Maryland State Youth Soccer Association in turmoil following ‘Parking Lot AGM’
On the eve of hosting the US Youth Soccer National Championships next month, the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association appears to be in turmoil.
Soccer Wire has learned the MSYSA membership has taken up a campaign to oust MSYSA President Ray Greenberg and Secretary Claire Filemyr, working to force a special meeting where a case can be made and a two-thirds majority vote could remove them immediately.
The move comes on the heels of what several members say are mounting irregularities in the governing process and apparent in-fighting between Greenberg, Filemyr and the MSYSA Board of Directors.
The last straw appears to have been recent events leading up to an Annual General Meeting – or AGM – that was originally planned, then canceled, then held anyway – in a parking lot – this past Saturday in Glen Burnie.
What is supposed to be the major meeting each year to conduct serious business, lasted only 17 minutes and was apparently so under-attended, the only new business requested and approved was a waiving of the non-attendance fee.
Originally scheduled well in advance to be held at Michael’s Eighth Avenue, an email was sent to members on Friday evening notifying them of the postponement of the AGM and a similar message was posted on the MSYSA website.
The email – sent Friday, June 20 around 7 PM from the Executive Director’s email account read:
“Current circumstances within the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association have required the MSYSA Executive Board to postpone the meeting of the general membership regularly scheduled for June 21, 2014.
An alternate date has not been determined; however, we will notify you as soon as any information becomes available.
We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Despite what appeared clearly to many as an official communications of the AGM’s postponement, sources say a phone campaign was undertaken by Greenberg and others following the sending of the above email imploring select members to attend as scheduled and that the postponement communication had been sent by unauthorized means. Why a correction email and website update weren’t undertaken immediately instead of phone calls is unclear, but was held out as another example of what one source said were “games being played” by Greenberg.
With many members assuming the AGM had been postponed – which is still what the website read as of publication of this story on Friday morning June 27 – it apparently came as a great surprise to many that the AGM was held after all; in the parking lot of the originally scheduled location because the reservation for the meeting room had been canceled.
At the root of this “Parking Lot AGM” sources say was an attempt fronted by Greenberg to amend the organization bylaws to remove term limits of the President as well as allow voting by proxy, something a majority of the Board of Directors apparently is far from supporting.
The term limits removal amendment proposal was withdrawn, but the proxy voting was covered at the AGM and was passed by those present according to the meeting minutes.
Greenberg did author a letter to the MSYSA membership following the AGM explaining only the MSYSA Secretary had the authority to postpone or cancel an AGM. In that letter (click the image right to view), he also provides a glimpse into some of the ugliness that has been brewing by addressing two allegations that have been made against him directly.
Excerpt from the letter:
One alleged misconduct against me is that I participated and assisted the Damascus Soccer Club representative in drafting the proxy voting amendment. Several board members feel this was wrong of me, since they oppose the amendment. I believe it is the duty of the President to assist clubs, regardless of the political position of board members.
Another alleged misconduct against me is that I participated somehow in a computer security breach at the MSYSA home office. An unnamed non-expert and non-independent third party was brought into a board meeting, which I could not attend due to the complications surrounding the birth of a grandchild, to attempt to legitimize an investigation. My name was then implicated in documents presented at that meeting. I have neither the time nor motivation to do such a thing and believe that this allegation was manufactured because of the political opposition to the proxy voting amendment. I fully support MSYSA hiring a truly independent, qualified third party expert to ascertain if any breach occurred and its possible causes. Furthermore, I support the reporting of any breach to the police, but the Executive Board at its last meeting doesn’t support that action.
There are clearly two sides to this story, with most parties involved able to boast decades of volunteer service to the youth soccer community and to MSYSA specifically. But when those two sides represent a split between a Board of Directors and elected officials, that’s a certain level of dysfunction that cannot be a welcome situation on the eve of the biggest event the organization has hosted since the last time the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships where held here over a decade ago.
What happens next is anyone’s guess, as is what has happened leading up to this situation because there are no Meeting Minutes posted from previous monthly Board of Director’s meetings since March of this year. Sources say they have not been posted because the BoD has not approved their release, despite that fact that would be a normal procedurally move as part of the subsequent monthly meeting. Yet the latest AGM Meeting Minutes were sent out within hours of conclusion of the meeting, albeit without a list of attending members.
Soccer Wire attempted to reach members of MSYSA staff and board members, with offers to speak on or off the record, regarding this situation. However, we did not receive a single acknowledgment of receipt, let alone a response.