Daglis Emerges as USPTA Prez Nominee

May 6, 2011

The USPTA leadership meeting held the weekend of April 9 in Houston brought unusual discord, following a tussle over the slate of national officers that led to the resignations of high-profile board members Jack Groppel and Jim Loehr and a lawsuit being filed against the USPTA by the organization’s first vice president.

When the dust finally settled, however, the USPTA Nominating Committee put forth a slate proposing Tom Daglis as repeat president and Randy Mattingley as first vice president. The two-year term would start in September 2011 after the USPTA World Conference. Under USPTA bylaws, once the Nominating Committee names its choices for president and first vice president, the membership can’t make additional nominations for those two offices.

The quarrel over the nominees came when the Executive Committee learned that the slate of nominees that had been made public earlier in the year (and printed in the USPTA’s ADDvantage magazine and RSI’s April issue) naming Mattingley as the next president and Groppel as first vice president was not, in fact, the Nominating Committee’s original slate.

Once that became known, the Nominating Committee’s original slate was presented to—and approved by—the Executive Committee. This reinstated slate named current president Daglis as president for a second term, with Mattingley again as first v.p. Apparently it was the presentation of this second slate, and whether it complied with the bylaws of the organization, that prompted the resignations of Groppel and Loehr.

After the April meeting, Mattingley filed for a temporary restraining order and injunction against the USPTA, seeking to prevent the Executive Committee from rescinding the slate that named him as the next president. However, at a hearing on April 29, the Harris County District Court in Texas lifted the restraining order—allowing the “Daglis” slate of nominees to be presented to the membership.

On May 9, USPTA members received an email with the Nominating Committee’s proposed “new slate of officers” for the next term: President: Tom Daglis; First Vice President: Randy Mattingley; Vice Presidents: Mark Fairchilds, Bunny Bruning, Chuck Gill, Bill Mountford, Jeff Hawes; Past President: Harry Gilbert. The USPTA’s email says this slate “replaces the slate published in the March issue of ADDvantage.”

Additional nominations, except for the offices of president and first vice president, may be made by the general USPTA membership. To add a candidate to the ballot, he or she must be nominated by at least 120 members. The deadline for submission of signature forms for additional candidates has been extended to June 19.

At the April 9 meeting, after much discussion in which at least 27 members spoke, according to documents filed with the Harris County District Court, the Executive Committee voted 71 to 42 to reinstate the slate headed by Daglis. An affidavit filed by USPTA general counsel Paul Waldman on April 11 (and included in the USPTA’s response to Mattingley’s lawsuit) says that at a meeting in January, the USPTA Board of Directors essentially changed the original slate so that Mattingley, not Daglis, became the presidential nominee.

“The events of the January 8-9 board meeting were a concern to me because it was the first instance in 36 years that a Board of Directors was circumventing the bylaws and negating the Nominating Committee’s choice for president,” Waldman wrote in the affidavit. Waldman was involved in drafting the USPTA bylaws and has been the organization’s general counsel since 1974.

Waldman’s affidavit further states, “The clear intention of the USPTA bylaws was to establish an Executive Committee with authority over every significant decision of the USPTA. … There can be no doubt in the minds of the Board of Directors that the board is subservient to the Executive Committee.”

The USPTA Executive Committee is composed of two officers from each of the USPTA’s 17 divisions, plus the eight-member national Board of Directors and the three past presidents. Votes of the Executive Committee are weighted by the numbers of USPTA members in each division.

After the April vote reinstating the Daglis slate, the Executive Committee then passed a resolution “that the national Board not reverse decisions made by the Executive Committee at this meeting.” Waldman’s affidavit went on: “What occurred at the April 8-9 Executive Committee meeting complied with the letter and spirit of the USPTA bylaws.”