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Do you blindly trust the MRF?

by FastFred

Would you trust Congress if 75% of the body was appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress while the people and interest groups elected the other 25%? Would Congress serve their electors or the voiceless citizens? How would you like it if your motorcycle rights organization was governed under a similar structure?

The MRF is governed in this manner. Only six of the MRF's board members are currently elected by members, SSMROs, or state reps. Rank and file members of the MRF only have a voice in electing two officers to the MRF's board of directors via ballots in the MRF newsletter. Two other officers are elected to the board by the highest ranking member of each of the Sustaining State Motorcycle Rights Organizations. State reps who serve with the approval of their state's SMRO additionally elect two more members to the board. The rest of the many officers on the board are appointed by the president of the MRF with a rubber stamp approval by the board. This leaves 18 of 24 members of the MRF board to answer solely to the MRF board that appointed them.

Five years ago ABATE of SC was governed in a similar manner. Several concerned members worked together to fix the problem. Now all voting members of our board of directors are elected by the membership of the organization; each area has representation. Administrative officers are no longer voting members of our SMRO's board. Since correcting the problem ABATE of SC has quickly grown in size and effectiveness.

Currently the membership of the MRF only rivals that of a small state's SMRO such as ABATE of SC. I suggest that the current governing structure and its related trust issues are the reason for the lack luster membership level in this “national organization.” It seems this problem could be easily corrected by no longer allowing voting by the administrative officers on the MRF board of directors. Additionally all voting members of the board should be held accountable to the membership by election.

Over two years ago I and other concerned MRF members politely presented a proposed solution along these lines to the president and board of the MRF. We spent a great deal of time and effort drafting the document only to be rudely rebuffed by MRF president Karen Bolin. The only excuse given to ignore the suggestion by Ms Bolin was that several of the concerned members who drafted the document were members of the Sons of Liberty Riders.

Imagine the disconnect from citizens Congress would have if three quarters of the members of Congress were appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress itself. Imagine the rightly deserved outrage if two thirds of the remaining seats were then elected by special interest groups while the people only had a voice in one twelfth of the seats of Congress. Now imagine an organization with this form of governance attempting to cleanup Congress and faithfully represent its members. A membership based organization that allows members a voice in less than 8.5% of its board elections is highly suspect.

About the author: FastFred Ruddock is an avid motorcycle rider who has a background in grassroots activism. Fred is a current member of the MRF, a former member of the MRF Board of Directors, a member of the Sons of Liberty Riders, and the current state coordinator of ABATE of SC. He writes regularly for the Biker Ezine and various regional motorcycle magazines in the southeast.

Read A Proposed MRF Solution and the current MRF bylaws for yourself.

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