The 1995 ITU Triathlon World Championships were held in Cancun, Mexico, in November of that year. In conjunction with the Championships, the annual ITU Congress was also held. It was at this Congress that draft-legal racing for pros/elites was "officially" voted in for ITU events, including the Olympics. USA Triathlon's representatives attended the congress with high hopes of convincing the members NOT to approve draft-legal racing. What follows is the story of how the ITU conducted the congress.
Subject: Another Open Letter To Mark Sisson from USA Triathlon-Release II
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (TRIFED USA)
What Mark Sisson Doesn't Know About Roberts Rules of Order Could Fill A
Couple Of Books
(This is the second in a series of USA Triathlon replies to Mark Sisson's
"this is a long one.." posting. This posting takes issue with Mark's claim
that the ITU Cancun Congress was fair and square and no one has a right to
gripe about what happened there).
Ordinarily a discussion about Roberts Rules of Order is about as
interesting as used Kleenix. But Mark Sisson brought the subject up in his
"This is a long one, folks.." when speaking about how democratic and fair
(they don't always mean the same thing) the ITU Cancun Congress was and
that no one could find anything amiss about how things were done. Here's
what Mark had to say-
"The Cancun Congress proceeded completely within the guidelines of the ITU
Constitution and Roberts Rules of Order."
So that everyone will know, the ITU Constitution says that whenever there
isn't a provision in the ITU Constitution covering a point, Roberts Rules
of Order applies. When Mark says that the Cancun meeting was conducted in
conformity with the ITU Constitution and Roberts Rules of Order he is
totally off base.
The Cancun Congress was conducted in blatant disregard of the ITU
Constitution and Roberts Rules of Order. And because it was conducted in
violation of both, the Cancun Congress was unfair and, among other things,
adopted amendments to the ITU Constitution illegally. USA Triathlon is
taking action to see that there is not a repetition of these improper
actions at the ITU's Cleveland Congress on August 23, 1996.
But for the record, here's the story of the ITU Congress which was held in
November 1995 in Cancun, Mexico.
ITU VIOLATION #1
When the delegates assembled to enter the meeting room for the ITU Cancun
Congress, they were met by sergents-at-arms at each of the two entrance
doors of the hall. For the first time in ITU's seven year history, only
delegates were admitted to the meeting room. All others were barred from
Now Roberts Rules is very specific on this point. Unless an organization's
constitution provides otherwise, a meeting can only be closed by the
majority vote of its membership. The ITU Constitution does not otherwise
provide. At Cancun there was no vote by the members to close the meeting.
The meeting had been ordered closed by Les McDonald before Congress
convened without even consulting the members. No motion was ever made by
the members present at the Cancun Congress to close the meeting.
This is another example of the contempt with which Les McDonald treats the
ITU Congress. Mark Sisson's attitude to USA Triathlon is merely a
reflection of McDonald's attitude toward all the ITU federations.
In the April edition of INSIDE TRIATHLON, Les McDonald told editor Chris
Newbound that the meeting was closed to keep World Triathlon Corporation
(Ironman) President David Yates out of the room. This was done even though
Les McDonald had invited David Yates in writing to attend. McDonald claims
to have acted upon advise of counsel, but that seems unlikely given the
fact that the invitation was issued just before the Cancun Congress. (Just
in case Les McDonald denies the invitation, USA Triathlon will be glad to
produce his memo for one and all to see.)
ITU VIOLATION #2
The ITU Constitution does have something to say about secret voting. The
ITU Constitution says:
"8.3(g)...if a secret ballot is requested it will be organized."
Roberts Rules says that this means that when a member requests a secret
vote it must be granted. During the meeting, USA Triathlon requested a
secret vote on an important issue. Les McDonald said only if a majority of
the members ask for a secret vote will it be granted. And he further said
that the vote of the members on the question of secret voting must be by
open vote. And so there was no secret vote and the issue went against USA
Please understand that all of this is done so Les McDonald can see who
votes how on any given subject. Les was wrong, under Roberts Rules to deny
USA Triathlon's request. USA Triathlon has now notified the ITU president
that it will take the issue to arbitration if he doesn't promise in
writing to grant a secret vote at the Cleveland Congress when it is
requested by a member.
ITU VIOLATION #3
At its Cancun Congress, the ITU passed a number of amendments to the ITU
Constitution. Some of the amendments were important. These amendments were
The ITU Constitution requires that a constitutional amendment must be
adopted by a 2/3 majority of ALL ITU MEMBER FEDERATIONS in good standing.
A 2/3 majority of all ITU members is 78 members. There were only 54
members present at the Cancun Congress, so that even if all 54 members
voted in favor of an amendment there were still 24 votes short of the
necessary majority. Roberts Rules of Order is quite specific on this
point. It says that when there is a requirement that a 2/3 vote of all the
membership is required to adopt a constitutional amendment, then it means
just that and it doesn't mean 2/3 of the members present at the meeting.
USA Triathlon intends to bring this entire charade to the attention of the
full ITU membership.
ITU VIOLATION #4
At the Cancun Congress, Les McDonald claimed to have the right to decide
whether or not a resolution submitted by a member federation should be
brought before the meeting to be considered by all the membership. In
other words Les McDonald claimed the right to decide which
member-submitted resolutions could be presented. Of course, the
resolutions he supported were brought before Congress and the
resolutions he didn't like were trashed.
Roberts Rules of Order says that all resolutions must come to the floor of
a meeting unless a Resolutions Committee is authorized by an
organization's bylaws to hold back resolutions. ITU does not have a
Resolutions Committee and the ITU Constitution does not authorize the
witholding of resolutions from the floor of Congress. As a result of
McDonald's rulings, a resolution submitted by USA Triathlon was not
presented to Congress (a drafting resolution).
All of this is the exact opposite of democracy and the exact opposite of
USA Triathlon really does hope that when ITU's financial records are
finally audited by independent accountants that Mark Sisson will be found
to know more about being a treasurer than he knows about being a
parliamentarian. The truth is that Mark Sisson is no parlimentarian by a
long shot. (By the way, ITU does not have a parlimentarian.) And by the
way a second time, the information furnished above came from people who
were present at the ITU Cancun Congress.
USA TRIATHLON BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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