This is the month for you and other USPA members to select those 22 members who will serve on USPA’s board of directors and determine the association’s direction for the next three years. In this issue of Parachutist, you’ll find the election instructions and a ballot. Beginning October 1, you can also download and print a ballot at uspa.org or access an electronic ballot by logging into your profile at uspa.org. Members with valid email addresses on file will receive a link to the online ballot and an occasional reminder to vote throughout October. Regardless of the voting method you choose, USPA must receive your ballot by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on October 31.
USPA’s 22-member board is comprised of eight at-large national directors, whom the full membership elects, and 14 regional directors, whom members in each individual USPA region elect. All board members have an equal vote, and all will simultaneously serve a three-year term that begins with the first board meeting in 2019 (February 1-3 in Dallas, Texas) and continues through 2021. Board members elect the officers, including your USPA President, at their first meeting.
Most associations stagger their board terms so only a portion of their board is up for reelection at one time. In contrast, USPA’s entire board—all 22 seats—is up for election. Also unusual is that candidates for the USPA Board self-nominate. (Most associations present their members with a slate of pre-selected candidates.) Any regular member who is at least 18 and who has been a member for at least two years may submit the required biography, candidate statement, photo and $50 filing fee and be placed on the ballot. In this election, 39 candidates have qualified for the ballot, a record number since at least 1988. Eighteen members (including six incumbents) are running for the eight national director slots. Twenty-one members (including 11 incumbents) are running for the 14 regional director slots.
Why should you vote for people you’ve likely never met and don’t know much about? Because the 22 members you help select will set the policies and direction of the association for the next three years. They will vote on the annual budget, will likely consider revisions to USPA’s Basic Safety Requirements and the recommendations in the Skydiver’s Information Manual and will review disciplinary actions and consider member appeals to those actions. They’ll select DZs to host the USPA Nationals and revise competition rules. They will select the members of the U.S Team. They may consider a dues increase or changes to the association’s bylaws, and they will make countless other decisions. In short, the board of directors takes care of business so that skydivers can just skydive knowing that others are working to reduce skydiving’s risk while keeping the cost down and ensuring the sport’s rightful place in the airspace and on airports.
It would be easy to just vote for those names you recognize. Instead, dig a little deeper and put some effort into your decision. Carefully read each candidate’s statement for some insight into their motivation and their goals for the organization. Talk to other skydivers and board members whom you know have interacted with the candidates. Find out about their character. Assess whether the candidate you choose will set aside their preconceived ideas and take the time to research and understand the issues and all the differing points of view and in the end make the best decisions for the members, the sport and the association. Skydiving—and you—deserve no less.