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Response Letter

Addresses various topics/questions posed by a member

To all of those with concerns & questions:

We, the board, felt that due to the apparent misunderstandings with regard to our members feeling their questions have not been answered, we felt this was an appropriate response.  Please be advised that all questions posted here were also posted publicly, and are therefore not considered confidential and private; and our answers are here for those to see.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. 

We apologize for anyone who got the impression that we were not responding in good time, however these questions have previously been answered privately.  But we feel that this way, they are available for anyone with the same questions. 

See my reply to each of the statements/questions, as well as additional comments below.  My text is in BLACK, the original email is in BLUE.  We have removed the name and information of the individual requesting this, as it is up to them if they wish to disclose their identity.


Subject: Questions for elizabeth GHA
Sent: Thurs, Feb 17

Hi Elizabeth, Thanks for offering up the info on Jill's wages, I would love to have that info, please send it on...

(Sun, Feb 20) I’m afraid there has been a misunderstanding.  While I can understand how that may have occurred, I must explain that our Registrar – Jill – does not receive “wages” in the sense that “wages” are earned by employees, where taxes are removed by employer, forms filed, and the like.  Our Registrar is a contract worker, she is responsible for the FICA tax – which is at 13.45%, and GHA does not contribute to this, as we would for an employee earning “wages”.

During your Presidency, this was put in place.  You estimated that it would take between 2-4 hrs to complete each new registration (depending on how much background work needed to be done to verify parentage, get acceptable photos, etc), about 1 hr for previously registered horses and for transfers. Obviously some horses are more difficult and some are easier depending on how much help owners needs with registrations.  

She gets paid a set amount for each “job/registration”, if there is no work, there is no pay. As for her remuneration, she is paid $38 for a new registration, $28 for a previously registered horse, and $25 for a transfer.  She is also paid sporadically for web services at a rate of $25/hr.  This is in the low-mid range for web developers which range anywhere from $20-$65/hr.  

Last year our registrar billed roughly $7,500 for everything, including her expenses.  It is important to note that our Registrar does much more than register horses.  She set up the original registration site and continues to maintain the registration pages, all online forms & documents, etc for free.  She spent ~$1000 for the needed software by the time she was finished with the set-up, and she bought a new PC, a back-up drive, and a color printer with her own money.  This is the part of contract work that is so easily overlooked.  If she were an employee, her boss would provide all of the equipment and supplies.  We could probably find someone to do this for a flat rate of $15/hour, but it would require another layer of bookkeeping and responsibility for filing federal forms, etc. 

Here is the exact breakdown of what she covers with the amount she is paid:

Registrar's cost per registration:
     Gold Seals - 22 cents
     Sheet Protectors - 15 cents
     Postage - 1.22 for 1 registration
     Registration Paper - 14 cents
     Envelopes - 19 cents
     Printing (Based on toner cost of .50 per page - double sided) - 1.00 
     TOTAL: $2.92 – Round to $3 to account for inevitable waste (paper jams, etc).
Other expenses as Registrar:
     Toll free phone number - $20/month
     Toner for her personal printer which she uses for registrations - $400/year
     Use of her own office, computer equipment, printer, software, pens, etc.
     Maintenance of the registration Web pages
     Creation of all needed Web forms/templates
     Time & mileage required in taking registrations to the post office for weighing and postage
     Time spent on the phone & writing emails related to registrations and member questions
     Preparation of registration reports

I don’t think that anyone would honestly expect an organization to request the time, effort, and labor done as a registrar without covering the expenses for time and materials.  We all are struggling these days, and I’m sure you can understand the need to cover these expenses of our Registrar who does all the work to make your paperwork turn around so that you may reap the benefits of a registering body.  Please keep in mind that most organizations have actual paid staff for such type of work, and it should be applauded that we have someone willing to do the work as contract labor and save an organization she believes in money by doing so.

The tone of the statement appeared very sarcastic, as though the registrar wasn’t even due this minor compensation. I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way.  Emails can be misread as we all know, so I hope this clears up any confusion regarding this particular aspect.


I also have some other questions and concerns which the BOD has been ignoring that I hope you will respond to.

We certainly apologize if you feel that any real concerns were ignored.  Please understand that as the head of an organization, we cannot engage in personal disputes and confrontations.  We are always happy to answer actual questions or concerns, proposed to us in a respectful manner.  I’m sure you understand that sometimes things fall by the wayside, and if that was the case, you certainly have our apologies.  At the same time, I’m sure you can understand after your time serving this organization,  that responding to emails or statements that are not constructive but only wish to cause dissention is not something in which the BOD can participate.


I requested the budget and 2 year business plan for 2010 and have received no response... perhaps that is because the GHA worked for an ENTIRE YEAR without one, I looked in both the GHA minutes and my GHABOD emails and so I realize it isn't there, but it would have been professional to at least address a my request and tell the truth about it never having gotten done, despite it being one of the fundamental requirements of a registry... It's funny for an organization who's mission statement makes claims of "financial transparency", it seems things are as clear as mud.

Unfortunately this is the very type of situation I was speaking of previously. It is much more appropriate to simply ask a question, and if something is missed, request it again - getting upset and acting out is beneath us all.  This organization is here for you, we are here for you, so asking for a little respect in how you deal with situations that concern you is not asking too much.  Please keep this in mind.  As for your question, there is no requirement to provide a budget or a two year plan in the bylaws.  In 2009 as the President, a two year plan to cover 2009 & 2010 (which has just ended) was recommended to you to give the Presidency some direction and credibility.  Mary did prepare the initial 2008 budget and forecast for GHA.  It is included with the Federal Forms for Exempt Status which Terry prepared.  As for some of the planned activities for 2010, the time was unfortunately taken away from the organization and spent instead dealing with member situations that arose, both valid and totally inappropriate. It is the inappropriate personal situations that we are seeking to put a stop to, we feel it is unfair to the rest of the membership, for their organization to be unable to complete activities for the whole, due to the actions of a few.  To see what was accomplished in 2010, and the upcoming goals for 2011 and beyond, please refer to the email sent on January 12, 2011, subject "GHA 2010 Wrap-Up".

The critical function of GHA is the Registration Service, and in that, we still feel that we provide the best for the least.  This is the one thing that is REQUIRED that the BOD and OFFICERS ensure for the membership.  All other perks are the icing on the cake, and we have and will continue to provide them as best we can with the resources we have, expanding them at every possible opportunity.

Regarding financial transparency, in May 2010 financials were sent out to the entire membership in preparation for the annual meeting.  These should have been received by all.  In addition, we discussed the major expenditures paid to date and remaining for 2010 in one of the meetings, and that there were more than adequate funds for the remainder of 2010 and well into the beginning of 2011. 

As stated above, much time has been spent dealing with unwarranted drama in recent months, so the last quarterly report is not yet complete.  But this will be completed as soon as possible, and the 2010 Balance Sheet and Income Statement will be available for the Annual Meeting.   All GHA financial transactions are logged through Bank of America and PayPal, both of which provide a detailed audit trail of all monies in and out of GHA.  With those facts laid out, I’m afraid I just don’t understand how we are being anything other than Financially Transparent?


Additionally other emails from members have been ignored. I contacted Name removed by GHA, who sent out a request asking what actions the BOD intended to take against a director/officer who had slandered her as well as other farms. Name removed by GHA also wrote to the BOD and has not received a response.

Our Secretary has received no inquiries from either of these individuals regarding supposed slander.  However, as to accusations some of the directors received privately regarding Terry by one of these individuals, we did look into the situation before making any judgment. 

This situation once brought to our attention was looked into, in depth, and proof and facts reviewed.  It was discovered that even while these accusations were rumored at more than one farm, they all originated with the same person or small group of people.  The "rumors" appeared to be solely spread within that group and then outlashed to the farms to cause dissension among the GHA and it's members.   The farms who have contacted us and asked about this, have been informed of our belief, and it was traced back to the same core individuals.   If the farms who have actually been affected still have some doubt as to the truth behind what was stated here, then we hope they will contact us, publicly or privately, as is their wish. 

In our inquiry, we found that Terry had not even spoken to this person since early 2008 and it was briefly to answer a GHA-related question.  Terry would also gladly render her phone logs to show that she has a very small network of people she has spoken to during that time.  Terry emailed this person privately and copied the BOD & Secretary as a matter of record.  Terry stated that she had "never said anything (good or bad) about her or her farm...and that if anyone had 'bad mouthed' her farm or her horses, it was Name Removed by GHA, who is known to have done so, and that is the truth."  We found at least 3 others that can confirm that this member was the source of this slander against the individual  and her farm.  Terry also provided her prior emails to another member in regards to further accusations, and posted emails which clearly contradicted inaccurate recollection of her purchase of a particular filly.  The concrete evidence was overwhelmingly in corroboration with Terry's claim that she was not guilty of said slander/libel. 

In order to remove an Officer, or even ask that such a thing be carried out, there must be concrete evidence of wrong doing, just as those wishing certain members to be removed.  Again, we cannot just take a rumor or a preference and use it to essentially trial & verdict any individual.  We can only investigate the facts as we are given them, which we did; and when it all ends up at the door of one small group of people, it makes it very hard to expect it to hold any weight. 

As an organization it is inappropriate to post details of these consultations publicly. However, if those directly involved wish further information to ease their concerns, they need only contact us for specifics. But we do not feel that as an organization names should be listed in the basic responses to these situations.  We cannot stop others from becoming personal and volatile, but we will certainly strive to hold the GHA above that behavior. We are just people, and we get upset and angered by the constant immature behavior, and there have been times when things have been said. We are striving for the betterment of our growing membership, to put a stop to this and move forward.  However, it is up to those creating these situations whether or not they decide to move forward with the same respect for each other.

Additionally Name Removed by GHA has written several times requesting info about the annual meeting, attendance of officers and directors to the EA,

On January 26th, I sent a same-day response regarding attendance of officers/directors at the Ohio EA, as was requested.  And on February 15th, I sent a same-day response, again, regarding the annual meeting plans.  Please check your email boxes before making assumptions and claims that your questions were unanswered. This solves nothing. We all know that technology is not entirely reliable, but it is not unreasonable to expect a simple, “have you gotten a chance to respond?". I think we have a much better chance of joint respect if such is displayed.  Please let me know if I need to resend them.


and additionally what the plans were to handle yet another case of where once again a slanderous link was sent out, this time regarding a FLT,  by the GHA President. 

I can only assume the email to which you are referring is the one that was "forwarded" to Mary. Since it had no recipient and was copied/pasted in an email to her, we are unable to verify that it is a genuine email.  It could be, but in the current climate, nothing can be assumed.  Regardless, it is imperative to recognize that something is only slander or libel if it is untrue. Since this email consisted only of a link to a newspaper article, it was not untrue--the newspaper clearly published this.  And so this email, if Mary did send it, is not libelous. 

Assuming this email was one Mary sent, how do we know the intent was to harm the member farm as the term "slanderous" would imply? The email contained only a link, no commentary. What was the intent of sending this?  At any rate, after receiving the forwarded email, Mary promptly contacted the mentioned farm and apologized for any hurt feelings this email, if it was one she sent, might have caused its owners.  They graciously accepted Mary's apology.  Incidentally, a further inaccuracy on concerned the date of said email. The email forwarded to me was dated 2009.  Mary was not President at that time.  I fail to see how a situation, that may or may not have actually originated with a member of GHA, or even a BOD, or Officer, but that in no way had commentary, or falsehoods, and was later worked out between the two parties supposedly involved, has anything to do with the members as a whole, or why it is still being hashed out as a problem.  This just seems a great waste of time. Should the farm actually affected have concerns, they would certainly contact us or the person they feel responsible.


I would like to know if this is the kind of business the GHA plans to continue in the coming year?  Are there any discipline procedures for handling these kinds of actions of the BOD and officers against it own membership? This is a question I have asked repeatedly and have gotten no response on.

Again, I would think that in the entire time that you served this organization, you would have realized that the answer to this is in the by-laws.  There are times that responses to questions will take longer than others. We each have separate lives from the GHA, and all have responsibilities to both. Please read the by-laws, or at least try to consult them for answers such as this if you need immediate responses, so that you are not forced to wait on me.  The responses are already provided in that document.  But I will paste here as well.

Article, IV, Section 6.  Removal
Any Director may be removed by a majority vote of the Board of Directors after appropriate notice and hearing for cause, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Violation of any provision of these Bylaws or any other rule or regulation adopted pursuant to these Bylaws.
  2. Any public action or conduct while representing the Association at shows, expos, or other organized events which may cause liability to the Association. 

Removal Procedure shall be in accordance with 6.31 Termination; expulsion and suspension of Vermont Title 11B: Nonprofit Corporations.   


I also have questions as to why select farms were excluded from being asked to participate in the GHA Stallion Auction.

A group of volunteer members compiled lists of member stallion owners for contact. We are not omniscient or infallible--we may not have known who has stallions and who doesn't. Some stallion owners may have been accidentally missed. I suspect no one contacted you because you've been so critical of GHA lately that everyone in the group figured you would not care to participate. Additionally, I did not recommend that you be contacted because you had mentioned having your boy gelded. 

No stallion owner suffered loss by not being asked via private email.  Every stallion owner has been invited to donate via the Web site.  You or any other member may donate your stallion's service up to the end of the sale. I can only assume that since this was mentioned, that you wish to donate your stallion. Please email me and I will send you the info needed. 

We apologize if this caused any ill feelings with anyone, please be aware that we welcome any inquiry to our stallion auction, and anyone not contacted directly is not intentionally excluded or those contacted included… we send out information as we have it at the time. If you feel you were missed, please just contact one of us.

Supposedly a group email was sent to the membership... strangely neither
Name Removed by GHA and myself, (both of whom have separate memberships), Names Removed by GHA were contacted, despite the fact that many of us have supported the stallion auction in the past. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that we have all asked hard questions from the GHA administration.

There was no email sent to the entire membership asking for donations of stallion services - this is where "supposedly" causes another inaccuracy that can cause harmful tensions that are neither intended nor necessary.  However, in the list of those who were contacted privately in addition to the invitation on the website for all members, if the members who you mention were not contacted have made public strong negative feelings regarding GHA, the volunteers probably felt these members would not wish to donate and could be insulted be being contacted.  That is why the invitation was placed on the website.  So those who may feel insulted could still be invited if they wished, but not so directly to cause such feelings. 

Everyone has been included in one form or another. After all the e-mails and public denouncements of this organization by the very members it supports, it is hardly surprising, if a volunteer sending out some notices, was hesitant to invite further attack by contacting these individuals with unsolicited emails. If this was an incorrect situation, surely you can see it was not intentional, and of course all are welcome. We are merely trying to put a lid on this boiling pot of emotions that need to refocus on the organization and less on personal confrontations.


I would love to hear your responses on these issues... I eagerly await your response! You have a wonderful day!  
Name Removed by GHA

In wrapping up your concerns, I hope these final paragraphs bring to light the truth and facts behind some other things that have been brought to our attention.

I am concerned about what would appear to be a blackmail threat that an individual close to you made in an email he sent to Mary.  His exact wording was, "I think it’s high time all of you get off your high horses and do what you know has to be done…and that is resign before any more of this information comes out…" Blackmail is legally actionable.  I am also concerned about the last line in that same email from this member, which reads, "I’d just as soon salvage the GHA but I’m not opposed to putting this out if I have to…". This statement shows that this person does not care about the GHA.  This smear campaign against GHA's officers and directors appears to be personal, although I can only guess what the reasons are for this.  The supposed concern for GHA's welfare is at best, based upon the above statements, hypocrisy. 

I fear that these statements are not only illegal, but also show a very disturbing trend.  No one is forcing anyone to be a member, or to participate, or to vote.  These are things that are done of each members own free will.  Perhaps it is just me, however I have a hard time understanding, as I’m sure most of our members do as well, what exactly is achieved by personal attacks, and threats?  How does this help the organization, and how can you expect us to take anything you propose or write seriously and respectfully when these things are done?

In regard to a recent email you sent that mentioned a "proxy vote" from me being accepted at one of our BOD meetings, but then the same type of vote was unacceptable for another director regarding a later vote...seems this may have been at another meeting that you missed.  At that time, we should have chosen better wording to describe how I voted.  In that meeting, I had not yet read the previous minutes in order to accept them into record.  So once I had done so, I personally emailed my vote from my computer directly to the BOD forum.  This is not truly a "by proxy" vote, in which an individual's vote is submitted to our forum/Secretary through a third party in some fashion.  After the instance you mention where a true by proxy vote was submitted by one Director via email for another Director to the BOD forum, it became evident why this type of voting is not acceptable or allowed by our bylaws. 

The director whose vote was forwarded by another was under the impression that his vote was for an entirely different thing based on the subject line of the email and discussion leading up to that vote.  However, the manner in which it was cut and pasted together was misleading to the BOD and caused his vote to appear to take on an entirely different meaning than he intended.  This will be confirmed in the January minutes once they are approved at our next meeting.  Again, could you please at least attempt to make sure your information is accurate before spreading even MORE untruth?  This is damaging to all, and it is entirely beneath anyone with respect for each other and the organization.

Also, instead of being familiar with GHA's bylaws and realizing that we must handle issues within their limitations, you resigned. You were in disagreement with the majority of the Directors who would not go against the so that an individual close to you could run as a write-in candidate (because he failed to renew his membership in time to run for an office before the twice-posted deadline). Nor did you respect the bylaws which stated that due to conflicts of interest involving everyone on the current ballot, there was not a quorum present to be able to vote for a re-election even after this individual withdrew his wishes to run for office. Then you both followed up with months of attempts to derail the GHA's efforts by spreading unbelievable amounts of misinformation.  Just remember, saying something over and over again does not make it true. 

On a final note: There have been numerous similar examples of these types of misinformation spread over the last few months.  Too many to even try to try to jump on the defensive and address every time another email is sent, were we inclined to do so.  This is why members who were concerned or wanted clarification on something they read have been emailing us directly. They recognize that nothing is as it is being made to seem in the inflammatory emails being sent around. 

Decisions are made the world over by BODs…all charged with making decisions for their members…and seldom do the members even know a decision was made.  That is not the case with the GHA.  Before making any decisions we are charged with in our bylaws that we feel are big, the BOD asks for input via email/teleconference prior to any vote (such as the partbred division, which is defined as a decision to be made by the BOD since it is part of “managing the studbook”).  We do this so that we can make the decisions in the interests of majority of the members.  If every time the BOD makes a decision that a few don’t like, we get lambasted like we have in the past, who will want to run?  Who will spend the time they do working on the GHA business just to get this kind of flack?  Just remember, "having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting”.

I am disappointed to see such behavior that is both selfish & disrespectful to the rest of the membership.  Many of these situations are bordering on, if not already crossed over, the harassment line. Against members, and officers, there is no reason for it - it brings everyone down, and makes those doing so appear vindictive, petty, and immature.  I hope that with this information now out there, and available for those who want the facts, that everyone will strive to put a stop to this, put aside emotions, and move forward for the betterment of the GHA.

Luckily, the GHA has excellent leadership, four new Directors, and we are going strong!


Elizabeth Sescilla, Chairperson of the Board