MHHA Board of Directors Meeting
November 23, 2015
Offices of Julian Vail Offices, Lansing, Michigan
Regular Session Minutes
Present: B. Gira, E. Engle, Bolenbaugh, T. Barrett, D. Hartsook, C. Serra, C. Cary-Davidson, K. Goodwin, K. Crawford
Absent: M. Sweeney, G. West, S. Oldford
Associate(s): L. Julian, V. Vail-Shirey
No guests were present.
1. Call To Order & Moment of Silence & Approval of October Agenda
President Barrett called the meeting to order at 5:28 p.m.
A moment of silence was again observed for Jackie Sova.
A motion was made by Bolenbaugh and supported by Cary-Davidson to approve the November Meeting Agenda. Motion unanimously passed.
2. Approval of October Regular Minutes
The minutes of the October meeting were not available for review at the time of this board meeting. Subsequently, on November 26, 2015, the October meeting minutes were electronically distributed and received unanimous approval from the board.
3. President’s Report
President Barrett shared the following information and news with the board.
a. Northville Downs was awarded 60 days of harness racing in 2016 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) that features one continuous race meet and weekend racing. Northville Downs is very optimist about the 2016 season with racing on Friday and Saturday which has proven to be a successful format. The first day of the 2016 Race Meet will be Friday, March 18th. The MGCB is in the process of interviewing judges and support staff to accommodate Northville Downs and Hazel Park both racing on Friday and Saturday nights.
b. The MHHA through our lobbyist, Larry Julian, continues to negotiate with Senator Robertson’s office regarding Senate Bill No. 504, a proposed law that revises the 1995 Race Law; and we continue to make positive progress.
c. Our negotiation with Hazel Park and the Thoroughbred horseman at the direction of the MGCB regarding the purse pool money now held in escrow by Hazel Park
2 is ongoing. Progress is slow, but we remain optimistic that an agreement regarding an appropriate division of the purse pool funds can be achieved.
d. President Barrett led the board in discussing alternative blood testing at our 2016 Race Meet. The MHHA board agreed by consensus to gather information about the cost and management protocols necessary for sending blood samples to the Super Lab used in Indiana for testing.
e. Finally, President Barrett asserted that our Standardbred interests are being well represented by Julian Vail and expressed his believe that their work on behalf of our interests in the political process will produce good end results for us
4. Treasurer’s Reports
The following financial information was presented for board review:
a. A summary of account balances was presented for board review.
b. At Operating Budget is being developed by Barrett and Serra for Fiscal Year 2016 and will be available for board review at our next meeting.
c. Corsican Manor, the MHHA’s CPA firm, will prepare annual financial statements that will be targeted to be available for board and membership review at our Annual Meeting in January.
d. Following extensive discussion regarding the increased costs of managing the Standardbred and Thoroughbred horseman’s purse pool accounts, a motion was made by Cary-Davidson and supported by Crawford to request from the MGCB an increase in the percentage of payment received for purse pool account management. The motion was unanimously passed. Julian and Serra were directed to draft a request letter to the MGCB after Julian obtains support for the increase from the Thoroughbred leadership.
5. Association Management Report
Association Manager Vail-Shirey reported that a note of appreciation was received from the Herbert Tyner family in response to the MHHA’s memorial contribution.
Vail-Shirey also reported on efforts to organize the MHHA Annual Meeting. Her report is summarized below.
6. MHHA Member Comments
There were no membership comments.
7. Old Business
President Barrett led the group through reporting and discussion regarding the following issues:
a. Colt Stakes/Sire Stakes Update
Dave Bolenbaugh reported on the deliberations of the Colt Stakes Committee. The board thoroughly discussed various program options for 2016. By full consensus, the board supported the following program:
2016 Michigan Colt Racing Program
The 2016 Michigan Colt Racing Program can be divided into two categories: Michigan Sired and Michigan Bred.
o Michigan Sired horses are foals of licensed Michigan sires.
o Michigan Bred horses are foals of broodmares owned by Michigan residents at the time of conception.
The Michigan Sired 2016 Colt Racing Program for 2 & 3 Year Olds will consist of the following racing opportunities for Michigan horsemen:
o Eight weeks of racing at Michigan County Fairs.
o A selection of Overnight Races at Michigan County Fairs.
o Three futurities raced as follows:
The Spartan and Wolverine Futurities raced at Michigan County Fairs.
The Breeders Futurity raced at Northville Downs.
o The Michigan Sires Stakes raced at Northville Downs during the last 2 weeks of the race meet.
The Michigan Bred Great Lakes Series at the County Fairs has been altered and will not be part of the County Fair racing this summer.
o Instead there will be offered a pari-mutuel series of Late Closers for both Michigan Bred and Sired horses throughout the Northville Downs meet.
o The funding for these races comes from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and is earmarked exclusively for Michigan Bred and Sired horses. The conditions for these races will be part of a joint effort between Northville Downs and the MHHA.
o These races are open to all Michigan Bred and Sired horses that meet the eligibility requirements of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Northville Downs.
We are working on further program details that will be shared as the information is available.
b. Annual Meeting
Vail-Shirey and Serra reviewed the details re the MHHA Annual Meeting on January 23, 2016. The hotel at the Detroit Crowne Plaza Hotel at Novi. This is the agenda for the meeting:
5:00 p.m.: Registration and Happy Hour.
6:00 p.m.: Scholarship auction.
7:00 p.m.: Dinner
8:00 p.m.: Awards Presentation
A consensus decision was made to charge $60.00 per individual ticket. More details will be available in the future. We will be seeking Award and Event sponsors. A committee of Vail-Shirey and Serra are organizing the event.
c. Board Of Director Election
Julian reported that we are ready to send out the Board of Director Election ballots to all members. The slate is complete and is composed of current board members who have indicated an interest in standing for re-election. There are no competitive races because no new candidates submitted petitions for the board positions. Consequently, those who agreed to run again will do so unopposed. The election will be conducted electronically.
d. 2016 Northville Race Dates
This issue was discussed above during President’s Report.
e. Stackpole Settlement
Engle reported that a settlement according to terms discussed at prior board meetings has been reached. All related documents and communications have been executed and completed. A settlement check has been issued to Mr. Stackpole.
8. New Business
a. Deceased Race Horse Payment Practice: Necropsy Coverage.
It is the current practice of the MHHA to pay $180 for a Necropsy as a benefit to the owner/member of a race horse that dies on the race track. A Necropsy is a veterinary post-mortem protocol performed for the purpose of determining the cause of death. We recently had a Necropsy payment request from a member whose horse died at Northville Downs. The board question is whether or not we want to make this practice our policy. A motion was made by Crawford and supported by Goodwin to pay for a Necropsy to the owner of a race horse when it dies on a race track. The motion was passed unanimously. A motion was made by Cary-Davidson and supported by Goodwin to pay this specific Necropsy request. The motion passed unanimously.
b. We recently received a request for donation from the Racing Medication Testing Consortium (RMTC), an organization whose mission is to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at a national level. By consensus, the board made a decision not to make a donation at the present time.
c. Website Updates
We recognized that the MHHA website updates are not meeting our membership’s expectations. Serra recommended that we pay more attention to the website and keep the information we post there current. Our goal is to have a fully updated website with contemporary news and substantive comment on issues that matter to Michigan Horseman. The board agreed that the goals stated by Serra are appropriate and important to pursue and implement. Vail-Shirey and Serra will pursue possible solutions to this issue.
d. Press Release Policy Discussion
There recently have been a few public statements in the print media about Michigan harness racing issues which the MHHA was not requested to comment on. We discussed remedies to better solidify our positions and respond appropriately. The board’s consensus position is to be more proactive and positive in our public reaction to issues that are of concern to our members and industry; and to achieve this goal through better and timelier use of our Executive Committee that consists of Barret, Goodwin and Crawford.
e. Lifetime Membership Request: Daniel C. Nowakowski
The MHHA By-Laws make provision for lifetime memberships for those who qualify. The conditions that must be met to become a Lifetime Member of the MHHA may be found in our By-laws. It is a required that a lifetime membership status must be requested by the member. It is not automatically designated.
A lifetime membership has been requested by Daniel C. Nowakowski, who does qualify. A motion was made by Crawford and supported by Cary-Davidson to designate Daniel C. Nowakowski as a MHHA Lifetime Member. The motion passed unanimously.
f. Settlement proposal: Techmotives
Techmotives is a Rochester, Michigan, based company that hosts the MHHA server.
A motion was made by Barrett and supported by Crawford to go into Closed Session No.1 at 9:30 p.m. under Section 8(c) of the Open Meetings Act to discuss current negotiations. Yes: 9; No: 0. Motion unanimously passed.
Motion made by Barrett and supported by Crawford to come out of Closed Session No. 1 and return to Regular Session at 9:45p.m. Yes: 9; No: 0. Motion unanimously passed.
9. Legislative Report
Julian reported that discussions continue in the legislative work group meetings. MHHA continues to explore an agreement between the MHHA, HBPA, Hazel Park, Northville and MGCB in regard to the proposed legislation. These work group meetings continue attempting to work towards agreeable resolution to purse pool changes, changes proposed by MGCB in regulation and distribution of the escrowed purse monies. Tom Barrett and Larry Julian will be representing MHHA at the meetings.
Board of Director Comments
There were no director comments.
10. Next Board Meeting_
There will be no December Board Meeting. The next Board Meeting will be on January 23, 2016 and will be part of the MHHA Annual Meeting activities.
A motion to adjourn was made by Crawford and supported by Serra. Motion unanimously passed. The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.
Ed Engle, Jr., MHHA Secretary