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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
President Windley,

I have a number of questions about the MSSA's handling of SB 1012 under your leadership and I would like to get some straight answers.

I have been taking part in several long threads on the Tidalfish.com website with thousands of other fishermen across the state, including an unknown number of MSSA members. Many of those both participating and just following are very confused over why the MSSA did what it did.

The more facts that came out and I was able to verify, the more confused many became, until the pattern of action and non-action began to look unarguably ominous.

I wrote to Executive Director Rich Novotny about this and his answers were less than acceptable to say the least.

Now, I'm coming to you and have cc'd this letter to the entire Board of Directors.

The facts as I understand them are:

According to the published minutes...

At the March 6, 2007 BOD meeting, you allowed Howard King and Eric Schwaab of the DNR to speak in favor of SB 1012, before you asked the board for a resolution supporting SB 1012. You did not ask them to leave while any discussion of by the board of the merits took place and (I believe) no members of the BOD had a hard copy of the bill before the resolution was voted.

The initial resolution passed with 2 "No" votes and 2 abstentions.

A revised/amended resolution was proposed which stated that the MSSA would support the bill conditionally...and the main condition was that the 'mandatory matching state funds' provision was left in and the bill remained 'substantially similar' to what was presented to the board.

That resolution was passed unanimously.

You and Rich Novotny were empowered to lobby for the bill under those circumstances and conditions.

Then...

On March 30th, the bill passed out of committee onto the Senate floor with several amendendments...one of which changed the 'mandatory' funding to discretionary and no longer included the term 'matching'...in other words, if the Governor didn't have the funds or didn't have enough, he could lower or eliminate the state's contribution as he pleased.

The state was guaranteed more money from fishermen, but the fishermen were no longer guaranteed any from the state.

At the April 3, 2007 BOD meeting, you, knowing this, had "Nothing to report".

After the bill passed the Senate and went on to the House, you and Rich Novotny, in direct contrast to the BOD directive did NOT notify anyone that the MSSA no longer could support the bill.

After the House passed it, neither you nor Mr. Novotny wrote to the governor, explained that the BOD could not support the bill in its final form and asked him to veto it.


Based on those facts, my questions are as follows:

1) Why didn't you ask the DNR people to leave so an open and honest discussion of the pros and cons of the bill could have taken place?

2) Why were the board members asked to vote without even a hard copy of the bill to read?

3) Why, after learning that the senate committee amended away mandatory state participation, didn't you inform the bill's sponsor that the MSSA could no longer support the bill because the conditional resolution conditions had been violated?

4) Why was there "Nothing to report' at the April 3, 2007 meeting? Certainly I would consider the senate action of March 30th to be worthy of reporting.

5) Why did you and Mr. Novotny choose to disregard the wishes of the BOD and continue supporting the bill after the funds were amended away?

6) Why after it was passed in such an unacceptable form did you not contact the media and Governor's office, withdraw support and ask for its veto?

7) If officers can ignore the board's stated wishes as they choose, why have a Board?

Thousands of fishermen across this state will now pay higher fees with NO state participation and IN FACT, it is highly probable that, given a budget crunch of any kind, the General Assembly will cut normal funding to the DNR and use the increased fee revenue to counterbalance the cuts.

I'd like to hear your answers, and upon hearing them, I am likely to have more questions if your answers are not reasonable, totally accurate and verifiable.

Sincerely
Ed Dorsch
MSSA Membership# 0200509C
 

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Well written Ed.You bring up alot of good points . Skip
 

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Ed,
I hope you're not holding your breath. For the short amount of time that I have been associated with the MSSA and this directorship, we all have seen that it's not about the membership. I'm glad you are holding their feet to the fire but they are wearing asbestos boots. Maybe if you keep the fire burning long enough the membership will finally VOTE for a change.
I'm just guessing, but this is probably how the PSG got started. They were tired of the "old boy" network.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Crabby Bob and Rinzfall

Thanks...the showdown begins Tuesday night at 7PM at the Essex/Middle River Chapter Meeting...I hope you can attend, especially if you belong to other Chapters.

It is my intention, if I do not get the correct answers from Bill Windley by then and he is not at that meeting to explain his actions, to have with me a number of petitions to request that the BOD impeach him and remove Rich Notovny for 'actions detrimental to the best interests of the membership', 'dereliction of duty', 'overstepping his powers' and 'ignoring a unamious Board of Directors resolution' and 'failure to respond to member inquiries in a timely manner'.

I'd like to get them out to every chapter.

After we get enough signatures per chapter, we attach each of them to an MSSA Board of Directors Fact Sheet, present them to the Chapter President, then all attend the BOD meeting in June where the petitions, because they are presented through the Fact Sheets as is stated in the bylaws, must be addressed and discussed by the Board of Directors.

In other words, we'll at least have our day in court...and it would be fascinating if a couple of hundred guys showed up there, wouldn't it?

Please try to be there Tueday if you can. I can use all the support I can get to show how serious we consider this.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
My first Bill Windley response...

I received this today at 8:31 PM...

Gentlemen,

Thanks for your concern, as well as taking the time to ask me for an explanation of everything involved with 1012.

Many would rather assume what they would prefer to think to be truth and start blasting away at MSSA"S position.

It is a complicated issue and I am working on my response which will also appear in this month's "Tidelines".

I will have it completed by tomorrow night at the latest.

William T. Windley Jr., President
Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association


And my response...

President Windley

I look forward to your promised response and would request that, in that response, you make sure to both address the validity of the facts I presented in my original letter and answer the questions asked in that letter.

It seems that I have become a focal point/leader (maybe because my career background is that of an investigator and analyst) for a large number of rank & file members from all over the state, and other unaffiliated recreational fishermen whom SB 1012 affects (based on the 5000+ views of the various related threads on Tidalfish), seeking explanations of the MSSA's actions during the sequence of events leading up to the passing of the bill in a form that does not seem as beneficial to recreational fishing as it is going to cost each of us and in contrast to the BOD's stated position.

This has become a highly charged issue and I have attempted, and will continue to attempt, to keep everyone focused on facts that can be verified, rather than speculation and misleading statements.


Sincerely
Ed Dorsch
MSSA membership #0200509C
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
His reply to your first message is worthless
I'm just reporting the facts...

Its more than we've gotten in over 2 days previously, and now I can chide him if there's no response by tomorrow night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CCA gives its handling of SB 1012

Thought you might want to see what the CCA says they did in reference to SB 1012 while we await Bill Windley's response:

PS: I did not ask for the CCA response; it was given voluntarily.

I think a little timeline is in order here, but before that, there were folks saying we supported this thing before it was even written and before we even got the call that the rec community was going to try to get this done in the 2007 session. I'm not sure how you support something before it exists, but that's what was being said.

I assume that's because the topic of raising fees was widely discussed by the transition team on natural resources that we were part of. There's no denying that we voiced support for the concept of raising money for DNR through higher license fees under the right circumstances, those circumstances being that any hike in fees be accompanied by substantive reform. Heck, read our newsletters going back several years. We've been laying the groundwork for using DNR's financial predicament and the rec community's unique ability to help them to get reform that results in DNR managing the resource for abundance and more bigger fish.

Now for the timeline (I'm pretty sure I've got the exact dates right, but I know the week and general timeline is about right):
*We got a call Monday, Feb 26, that a bill to raise fees is going to be written and introduced and the person (not a CCA person) making the call says he's been advised that everyone's on board. This is ONE week before the deadline to drop a bill in the senate. We informed this person that we weren't on board with anything yet but would attend a meeting to discuss. We've always supported an increase under the right circumstances.
*We attended a meeting on Wednesday, Feb 28, and listened to the proponents of introducing a bill in this session to raise fees. There was no mention of any reform, just a fee increase. We explained that the only way we would support this effort would be if the bill included reform. Everyone agreed to that.
*We attended a meeting with a bill writer on Thursday, Feb 29, where everyone threw out some specifics and concepts for this bill, including us. Remember, we hadn't yet, and ultimately never did, agree to support the final product of this process. We were hopeful for something we could support, perhaps naively so given the rushed nature of this thing, but we wanted to see a bill before we agreed to support anything.
*We got a draft bill to review over the weekend and suggested some changes early Monday morning.
*The bill gets re-written and dropped, I believe late in the day on Monday, March 5.
*We finally get the final text of the bill either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, and begin deliberating whether to support it.

Several things became pretty clear to us early on in our deliberations over whether to support THE FINAL BILL (not an idea).
*We were advised by a Board member who is a budget analyst for a state agency that the bill's provisions to match funds raised through the fee increase were meaningless (and the senate's amendments made double sure of that) and furthermore that any idea of a sunset in three years if we weren't happy with the reform or how the money was being spent was meaningless as well.
*The bill didn't resolve several issues that aren't going away, one being whether coastal anglers should be licensed. I know this is controversial, but CCA believes all recreational saltwater anglers should be licensed. The money licensing raises is leverage and the data about the number of recreational fishermen is invaluable. If you're opposed to licensing of recreational anglers you're on the side of commercial fishermen on this issue (think about that).
*Finally, we recognized that perhaps everyone involved in this process up to now had put the cart before the horse. We did the best we could with the limited time we had to engage as much of the membership as we could and it was clear it was in the best interest of everyone, CCA members, MSSA members, and the rest of the recreational fishing community, to slow things down. A great example of this was the fact that the Sport Fish Advisory Commission, DNR's official advisory commission on things that effect recreational fishermen, wasn't involved in writing or even consulted with on this bill. Why have an advisory commission? What were we doing? We should've all backed away and agreed to work hard on educating the public about what we wanted to accomplish and spent the time working on a better bill for next year.

To sum it up, at the end of the day, I'm proud of our process. CCA's decision was made by our Board, not a couple individuals, and resulted in a well reasoned position agreed to by our Board by a 3 to 1 margin. If we made a mistake, it was the week before the bill was dropped. We couldn't know how the final bill would read and hoped for the best but we should've realized that this was too important to rush. There is a process to follow before such important legislation effecting recreational fishermen emerges and that process was being sidestepped. It was never too late to acknowledge these things, unfortunately we were the only ones that did.

So what do we have now? We've got 1012, and I for one hope it does some good even if I have my doubts or think we could've done better. That's where our focus should be now, let's try to make some good come of this fee increase and the reform in 1012. What folks do about holding any organization accountable for its actions is fine and a separate issue but we're stuck with 1012, might as well try to make it work.


Robert Glenn, CCA Maryland's Executive Director
 

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I received this today at 8:31 PM...

Gentlemen,

Thanks for your concern, as well as taking the time to ask me for an explanation of everything involved with 1012.

Many would rather assume what they would prefer to think to be truth and start blasting away at MSSA"S position.

It is a complicated issue and I am working on my response which will also appear in this month's "Tidelines".

I will have it completed by tomorrow night at the latest.

William T. Windley Jr., President
Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association
:zzzzzz:
 

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It's 8:15 pm Sunday night.Do you know where your MSSA president's reply is ? :confused: :rolleyes: Skip
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Still waiting at 10:55...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Still waiting at 8AM...maybe when the office opens it'll be released.
 

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I received this today at 8:31 PM...

Gentlemen,

Thanks for your concern, as well as taking the time to ask me for an explanation of everything involved with 1012.

Many would rather assume what they would prefer to think to be truth and start blasting away at MSSA"S position.

It is a complicated issue and I am working on my response which will also appear in this month's "Tidelines".

I will have it completed by tomorrow night at the latest.

William T. Windley Jr., President
Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association
Notice that Mr. Windley never said he'd reply to Ed, he said he'd put it in Tidelines.
Even though I believe he should reply personally to Ed (and us), he never said that he would, so don't hold your breath!

Anway--give him a chance. There may be good reasons for what they did. I suspect the true reason may be that he didn't have time to review the FINAL version and dropped the ball. Whatever the reasons are, I hope we hear the truth.

You have to at least let the guy state his case before you crucify him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"It is a complicated issue and I am working on my response which will also appear in this month's "Tidelines"."

Dave

It says ALSO appear, which I take to mean that he'll respond separately too...and even if its just to the BOD, I've already had several of them promise yo send me a copy if I somehow get left off the list:))

He's the president of an organization, and he can't make a deadline he, himself, set?

The CCA responded on the other board the same day the Sun article came out, and I heard that another fishing publication tried to get information from Rich Novotny and Rich wouldn't say :censored: about it.

My problem with this is that if all they need to tell is the truth, why should it take so long to 'work on a response'?

Such actions are certainly more indicative of guilt than of innocence.

Ed
 

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"It is a complicated issue and I am working on my response which will also appear in this month's "Tidelines"."

Dave

It says ALSO appear, which I take to mean that he'll respond separately too...and even if its just to the BOD, I've already had several of them promise yo send me a copy if I somehow get left off the list:))

He's the president of an organization, and he can't make a deadline he, himself, set?

The CCA responded on the other board the same day the Sun article came out, and I heard that another fishing publication tried to get information from Rich Novotny and Rich wouldn't say :censored: about it.

My problem with this is that if all they need to tell is the truth, why should it take so long to 'work on a response'?

Such actions are certainly more indicative of guilt than of innocence.

Ed
I should have known that you had interpreted every word in there. I guess I'm still half asleep.

My personal opinion is that you are correct. However, you should give the guy half a chance to prove it true. If he provides a left-buttock response, nail him to the wall at that point. If he doesn't provide any response within another day, nail him.

I support your views but don't want you to stoop to name-calling and accusations at the risk of alienating some of the people that will cover your back. :yinyang: Chances are that you will have a chance to nail him with his own words or his non-response.

You've done a decent job of taking the high road. Continue on the high road and you will keep your supporters (and gain some) that can truly help make a change for the better.

--Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I should have known that you had interpreted every word in there. I guess I'm still half asleep.

My personal opinion is that you are correct. However, you should give the guy half a chance to prove it true. If he provides a left-buttock response, nail him to the wall at that point. If he doesn't provide any response within another day, nail him.

I support your views but don't want you to stoop to name-calling and accusations at the risk of alienating some of the people that will cover your back. :yinyang: Chances are that you will have a chance to nail him with his own words or his non-response.

You've done a decent job of taking the high road. Continue on the high road and you will keep your supporters (and gain some) that can truly help make a change for the better.

--Dave
Going to be harder now...Brandon pulled the plug on the other thread on the main board...very sad (and suspicious) thing to do right now...

Come to Tuesday's meeting and see how high road I am...

Ed
 
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