three officers with four titles merely reflects the laxness of the World Council or their interest in not upholding our Constitution. Such past experiences do not set an acceptable precedent for interpreting our Constitution.

What is unconstitutional can become constitutional only if we change what the Constitution says.


Please note that I am always for greater membership involvement in the management of our Class, but not at the expense of our Constitution. Our Constitution is our sole defence against a move from a "Builder-Owned Class" to a "Builder-Owned Class Association"!

The solution I offered in my previous post (i.e., the "super committee" approach) works around this problem neatly, giving the current administration what they think is best for our Class while keeping it all undoubtedly constitutional.

Best regards,

Shevy Gunter
Member, ILCA-NA