USMMAAA Eviction

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by KPSQRD, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Rideon:

    I suggest you need to go back and look at both your own data and the letters so you fully recognize the fallacies in your conclusions.

    Additionally I'd like to point out the following:

    a) $30,000 is "only" $115,000 LESS a year for the Land, and utilities than MARAD and the Superintendent was/is asking the USMMAAAF to pay for "Babson Center".

    I'll ask have you ever been to "Babson Center"? It's ~5,000 square feet of absolutely horrible space - it was storage and office space above the original academy garage. Why does the USMMAAAF "need" 5,000 square feet you might ask - they don't but the previously unused space is not easily reconfigurable, and until now, nobody else wanted it. The USMMAAAF took the space, in a place nobody wanted, and a condition nobody thought was very much of anything, they made it habitable and usable (basically call that tenet improvements since that's what it was). In my world when you lease Class C or D "flex space", even in the NY Metro "triple net", where the tenet is responsible for everything and the leasehold expenses - which is basically what was proposed, I assure you that rather than the proposed a rent of $29/sq ft AND 10 days notice for cancelling the lease, that sort of space is readily available for amounts ~50% of the proposed price and with the types of terms 3 or 5 years, etc that the AAF proposed. When you researched the lease for the land the CGA Foundation is built upon, did you notice the land lease cost/year (seperate from the utilities and services)and the term? - I am truly asking, I didn't look that up but I'm pretty positive it's not a 10 days notice and has similar terms, etc, that typical land leases in the current market have - that is after all how the Federal Government typically handles real estate transactions whether they are grazing or mineral rights or lease of federally owned space for things like "public-private" partnerships, etc...

    As far as a long term solutions and wanting to control the space for any extended period of time, the facts clearly indicate that is not the intent of the AAF. They've bought property (vice asking it be leasd to them on any sort of favorable terms) at market pricing. It's currently a home that is legally in the Village of Kings Point but you cannot get to or from that home via any way other than going through Vickery Gate. So the property is basically private property, now owned by the foundation, entirely surrounded by the Academy. Why you might ask is it entirely surrounded by the Academy. How does such a thing come to pass? It cameto pass when the USMMAAAF purchased the former Barstow Estate, which the home backs to, and donated it to the Academy - it's now called the "McNulty Campus". Sort of seems to me, that AAF does "pay its way" and why wouldn't MARAD and the Adminsitration continue to want it to be a neighbor, such they'd support the rezoning, etc with the Village of KP or have agreed to an alternative where the AAF donated the property to the Academy and then leased it back, like the CGA Foundation leases the land its building is on, so rezoning, etc would have even been legally required?

    Another interesting thing to me is whenever one of my neighbors, especially my next door neighbor, wanted a variance or a change to zoning, I was the most important person considered by the Planning Commission and Zoning Board. Why wouldn't MARAD and the USMMA Superintendent be supportive of the current application, etc? Did you in your research go look at any of the applications, etc for the Lerner Center at the Village of King Point? I believe if you did, you'd find that what the USMMAAAF is trying to make happen thereis very, very much like what the UNSA Foundation did immediately outside the USNA's gate. That exact thing ma ny of us were pointed at in our "form letter" reply when we asked the Superintendent and the Secratary of Transportation to reconsider there demands and actions until the Center was completed and to support the USMMAAAF's applicaions with the VIllage Board.

    Finally if you look at it from the USMMAAAF's perspective, they did not refuse to pay rent. They offered a counterproposal as to the amount, and suggested a preferable way for the Academy to recieve the funds is as a decrement from the unrestricted gifts the foundation already gives to the Academy. As I've noted that amount totals over $2,000,000 pledged by the reunion classes at the 2013 homecoming alone, so when you say:

    that just makes no sense to me. The USMMAAAF is a Non-profit, the board is entirely volunteer. Each year the USMMAAAF give large sums to support Academy Programs so it's not like they are using the space to make money for any other purpose or even to do not for profit efforts for anything other than what the USMMA or it's students, including your child, want or need them to do.

    Further in the context of what you wrote above and what I'm pointing out here, when you write:

    you again confuse me. You support the AAF and you're grateful for what it does for the Academy but rather than do that with the $145K/year in the proffered lease the offer of which was rescinded, you'd prefer the AAF remit a check to the Tresuary of the United States (that's where it would go) get significantly reduced at best through the necessary processing steps and then if it ever sees its way back to USMMA it would be pennies on the dollar. How is that a better thing for the Academy than what the AAF proposed? How is what the AAF proposed "being allowed to use a building free of charge" - I certainly don't think of it that way, it was just the AAF trying to make sure that as much of every dollar it raises is available and used as much as possible for and by the Academy vice for other purposes.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  2. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am not a naysayer, I just want clarification for one part.

    In the AF, O'clubs are NAF operations. If the O'club could not break even, it was closed. If that is true there also, than how is that an issue? The O'Club was never designed to be a banquet hall for the community.

    I do get it if it works differently for USMMA, than yes, this action caused not only a community aspect, but also employment and revenue opportunities.

    I also have one other question regarding the post. Not trying to be a naysayer, trying to look at it from a business aspect.
    What is the overall costs? 2 MN sounds like a lot, but what if the operational costs are 3 MN, do you keep it going? Do you divert money from another area?

    Are the alumni going to stop donating totally? If so what does that say about the alumni? To me that is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. If these things were costing more than the donations, and now they can take the donations to other aspects, wouldn't that be fiscally wiser? Wouldn't alumni be happy to see improvements at a faster rate than the loss of a building? Maybe I am crazy, but I would, especially when it comes to the quality of education. Wasn't it KP that just had a CO2 issue this past yr? That couldn't be cheap to fix. Is the author saying that because of this direction they will not assist anymore, or at a lesser rate than prior?

    Finally if you deem me a naysayer, that is fine. I am just trying to understand if this is a conflict of emotions, more than facts. If these things are considered NAF, than what did he do that was so horrendous? It seems to me that it is pretty clear. Non Appropriated Funding is the driving reason that are resulting in a negative way. They were in the RED, and he called the ball.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  4. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Member

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    Melville was a contract operation and not NAFI. The Academy had zero cost for personnel or operational costs. I’m not sure, but they likely paid for building maintenance. Otherwise it was strictly money coming into the Academy. Both my wife and I worked there for a couple years and we saw many types of events hosted. You had to have some kind of connection to the Academy, the Military or government. It wasn’t available to the general public. In addition to the money, it was useful for Public Relations. I know that many people probably never knew USMMA was even there or what it really did until they went to an event at Melville.

    The operational cost to the Academy for the Babson Center Alumni offices was also virtually nil. Power and water is about it. Even in NY that isn’t that much compared to the overall operating costs of the Academy. The Alumni Foundation took a completely unused space and paid for its refurbishment making it habitable and useable. Frankly, they should add that cost to the total of money donated to the Academy over the years.

    GMATS was the only NAFI on campus. I don’t know if they were in the red or not but even if it is that has no impact on the Academy budget. NAFI stands for NON-APPROPRIATED FUND INSTRUMENTALITY meaning by definition they don’t get their money from the Academy’s appropriated monies. Some of their funding mechanisms were in violation of federal regulations and the previous administration misused the NAFI employees also in violation of federal regulations. That had more to do with its closing than profit/loss

    No question that emotion does play into it on some level. We all have an emotional connection to all that is Kings Point; the school, the Midshipmen and each other. We are not dogs, don’t expect to kick us and have us ask to be petted. Kick us hard enough and we will bite back. In keeping with the metaphors … be careful about biting the hand that feeds you.

    We won’t stop donating, but I am fairly certain that any request from the Administration won’t necessarily be given the benefit of the doubt as easily as they have in the past. In truth, its not about use of the space. As is well documented, the Alumni Foundation has its own space that it purchased and has been attempting to rezone for a while. It is about treating anyone with simple human respect, negotiating in good faith and general honesty.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    KP,

    Thanks. I thought it was probably a profit/loss issue, but the author placed it in their article, thus my question.

    I do agree with your position, it is about the treatment of how alumni members may feel.

    I just was curious to see what posters with a connection to KP believed regarding how much more financial support they would give. If it was they would stay at the same level, than Helis's position did really no harm. It was probably the reason he went that way. He knew feather's would be ruffled, but if it meant less debt for the USMMA, even from a maintenance std., than it is something IMPO not to criticize him for, but actually support. He is using money in a more efficient manner. Just like closing the O'Club. It was operating at a loss, it had to go.
     
  6. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Pima:

    1) RADM Helis went the way he did, because he was directed to do so, that ought to be clear to everyone by now.

    2) Not sure why KPEngineer believes that previously the Officers Club at USMMA aka Melville Hall was not a NAFI (Non-Appropriated Funding Instramentality) - it was. Allegedly the in process change over to a contract operation was/is beecause someone in MARAD legal made a readin and felt the GAO report indicated that NAFIs in and of themself create oversight issues and holes that result in management challenges so they needed to reduce and or elimnate NAFIs from the mix at USMMA. That is at least my understanding, its also been a subject of debate. There were issues noted with how a couple of the NAFIs on campus had operated (KPEngineer, over the course of time, my understanding is that as many as 7 NAFIs have been in operation at USMMA, however, to my knowledge and reading neither of the two most heatedly debated changes/NAFI eliminations: Melville Hall or GMATS were cited as having issues. In any case Melville Hall was not a money loosing operation, nor was it run at any sort of high profit margin generating activity - it was not costing taxpayers a thing and the maintenance of the building was I believe as you suspect, paid for by the operation. It was a well run, not for profit that served its purpose well and other than being a NAFI and indepoendant from excessive oversight or conrol of the USMMA Administration there were no apparent reasons or issues. As KPEngineer indicates, it was not any sort of open to the public facility. "You had to have some kind of connection to the Academy, the Military or government. It wasn’t available to the general public." Of course as at the other Academies one of the nicest benifits and traditions is the ability to get married in the chapel and hold a cost effective reception at the Officers Club. In addition to graduate, sons and daughters of graduates and staff and faculty have done this. Because of this change, it's something that hasn't been available for the last six months to the Academy Community as Melville Hall has been closed. Noone in industry wants to run it for an amount even close to the cost the prior arranged cost structure and managers worked within - precisely becuse it's not open enough to generate enough business otherwise. In my personal view its been a case of tampering and "fixing" something that wasn't broke and eithe typical bureacratic overreaction to a finding or it's really all about control. But again being perhaps overly direct and clear the Officers Club was not operating at a loss and that was not a reason for its closing in any way, shape or form.

    3) As for the Babson Center - as noted it was 5,000 sq ft of unused space that was in poor condition, above the former garage which is now I believe storage and a laundry. If you believe the emails from the Superintendent and the amount requested as being $145,000/year, I'm assuming worst case that's what MARAD and the Administraion believe it "costs" the Government using standard Government accounting and cost allocation practices for the space. So that math would be $2,000,000 or more minus $145,000 or at least $1,865,000 a year that the USMMAAAF has been providing that benefits the Academy, and the Regiment.

    So you ask what's this all about and why can't we all just get along? I think two reasons. a) Nobody likes a critic but over the last 7 years there's been a lot to criticize on both the USMMAAAF and USMMA Administration/MARAD side of the ledgers. Further, frankly in my personal opinion the USMMAAAF got their house in order faster that MARAD or the Academy Administration and as such when that was the case the AAF, rightly again IMO, tried to as Luigi often indicates, shine light on continued issues in the Management of the Academy and MARAD in particular didn't like this. But maybe even moreso b) Control and freedom to use funds provided by the USMMAAAF or anyone outside of the federal government and not provide feedback as the current Administration and Management of the Academy sees fit. I call your attention to the following item in RADM Helis, USMS November 30th letter to the AAF Chairmen:

    "3. Gifts to the Academy: The Academy is developing a needs list that will assist in advancing its strategic priorities. This needs list will provide a framework for the acceptance of restricted gifts, which will be accepted only if they support existing Academy needs as stated by the Academy. Unrestricted gifts from any source will be accepted in accordance with applicable law. The Academy will continue to accept gifts directly from the USM(sic)AAF, other alumni groups or individuals and any other donors subject to the conditions above."

    What would you suppose that means an what would the impetus of those statements, especially the sentence "This needs list will provide a framework for the acceptance of restricted gifts, which will be accepted only if they support existing Academy needs as stated by the Academy." I think when you get to the bottom and fully understand the differing understandings (all within reasonable interpretations) and the intent of that sentence on Superintendent Helis, and the MARAD attornies, who clearly have their own axes to grind based on actions over the recent past, then you'll begin to really understand why this "fight" is now so intense.

    As for KPEngineer's statement:

    "We won’t stop donating, ... It is about treating anyone with simple human respect, negotiating in good faith and general honesty."

    I agree we won't stop donating but if you look at the recent history with my own Class of whom 40+% are active donating alumni, these sorts of actions and issues with control could easily affect the ~25% of the total that was donated by our class last year as these were restricted donations.

    Further, IMO, moving the USMMAAAF off the academy, putting more distance between the USMMAAAF and the Regiment and the Administration, as well as taking clear actions to lessen the impact, influence and participation of the Alumni as stakeholders in the Academy's direction and management, will indeed IMO adversely affect graduates willingness to give. As an active donor to the USMMAAAF as well as several other philantrophic interests that I and my wife share, I assure you there are no shortage of good organizations and causes that seek us and others out.

    Speaking for myself I donate ~50% of what I give to USMMAAAF in an unrestricted fashion, as the USMMAAAF, RADM Helis and MARAD clearly prefer and the remaining 50% in a restricted fashion to those things that either I or our son who is also a graduate found helpful to us in getting through the Academy or imparting skills we've now used in our life after USMMA.

    I know other donors are concerned and those that are my Class' largest donors have also often restricted ther donations for sound reasons or in response to personal concerns about something that was ongoing at KP, while at other times they've donated in an unrestricted fashion. I can't speak for them but I can for me, just because today MARAD and RADM Helis indicate they really do NOT want restricted giving, and tey want to make it hard for myself or the USMMAAF to do so, isn't going to change my thinking othe than to make me reconsider donating the restricted portions. As such, if I take my Class's 25% and make an assumption 1/2 of that will now go elsewhere while half of it will come as unrestricted fashion and I extropolate the result to the entire USMMAAF gift, that would mean that in 2012 we would have raised and donated $250,000 less; add in $145,000 for "rent" and the USMMAAF donation available for the Academy to use fortheir needs would likely be $390,000 - $400,000 less.

    Please also keep in mind re: "other alumni groups or individuals and any other donors subject to the conditions" th USMMAAAF is BY FAR the biggest outside donor to the Academy for programs the Regiment depends on for Margin of Excellence and Quality of Life things that the Federal Budget doesn't fund. For whatever reason, MARAD has and continues to have things in place that make it very hard for Maritime Industry companies to make donations, especially gifts in kind, to USMMA and as such those things go elsewhere - usually to other worthy groups such as the State Maritime Academies.

    Why the aversion to "restricted gifts" - I have my own speculation as to several reasons, some make sense to me and others are IMO driven by ego and control freak behavior. But I don't think it's emotion on my part that says clearly the Surpeintendent and MARAD don't want restricted gifts and are taking actions hat aggreesively discourage them. I also don't think in this environment I am being emotional, sensationalist or overly harsh in assuming if you eliminate restricted giving to only the things on the Superintendent's list which doesn't include items that many, many alumni have historically worked for and feel are needed like a Center for the Academy Band "George M Cohan's Own" and a new Fieldhouse (the current one is 30+ years old) that you will loose half, if not more to competing charitable causes, especilly from larger donors.

    None of this is a "profit and loss" issue from waht I can see; and as a guy whose made a decent living in the "profit and loss" industry these actions don't make any sense to me, so there has to be other reasons beyond what has been stated in the Superintendent's letters.
     
  7. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Member

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    I stand corrected. I was relying recollections and inferences based on 15+ year old conversations with the operator when I worked there as a zombo.
     
  8. 5SF

    5SF Member

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    This drives me nuts!!

    As a parent, I have ridden the USMMA rollercoaster for three years now.

    In reading all the info I can easily find on the USMMAAAF situation, it seems that neither side is being completely open about this. So sad, because I believe everyone wants the same end state - a viable Academy and proud graduates.

    I would love to see the rhetoric dialed back a bit.

    And personally speaking, I would love to get the new SecDOT, MARAD, Adm. Helis, and the USMMAAAF together in the same same room and tell them all to pull their collective heads out of their fourth point of contact. Adm Helis, as an airborne trooper, will understand for sure.

    De Opresso Liber
     
  9. tankercaptain

    tankercaptain Member

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    Latest

    We regret to inform everyone that the court denied our motion for an injunction.

    After the ruling, the Academy demanded that the Alumni Association immediately vacate the grounds. Presumably, the Academy intends to follow through with the representation it made to the court--that it needs "the property to adapt it to use as classrooms," that they "have funding in place," which "may not be in place if [they] don't immediately act upon it and get going."

    The court however, has ordered that the parties have until Friday, May 10th to work out some sort of reasonable time frame to move out.

    We are weighing all options.

    Jim Forde ‘88, Esq., AAF Board of Directors

    On behalf of the hard working staff of the AAF at the Babson Center and the AAF Board of Directors, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to send us words of support. I also thank all of you who voiced your displeasure with this decision to the Secretary, the Superintendent, and your elected congressional representatives. This office will continue to update you as things develop. Thank you.
     
  10. ConcernedAlumni

    ConcernedAlumni Member

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    You never know what is in the wind

    So...

    Yesterday Matsuda announces he is stepping down.

    Today we see that Adm Mark Buzby is retiring from his distinguished naval career, which concludes with his MSC post.

    Is there a possibility of hope for the future here?

    Is there any chance a person who understands both the Maritime Industry and the needs of the nation's defense can be placed in charge of MARAD?

    Or does that just make too much sense?
     
  11. Law

    Law John Honors

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    I Support the Superintendent, MARAD & DOT and so the Mishipmen

    I agree with Rideon400. The two letters linked below, from the USMMA/MARAD/DOT, clarify a great deal. Per the November letter, the Alumni Association and Foundation (AAF) was profiting from using the Academy name on merchandise. Improprieties seem to have been in place for some time.

    The recent, unsuccessful lawsuit the AAF brought against the order to evict is at least the second of questionable merit that the AAF has brought in a year. These lawsuits happen on the dime of alumni who donate. They waste taxpayer funded court resources. I regret that the AAF has wasted so much of DOT, MARAD, and Academy staff's time and hence taxpayer money, to the direct detriment of the midshipmen and so the maritime industry. As a taxpayer and USMMA alumnus, I want new leadership at the AAF.


    November, 2012:
    usmma.edu
    /sites/usmma.edu/files/docs/AAF_Letter_November_2012.pdf

    April 8, 2013:
    usmma.edu
    /sites/usmma.edu/files/docs/AAF_%20Letter_April_%202013.pdf
     
  12. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Profiting?

    What do they do with the money?

    Keep it?
     
  13. Law

    Law John Honors

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    "Non-profit" means the corporation does not profit. Those who work for the corporation do. In the case of the AAF, the non-board executives (e.g. the President) and several staff of the AAF are paid nicely from the AAF's budget, to the tune of over $500,000 a year. The AAF also has a sizable travel budget. See the financial statements downloadable from the AAF's dotcom site. The paid jobs at AAF seem to me to be posh, all told. I grant that if the AAF gets a lot of return on these expenses, then they are worthwhile. But the current AAF leadership should admit it does have personal conflicts of interest as it wages battles ostensibly in the name of the AAF.

    Most importantly, the AAF is private and so without government regulation. This lack of government regulation is where the legal problems thicken. The AAF staff nominally is supposed to serve the government via Academy support. Yet the staff need not be hired per government standards nor follow other government rules. The private AAF is not to direct per se, or attempt to direct by waving money in front of federal employee faces, the financial operations of a taxpayer supported government entity. Yet when the private AAF designates some amount of money for say a USMMA sports team, then the sports team is more enriched than other sports teams. As a consequence government officials are not calling the shots but instead a private entity is. This is not what the taxpayer expects from its taxpayer supported institution, the USMMA.
     
  14. kp2001

    kp2001 Super Moderator Moderator

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    According to the financial statements of 2010/2011 (Download here) the overal salaries, wages, taxes, and benefits was somewhere around $600,000 for 7 people. To me that seems completely reasonable for a job on Long Island. Averaging less than 100,000 per year per person....doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

    Travel is listed at ~$21,000. Again, not unreasonable in my opinion for a group of 7. Could it be lower, probably, but it doesn't seem as ghastly as you make it out to be.
     
  15. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Okay I've never read such a load of rubbish on this site as this post it demands a point by point reply.

    As noted by KP2001 in his earlier reply there are 7-8 employees and they all are paid reasonable salaries. "Law" seems to be trying to paint them out to be someone like the former Head of the Red Cross who made 300+K/year - that has NEVER been the case. Most of those employees (actually all that I know - could make more in salary working elsewhere. As noted the average salary is below 100K/year and that number includes benefits, etc. Also as noted the travel budget is NOT large by comparison on any similar organization.

    There are NO conflicts of interest. Never have been, never will be. If you think there are, please feel free to be specific.

    As a 501 (c) 3 chartered corporation (Not for Profit) the AAF has to abide by regulations and provide transparency which the poster clearly didn't avail themselves of but KP2001 and other donors, supporters, etc like myself have. This is a lean organization and the vast majority of every dollar donated ends up supporting things midshipmen want and/or need and that the Federal Government doesn't or can't pay for.

    I suspect from the poster's handle "law" and the fact they have only posted two times on this form - and on this thread, they are merely a hack MARAD/DOT employee or worse yet lawyer for the Government that wants to see this all go away and grind their ax because the real root of this entire disagreement, IMO, is found in their own words of this last post:

    Note - this is where the real root of the disagreement is coming from and about - what the poster "Law" is referring to is "restricted" donations or specified/directed donations either from individual donors or the Foundation, and any required accountability that the money is used for the purpose it's donated for.

    This is how EVERY foundation of this type at ALL the Federal Service Academies works. Further it's how every foundation/booster club, etc. at numerous State Universities work. I therefore postulate it's therefore EXACTLY how numerous taxpayers expect outside donations to taxpayer supported higher education institution to work.

    Unfortunately it's not what the current USMMA Superintendent, some attorneys at MARAD, and outgoing Maritime Administrator Matsuda, and DOT Secretary LaHood wanted. They especially don't like the accountability part. Perhaps they should have asked that the IRS investigate the foundation and its dealings with donors and where the money went/goes, etc. Of course that wouldn't have gotten the results they desired since as KP2001's earlier post points out they were fully compliant with State and Federal Law for how you run a foundation of this type, and of course due to actions over the past 7 years, the foundation has and continues to be well managed, and effectively run by highly quality professionals and an independent board of 26 Directors who's backgrounds are high quality and integrity are above reproach. We should just give the money without restriction to the things on the current needs list, or to whatever else the "well qualified" federal employees who've gone through the extensive vetting that the Federal Government via MARAD's hiring process believe it should be used for. I wonder what size furor and outcry would occur if over at DoD their selection process for the nxt Superintendent of West Point resulted in the replacement of a Flag Officer either a Brigidier (O-7) or Major General (O-8) with 30+ years in the Army with a Navy Captain (O-6) who had a Phd - wouldn't you think there would be a hue and cry by the West Point Alumni Foundation? How about if the process over at DHS/USCG replaced the USCGA Super with a "well qualified" former Customs and Border Patrol Sector Chief? Would, mayhaps, their foundation have some questions and thoughts as to how the monies they donate get used?

    Apparently, once again the anonymity offered by the internet provides a tool for a "tool" to throw unsubstantiated mud.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  16. Law

    Law John Honors

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    Hey Jasper,

    I am an alum of USMMA. I do read the USMMA AAF Facebook and dotcom sites, including the financial statements. I know many alumni and a number of parents of mids are dismayed about the DOT/MARAD/USMMA eviction of the AAF. My sense is that most alum have only read the AAF's side. To get the other side, the two letters I cite above, explaining DOT/MARAD/USMMA's position, should help.

    Regarding conflicts of interest, the campaign by the paid executives of the AAF could be said to be about job preservation, jobs that I think are (or now "were"?) pretty posh. There has been a battle for the AAF President's position in the recent past. Evidently the salary the AAF President is paid is high enough to attract competition for his job.

    I think I read that the AAF raises about $2 million a year. That about 25% of this goes to salaries is not out of line with other nonprofits. Travel expenses might be fine too, but to me, they do go towards poshness. Also, per one of the letters I cite above, alum can donate directly to the Academy and spare the loss of around 25 cents of each dollar to AAF admin.

    One of the letters cited above speaks about restricted vs. unrestricted funds. Something was not to DOT/MARAD/USMMA's liking on this matter. I think you and I can only speculate on this. I tend to believe DOT/MARAD/USMMA had reason behind their decision. By contrast, sometimes I wonder if what is feeding many alumni's vitriol today is of a general, anti-government nature. Sure, why not let private business run the Academy? This would be fine, but the appropriate starting point would then be to put members of Congress in office who will vote to change current law concerning the Academy.

    The vitriol of attacks being posted at the AAF Facebook site is embarrassing to me. I could be wrong, but I do not think the West Point nor Annapolis alumni organizations post online such massive, hateful criticism of their respective Superintendents, Department of the Army/Navy leadership, and DOD. Fortunately, I do not think the AAF Facebook site's comments reflect the USMMA alumni population very well. I think the more educated Kings Pointers avoid such fora.

    The USMMA is a part of government hierarchy, taking direction by law from DOT and MARAD and coordinating with DOD and so on in time of war. The KP AAF has been touting itself as an "independent voice" on campus. It seems to me the AAF means it is free to criticize legal, government actions and foment insubordination. All this while the AAF is (now "was") enjoying the generosity of DOT/MARAD/USMMA's government largesse. It seems to me the AAF's actions against its landlord have not been smart moves. I also do not think this has been good for the midshipmen to witness. These kids are going to sea and are expected to follow orders for the good of the ship and the country. Imagine if they or one of their captains told the Coast Guard or DOD etc. they were refusing to take an order.

    The AAF site recently gave a timeline of events for its recent legal action against DOT et al. The timeline noted that Secretary LaHood told AAF attorneys that DOT "has a problem" with the AAF. This is unsurprising. I would say the Secretary was doing his job. I think the letters I cite above give a good idea of what this problem is. Note also that the AAF's original attorneys on the eviction matter withdrew. Attorneys withdrawing from a case for a client is not an easy feat; the courts do not like it; it risks charges of malpractice. It takes the attorneys believing what was happening was legally inappropriate.

    DOT and MARAD have authorized a great deal of money for renovations for the Academy. I would put my money on DOT/MARAD being the reasonable side here.
     
  17. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Hey "Law":

    Again please check your facts and use the same basic math skills that you and I apparently learned before we entered USMMA and had to use while were there. Or maybe you are just once again working hard to practice a little more coloring for you own personal agenda, since you continue to choose to post these erroneous statements in anominity publically rather than PM'ing me and so we eah expose our identity and then I wouldn't reply to this ongoing attack on the AAF by yourself in proxy support for the Government Appointees who are already doing the same thing.

    RE:

    The USMMAAF and it's affiliates/predecessor organizations have donated (not raised) slightly over $22,000,000 to the Academy over the prior ten years; that's an average of $2.2M donated; additionally, if you've checked the web site and financials, that's in addition to the money raised and placed into the AAF's endowment over the same and prior years.

    I'm also pretty sure that number doesn't include the monies generated and donated by the Blue & Gray Golf tournements but to be fair I'm not sure the salary of the single employee primarily responsible for making those events happen and generating about ~500K to support the athletics and intramural programs, either.

    It also doesn't include what I undertand to be the ~$40.00/year to publish and send the Kings Pointer magazine out to every known living graduate annually, even if they are not active donors to keep us all connected, etc. as part of their mission.

    Further take monies that the AAF grant out to fledgling local chapters as part of the chapter devolpment effort (10-15,000/year, etc) each year.

    Take all that and put it all together and then look at ~$625K of slaries and expenses and you get a much smaller number than the ~25% for overhead you talked about. Additionally, no we cannot donate directly to the academy, we can give Admiral Helis up to $100K for things on his wish list apparently through some new approach that heretofor MARAD attornies had issues with but if someone wanted to donate a million dollars to help fund a band center or a new field house, or any of the other things that were on the orginal capital improvement plan put forward by VADM Stewart previously, that money would still have to be donated directly to the US Treasury and then go through the normal federal appropriations and authroization process by the Full Congress tho get to the Academy - how much overhead and delay do you reckon that might create?

    Why the personal crusade against the AAF? Did you want the AAF President's job and not get it during one of these so called "recent battles" for it? I wouldn't want the job. Dealing with us (fellow alumni) can be the most frustrating and trying task in the world; but it can also be the best. I believe the truth is very few of us (Kings Pointers) have the patience to do such a job. I clearly don't have the patience to tolerate the endless BS that some of us throw out and around, I also clearly have little patience for telling half a story as you've done twice in this thread.

    Kidding aside, I guess you trust Government appointees and employees more than I do with the stewardship of our Alma Mater much more than I do going forward. Over the past seven years I've had cause to watch many things that happened on campus and with the management of the academy very closely. Sure progress has been made, especially as you point out with funding for Capital Infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance, but many other things have not gone very smoothly or been well planned/managed with regard to making sure USMMA becomes and remains, the acknowledged, pre-emminent maritime academy in the world. For that reasonI think the AAF does have a responsibility to protect the heritage and reputation and from time to time question things which are clearly questionable, especially considering the AAF is workign very hard to broaden its tent and also include parents of current and recent midshipment as well as other stakeholders.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  18. Law

    Law John Honors

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    Your stand seems to be based in your perception of what is moral, fraternal and right. Most other KPers posting to online fora have the same stand. I can appreciate sticking up for one's morals and what one thinks is a gallant cause. But I think DOT/MARAD/USMMA leaders stuck up for the law, the taxpayers, their own morals and what they see as a gallant cause.

    To me reality is what matters now. I do not think the AAF will be allowed to operate on campus again any time soon. But the AAF will continue, as a matter of law. I expect the amount of donations will remain meaningful. I think alumni (separate from the Foundation) should be seeking solutions to improve the situation. To me, the first order of business of a proper, post-eviction AAF board should be whether the AAF continues with the same leadership.
     
  19. ConcernedAlumni

    ConcernedAlumni Member

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    The "bigger picture?"

    OK – So yes please, let us all step back a bit to look at “things.”

    Let me strengthen something from earlier in this string – the “leadership” that made the Superintendents position a revolving door is what this concerned alumni does not trust – with good reason.

    La Hood and Matsuda – GONE, but left behind is the puppet they had finally installed. He may be the captain of the Titanic right now – but God forbid he should choose to alter his appointed course.

    As a side note I want to second Jasperdog’s grasp of the very obvious – any donations “directly” to the academy go directly to the Treasury Dept. to do with what it pleases. Just look at our Social Security Fund that I pretty much believe I will never get a dime back from. But I digress:

    There is a staff in place that curses at the midshipmen – which would not have been tolerated when I was there.

    The faculty (ranked worst in the nation) is so defunct they now run summer school classes to reduce dis-enrollments; and despite all claims to the contrary – about 20% of each class is now comprised of set-backs.

    Last year – without the astuteness of the young men and women enrolled at this academy some M/N would likely have died of CO poisoning – and those in charge have yet to install proper CO monitors.

    Within KP stop-gap measures -- after shutting down the offending heating system -- female M/N wound up walking in their bathrobes to the gym to get a shower – REALLYY!!! Also, many M/N resorted to all sorts of dangerous and technically illegal methods to keep from freezing in their bunks at night.

    Did it ever occur to the vast majority that this administration wants less watchful eyes around?

    So again I ask all of you who sacrifice personal time to read this diatribe – who should you be more wary of in such a war of words as the eviction of the AAF has generated?

    I know for sure who I do NOT trust!!!
     
  20. JED482

    JED482 New Member

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    I know this has been discussed on other forums, but I keep seeing people throw this information out on the Internet and it is important that people who are not familiar with this report understand what the rating is based on. It is based on information from the ratemyproffesors web site. This is a web site where anyone can anonymously submit ratings for any professor at any college. It was popular about six or eight years ago but isn’t used as much anymore. The ratings are supposed to indicate the Helpfulness of the professors and the Clarity (were you able to understand the class topics based on the professor’s teaching methods…). Complex, technical subjects tend to be more difficult for many people to grasp. The report gets a lot of attention because they list both the Merchant Marine Academy and the Coast Guard Academy as supposedly having some really hard/poor professors.

    Not surprisingly, the vast majority of “poorly” rated schools are Technology or Engineering based institutions. The vast majority of “high” rated schools are Liberal Arts schools. Keep in mind, these ratings are done by students at their own school, they are not comparing them to other schools. There are also some really odd results in the study in which many local junior colleges, and online colleges, are listed as having better professors than schools like Harvard and Yale.

    The methodology used for the rating is also pretty odd. The “rating” they give is based upon all reviews ever recorded on the site, it goes back to about 2002. In the case of the Merchant Marine Academy, about half of the reviews are for professors that no longer work at the Academy (or maybe never worked there). Analyzing the data reveals the poorest ratings at the Merchant Marine Academy were from 2004 – 2007. The ratings during the past couple years are significantly higher. In fact, if they only went off the rating from the past couple years the Merchant Marine Academy has one of the highest ratings. Also, the rating for this last year is the highest ever at the Academy. So if you still want to believe the overall “poor” rating for the Academy is accurate, you would need to also accept that during the past couple years the rating is one of the best (or just disregard the whole thing).

    The biggest problem I have, however, is that when a story like this is released on the Internet you are inevitably going to have people repeat the information as fact, whether it is accurate or not.
     

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