Board Meeting Minutes – August 25, 2015

MHHA Board of Directors Meeting
August 25, 2015
Julian Vail Offices, Lansing, Michigan
Regular Session Minutes

Attendance
Present: E. Engle, T. Barrett, B. Gira, G. West, C. Serra, K. Crawford, M. Sweeney, D. Hartsook.
Absent: K. Goodwin, A. Bennett, D. Bolenbaugh, and S. Oldford. Motion to excuse the absences of Directors Goodwin, Bennett, Bolenbaugh and Oldford was made by Gira and seconded by Sweeney. Motion unanimously passed.
Associates: L. Julian, Val Vail-Shirey.
Guests: Walter Beagle, Dolores Timperley.

Call to Order
President Barrett called the meeting to order at 12:45 p.m.

Moment of Silence
A moment of silence was observed for Timothy Osborn.

Approval of August Agenda

A motion was made by Crawford and supported by Hartsook to approve the August Meeting Agenda. Motion unanimously passed.

Approval of July Closed Session Minutes
The July Regular Session Meeting Minutes were approved electronically by majority vote on July 27, 2015 and posted on the MHHA website.
A motion was made by Crawford and supported by Sweeney to approve the July Closed Session One and Closed Session Two Meeting Minutes. Motion unanimously passed.

President’s Report
President Barrett reviewed the significant organizational transitions that the MHHA has accomplished over the last six weeks. Observing that “change” is always difficult, Barrett summarized our changes as follows:

  • Julian Vail, LLC, has assumed an Association Management role for the MHHA.
  • The services of new legal counsel have been retained.
  • Past legal actions initiated by the MHHA have been resolved and settled.

In this short time span, the MHHA has come a long ways in re-developing and improving our business relationship with our racing industry partners. The Michigan Gaming Control Board as well as Northville Downs have been willing to work with us to resolve issues relating to the future of Michigan Standardbred racing.
In 2015, we have achieved an improved business climate and more racing opportunities for all Michigan horsemen.
As an organization, the MHHA is moving in the right direction.
The MHHA has worked to be very supportive of Northville’s expanded summer racing season that include qualifiers, pari-mutual races and colt stakes races. Many details regarding Northville’s expanded race meet have been resolved with the support of the MHHA, included among them are the size of fields, win photos, programs and purse amounts.
The MHHA is committed to continuing to work toward achieving more timely and better communications between Michigan’s horsemen and Northville Downs.
President Barrett also reported that on August 24th, he and Association Manager Julian attended a very positive meeting with Al Ernst of the MGCB and Mike Carlo of Northville Downs. Important information from that meeting includes the following:

  • Northville Downs will apply to the MGCB for an expanded 2016 Race Meet of 60 days.
  • The 2016 Race Meet budget was discussed. It is significant that both Northville Downs and the MHHA are confident that our purse pool will support these additional race days.
  • The Thoroughbreds will apply for a 2016 Race Meet of 24 race days.
  • Our 2016 Race Meet application will request Friday and Saturday night racing from March to November with a possible exception of not racing during the Thoroughbred Race Meeting at Hazel Park.
  • Formal applications for the 2016 Race Meet must be filed with the MGCB by September 1st. A hearing date will then be set by the MGCB for the purpose of receiving testimony regarding the 2016 Race Meet applications; then the MGCB will issue their final order.

1. Treasurer’s Report
The Treasurer’s Report in the new format adopted at our July board meeting was presented for review and approval. The financial information covered a full year that ended on August 15, 2015. Separate reports addressed all of the following:

  • Operating Cash Flow, Revenue and Expenses.
  • The Northville Downs Purse Pool balances and the Live Day Compensation.
  • The Horsemen’s Simulcast Purse Pool balances.

A motion was made by Crawford and seconded by Sweeney both to accept and approve the financial reports. Motion unanimously carried.
The Treasurer’s Reports are available for review upon request.
Special appreciation was expressed to Julian Vail and their associates for the thorough and timely nature of our financial reports.
2. Association Management Report
Julian and Vail-Shirey raised these issues:

  • JV recommended that the MHHA publish a newsletter on our website named News of the Day. A sample draft of the proposed newsletter was presented for review. The consensus of the board was to proceed with publishing the newsletter.
  • The board also agreed by consensus that a President’s Report be included on our website. JV will assist President Barrett in preparing these reports that discuss current topics of interest to our membership.
  • The board by consensus approved shifting our credit card to a non-profit credit card organization that will charge a lower interest rate.
  • The board directed JV to conduct a membership survey through Constant Contact that will help give our membership a clearer “voice” in our deliberations and a better understanding of the business we transact on their behalf.

A motion to approve the Association Management Report was made by Sweeney and supported by Crawford. Motion unanimously passed.
MHHA Member Comments
There were no member comments.

Old Business:

  • Colt Stake Update
    President Barrett led the discussion regarding Colt Stake issues, including scheduling for the Colt Stakes Finals. The details will be announced to our membership on the MHHA website and by direct, individual contact with the involved horsemen.
  • Northville Meet
    See the President’s Report above.
  • Legal Update
    A motion was made by Hartsook and supported by Gira to go into Closed Session One at 3:40 p.m. under Section 8(c) of the Open Meetings Act for strategy discussions regarding negotiations with the Attorney Stackpole. Yes: 8; No: 0. Motion unanimously passed. Motion made by Sweeney and supported by Crawford to come out of Closed Session No. One and return to Regular Session at 3:55 p.m. Yes: 8; No: 0. Motion unanimously passed.

New Business
a. Annual Meeting
President Barrett recommended that we proceed to plan a 2016 Annual Meeting if it can be done on a financially self-sustaining basis. The 2015 Annual Meeting was well received by the membership. By consensus, the board agreed to proceed to plan a 2016 Annual Meeting on the condition proposed by President Barrett. A committee composed of Serra and Vail-Shirey was appointed by President Barrett to plan the meeting. Included in their planning will also be the Awards Program, especially the Hall of Fame. Their work will begin immediately.

b. Board of Directors Election
President Barrett requested that JV evaluate which board positions are up for election in 2016 and report the results at the September board meeting.

c. Memorial Sires Stake Blankets
Goodwin through President Barrett proposed memorial sponsorship of awards for winners of the 2015 Sires Stakes. He proposed memorial sponsorship of blankets for race winners; and engraved crystal trophies. The cost is estimated to be $200 each for the blanket and the crystal award. 2 races have been donated; there are 6 races more that require donors. Donations will be solicited on the MHHA website. A motion was made by Crawford and supported by Sweeney to seek memorial sponsorship donations for the 2015 Sires Stakes trophies. Motion unanimously passed.

d. Herb Tyner
President Barrett reported the death of Herb Tyner. Mr. Tyner was co-owner of Hazel Park Raceway. During his career, he made significant contributions to the development of Michigan’s Harness Racing Industry. Barrett was directed by consensus of the board to send the MHHA’s condolences to the Tyner family; and to make an appropriate donation to Beaumont Hospital, the Tyner family’s charity-of-choice.

e. Communications with Members.

Serra proposed greater focus on board communications with the MHHA membership. Ideas discussed included the following:

  • Promoting that calls of concern be directed to Julian Vail.
  • Posting more news and information about board activities on the MHHA website.
  • Utilizing a List Serve that would be available to members only.
  • Use of a telephone message system that would send a common message to all members simultaneously.
  • An open meeting at Northville to debrief horseman regarding all the changes in the past year. A summary of events in the past 90 days will be prepared by JV for board review.

Communications will be discussed more extensively at our September meeting.

3. Legislative Report
Julian reported on the ADW and Colt Stakes legislative proposals that are in the process of development. After language is drafted, the proposed legislation will be taken to the MGCB for their input.

4. Board of Director Comments:
This was our first meeting at the Julian Vail offices and the board offered unanimously positive responses for their work and efforts on our behalf.

5. Next Board Meeting
The next MHHA Board Meeting will be held on Monday, September 28th at 12:30 p.m. at the Julian Vail offices in Lansing.

6. Adjourn
A motion to adjourn was made by West and supported by Serra. Motion unanimously passed. The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Ed Engle, Jr., MHHA Secretary

(download a copy)