U.S. Figure Skating Financial Accountability

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by crzesk8dad, May 4, 2012.

  1. crzesk8dad

    crzesk8dad Active Member

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  2. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    While I think the rulebook figure is ludicrous and USFS is clearly spending more than they need to on many things, I never thought my membership money was going to the "production" of World medals.
     
  3. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Skate America! Go!

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    the rulebook figure is crazy! The US Dressage Association and US Equestrian Federation asks when you pay your due if you need a hard copy, and encourages you to say no. I think one of them even charges $5 shipping to encourage use of online resources.
     
  4. Visaliakid

    Visaliakid Well-Known Member

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  5. Visaliakid

    Visaliakid Well-Known Member

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    Paraphrasing some of George Rossano's remarks... IceNetwork - Rise - New Membership Software - Athlete Development... Where does the money come from (to fund these programs); is there a profit/loss; and where does the money go? A proper accounting has never been given the delegates (on these programs).

    Governance:

    Voting to adopt Exhibit D will insure the Power will be centralized in the Board of Directors, who will continue to meet and conduct business annually. There will be no debate, no discussion, no vote by delegates (in non GC years); there will be no annual opportunity to bring up, discuss and vote on new business; Athlete representation will be limited to athlete board members.

    Financial:

    Accepting Exhibit D will bring the potential for the Board and hired Staff to deviate from the Budget; without approval of the voting membership for up to 2 years. The Budget will be driven by the Board of Directors and Staff with limited-to-no transparency or accountability to club member represented delegates.

    Club Participation:

    Clubs will participate in “Education Only” meetings being Reliant on biennial electronic communication. Requests for Action will be at the discretion of Board of Directors allowing the Leadership to be insulated from the general membership with no consideration for Individual members.

    Exhibit D needs to be swiftly defeated!
     
  6. Visaliakid

    Visaliakid Well-Known Member

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    USFS Governing Council Update:

    Exhibit D has been sounded defeated. ‎309 in favor, 626 opposed. It needed 2/3 vote to pass.

    Source: A post on my Facebook site by delegate attendee Timothy McKernan.
     
  7. 5Ali3

    5Ali3 Active Member

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    It doesn't. George misunderstood information presented in the meeting book - the meeting book itself uses incorrect terminology, but George apparently skimmed. According to the meeting book for Governing Council, the costs of assembling the "rulebook" for the Governing Council meeting are $123,950 per week; this includes sending a printed copy of the meeting book, as it's typically called, in a 3-ring binder, to every official delegate whether or not they actually attend. This is absolutely not the same thing as the "rulebook" that contains USFSA rules that we use to verify, say, USFSA rules. (If you have access to the meeting book, this is on page 124).

    A closer read of the budget suggests costs of distributing the actual *rulebook* at $20,000 for 2012, which includes printed copies to test chairs and judges who request them; it also indicates revenue from sales of the actual *rulebook* at close to $20,000, with a proposed reduction in both rulebook-related expenses and revenue to closer to $7,000 in 2013.

    Moreover, George's point on his blog that he hasn't seen anyone with a paper copy of the rulebook because everyone uses PDFs on electronic readers is (hopefully) entirely incorrect, because electronic devices aren't allowed on the judges' stand: we're all required to have paper copies to use on the podium - although since USFSA stopped distributing them for free, we've become increasingly reliant upon the accountants to supply a rulebook if it's needed. (Tech panel officials tend to each have a self-created binder with the four trees' worth of information required for tech panel rule verification.)

    I consider George a friend and frequently admire both his points and his courage in standing up to da establishment. I can't believe that I'm actually defending any part of the budget or "USFSA as USFSA does," but I think George is very wrong this time and I'm disappointed that he made a big deal out of something that would have been cleared up with about two seconds of critical reading - which he is more than capable of doing.
     
  8. halfloopy

    halfloopy New Member

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    The US Figure Skating FAQ sheet on the USFS website breaks the cost of the rulebook down as follows

    "3. Regarding the cost of the rulebook, $123,950 is significant. Can you provide a cost breakdown? What will happen to staff time if it is avoided?
    Yes, the expense of printing the annual rulebook plus the expense for binders is listed on page 111 of the GC Meeting book budget - $64,345 – under 2012 approved budget 5325-002 COS RULEBOOK BINDERS; the expense of shipping the rulebook is $41,000 – this is listed on page 111 within the expenses under 5329-002-5154 SHIPPING AND REIMBURSED SHIPPING; the expense of shipping the rulebook to Judges, page 113 - 6306 JUDGES – 002 RULEBOOK/ DIRECTORY TO JUDGES is approximately $3000; the expense of shipping the rulebook to Test Chairs, page 113 - 6409 TESTS – 001 Tests – RULEBOOKS TO TEST CHAIRS is $2700; necessary staff time required to make rule revisions and additions, and ship the rulebook – approximately $15,000. If there is no rulebook, staff time will be committed to other"

    The FAQs also say in years the rulebook was not printed the annual cost of the rulebook would be $0
     
  9. keep n spin n

    keep n spin n Member

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    Regarding accountability and IceNetwork. Does it really operate at a loss? Is it owned by US Figure Skating or is it a completely independent news source? If so, then why is IceNetwork putting out articles on how wonderful skaters or new dances teams are from other countries. There seems to be a lot of promotion of Canadian skaters. I have never seen Skate Canada promote a US team. It's OK to cover the winners of events but to do puff pieces is not fiscally responsible. This opportunity to "puff" should be for US skaters only. This should help promote US Skaters world wide and build a bigger audience for USA skaters so that down the road more ticket sales are generated and maybe even more judges awareness internationally. Just sayin...
     
  10. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but I must respectfully disagree with this. I'm interested in skating, and I want to see and hear all that is going on. I think we get too little Canadian coverage, not too much and this idea that only Americans should be covered is narrow-minded. We don't exist in a skating vacuum.
     
    Ozzisk8tr and (deleted member) like this.
  11. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to GP & U.S. Sectionals!

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    From the IN web site:

    "Ice Network, LLC, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Figure Skating, has the exclusive rights to U.S. Figure Skating's interactive media properties and is a joint venture between U.S. Figure Skating and MLB Advanced Media."
     
  12. VALuvsMKwan

    VALuvsMKwan Wandering Goy

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    Too bad it isn't mlp Advanced Media - imagine what we might see! ;)
     
  13. Carolla5501

    Carolla5501 Well-Known Member

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    I went out once and read the IRS 990 form USFSA has to file for the Memorial Fund. All I can say is that it did NOT encourage me to donate...
     
  14. peibeck

    peibeck Counting down the days 'til Skate America

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    It would be a lot more sparkly and snarky for sure. :lol:
     
  15. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    ???? He must be around wealthy coaches. All my coaches have the book. My primary coach regularly pulls it out--seeing as it is not easy to remember the manuevers on all tests in all disciplines and the primary and secondary focus for each (different for adults and kids in many cases).
     
  16. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    Every registered coach does have a paper rulebook; they have no choice in the matter. Several years ago, the USFSA instituted a mandatory annual registration fee for coaches. That fee included a background check and an annual hardcopy rulebook. The fee offsets some of the printing costs being reported in the financial statements. Ditto for the background check, which was expanded to include Basic Skills instructors this past year. (A different, mandatory fee; somewhat lower, but with a service charge as well.) Fortunately, an individual coach only has to pay for one of these two registrations, but it's on top of their USFSA membership fee. (Plus CER course fees, PSA membership fees and insurance - coaching gets expensive at this time of the year, when they all expire.)

    This year's Governing Council meeting book showed a proposal to eliminate the printed rulebook for coaches. No word on whether that will lower our registration fee or not; the budgeted income figure ($200k) stayed the same, so I guess they were going to keep the fee the same; the background check expense jumped in the proposed budget from $18k to $80k, with no explanation. I haven't checked to see what the outcome was of the proposal.

    I have the pdf version of the rulebook (free) on my iPod and computer, which I use 90% of the time for planning, but I carry the Tests book for rinkside use. When I need to check something in the first two parts of the rulebook, I use the electronic version. The Search feature of Adobe Reader/Acrobat makes it easier to find keywords than trawling through the printed version. However, it's easier to review the printed page/pattern with a skater during a lesson.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  17. sfahrut

    sfahrut Member

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    We also have to pay USFSA membership. May-June is very tough financially. A lot of fees to pay at once. We can do CER exams earlier but it is not the biggest expense.
     
  18. Rochelle

    Rochelle Active Member

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    They also must not be aware that test judges and competition judges have a copy on the panel at events. We currently can't use phones/personal electronic devices on the stands when judging, per current US Figure Skating rules.
     
  19. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

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  20. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

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    I did work to defeat Exhibit D. The final vote was very heavy against the approval of Exhibit D.

    Both US Figure Skating and the ISU Council is very accountable to it Members and Member Federations.
     
  21. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

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    Memorial Funds distribution goes only the Athletes. Just what spicifically is wrong with the Memorial fund?
     
  22. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    Is the Memorial Fund different from the USFS Foundation? I found the foundation's 990 from a couple of years ago, a nothing stuck out at me as unreasonable. None of the directors receive any compensation. They pay some investment management (money management) fees, but those didn't look especially high compared with the funds under investment.
     
  23. nylynnr

    nylynnr Active Member

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    I believe -- Mr. Stillwell may correct me if I am wrong -- the initial article that began this discussion had nothing to do with the Memorial Fund. The article discussed the management of funds that had been specifically set aside in a foundation set up to help offset operating expenses. Mr. Rossano raised concerns about the long-term viability of this foundation, given that USFS is drawing down a certain amount of the fund's earnings (not capital) annually. His second article, written after attending the governing council, states that the finance committee presented an update on the foundation, which showed it was earning 6%, with USFS drawing annually on a portion of those earnings (again, not capital) and leaving a 2.5% margin for cost of living/inflation.

    No one can foretell the future and certainly it is appropriate to raise reasonable questions, but it's worth noting that in these financial markets, many foundations in the U.S. would be thrilled with this type of performance. No idea what the poster meant as to the 990 for the Memorial Fund.
     
  24. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    Maybe Carolla is referring to administrative expenses? Perhaps Carolla would like to explain more. Yes, all charities have admin expenses, but they should be kept to a minimum. I haven't read the Memorial Fund's tax filings, so I don't know, but the figures on RISE in the article linked by the OP should make people pause. The USFSA effectively lost $1 million on the project? The purpose was to raise money. Was it really advisable to spend $1.5 million on a fundraiser, particularly given the current (well, last year, really) economic climate?
     
  25. nylynnr

    nylynnr Active Member

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    Don't know anything about losses on the film project, but according to USFS statements RISE production costs were not paid for by Memorial Fund or USFS operating monies, and neither was the RISE launch event. Film production costs were underwritten by specific donors, I believe some names are scrolled during the film's ending credits.

    Certainly accounting transparency and project accountability are good things, but I don't believe the Memorial Fund finances figure into the concerns raised in the original article.
     
  26. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

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    The Memorial Fund is completly separate from the geneal budget funds. It is managed by US Figure Skating Volenteers.

    RISE was created as a tribute to the Athletes and Official lost in the plane crash. Fund raising was only part of the project. Moneys are still coming in from the project. Yes, I am prejudiced, I knew all of the members of that team and skated with many of them. Regardess of finances, I firmly believe that remembering that team is worth the cost
     
  27. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    I do remember hearing that film costs were being underwritten. From the article, I thought the expenses mentioned were additional expenses absorbed by USFSA. I guess it wasn't clear.

    I saw RISE and thought it was a wonderful production. I didn't question whether RISE should have been made; I suspect there are quite a few expenses not directly related to the production and promotion of the film. But if the costs were underwritten by sponsors, I suppose it doesn't matter (unless the money spent crowds out future donations to USFSA/Memorial Fund, but that would be hard to track). Glad to hear money is still coming in.
     
  28. Visaliakid

    Visaliakid Well-Known Member

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    With the soon-to-be published actions from the just concluded 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Governing Council within the next week or so, I believe that it is also appropriate that everyone should get a look-see at USFSA's past three years of IRS filings, beginning with:

    2010 Form 990 (the latest year available) which is for the 2009-2010 tax year. (It appears that USFS lost over 2 million dollars in revenue for this reporting period.)

    http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/840/768/2010-840768715-0738ed55-9.pdf

    IceNetwork Revenue and assets figures are on page 27.

    The 2009 Form 990, which is for the 2008-2009 tax year

    http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/840/768/2009-840768715-05f83b15-9.pdf

    Scroll down to the "Related Organizations and Unrelated Partnerships" Schedule R Form 990 section to see IceNetwork total income and end of year assets figures.

    The 2008 Form 990, which is for the 2007-2008 tax year

    http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2008/841/558/2008-841558040-048f446b-9.pdf

    There is no earlier required filing information on IceNetwork as the law apparently did not require it prior to 2009 filing. A tax accountant is researching this for me presently and when I learn more, I will report on this.
     
  29. crzesk8dad

    crzesk8dad Active Member

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    Yes, the Memorial Fund was set up as a tribute to those lost in the 1961 crash, it provides funding to the athletes. It is self supporting, the funds given to the athletes come from investment income.

    The USFS Foundation is the money that was set aside, starting several years ago, prior the ending of the ABC television contract. Fortunately, there were those on the board who were visionary and the decision was made to place some of the ABC income aside, to provide a fund for future revenue shortages.

    Remember ABC used to write USFSA a check each year for "exclusive rights", which included Skate America and Nationals. That, no longer, happens with NBC. Today it is a revenue sharing agreement.

    Both sides sell the advertising and sponsorships, the costs of running the event (and putting on TV) are deducted and what is left is split by USFS and NBC. If my numbers are correct, USFS receives from today's revenue share, with NBC, about 20-25% of what used to come from the ABC "exclusive rights" agreement.

    At least, that is how I remember things...if I'm wrong, I'm sure I'll find out from someone at FSU! :lol:
     
  30. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    ^^^
    Thanks for the information.