The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

MAY/JUNE 2003
 
 

 

 

 

Candidates Q & A
2003 CANDIDATES FOR NATIONAL OFFICE ANSWER QUESTIONS
ABOUT THE FUTURE OF VVA
 

Tom Corey - Candidate for President

Q: How do you propose to increase membership?

Corey: Support local chapter and state council efforts to recruit and retain members. Strong, active, engaged chapters doing worthwhile projects are a key to retaining and expanding membership. Continue our outreach at reunions, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and other events and with other organizations where veterans gather.

Q: What do you think are VVA's top three priorities?

Corey: a) Meeting the needs of our membership as determined by the delegates to
convention, and recognizing those issues that come before us between conventions that must be addressed immediately.

b) Gaining congressional approval for mandatory funding of veteran's health care and services.

c) Continuing to improve and expand our Veterans Benefit outreach program.


Q: What job description would you write for the other national officers and how do you plan to utilize them?

Corey: The job descriptions for the officers are in the Vietnam Veterans of America
Constitution, as determined by the delegates to national conventions. Ideally the four officers would work as a team on the issues that arise with the best interests of Vietnam Veterans of America and our members as our motivation.

Q: What is your opinion of the current organizational structure of the National Office? Any suggested changes?

Corey: In any organization there is always room for improvement in policies and
practices. When I became president I made several necessary changes in staff and organizational structure, and I am prepared to make additional changes as needed to improve the operation of the office. We will continue to improve our ability to best serve the needs of our membership.

Q: Other than VVA's HGSP and direct mail programs, do you have any other ideas on how to fund our programs?

Corey: It is time to hire an experienced Development Specialist who reports directly to the President and who will have specific performance goals. We must expand VVA's corporate outreach and sponsorship efforts. A Development Specialist could also help the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund raise additional money.

Q: What process will you use to select or appoint the most qualified Committee/Task Force Chairs? How much input in the selection process will you allow from the BOD and state Council Presidents?

Corey: I have always looked for the most qualified individuals to chair our committees
and task forces, and I sought the advice of the organizations leadership when I became your president. And, if re-elected, I will again seek input from VVA leaders and others prior selecting or appointing the most qualified Committee/Task Force Chairs. The new president will have a list of all who have shown an interest by submitting their names.


Alan Gibson - Candidate for President

Q: How do you propose to increase membership?

Gibson: At the present time, the Membership Committee has a "Development Sub-Committee" working on ideas from the survey contracted to Mansfield & Associates. They expect to have a report ready for the CSCP & BOD meeting in October, and we should take a look at their recommendations first. However, from what I comprehend, if we help the States & Chapters with Service Officers & Chapter Service Coordinators, get meaningful legislation passed with accountability, and get funding with accountability for the VA system, our Brothers and Sisters may better consider joining a team that is working for them. More emphases on helping State Councils and Chapters in their efforts to recruit and maintain members are a must. We need to get the Chapters somehow more involved, and National in less control of the membership process. For example, chapters could be given more responsible for renewals.

Q: What do you think are VVA's top three priorities?

Gibson: There is always a need for "Mo Money, Mo Members & Mo Openness.''
Picking the top three is somewhat difficult because we have many at the present time. However, in my opinion, the three top priorities would involve communication from membership to national and national to members on: 1) Veterans benefits training and support (e.g., the proposed Service Officer & Chapter Coordinator program); 2) Government Affairs (as per the VVA legislative agenda); and 3) Health Care as promised for all Veterans (which includes, in our framework, Agent Orange & other herbicide problems, reception of health care via the VA or non-VA, Project 112/SHAD, as well as homeless and veterans incarcerated with service-connected problems).

Q: What job description would you write for the other national officers and how do you plan to utilize them?

Gibson: First a job description for all officers needs to be written. As President, it would not be good management in my opinion, to give others any particular jobs if not expecting something from myself, or showing what others can expect from me. I do believe that all officers should be more involved than what the Constitution states. By that I mean that each should have primary sections or committees as their primary focus. I would wait to see who is elected and what their strengths and desires are. It would be foolhardy to expect a title to make a person the best in any particular area. However, I feel that the Vice-president should be able to assist the President in all areas of the organization, with an emphasis on fundraising & trouble shooting. The Secretary, in addition to fulfilling the Constitutional requirements should assist in the
Administrative process of the organization. The purpose of having the Chief Financial Officer report to the Executive Director was initiated so the President and CFO operations would be separate. Since we do not have an ED at this time, the CFO reports directly to the President and this has caused problems in the past. To keep problems from occurring or even the appearance of problems again, the Treasurer should have primary responsibility for the Finance & Accounting Department and be utilized as an advisor to the Finance Committee. After all, the Treasurer was elected to look after the finances. My own personal strengths and focus would be in the ETaBO, Legislative and VA areas. Additional responsibilities for any other areas and/or people would be with mutual agreement among the elected Officers. All activities should be communicated to each of the Officers so that all are informed of what is going on with the other Officers. We must have openness and understanding among all of the Officers so that not just one person is expected to know all the answers. However, each of the Officers should be able to make an informed decision when the circumstances require one. There can always be an exception to any established set of responsibilities, particularly when it is time sensitive.

Q: What is your opinion of the current organizational structure of the National Office? Any suggested changes?

Gibson: I would need to spend more time in the office to see what the daily routine is
like and who is doing what. However, we do need to take a look at how we can do a better job of helping our Brothers and Sisters. For example, too often it seems that only one particular person can answer a question, and when they are out sick or on vacation, the answer has to wait until she/he returns. Perhaps we need more cross training and communication within the National Office so that there is always someone available who can assist any calling or visiting person (i.e., member or non-member just needing an answer). While we may need to further train the office staff we also need to educate the membership and let them know that they do not have to speak with the Department Director to get the answer. We need to make sure that we have the most capable person working in any Department for the betterment of the organization and to better assist the membership we serve. All office staff is there to make things run smooth, in a timely manner and with "Service to Veterans'' as the main principle behind all that is done.

Q: Other than VVA's HGSP and direct mail programs, do you have any other ideas on how to fund our programs?

Gibson: The "quick and dirty answer'' is to look into a grant writer who has had
experience in working with 501c19's and/or 501c3's to raise funds for our established programs. There are some grants available to c19's but most corporations have a better tax advantage when giving to c3's. These grant services should also be made available to the states for their programs. For example, some state agencies offer grant-writing courses/seminars at a reduced fee (i.e., MO Outreach & Extension offers a one-day class for a $10.00 fee), and perhaps we could consider a small stipend to State Councils for just such a purpose. However, on another, higher level, VVA should seriously consider a "capital fund-raising campaign'' - a long-term (e.g., two to five-year effort) "big bucks'' national fund-raising campaign similar to what universities and colleges conduct to raise funds for their endowments.

Q: What process will you use to select or appoint the most qualified Committee/Task Force Chairs? How much input in the selection process will you allow from the BOD and state Council Presidents?

Gibson: Since all appointments have to be approved by the BOD they are already
somewhat involved. It is my opinion that the CSCP should have input as well. After all, they represent a closer relationship with the membership. It would be my desire to find out from each Board of Director and State Council President whom they believe would be the best two or three persons to Chair a Committee or Task Force. They could even nominate themselves if they feel best qualified to serve. If we are to be a force with any of our programs, we need the best qualified to be the Chair, and people who are willing to work with the other chairs in fulfilling our individual and collective resolution requirements.


Ed Chow - Candidate for Vice President

Q: How do you propose to increase membership?

Chow: The recent membership survey provides some information on why people join
and maintain their membership in VVA and why they do not renew. In addition to "support veterans organizations'' and "camaraderie of fellow Vietnam veterans,'' other major reasons for joining included "heard VVA was good organization'' and "VVA member asked me'' and "local chapter asked me.'' Other major reasons for maintaining membership included "help VVA advance its issues.'' Having active and involved Chapters (and State Councils) are crucial to building membership through local publicity and outreach efforts. Maintaining membership is a result of people feeling welcome and connected to the organization. We need to continue to build on the successes of our current Membership Committee. National needs to provide resources to coordinate membership materials and to disseminate information on successful membership strategies. National also needs to look at new ways to publicize VVA's many activities. It is important for members to understand what is happening at the national level, how it affects them and how their voices can be heard.

Q: As Vice President, how do you intend to work with the President?

Chow: I will continue to support and assist the President as I have in this current term. I have been, and will continue to be available and willing to share the workload involved in managing the organization. I have been privileged to work with a President who has chosen to use my knowledge, talents, and skills to assist him in leading VVA. We communicate regularly on issues and activities. I expect to continue to work in partnership with the President.

Q: How do you view the role of the Vice President?

Chow: The VVA Constitution states that the Vice President shall perform such duties as may be assigned to him or her by the President or the Board of Directors. Activities that I have been involved with in my current term illustrate some of the functions that the Vice President fulfills. I have helped several states and chapters resolve issues pertinent to them. I reviewed some of our administrative processes, identified savings that could be achieved in our operations, and submitted recommendations to the President. I helped plan and organize activities for Memorial Day and Veterans Day and shared the duties of representing VVA at official functions. In addition to assisting the President by sharing the workload, I also believe one of the services a good Vice President should provide is to be a sounding board and advisor during planning and policy debates.

Q: What is your opinion of the current organizational structure of the National Office? Any suggested changes?

Chow: I have found the current arrangement to be functional. The President is readily
available by e-mail and telephone and I live only 6.7 miles from the National office. Under these circumstances, I do not believe we need the expense of an Executive Director. I do think some changes might improve our efficiency and enable us to get the most from our resources. A designated Executive Assistant could assist the President in monitoring projects and tracking the flow of work on issues and administrative matters. It would be useful to restructure some personnel assignments in order to provide staff support for certain functions. For example, fundraising efforts require involvement of our Publications and Communications Department and the Finance Department as well as other departments pertinent to a solicitation program.
Program office staff are available to assist with Committee work associated with their respective programs; however, it may be useful to consider realigning staff assignments to ensure all Committee chairs have some assistance between Board meetings.

Q: Other than VVA's HGSP and direct mail programs, do you have any other ideas on how to fund our programs?

Chow: VVA needs to build corporate partnerships, and we have some initial success
even during an economic downturn. However, VVA needs to develop a systematic approach to corporate fundraising. In addition to identifying corporations that would be willing to donate to VVA as a part of their community outreach program, we also need to be able to solicit corporate foundations for specific programs or activities. To do that, we need to be able to give potential donors descriptions of specific programs and/or activities and which Chapters and State Councils are involved in these activities. With such an inventory of programs and activities, we can then target our efforts. Strategic targeted fund-raising will require the commitment and participation
of the entire Board of Directors as well as resources to coordinate and manage these efforts.


Philip Litteer - Candidate for Vice President

Q: How do you propose to increase membership?

Litteer: Increasing membership is not the real issue. There are many ways to sign up new members, particularly in times like today as America is challenged by war. The problem for VVA has historically been retention of members. I would work toward increasing and retaining membership by continuing and supporting the work of the Membership Committee and the "Membership Master Plan" which was called for by Convention Resolution in 1995, proposed in the 1996 VVA Strategic Plan and adopted as a priority by the National Board in 2002. In addition, I would propose other innovative plans, for example an interim "booster" plan including no-cost first-year membership to every member recruited by another member. Every one of us knows at least one eligible prospective member who we have not asked to join VVA, due in part to the uncomfortable task of asking that person to pay a fee for membership. I would suggest to the National Board and Membership Committee a two year pilot program, where every local chapter member of VVA is challenged to sign up at least one new member at no cost. Yes, this initiative will cost VVA some funds, but it is seldom a mistake to try something innovative, rather than not try at all. We will be required to provide new members with information, a membership pin, and issues of The VVA Veteran. But, we will also be in a position to tell those new members throughout the year, by way of The VVA Veteran, what their membership has allowed us to accomplish at all levels of VVA, especially the chapter/community level. By telling and showing new members that their involvement has directly effected thousands of people in need, the task of asking them to "re-enlist" as members will become something that they, like us, will want to do. We must demonstrate to all eligible veterans whether they served in-country or elsewhere that VVA is not a war-story club reliving the past, but is, in partnership with AVVA, an active service provider and legislative advocate today, and for America's future.

Q: As Vice President, how do you intend to work with the President?

Litteer: I find it an unfortunate state of affairs that the Conference of State Council
Presidents (on behalf of our members) found it is necessary to ask this question on this questionnaire.

The Vice President is a Constitutional Officer who's principal responsibility is to be immediately available to act in the President's absence, and to perform other duties as assigned by the President or the Board of Directors. It is the Vice President's duty to always be fully familiar with the priorities of the President, and the Board of Directors. To be in the shadow of the President and be always completely and unwaveringly supportive of the President, even if in disagreement, no matter who that President may be. It is illogical to assume that the best interests of VVA can be assured, when the President and Vice President are working at cross purposes. Certainly there may be circumstances in any organization where a President might be removed from office for cause, and in that situation a Vice President would be expected to conduct the business of the organization differently. Under all other circumstances, the Vice President must keep himself or herself always apprised of the President's activities and priorities, and be ever faithful and loyal to the President. I will work side by side, with open daily or weekly communications with our President regardless of who that may be. I will work as a facilitator with all of the officers, and will make it my first priority to end the back-biting and mistrust among officers and Board members that has plagued VVA since its beginning. I am very skilled at bringing people together and working in an open environment. There will be no place for secrets, rumors, and unfair disparagement of other officers and Board members while I am your Vice President. We are all friends and comrades; we should behave that way every day. I will not tolerate harmful innuendos, rumors and half-truths when dealing with any member of VVA. I have no political agenda. I want only for us to work together for the benefit of our members.

Q: How do you view the role of the Vice President?

Litteer: The role of Vice President is to be a facilitator, along with the President,
assisting the Board of Directors, in keeping the business of VVA moving forward in an orderly way. Additionally, I am a skilled parliamentarian, and can provide meaningful guidance to the Board as it conducts the business of our organization. I also believe that, like all of our officers, the Vice President's role includes being a frequent communicator in our only official source of member information, The VVA Veteran. I pledge to publish articles and information periodically in The VVA Veteran to apprise the members what I am doing as your Vice President, and why I am doing it. The Vice President is in a unique position to be an idea person, who has the rare opportunity to work directly with committees and task forces of VVA to plant seeds for the growth of new programs and services. I have experience as a program director, and have initiated many projects in my career, working with others, starting with a blank sheet of papers, resulting in the development of productive and measurable service programs. I also think that a Vice President who has come up through the ranks has a better understanding of the needs and concerns of individual members. I have worked all my life in positions that I have grown into from the bottom up. he success of any good leader comes from the trust and support of those who he or she has been in the trenches with. I enlisted in the Army as a Private E-1 and left as a First Lieutenant. I graduated at the very bottom of my high school class, and after
military service, and while raising a family, became an attorney. I began civilian public service as a part-time recreation youth counselor and became the highest elected official and CEO/CFO of my town government. As Vice President, I will work toward earning the respect of our members by being a professional and well prepared leader, while never, ever forgetting where I came from, and being proud of working my up from the trenches to this important post.

Q: What is your opinion of the current organizational structure of the National Office? Any suggested changes?

Litteer: Virtually every survey conducted by VVA over the past several years advises us that the number one priority of our members is health care. Our Government Affairs Department works tirelessly toward legislation and rule making within the legislative and regulatory structure in Washington, and health care is certainly one of that Department's highest priorities. However, we have no one "in-house" solely dedicated to making demands on the VA to provide nationwide services. With returning veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraqi theaters, the need for health care will certainly increase. We are obligated, by our founding principal, to advocate for those veterans as well as those in our own generation. I would propose adding an advocate to the Government Relations staff who's job it will be to get inside the VA and work with the VA health system as our employee on behalf of our members on a daily basis, and report progress to the VVA Health Care Committee. We need someone who can, and will, get all of the doors of the VA opened to VVA. Someone who is skilled, professional, and who is an insistent fighter who will not become part of the "VA Club." In short, an advocate who is loyal to us and our charges, the veterans we serve.

I would also like to see a staff position created, perhaps in the Membership Affairs Department, or in the Executive Director's Office, who's sole job is to communicate with chapters and state councils on any and every issue, question or concern from the field. Members, chapters and state councils should have available to them at least one designated person who is the contact at National Office who has the ability to get information and answers on any VVA question involving any department at National. That person would be required to respond respectfully and diligently to every inquiry, and return every phone call within a set time period. No excuses.  Finally, I think that our office needs an Executive Director who is responsible to the President,
and who manages the overall operation of the office on a daily basis. That person must be a skilled administrator who is very well versed in personnel operations, organizational skills, and professional public representation of VVA. I have held positions in civilian and military life as executive officer and chief administrator, and hold a Masters Degree in administration. I am fully familiar with this vitally important priority. Our officers should not be expected, nor should they take on the responsibility of supervising the National Office staff. The central office staff should
have a clear chain of command, answering to a professional and well trained administrator who in turn reports to the President and the Board. No one in any walk of life enjoys reporting to several different superiors. As it currently stands, personnel are not quite sure who they report to, and that is a recipe for confusion, mistakes or omissions, and possible liability on the Board of Directors, and the corporation. Oftentimes, it simply depends upon who is in town at any given time to determine who the office staff thinks they are reporting to that day. This is just not the right way to operate a business, and is an example of haphazard management at best.

Q: Other than VVA's HGSP and direct mail programs, do you have any other ideas on how to fund our programs?

Litteer: VVA should be ever on the lookout for local, chapter-sponsored programs that actually provide services, then duplicate and support them wherever possible. Some chapters have excellent local fund raising plans in place, that National is simply not aware of. Many of those chapters are providing or supporting local services to veterans that National, in many cases, is also unaware of. VVA is currently in better financial condition nationally than it has been for many years. National needs to be more generous with some of those funds, offering them to chapters in communities that are doing the job, and providing services. Outside VVA, the National Grant Writers Association is one of many sources of possible financial support for the successful submission of grants to fund programs that assist homeless veterans, veterans who suffer from substance abuse, PTSD, and other health related disabilities. There are millions of dollars in grant monies available to those who know how to ask for them and who can demonstrate productive use of grant funding. I am experienced in writing and submitting grants, although I do not believe the role of the Vice President includes grant writing or fund raising as a primary duty. The Vice President, however, can show leadership by making proposals to the National Board for hiring a grant writer, or training someone already on staff, whose duties will include searching for and submitting grants. We need someone to be actually writing proposals and pursuing grant money, then that money must be filtered down to the state and chapter levels where the veterans actually receive the services. Another source of funding is the careful control of current spending at all levels of VVA. Nothing makes me more concerned than seeing VVA
funds wasted on extravagance. Certainly VVA needs to expend funds to operate efficiently, but we must, each and every one of us, remember that every dollar we spend represents, in part, the dues paid by chapter members, many of whom struggle to pay those dues, but do so because they believe in VVA and its leadership. Funding responsibility is a combination of securing funds, and also managing them wisely. There are no "quick fixes" when it comes to funding. It will
always be a struggle, but that is what we do in VVA, we struggle, we sacrifice, and we do not give up.


Mary Ellen White - Candidate for Secretary

Q: What do you believe are the duties and responsibilities of the office you are seeking?

White: The duties of the National Secretary are delineated in the Vietnam Veterans of America National Constitution, Article I, Section 5, Paragraph F. These duties include keeping the minutes of the meetings of the National Board of Directors and of the National Convention and ensuring that notices are given in accordance with the VVA Constitution and as required by law. The Secretary is also the custodian of the corporate records and the seal of the Corporation. In general, the Secretary performs the duties incident to the office of Secretary and other duties as assigned by the President or the Board of Directors. One of the duties assigned by the BOD is the acceptance of proceedings under the Disciplinary Policy. This office is responsible for the reproduction and distribution of the amended Constitution within 60 days following each National Convention.

Q: As Secretary, how do you intend to work with the President?

White: The President will have my full support in whatever way I am able to assist him or her. I will work with the President by fulfilling my duties as Secretary first and then in those duties the President asks me to fulfill additionally. One area I would like to see more formalized is the Executive Committee. We need regularly scheduled meetings with discussions of ongoing concerns to the organization. Without an Executive Director, there could be delegation of some duties to other members of the Executive Committee to spread the work of leadership of the organization.

Q: What will be your first priority in office?

White: My first priority in office will be to continue to perform the duties of Secretary in a superior manner. Next, I would like to help carry out the tenets of an improved Disciplinary Policy. Third, I want to continue the pursuit of improved health care for all veterans including finding the truth regarding Project 112/SHAD and getting those veterans the care they have earned.

Q: What are your feelings about VVA's Code of Disciplinary Procedure?

White: It is no longer the Code of Disciplinary Procedure. It is VVA's Disciplinary Policy. It was removed from the Constitution, so it is now amendable by the Board of Directors working with the State Council Presidents. This Policy is presently undergoing some much needed updating. As it now stands, it is sometimes confusing, sometimes not consistent from section to section and difficult to follow. We may be into "overkill" with so many levels of Disciplinary Panels/Committees. The process would work more consistently with one level of Panels/Committees rather than repeating at each level of the organization. Then we could have a large reservoir of members to choose from in order to localize the process to a certain area.

Q: There is a proposal to merge the position of Secretary/Treasurer. What is your opinion?

White: Many organizations have a combined Secretary-Treasurer and it works well for them. It is my observation that these groups are usually small and have less activity than does Vietnam Veterans of America. I think if VVA did this, you would have another officer with a large workload. Is it doable? Yes, I think it is but it would make the job closer to full time than either is now. This would also cut down on the diversity among the officers and narrow the field of those who could do that job. If we are going to function without an


Alan Cook - Candidate for Treasurer

Q: What qualifications do you bring to the office, and do you have any financial planning experience? In addition to your general financial background, what involvement have you had with VVA's Finances?

Cook: I have been a Corporate controller for an investment banking firm for the past 23 years. I have been involved in VVA finances for 15 years. I was chapter treasurer, California State Council Treasurer for 10 years and a member of the national finance committee since 1991, chair for two terms. I was also treasurer of VVAF for three years in the early days. I did all the accounting for VVAF which included the period when the houses were first established. I'm registered with the securities industry as a financial and operations principal. Both my wife and I work in the Investment industry we both have the resources for investments and financial planning.

Q: As Treasurer, how do you intend to interact with the CFO?

As the current chair of the national Finance Committee I have worked well with the CFO, Treasurer and the finance department. I have received all information requested from the CFO and finance department. The current Finance Committee has received more financial information, than any other Finance Committee I have served on.

Q: What is your opinion on the organizational structure of the National Office? Do you have any suggested changes?

Cook: Some departments in the national office are overstaffed and some are
understaffed. There needs to be someone in charge of the whole office as one. An Executive Director or office manager needs to be hired to oversee all departments.

Q: Other than VVA's HGSP and direct mail program, do you have any other ideas on how to fund our programs?

Cook: There are a lot of grants awarded for various programs. We need to identify and match grants with programs. The Finance Committee could not fund fully such programs as the education subcommittee and Veterans Against Drugs. There must be grants waiting for programs like VVA's. VVAF should be more involved in finding other sources of income for VVA's programs. When I was Treasurer we were in the process of applying for various state combined campaigns.

Q: There is a proposal to merge the position of Secretary/Treasurer, what is your opinion?

Cook: This is an interesting proposal and the first I have heard about it. I know that the two positions are not full time jobs. I would like to hear the pro's and con's before I can make a decision I would rather see the salary structure changed to a per diem type payment, where the officer gets paid only for the amount of time spent doing the duties of the office.


Wayne Reynolds - Candidate for Treasurer

Q: What Qualifications do you bring to the office, and do you have any financial planning experience. In addition to your background in general finance, what involvement have you had in financial planning in VVA?

Reynolds: My formal education includes a Masters Degree in Finance from the University of Georgia and a Doctor of Education in Statistics from Auburn University. I have served as a School System Assistant Superintendent for finance for 4 years and as Superintendent of two different school systems for a total of 12 years. Since my retirement in 1996, I have operated my own business, a contract agency to supervise Home Child Care Providers in a five County area, and served as the CEO and maintained a steady growth with a positive cash flow. My responsibilities have included the financial management and fiscal soundness of all of these organizations.

I have served as National Treasurer since 2001 and been fair and honest in carrying out my duties and responsibilities. Communications between the National Treasurer and the State Council Presidents the Board of directors has certainly improved since I have been in office. I have learned much on the job which will be invaluable in my next term.

I served as the President of Chapter 511 (1998-2002) and the President of the Alabama State Council (1998-2002). At the State level I had the opportunity of changing the telephone solicitation contract program specific for our state. Chapter 511 restarted bingo and increased its revenues dramatically. In addition, at the National level, I have served for four years as one of the eight (8) persons Board of Directors of the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund. While I have been on the Board, the VVAF has increased funding for Veterans Service Projects and has also increased its cash reserves.

I will be diligent in working with the other Officers, the Board of Directors and State Councils. I am a "team player"but I have been capable and willing to face difficult issues if it will further the effectiveness of VVA. I will not compromise my integrity. I will call upon my experience and background to improve Vietnam Veterans of America.

Q: If you are elected Treasurer, how will you interact with the CFO?

Reynolds: I am decisive and understand my role and responsibilities as your Treasurer. I have been well prepared to assume the office of Treasurer and have been an effective leader with a "hands on" leadership style. I have not been reluctant to deal with difficult issues and assert the leadership role that is defined for the National Treasurer in our VVA Constitution. The role of the CFO of VVA was redefined in our constitution to eliminate his job descriptions. In our organizational structure the CFO reports to the Executive Director, ED, and the ED is under the direction of the President and the Board of Directors. Since the Board of Directors has decided to
leave the position of ED vacant, the CFO now reports directly to the President of VVA. I am on the Board of VVAF and the CFO of VVA has also been serving as the ED of the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund and we have maintained an acceptable working relationship.

I have maintained very close contact with the CFO and fulfilled the requirements of the office of Treasurer as set forth in the VVA Constitution. Many of the decisions made in the Finance Department affect the operations of the Chapters and State Councils dramatically and I have worked diligently to insure a fair and balanced approach to setting the requirements for reporting and the distribution of funds.

I have worked with all levels of employees and with a wide range of personalities and had little difficulty carrying out my responsibilities and, since I have been National Treasurer, resolved several difficult issues in VVA. I am a team player and experienced in using the strengths I find in other individuals to achieve the goals of the organization. I believe that the CFO understands my responsibilities as National Treasurer. I will follow the constitution and chain of command to insure the functions prescribed for the Treasurer are carried out effectively and efficiently.

Q: What is your opinion on the organizational structure of the National Office? Do you have any suggested changes?

Reynolds: I am committed that Vietnam Veterans of America must be an organization for Veterans run by Veterans. We elect our Officers and Board of Directors and they must guide and direct the actions of our National Office. Since the decision has been made to leave the position of the Executive Director vacant and to use these funds to serve our membership in other ways, we have some areas in our organizational structure of the National Office that need to be refined.

Based on my experience, I would like to work with the National President to formalize the relationship of the officers and the departments with specified duties and accountability measures. For example, we should clearly define the role between the National Treasurer and the finance department, the Membership Chair and the Membership Department, the Veterans Benefits Chair and the Benefits Department, etc. This organizational refinement would reduce the pressure on the National President and lessen the need to employ an Executive Director. I would also like us to continue to review the desirability of having an Executive Director and discuss the matter at the Executive Committee and at Board of Director's meetings.

The Executive Committee, the four national officers, should continue to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of each employee and all departments. The Executive Committee should schedule regular meetings that are open to the membership and maintain minutes and/or reports of their deliberations. We must determine the need for positions based on service to our membership and place people in those positions based on their ability to contribute to the needs of our organization.

Q: Other than VVA's HGSP and direct mail program, do you have any other ideas on how to fund our programs?

Reynolds: I want to formalize the process of seeking grants for VVA. We should develop a Request For Proposal for a grant writer and employ one after negotiating a contract where their compensation is based on the income we receive.  This program could also be available to State Councils and chapters in order to increase their funding. We have untapped expertise that we can organize and put to work. These efforts can be coordinated through the Finance Committee and/or the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund at no additional cost to National VVA.

I want a program to be implemented for Life Members of VVA where they gain recognition and certification for financial contributions to VVA. Many other charitable organizations have Silver, Gold, Platinum or President's Club level for their substantial  donors with commensurate privileges and recognition. Also, my State Council has modified our telephone solicitation program, which we operate under our 501c3 Foundation, to include businesses and has had a dramatic increase in revenue. I believe we could do the same with the direct mail program we have at National VVA.

In addition, we can examine the financial reports of the Chapters and State Councils and determine which are the top income producers so that we can replicate their fund raising activities successfully. We need to become a resource for State Councils and Chapters in order to assist them in their fund raising.

Q: There is a proposal to merge the position of Secretary/Treasurer, what is your opinion?

Reynolds: The current language of our constitution separates these two positions. I am not aware of any amendment coming from the Constitution Committee which would change the current arrangement.

I have confirmed through my experience as your National Treasurer that the requirements for these two positions are dramatically different. Four national officers also provide for a greater variety when they work together as an Executive Committee. I do, however, support a clearer definition of the role and function of the four officers when they act together as the Executive Committee.

I believe I have performed well as your National Treasurer and would prefer that the positions remain separate and distinct. I will, as always, be ready and willing to serve if the Constitution is amended to combine these offices. We all must be willing to serve under the direction of the membership of VVA.

   

Visit The VVA Veteran archives
to locate back issues.

E-mail us at TheVeteran@vva.org


     Home | Membership | Publications | Events | Government Relations | Contact Us
Press Releases | Benefits | Meetings & Special Events | Collectibles | Contributions and Sponsorships | Site Index

Vietnam Veterans of America о 
8605 Cameron Street, Suite 400
Silver Spring, Maryland  20910-3710
301-585-4000, Fax 301-585-0519, 1-800-VVA-1316  

Copyright й 2005 by the Vietnam Veterans of America. All rights reserved.