Unclear constitution adds to confusion August 3, 2004

Chaos surrounds USACA elections

As of August 2004, the much-anticipated elections of the USA Cricket Association (USACA) are in total limbo. There is no word on when, if ever, they are going to be held. Not even the preliminary steps, such as the appointment of an independent auditor to oversee the proceedings, have taken place. And no one seems to know when it is all going to happen.

According to the constitution of the USACA, the elections for its board of directors--the governing body of US Cricket-- are supposed to take place in July every two years. This biennial vote is the only time that US cricketers (through their member clubs) have any say on who runs the game. The USA is divided into eight regions, and every club which has paid its USACA membership dues (a nominal $30 per year) is allowed to elect a director for their region. New York has two regional directors, and the member leagues of the USACA elect their own representative. These 10 directors elect the USACA executive every two years, with the executive's terms overlapping those of the board.

At least, that is the way it is supposed to work. It never does.

USACA's most recent troubles with its elections started in 2002, when its board of directors abruptly fired its two vice-presidents without giving any explanation, and installed two interim vice-presidents in their place. These new appointments proved to be more trouble than their predecessors had been. They openly challenged the president and the secretary on matters of procedure, assumed authority over proceedings, and set about running the affairs of the USACA.

One of their acts was to set the USACA election machinery in motion, overriding the president and the secretary who had shown no inclination towards such a move. When the dust settled, the edicts of the interim vice-presidents had been countermanded, but the election process had been set in motion and the elections were finally held.

By all objective accounts, the 2002 elections were a mess. In at least two regions there were serious questions about whether many member clubs of the USACA were eligible to vote at all. A bitter dispute developed in one region over whether even the candidates were eligible. The USACA executive itself was split on the arrangements for the elections-- instructions were given, then countermanded, and finally revised and reinstated. When the elections were finally held in early 2003, there were few who cheeredin fact, an independent poll conducted by the uscricket.com Web site showed that 90% of those responding were dissatisfied with the way the elections had been conducted, hardly a ringing vote of confidence.

So, what is going to happen in 2004? There is apparently an argument raging within USCA as to which of two conflicting articles in the USACA constitution might apply. One article states unambiguously that elections are to be held every other July; the other says that the term of office for each board member is to be two years. Because the elections were late the last time, it is argued that the elections need to be postponed to allow all board members to serve two complete years. The opposite view is that the delays in the last election were of USACA's own making, and July 2004 was (and is) the right time for the USACA.

One thing is certain for now--there will be no USACA elections this July. When will it happen? That, too, is anybody's guess at this point.