CUNNINGHAM SPORTS BLOG: I GET IT. THEY LIED. WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED
Ryan Cunningham | Apr 11, 2018 AT 8:28 pm
As I write this, the meeting of the Red River Valley Gymnastics board is continuing.
I left after three questions. I had heard all I needed to.
Courtney Engel, administrative director for RRV Gymnastics, lied through her teeth, either to me or to the audience tonight.
Tonight, she told the audience that the decision to cut the cheer program was made after a number of conversations between herself, Jenna Mishler, RRV coaching director; and Amber Newland, RRV financial director. Engel said they determined there would no longer be a cheer program.
I personally spoke with Engel on April 3rd, and was told the search for a coach would continue until June, when meetings with parents would begin. I spoke with her again after the cancellation of the program, and she told me she was "surprised they made the decision".
I'm left to wonder which Courtney Engel is the truthful one. Was it the one that participated in the discussion to cut the program, and lied to me about the timeframe, and took credit for the cancellation tonight? Or was it the one that got sideswiped and threw the board under the bus after the program was canceled?
I guess we'll never know. Perhaps it doesn't matter. All three of the aforementioned directors are in the first year in their positions. They made a decision to cut a substantial program at RRV, and the adults in the room, the board of directors, decided to back their directors.
What is left is a matter of $162,700 in one-time increased salaries and an operational debt of $188,088 in calendar 2015, a year that, we learned tonight, was the year the annual meeting was moved to May, rather than January, a fact that has not yet been updated in the bylaws that are currently published on the RRV website.
Three years wasn't quite enough to get that change made. The directors will have more time to edit now that they have cut the cheer program.
Greg Litz did state tonight they are working to get the website updated. So, there's that.
The directors are in over their heads and made a bad call. Everyone makes mistakes. That's why you have a board of directors to guide them. All of us, at one time or another, have faced a challenge in our professional lives and looked for an easy answer. Almost all of us have had a boss, or board, that told us the easy answer is not the right one.
This board completely failed it's directors in not demanding more from them. The board also failed athletes and parents in Grand Forks, and failed the city as well. The current board should be forced to resign, with a new board put in it's place.
As for the missing money. Let's have Wayne Stenehjem have a crack at that one.