Message from Sam Cheris, Chair, USA Fencing Referees’ Commission re Complaints for Improper Behavior

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Feb 022018
 

A number of you were at the meeting that was held at the December NAC in Portland regarding the conduct of referees who were also coaching at events.  The specific in the Referee Code of Ethics was that “Referees are to respect other Referees to the utmost.  It is improper to publicly indicate disapproval of the actions of other referees.” As a result of our discussion, the Ombudsman modified that section to expand into social media areas.

One of the referees at the meeting asked if we could discuss the topic of sexual harassment, which had not been on the agenda, nor is it an item in the Referee Code of Ethics.  A discussion ensued wherein it was emphasized that all such issues have been mandated by the USOC to be handled by the Center for Safe Sport.

For context, the Section 16 of bylaws of USA Fencing states that “Except as otherwise provided in this Section 16, the disciplinary power of the USFA shall be exclusively vested in the Board of Directors, . . . .”  The exceptions are the competitive penalties in the Rules for Competition and the designation of the Center for Safe Sport “to investigate and resolve safe sport violations.”

The Referee Commission’s Code of Ethics and it disciplinary procedures and penalties were approved by the Board and it is only entitled to handle complaints relating to violations by referees of items in that Code of Ethics.

Since all referees were not in attendance and questions have been raised regarding the content of this meeting, I am providing a follow up with a message to all of you.

Please know that inappropriate behavior in USA Fencing will not be tolerated by USA Fencing, including its Referees’ Commission.

If you believe you have been either the victim of or a witness to sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, harassment, bullying, assault or any other prohibited misconduct, you are encouraged to report these immediately.

The question has been posed regarding the proper protocol for making a complaint regarding prohibited behavior.

In 2017, the Center for SafeSport was established to work within Olympic sport as the National Governing Bodies and the U.S. Olympic Committee strive to eliminate prohibited sexual misconduct in our sport. The Center for SafeSport is chartered with handling all sexual misconduct cases for NGBs, including those related to referees, staff, coaches and other tournament officials.

If you have been a victim of or a witness to sexual misconduct by a member of the fencing community, you are asked to contact the Center for Safe Sport at 720-531-0340 or visit the website, in order to file a complaint. The complaint can also be made directly to USA Fencing, which is required to forward all sexual misconduct complaints to the Center for Safe Sport. After submitting a SafeSport report, the Center will issue an email confirming receipt of the report and an investigation number.  The reports filed with the US Center for SafeSport are investigated exclusively by the US Center for SafeSport so any questions related to the process, procedures and timelines should be directed to the Center, referencing the unique case number.

To report all other types of misconduct, including physical assault that is non-sexual, other harassment, bullying, etc., please contact USA Fencing Safe Sport Coordinator Suzie Riewald at s.riewald@usafencing.org or 719.866.2616, and, or use the reporting form that can be found on our SafeSport webpage.

How will USA Fencing respond to SafeSport violation reports? Section VI of the policy addresses the organization’s response to violations. As appropriate, and at its discretion, USA Fencing may institute a formal investigation and hearing procedure to address serious allegations of misconduct (e.g., physical misconduct). However, USA Fencing anticipates that an investigation and hearing will be undertaken to address only the most serious allegations and patterns of behavior that warrant significant sanctions. Accordingly, USA Fencing anticipates that this disciplinary procedure will be used rarely. If a report is received, the SafeSport coordinator can review and recommend to the Executive Director, in consultation with the General Counsel, to call for a Disciplinary Panel, with approval from the Board of Directors.  Reports that allege sexual misconduct will be immediately turned over to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

The handling of reports that do not warrant a formal investigation and hearing procedure will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.  Questions regarding process and procedures for a specific report should be directed to the USA Fencing SafeSport Coordinator.

Our SafeSport coordinator position was established in 2014 within the National Office to educate our community on Safe Sport best practices and handle complaints of misconduct and abuse. Suzie is a former elite athlete who has worked in sports for more than 20 years and holds a doctorate in sports psychology. Upon receiving a complaint, Suzie works with appropriate persons and entities to investigate and preliminarily evaluate complaints, convene disciplinary panels, if appropriate, and manage compliance issues.

For a more particularized description of SafeSport policies and procedures, see our Safe Sport Webpage here. If you have any additional questions regarding how to report inappropriate behavior or the Center for Safe Sport, please do not hesitate to contact Suzie Riewald at s.riewald@usafencing.org or 719.866.2616.

For information on SafeSport educational materials and resources for coaches, parents, club owners and athletes, visit the SafeSport section of the www.usafencing.org webpage as content is regularly added.

Notice to USA Fencing Coaches

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Jan 182018
 

The following letter is being sent to USA Fencing Coaches:

USA Fencing has recently seen an increase in the number of complaints related to coaching behavior at all levels of competition. Often, the information provided describes situations of coaching behavior that are inappropriate and disruptive to athletes and others at the event. 

As per our Rules of Competition t.82 3.a: “Everybody taking part in or present at a fencing competition must remain orderly and must not disturb the smooth running of the competition.“ This includes not insulting the referee or attempting to manipulate or influence him or her in any way. Furthermore, “the Referee must stop immediately any activity which disturbs the smooth running of the bout which he is refereeing.” 

Similarly, Rule t.93 provides: “Spectators are obliged not to interfere with the good order of a competition, to do nothing which may tend to influence the fencers or the Referee, and to respect the decisions of the latter even when they do not agree with them. They must obey any instructions which the Referee may deem it necessary to give them.” 

The Referees’ Commission has been provided with this Notice to Coaches and has been asked to enforce these rules consistently. Individuals who are not in compliance with the rules of competition may be subject to a Yellow and/or Black Card and expulsion from the competition or tournament, and facility. See Rules t.82.3(b), t.93, t.118-19.

USA Fencing is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for athletes’ physical, emotional and social development. We ask for your cooperation in achieving this goal and that everyone allow our fencers to fence and our officials to officiate. 

If you have additional questions, please contact the National Office at 719.866.4511 or information@usafencing.org

Congratulations to our Referees!

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Aug 232017
 

Congratulations to all of our referees who’ve earned new ratings or re-earned their current ratings this season!

New Ratings

Epee

Abdelaziz, Nadine 4
Balog, Marcus 2
Banks, Dan 4
Barnhart, William C. 3
Belanich, Susan 2
Borgos, Susan 2
Bratsko, Stephen 4
Brown, Zackery J. 4
Donnelly, Devin 3
Fadel, Abbas 2
Geller, Alan 4
Gioiella, Alex 4
Guzzi Vincenti, Margherita A. 4
Han, Kristina 4
Harper, Brian S. 4
Ivy, Adam 3
Jacobson, Tyler 1
Koehler, Kelly 1
Kyono, Emma 4
Ma, Jianguo (James) 4
Pashby, Stephen 4
Peebles, George 5
Puzach, Adam 4
Sintchinov, Alexei 4
Taggersell, Cara 5
Vaughan, James 4
Waters, Essene 3
Webster, Patrick 2
Zeljkovic, Jelena 3

 

Foil

Banks, Dan 3
Decker, Laura 2
Gross, Liran 4
Han, Kristina 4
Ivy, Adam 2
Temple, Jackson 4
Van Scoyk, Aeron 4

 

Saber

Brown, Zackery J. 2
Cheney, Christopher M. 4
Decker, Laura 1
El Sissy, Ziad A. 3
Han, Kristina 3
Lee, Ivan 2
Linaldi, Alberto 4
Linaldi, Andres 4
Milestone, Jessi 3
Pashby, Stephen 4
Sach, David 1
Stapleton, Lindsay 3
Tolba, Hussein Abdel Fattah 3
Tucker, Matthew A. 4
Ward, Reghan E. 4

 

Re-earned Ratings

Epee

Abdelaziz, Abdelwahab 2
Abdelaziz, Hisham A. 4
Alperstein, Donald 1
Anderson, Barbara 3
Astudillo, Charles 3
Badawi, Amgad 2
Barton, Peter 1
Beckerman, Conor 2
Bogert, Alexander BRYCE 5
Bookwalter, Erich 4
Bookwalter, Tim 2
Campi-Sapery, Lisa 2
Chang, Jason 4
Chung, David J. 6
Chung, Thomas 5
Marcotte (Cillo), Anna 3
Cole, Matthew 5
Crocket, Daniel 1
Crouse, Wolfe R. 5
Curtis, Leo 4
Del Gaizo, Robert 4
Delap, Rylan 4
Dessens, Adrien 5
Djurisic, Maja 5
Djurisic, Zoran 5
Domashovetz, Greg 4
Dreyer, Matthew 4
Duncan, Corwin 4
Engstrom, Stefanie 2
Evanik, Nelly 4
Fife, Jamie 5
Gasparovich IV, George M. 5
Geller, Adam 4
Gillman, Bruce 3
Goossens, Bruno 1
Huang, Jinsong 4
Jeffery, Garet 4
Katzenbach, Grayson 5
Kiriakidi, Semion 5
Lambdin-Abraham, Andrew 2
Li, Wei 4
Lu, Annamaria 4
Mack, Adam 5
Mahmoud, Gamal 3
Mahmoud, Taysir 3
Mahon, Mary Ellen 2
Mandoki, Sandor 3
Mar, Kevin 2
Meehan, Justin 1
Nazarova, Nadia 4
Offerle, Judith 4
Parrilla, Ulpiano 3
Porter, George 2
Sasaki, Peet 4
Schiller, Laurence 5
Schlesinger, Nathan 4
Shipman, Bill 3
Shumate, Sean 3
Sierra, David 3
Spencer, Christopher 4
Stasinos, Mark 3
Thornton, Ronald 3
Vaksman, Boris 2
Van Der Wege, Gary 3
Van Scoyk, Aeron 5
Vogt, Suzanne 3
Wangner, Ronald 1
Watson, Adam 4
Wolfson, Kyle 2
Yoo, Terry 4
Young, Jay 5
Zelinski, Donny 4

 

Foil

Abashidze, George (Gia) 2
Abdelaziz, Abdelwahab 2
Abdelaziz, Hisham A. 4
Abdelaziz, Nadine 5
Astudillo, Charles 3
Balog, Marcus 2
Barnhart, William 5
Becker, William 3
Beckerman, Conor 2
Bontems, Pierre-Olivier 2
Brewer, Adam 3
Burchard, Peter 1
Campi-Sapery, Lisa 3
Chang, Jason 2
Chernomashentsev, Alisa A. 4
Chung, Thomas 4
Cotton, Derek 1
Del Gaizo, Robert 3
Delap, Rylan 2
Delgado, Fernando 3
Dessens, Adrien 5
Domashovetz, Greg 3
Donnelly, Devin 1
Dreyer, Matthew 4
Evanyk, Nelly 3
Findlay, Douglas 1
Foster, Andrew 1
Gasparin, Janos 3
Geller, Adam 4
Gibbs, Bobby 3
Gordon-Sand, Spencer 5
Green, Michael C. 3
Grigoriev, Eddie 5
Huang, Jinsong 5
Jacobson, Tyler 2
Jeffery, Garet 3
Katzenbach, Grayson 5
Koehler, Kelly 1
Kyono, Emma-Tei 5
Lee, Ivan 3
Li, Wei 4
Linaldi-Constantino, Alberto 5
Ma, Jianguo (James) 4
MacDougall, Forrest 3
Mack, Adam 5
Nazarova, Nadezhda 2
O’Brien, Sean 3
Petty, Ryan 3
Reardon, Patrick 2
Ross, Michael 3
Sasaki, Peet 3
Schlesinger, Nathan 4
Simonov, Stepan 2
Smith, Clinton 4
Taggersell, Cara 2
Thornton, Ronald J. 4
Torchia, Daniel 3
Vasic, Milos 4
Vogt, Suzanne (Evelyn) 3
Webster, Patrick 3
Zeljkovic, Jelena 2

 

Saber

Angelova-Atanassov, Anna 4
Armijo, Gabriel 3
Becker, William 1
Becker, William Louis 3
Brewer, Adam 2
Clinton, Elliot 3
Cox, Matthew 2
Dilworth, R. Greg 3
El Bakry, Samir 5
Fadel, Abbas 4
Gioiella, Alexandra 4
Gluck, Alexander 4
Gritsaev, Konstantin 2
Gritsaev, Sergei 2
Herring, Josh 5
Hristov, Hristo 1
Kizik, Val 3
Klinkov, Ariana 1
Larsen, Jeffrey 4
Lilov, Vladimir 1
Matt, Ryan 3
Meehan, Justin 3
Parrilla, Ulpiano 4
Reardon, Patrick 4
Sakhanenko, Nikita 4
Santana, Hudson S. 5
Seidel, Jon 5
Shanahan, Kevin 2
Sierra, David 4
Stasinos, Mark 4
Strzalkowski, Thomas 2
Vasic, Milos 3
Vogt, Suzanne 4

 

Welcome to the 2017-2018 Fencing Season

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Aug 022017
 

Welcome to the 2017-2018 fencing season!

The referee availability form for the upcoming season has been activated.  It can be accessed here.

Mary Mahon will be the DAC member hiring for October.  The October NAC is only two months away, so hiring is already getting started.

New this season is the +CheckED membership upgrade, which replaces the +Professional membership upgrade.  Here’s the information about the membership types from the National Office:

Coach (formerly Professional)
Designed for coaches, Coach Members have the same rights, benefits and privileges as Competitive members and additionally receive the benefit of a general liability insurance policy.

+CheckEd Upgrade (formerly +Professional)
This membership upgrade is for members who DO NOT Coach but are involved in administrative capacities. Current USA Fencing members may add the +CheckEd Upgrade to the following membership types: Life, Life Installment, Olympian Life, Paralympian Life, Supporting or Non-Competitive. The original benefits of the membership are retained. 

+Coach Upgrade
Current USA Fencing Life, Life Installment, and Olympian/Paralympian Life Members who coach may add the +Coach Upgrade. The original benefits of the membership are retained.

NOTE: The Coach, +CheckEd and +Coach memberships all require the completion of the SafeSport course and a background check. The cost of SafeSport and the background check are included in the membership.

Please email info@usfencing.org for more information on your membership or for any questions you may have on the upcoming season.

Referees who are not coaches and don’t have the Coach or +Coach memberships will need to get the +CheckED upgrade every season.  The cost of the +CheckED upgrade is $20 per season.

Background Screens and SafeSport training is still good for two years from the date of completion.  While you’ll need to get the +CheckED upgrade every season, you won’t need to put in for a new BGS or take the SafeSport training course this season if your expiration dates are after July 31, 2018.

If you do need to renew the SafeSport training, please remember that the training web site will be closed down from September 18 through October 1.  Until September 18, the training course can be found at https://training.teamusa.org (Team USA Prep Center).  After October 2, the training course will be at https://safesport.org.

Additionally, effective October 2nd, the new SafeSport online training at https://safesport.org will consist of three new courses. Each course is approximately 30 minutes and will be replacing the original 90-minute SafeSport course. Per the USOC, NGBs must provide an education program for:

  1. Those individuals it formally authorizes, approves or appoints
    • to a position of authority over, or
    • to have frequent contact with athletes
  2. NGB staff.

As a Coach or +CheckEd Member, you will need to complete all three courses when your current training expires and you will need to be re-certified. The training will continue to be valid for two years.

The three new courses will address the following subjects:

  1. Sexual Misconduct Awareness Education
  2. Reporting Child Sexual Abuse
  3. Emotional and Physical Misconduct

NEW SAFESPORT REFRESHER COURSE COMING IN 2018
A new SafeSport Refresher course will be added to the new platform in 2018. This will be an abbreviated version intended for relevant individuals who completed the three, core SafeSport courses. This will fulfill the SafeSport requirement for an additional two years.

USA Fencing Saber Events Return to Four Meter Distance

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Feb 232017
 

In conjunction with the decision of the Federation Internationale d’Escrime, it was announced during the USA Fencing Board of Directors meeting on Feb. 21 that ALL USA Fencing sanctioned tournaments will be conducted using the four-meter on guard lines effective immediately.

This includes senior, junior, cadet, youth, veteran and Division I, IA, II and III competitions.

The FIE will return to using the four-meter on guard lines at senior events beginning at the Warsaw Men’s Saber World Cup being held from Feb. 25-27.

All of the FIE Junior and Cadet Zonal Championships for the remainder of the 2016-17 season as well as the 2017 Junior and Cadet World Championships will be conducted using the three-meter lines. The FIE will begin using the four-meter lines for all junior and cadet events beginning with the 2017-18 season.

Referees’ Commission Meeting

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Nov 202016
 

There will be a telephonic meeting of the Referees’ Commission on Tuesday, November 22 at 6:30 PM ET.   Anyone interested may join the public portion of the meeting; the call in number is:

Conference Dial-in: 1-712-770-8094
Conference Code: 500089

Honorarium Increase

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Sep 032016
 

The Board of Directors, National Office and Referees’ Commission are pleased to announce the amounts of the increased honorarium for referees for the upcoming season. The previously announced increases have been finalized, and the new honorarium amounts are:

Referees with ratings 1, 2, 3, FIE A & B – $125 per service day
Referees with ratings 4 & 5 – $100 per service day
Referees with ratings 6 through 10 – $75 per service day

The head techs, bout committee members, sports medicine and other tournament staff will also receive an increase in their honorariums.  Per Diem will remain at the rate of $20 per day.

Our referees and other tournament staff do an outstanding job, and we’re pleased to be able to recognize their devotion.

Board of Directors
National Office Staff
Referees’ Commission members

Referee Ratings Review – 2016

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Aug 222016
 

Due to the reorganization of the FOC into the Referees’ Commission this season, a change was made to the procedure normally used for the annual August referee ratings review.

The RC is a smaller group than the old FOC, with less representation of all weapons.  To compensate for this, this season’s referee usage summary report was sent to all referees rated at a 1 or 2 level who worked as Assigners at national tournaments during the season.  It was also sent to all members of the FOC as it was constituted for most of the season.  All recipients of the report were asked to provide their opinions regarding what rating each referee listed on the report should have, and invited to add any additional comments about the referee’s work.

The responses from all of these people were collected and added to the season ending referee usage report.  The RC then reviewed the report with all the responses, and voted on the ratings upgrades/renewals for each referee.

For those referees who aren’t familiar with the annual ratings review process, it starts with the Assigners at each national tournament.  At the end of each event, the Assigner for that event reviews the referee usage report and determines the rating level at which each referee successfully performed.  At the end of the tournament, any referees earning upgrades or year renewals up to a 5 level are awarded the upgrade/renewal within a month of the tournament.

Referees rated as having worked successfully at a level of 4 (or their current rating, if higher) or higher are added to a summary usage report.  International usage is gathered from the FIE (www.fie.org) and the European Fencing Confederation (www.eurofencing.info/tournaments/cadetcircuit) websites and added to the report.

This full season domestic and international referee usage report is what is used for the season ending referee ratings review.  This is the report that was sent to the group of evaluators, and voted on by the members of the RC.

Assigners for the 2015-2016 season:
Abdelaziz, Abdel
Alperstein, Donald
Astudillo, Charles
Balog, Marcus
Baumgart, Gerrie
Benson, Jerry
Burchard, Peter
Campi-Sapery, Lisa
Cheris, Sam
Crocket, Dan
Delgado, Fernando
Donnelly, Devin
Everson, Sharon
Foster, Andrew
Frye, Mary
Greene II, Charles
Jacobson, Tyler
Klinkov, Ariana
Lambdin-Abraham, Andrew
Lilov, Vladimir
Mahon, Mary
Mar, Kevin
Medalis, Chris
Meehan, Justin
Oliver, Bill
Sach, David
Shumate, Sean
Sierra, David
Stasinos, Mark
Webster, Patrick

Assigners/FOC members providing ratings evaluations:
Abdelaziz, Abdel
Alperstein, Donald
Becker, Bill
Benson, Jerry
Campi-Sapery, Lisa
Cheris, Sam
Cotton, Derek
Crocket, Dan
Donnelly, Devin
Everson, Sharon
Findlay, Doug
Foster, Andrew
Frye, Mary
Greene II, Charles
Jacobson, Tyler
Klinkov, Ariana
Lambdin-Abraham, Andrew
Lilov, Vladimir
Mahon, Mary
Mar, Kevin
Meehan, Justin
Oliver, Bill
Sach, David
Stasinos, Mark

Reversing the Shoulder in Foil

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Aug 082016
 

Beginning August 1 2016, a foil fencer who reverses the line of his/her shoulders (bringing the shoulder of the non-weapon arm forward of the weapon arm shoulder) is now subject to a Group 1 penalty (a yellow card). Much like other penalties (such as corps-a-corps to avoid a touch or substitution of non-valid target), any hit scored by the fencer committing the penalty will be annulled.

This rule change was proposed by the FIE because, during actions where a fencer reversed his/her shoulders, it was not always clear whether or not the fencer had covered target with his/her off-arm. This was particularly true when the fencer in question was facing away from the video replay camera. The new rule simply states that any reversal of the shoulders is now a penalty, irrespective of whether or not the fencer has covered his/her target. See the proposed modifications to the rules for more details on the rationale behind the change.

Please note that this rule change applies to foil only, and does not affect epee or sabre.

Letter from USA Fencing President Donald K. Anthony Jr.

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Jul 192016
 

FOC Reorganization and Candidates Put Forward
July 18, 2016

I would like to take a moment to provide context around the FOC reorganization and the process that was utilized to select the candidates. Further, I am writing to provide transparency to the process and address any misconceptions regarding the rational concerning how the candidates I put forward to the board where determined.

The FOC reorganization has been one of the most contentious and difficult undertakings of the last quadrennium. I believe it is also one of the most important initiatives undertaken and getting it right is critical to the future growth, stability and success of USA Fencing.

I have a great appreciation the great job our referee corps does ensuring the success of our competitions. As a competitive saber fencer who competed in the bad old days of dry saber I know how important a skilled and unbiased referee is to the quality of a bout’s outcome. That is one of the reasons why I am so committed to creating an environment where our referees can develop to their full capacity and feel appreciated for the challenging job that they do for us.

Within the first year of the quad we were faced with the challenge of referees not having been paid in a timely manner and in some cases not having been paid at all in past years. At a NAC in Louisville when the frustration of the referees came to a head, I attended a meeting where the referee corps shared its grievances with the FOC and I made a commitment to address the long history of what appeared to be a significant disconnect.

The outcome of the meeting was that we spent one year trying to get individuals on the FOC and from the referee corps to work together under the consultative direction of an independent outside consultant, provided my Daugherty Business Solutions, Retired Admiral Lee Metcalf. After a year of little to no progress due to political infighting, historical baggage and deep distrust, we took a different approach. This time, the officers of the FOC decided to reorganize the Commission, had the entire FOC approve the plan and presented the plan for the reorganization to the board of directors. The plan was approved and the board put a process in place to fill the new roles required for the reorganization to be effective and to create an environment where our officials can flourish into the best referee corps in the world.

The process for selection was modified a number of times by the board to ensure as much integrity and input from the Referee Corp and those familiar with managing the roles of the FOC functions as possible. The final agreed upon process was for panels to be convened and interview prospective candidates for the new positions. The panel would then provide the President with independent comments of each panel member along with their individual prioritization of the candidates. The President would take those reports and do further investigation of the candidates so that he could nominate the best individuals to the Board for confirmation.

The process was not as smooth as it could have been; however, the input gathered from the panel members regarding the interviews was quite useful.

The next step was to determine who I would put forward to the board and I would like to share my thought process to correct any misunderstandings that may exist regarding how those determinations where made.

I look at the FOC reorganization as a critical component to the success of USA Fencing as a National Governing Body in the International world of Fencing and as a $7.1 million business. In my mind, the most important factor in the success of this reorganization is the leadership team put in place and how those individuals will work as a team for the greater good for the growth and development of our referees in the United States.

I looked for individuals that had experience in the functional areas required and who also had the right disposition and temperament to get the job done. I took into consideration the input from the panels and then did additional research on my own. I sought input from coaches, other referees and from members of our international relations group. Finally, I spoke with some of the candidates directly to get a sense of what their motivations were for wanting to serve in these new roles. I wanted to understand if their desire was based on what I perceived as the old FOC paradigm of wanting to be important and above the rest of the referee corps or did they want to serve and be a team player even if they didn’t become the chair of a committee. That was a critical factor in my decision making.

I made my recommendations to the board on what I ultimately thought was required for this newly restructured part of our business to be successful. This is a totally new structure and it is critical that the individuals put in place perform for it to be successful. It took almost four years to get to this point. My decisions weren’t based on popularity, politics or any other factors beyond what made good business sense in my mind.

In all roles, it was critical that the candidate have experience in the areas that individual would be leading. Additionally, I looked at whether the candidates were involved in other areas of the organization where their skills would be better utilized or if their absence in another area would create a significant loss within the organization. Finally, I took in the complete body of work of the candidates and any personal observations I made.

Based on these factors, I put forward to the board three of the candidates the panels recommended unanimously. They were all very solid candidates and I agreed with the panel’s assessments based on the options considered. Selecting the other three candidates to be put forward was a lot more difficult and not as clear cut. We had a great candidate for one of the positions recommended as a first choice. However, based on input I received from additional members of our fencing family as well as and other factors, I selected an individual that was equally qualified, has important strategic relationships in the international community and I considered to be the best person for the leadership role for the next two years.

Two of the panels came back with mixed recommendations regarding a slate of candidates that included past or present FOC members. One of those positions remains unfilled and the other position was filled with a candidate that has a higher level of expertise and experience than the other highly rated candidate for that position. All of the candidates I recommended to the board were in the top four of the panel’s evaluation results.

It became very obvious from this process that we will have to work on succession planning throughout the entire USA Fencing organization. One of the top priorities for all of the newly selected chairs will be to build a pipeline that of future leaders. That will be a significant criteria for their annual evaluations in my mind.

The board had a simple task which they executed admirably. It was an up or down vote on the candidates I put forth. Five of the candidates were confirmed and one was not.

I hope this clarifies the process and how the nominees were selected. I appreciate the work that the panels put into interviewing the candidates and those opinions were significantly considered when I was assessing the nominees. I also would like to thank everyone who applied for the chair and vice chair roles. While only a limited number could be approved to lead the new FOC, each of these individuals will be reaching out to our referee corps to build their committees. As we continue to seek new opinions and encourage all voices to be heard, I am looking forward to working with both those selected for these new roles as well as all members of the committees over the next four years.

Don