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WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes March 6, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:35 pm CST.

AttendingSteve Pellinen, Keith Hagel, Jan Cardia, Helen Flores, Will Anderson, Laurie Cohen, Bennett Jacobstein.

1. Approval of Minutes

Correction – Include Steve Pellinen as a 2022 Word Cup Director/Staff member.

Action: Amend February 6, 2022 Minutes.  Agenda item #3 – Reimbursing Word Cup Directors/StaffThe Board agreed to reimburse expenses for Lynda Finn and Mike Johnson and Steve Pellinen for Word Cup 2022.

2. Website update: WGPO tournaments are now listed on Cross-Tables. Charles and Thomas Reinke have already contacted Seth Lipkin to make sure that they are coordinating efforts and sharing information about the WGPO website revisions under development.

3. Donation Funds and Other Funding: WGPO annual funds are provided by the Carter Chapman Shreve Family Foundation (CCSFF), and we have been asked to use the official name or acronym when referencing the donation.
Steve Pellinen talked with Rick Wong, former Board member who has managed the Geezer Prize funds for several years. Rick will look into transferring the Geezer funds to the WGPO treasury.

4. WGPO/CoCo Word Cup update, fundraising, logos: The gold cup logo will be used for TWL WGPO materials, and the purple cup is the CoCo logo for 2022. The Board will ask Mike Johnson for the art work he had done for the Springfield Word Cup – a cup pouring out tiles – to consider reusing it in the future.

5. Insurance: The WGPO liability insurance policy is effective beginning March 18, in time to cover the Green Eye. Cost is $2,200/year and covers WGPO sanctioned tournaments in the United States, but it does not cover Canadian tournaments.

Steve explained that the insurance does not cover WGPO Scrabble clubs. Insurance is not feasible because of the many and varied club meeting locations, meeting schedules, and members attending.

6. Finances:

Steve is working out several financial procedures for our new corporation, but Jan and Laurie will also be involved in financial management. Redundancy is especially important in this area.

WGPO was incorporated in May 2021 and must file tax form 990 for 2021.

Entry funds must be to WGPO, or transferred to WGPO. Bennett and Steve summarized the process used for Phoenix.

Steve asked the Board to authorize covering the PayPal service fees for all tournaments for several reasons: (1) It simplifies the math – for prizes it’s easier to use the nominal entry fee amounts like $160 rather than $154.68. (2) It avoids annoying players who need a refund if they have to drop out – their refund is $160 instead of $154.68. (3) PayPal service fees are not consistent. (4) The amount is not much and can be covered out of the CCSFF fund as it directly affects the prize fund. A tournament with 30 players would have another $100 – 200 in the prize pool.

Action: Board agreed to cover PayPal fees for tournaments as part of expenses.

7. School Scrabble – WGPO Board agreed to donate up to $10,000 to help with expenses for the May 13-15 Washington D.C. School Scrabble tournament to be held at Planet Word.  Will reported that the event will have a middle school age division and a high school division.  WGPO representatives met with Megan McCort, Hasbro representative.  WGPO will sign the contract with the facility so that our insurance covers the event.  Hasbro is also providing financial support for the event. NASPA has agreed to have a NASPA Director for the event.

Note: Stefan Fatsis has an article in the Wall Street Journal about the new Hasbro CEO.

8. Reimbursing Directors of Major Tournaments: Board members discussed the expenses that Directors incur for major tournaments. In the past Word Cup Directors have had lodging provided and some travel costs.
Members noted that WGPO has lost some active tournament Directors, due to age, illness or personal considerations. We need more directors involved, and WGPO should provide incentives for the important work that they do.
Action: Approve reimbursement for Directors of 4 major WGPO tournaments (Word Cup + three regional tournaments), to cover travel expenses (capped at $500) and lodging (Jan Cardia/Laurie Cohen).

9. Messages/Announcements for Membership: The Board discussed whether or not to have a vetting process for comments on the WGPO Facebook page. Deborah Baggett monitors the site well. Consensus was to take no action at this time.

10. Tournament Age and Health Considerations: Board members discussed the need to allocate additional tournament time for members with health issues. We currently allow an extra five minutes for players with certain health concerns. Some also have conditions that may require bathroom breaks mid-game. Rules will address such issues. Board members concurred that when a player urgently needs to leave the playing room, the clock may be stopped.

11. Donation to Cross-tables: Board members expressed appreciation to Seth Lipkin for including WGPO tournaments on Cross-table.

Action: Approve annual donation of $200 to Cross-tables (Bennet/Jan)

12. Rules Committee: Jan suggested that Rules Committee members be onsite at major tournaments to offer authoritative second opinions.

13. Word Cup 11 and 2022-2023 Tournaments:  In advance of the Board meeting, Bennett outlined a WGPO 2022-2023 Tournament Tour Proposal.  Detailed discussion and suggestions followed.  Topics included the possibility of additional co-hosting these events with CoCo. There may also be prize money for the overall tour winner based on a formula Will is working on. Will is also looking into the possibility of Scopely adding prize funding.

Action:  Board members approved the following:

* WGPO will run four major tournaments (including the Word Cup). Each stop will be in a  different region of the country.

* CCSFF Foundation prize money will be provided at each of the events.
* Each tournament except for the Word Cup will be 20 games. The Word Cup will remain 31 games.
* Tournament directors will be reimbursed for expenses: travel (capped at $500) and lodging. Tournament directors will also have free entry to one WGPO major tournament that they are not directing.
* The tentative 2022 – 2023 schedule is:

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Weekend (October 8-10, 2022) – Midwest Stop

Presidents’ Day Weekend (February 18-20, 2023) – West Stop

Memorial Day Weekend (May 27-29, 2023) – South Stop

Late July or early August 2023 – Word Cup – Northeast Stop

14. Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm CST (Steve Pellinen/Laurie Cohen).