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WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

From Helen Flores:

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes Sunday November 6, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:31 pm CST, October 2, 2022.

Board Members Attending: Will Anderson, Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Bennett Jacobstein, Keith Hagel, and Steve Pellinen.

Absent: Jan Cardia.

Old Business

  1. Tournaments
  • Word Cup 2023: Will Anderson reported that the event is scheduled to begin on Friday, June 30th and culminate on July 4th. The final meeting with the hotel has been scheduled and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) terms are agreed upon. Expect an announcement with full venue details in the near future.
    Publicity for the event is expected to include strong local media coverage.
  • The Board agreed that the level of CCSFF prize funds for Word Cup 2023 will be consistent with Word Cup 2022 – $50,000.
  • Regional Major Tournaments: Registration for the Madison Midwest Major, November 11-13, was strong – 50 players for TWL and 12 playing Collins.
  • The Phoenix West Regional Tournament is scheduled for Presidents Day weekend, February 18-20, 2023. Laurie Cohen noted that registration has begun.
    Finally, the South Regional Tournament in Columbia. South Carolina is scheduled for Memorial weekend May 27-29, 2023. Registration will be announced within the month.
  • Other Tournament issues: Bennett reported on the success of a WGPO Las Vegas tournament. The Tournament and Ratings Committee plans to develop a process for directors to request CCSFF prize fund support to (1) continue supporting venues such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland that have scheduled regular WGPO tournaments in the past and (2) encourage all regions to host additional tournaments. Keith noted the success of Word Cup in Springfield. The Coral Gables Word Cup also drew many players. He noted that WGPO needs to develop a regular presence in the Northeast and the South, all regions.
    Bennett has a list of about 75 directors. The Board suggested increasing communication with them. Ask if they are still interested in directing and/or if they have suggestions to encourage additional player opportunities and tournaments. Board members also noted that using small amounts of CCSFF funds for prize money seems a worthwhile incentive. This is an effective use of the funds to grow Scrabble.
  1. Updated Website/Technology:Charles and Thomas Reinke provided the Board with a thorough status report prior to the meeting.

Work on the look-and-feel of the website is mostly completed. Need to make sure the website is as usable on mobile devices (phones, tablets) as on computers. Also determining locations for meeting minutes, committee reports, other content.

Statistical functionality is fully implemented. Includes full game-by-game, tournament-by-tournament stats for all players. Plan to work with Seth Lipkin to see if WGPO stats and upcoming tournaments can be shared with Cross-Tables.

Features for tournament directors  – 90% complete. Includes adding/removing players from upcoming tournaments, modifying tournament divisions for rating ranges, etc., and submitting new tournaments to be listed. Need to test existing rating system code (Marc Levesque originally developed for WGPO) against the new functionality added.

Member login system is functional. All current WGPO members will have an account allowing them to login for tournament registration, update their information. New members will simply have to create an account. Tournament directors may register players, but the preferred method will be for players to do this themselves.

Major work still needed:

* Provide functionality for viewing/maintaining the membership list.

* Add functionality for managing a list of WGPO-affiliated clubs. Allow club directors to log in to the website and update data for club without a WGPO administrator. Ideally the result would be a more accurate club listing.

* Determine how to handle roll-out of the account system. Clear messaging needed to avoid current members creating a duplicate of themselves in the membership system.

Future improvements needed after completing main work and the new site goes live:

* Possible integration with Director! tournament software for live tournament results.

* Handling tournament entry fee payments as part of the sign-up process.

Charles and Thomas aim to be ready to roll out the new website sometime soon after the beginning of the year, January/February 2023.
Board members noted that the Reinkes have done an excellent job. They anticipate that the redesign will serve WGPO and the Scrabble community well.

 3.  Committee Reports

  • Conduct Committee:  Keith recommended changing the name of the “Disciplinary” Committee. Members agreed. Steve has identified some possible members. Helen Flores volunteered to serve on the committee for one year. She was a member of the Board of Player Representatives for 3 terms, and she has addressed several conduct complaints. This committee needs to follow established consistent and fair processes.
  • Lexicon Committee: Bennett resigned from this committee. Steve noted that Jim Sherrill is the Chair, and the Committee will need to reconvene.
    • Will noted that the contact at Hasbro has changed, and he thinks neither Hasbro nor Merriam Webster is particularly interested in partnerships with Scrabble organizations. Any plan to stream games would need a streaming friendly lexicon, i.e., without slurs. School Scrabble excludes scatological words. Thus far, streaming sponsors have no issues streaming Collins lexicon, but that could also come under scrutiny.
    • New OSPD words have been added. NASPA has the list, and Scopely will receive them as well. Lexicon Committee attention will be needed. Helen noted that NASPA and WGPO would benefit all players and both organizations with consistent and cooperative attention to lexicon changes.
  • School Scrabble: Will reported that the 2023 School Scrabble Championship Event will be held at Planet Word, Washington DC in the Spring. The 2022 event was successful, and corporate sponsors have chosen to stay with the location and venue. The Board noted that WGPO will plan to again provide support including CCSFF prize funds. Steve asked about the dates for this event. We need to check for conflicts with WGPO tournament schedules.
  • Communications Committee – David Weiss and Dave Postal are unable to serve on this committee at this time. Board members agreed that WGPO communications strategy is a weakness. Steve asked Keith to work on this committee and noted other individuals with strong qualifications in this area. He will contact them.
  • Elections Committee: Lynda Finn and Winter completed work on member email  addresses, with much help from Mike Johnson. The electionrunner application is contracted to conduct the voting process. They identified Board actions needed to prepare for the December election. See Board actions under New Business.
  • Nominations Committee – Report from Mary Becker, Sue Hoehn, Ruth Hamilton.
    • The Nominations Committee solicited candidates, provided information and received statements of interest. Prior to the Board meeting, five members in good standing – listed below – qualify as candidates. The Elections Committee forwarded information and photos to the Board. Board members expressed appreciation for the Nomination Committee members’ efforts.
  • Finance Committee Report: Steve is completing the Finance Report for the year.
  • Funding Committee Report: Helen reported that the Committee goal was to raise $10,000 throughout the year through fund-raising efforts at tournaments (auction, silent auction, direct sales of donated items) as well as monetary donations to the organization. The Committee raised $3,390 at Word Cup Chicago. Steve noted that perhaps $1,000 total funds were donated by individuals through the website donation button, entry fees, etc. during the year. Helen’s group hopes to raise additional funds at the Madison Midwest tournament. Note: The Madison total raised was $700 . The total raised in 2022 = $5090 and is not enough. Helen and the Committee do NOT recommend implementing membership dues before exploring additional fundraising alternatives. One option: Whenever WGPO provides CCSFF prize funds, allocate a small portion of that tournament’s member entry fees to WGPO administrative costs.

4.  New Business

 Board of Directors Nominees: Prior to the November meeting, the Elections Committee received statements of interest from the following players: Kathleen Murphy, Carl Voss, Susi Tiekert, Steve Pellinen, and Conrad Bassett-Bouchard. Keith Hagel nominated Laurie Cohen at the meeting, and she agreed to run for reelection. All nominees are members in good standing. Board members commented on the strong slate of candidates for the Board.

The Board decided to use the 2021 election and annual meeting announcement as a template for the upcoming meeting and election. There will be no referenda this year. WGPO’s annual Membership Meeting will begin on Saturday December 10 at 3:00 pm Eastern/ 2:00 pm Central/ 1:00 pm Mountain/Noon Pacific Time. Part I of the meeting will be an interactive Twitch video conference – approximately two hours – accessible to members. The agenda will include candidate announcements, committee reports, and a Question and Answer session. Part II will be an extended open voting period until the meeting closes on Wednesday December 14 shortly before midnight Central Time.

5.  Adjournment: The Board adjourned the meeting at 7:32 p.m., CST (Will/Laurie).