[eDebate] [CEDA-L] RewardPointsGate--CEDA exposed!!

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Tue Dec 30 21:07:52 CST 2008

i appreciate the disclosure, its not the golden ticket, its not gonna pay
for free ceda, but there is potential that we should investigate and utilize
to the full extent that it can.

On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 9:17 PM, Shawn T Whalen <swhalen at sfsu.edu> wrote:

> Just wanted to provide full disclosure.  I think that the organization
> could potentially benefit from formalizing a strategic approach to corporate
> incentives.  However, I think that benefit would be marginal.  Others are
> surely more astute at these negotiations, but its hard to imagine a system
> that would meaningfully alter the circumstances of the average member
> institution.
> Shawn
>  *"Andy Ellis" <andy.edebate at gmail.com>*
> Sent by: ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com
> 12/30/2008 05:31 PM
>   To
> "Shawn T Whalen" <swhalen at sfsu.edu>  cc
> edebate at ndtceda.com, ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com, CEDA-L at ndtceda.com
> Subject
> Re: [CEDA-L] RewardPointsGate--CEDA exposed!!
> Yes...The organization should not make you take on the contractual
> responsibility, thats the easier solution no doubt, but an awful one given
> what else the organization requires of you. If that is an expected libaility
> of an exec it should be in the job description, if it is just de facto that
> way because in 40 years we can't get together our own business accounts,
> that should be changed. Either way, i think we are largely on the same side
> here, corporate citizenship should offer benefits to the people in those
> positions, not 3 nights at the hyatt, but liability from contractual risk is
> a good starter.
> On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 8:22 PM, Shawn T Whalen <*swhalen at sfsu.edu*<swhalen at sfsu.edu>>
> wrote:
> When I negotiated the contract for the hotel, CEDA had no role in the
> negotiation.  I never used a credit card or earned reward points for
> organizational purchases.  The CEDA treasurer pays all the costs of catering
> etc.
> I got points for signing a contract to use the Hyatt as the tournament
> hotel.  The organization might want to consider generating policy to govern
> the contractual relationship it makes with the hotel, but when I was asked
> to put a bid together no such policy existed and CEDA had no role beyond
> approving our bid. Indeed, I incurred all of the contractual risk (a couple
> hundred thousand if the event had been cancelled as I recall).  To that end,
> I never thought of those points as "CEDA's resources."  (Again, if the
> organization feels differently you can send me a bill).
> I'll add that my negotiation with the hotel included a number of comp rooms
> that were provided to CEDA as well as a rate of $79 per night (compared to a
> rack rate of well over $250), free wireless access (waiving a $15/day fee),
> and 1/2 price parking.  I never negotiated for the points, they were a
> standard inducement offered at the time.
> Shawn
>   *"Andy Ellis" <**andy.edebate at gmail.com* <andy.edebate at gmail.com>*>*
> Sent by: *ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com* <ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com>
> 12/30/2008 05:00 PM
>   To
> "Shawn T Whalen" <*swhalen at sfsu.edu* <swhalen at sfsu.edu>>  cc
> *edebate at ndtceda.com* <edebate at ndtceda.com>, *ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com*<ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com>,
> *CEDA-L at ndtceda.com* <CEDA-L at ndtceda.com>  Subject
> Re: [CEDA-L] RewardPointsGate--CEDA exposed!!
> I don't want you to pay them back, i want the organization to not make you
> have a credit card with enough of a limit to get three days in tahoe. I want
> to plan the resource so its worthwhile and accumulates and goes back to our
> tax exempt purpose. If we want to reward our leadership for a job well done
> we should as individual members take up a contribution and get them
> something they like. We do this now, well mostly the executive committee
> does this, but we shouldnt use organizational resources outside of the
> compensation agreement for it.
> On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 7:53 PM, Shawn T Whalen <*swhalen at sfsu.edu*<swhalen at sfsu.edu>>
> wrote:
> Never saw the original email. So I'm not exactly sure what has been
> requested.
> I received no points or other compensation when I was president and ran the
> 2003 CEDA Nationals.  When I hosted in 2005, I got 50,000 Hyatt Gold Rewards
> points.  Those points got me 3 days at the Tahoe Hyatt.
> If the membership would like me to pay the value of those points back, let
> me know.
> Shawn
>   *"Andy Ellis" <**andy.edebate at gmail.com* <andy.edebate at gmail.com>*>*
> Sent by: *ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com* <ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com>
> 12/30/2008 04:28 PM
>   To
> "Darren Elliott" <*delliott at kckcc.edu* <delliott at kckcc.edu>>  cc
> *edebate at ndtceda.com* <edebate at ndtceda.com>, *CEDA-L at ndtceda.com*<CEDA-L at ndtceda.com>
> Subject
> Re: [CEDA-L] RewardPointsGate--CEDA exposed!!
> This is funny I see that not having email for a few days gave you some
> time to be creative.
> There are some good questions here, but also a bit more defensive than
> i think is necessary.
> Frequent flyer miles and other rewards programs are considered "price
> adjustments" tantamount to rebates, employees or officers should under
> general accounting procedures not receive personal compensation from
> this. It is similar to having the rebate check made out to your self
> when the organization or corporation you work for buys your phone. It
> is not illegal, and the irs doesn't have a specific enforment arm for
> such things, but they are starting to care. It is bundled in the
> executive compensation scrutiny that sarbanes oxley and grassley have
> started looking into, and it will be incorporated into the new public
> tax reporting form.
> There is no loophole for reimbursements, its considered a non
> accountable reimbursement(something the irs does have specific
> enforments on) and subject to scrutiny.
> There is also no room for a well this president donated so much time
> and money to the org that it seemed ok. Thats an employment officer
> arrangement with the organization that if documented falls into one of
> the catagories above, if not documented above is frowned upon by
> general accounting procedures.
> It also is not currently illegal to take the benefits as an
> individual, it does not have to be claimed on income taxes...yet...
> So no i am not accusing anyone or the organization of anything
> illegal, at worst its less than optimal governance.
> However, less than optimal governance can spell problems for non
> profits, it can lead to bad audits, decreased potential to take
> donations, and chum for media sharks who are looking for something to
> write about. Plus it breeds contempt and distrust amongst the members.
> I have been combing the 990, looking to see if there is a record of
> the reward points i can't find them, but i havent gotten through the
> whole thing yet. And this really is the point. I shouldnt have to ask,
> i should be able to find out as a member of the public and the
> organization how the organizations assests are handled, thats the
> point of public disclosure requirements, i may know the folks you
> mentioned, and could probably ask them, but i want to know what the
> outside view looks like, not what i can find out from those that care.
> Plus without transparency there is no reason to trust that i will get
> anything but the news people want me to hear, i imagine all of the
> people in ceda would disclose freely (in fact one former presidents
> boast about his hotel points comes to mind as a free disclosure) but i
> should be able to know without asking the people for whom the
> disclosure has potential consequences, thats the public trust
> obligation.
> Here is my guess, CEDA presidents have had to put things on their
> personal cards because ceda does not have the financial resources to
> maintain an active credit card account with the kind of limit needed
> to do such things, if thats the case the leaders who have offered up
> their own cards have been helping the org in a lurch and should be
> commended, but thats not how it should be, the organization should be
> capable of maintaining and benefiting from such accounts. It should
> not rely on the willingness of its officers nor should it pay what
> amounts to a fee for not having business accounts capeable of handling
> its business.
> Finally, you mention this allusion to you and your work, i was
> referring to the attempt to establish multi year hotel contracts, i
> should have been more clear. As for the time question...thats not a
> legally defensible position, nor is it a reason the non accountable
> reimbursement plan would pass an audit(not the kind the irs does, but
> the kind an external auditor does to certify our governance
> practices).
> If i take over as 2nd VP i want to know every line of our public
> disclousres. I want to be able to say" no andy you missed the rewards
> points in section 4, they are listed as an accounatable reimbursement,
> as per our accountant and independent audit, i can show you our public
> conflict of interest policy that all execs must sign. I can also
> provide you the officer compensation information from our most recent
> form 990.  you will note that if you look at our annual financial
> disclosure in the report widely available on our website you will see
> our reasoning for why we made the decision we did, if you would like
> any other documents that we are required to disclose please remit
> payment of 40 cents per document plus a $5.00 copying and processing
> fee, thank you and if you need any thing else please check out*
> **www.cedadebate.org/about* <http://www.cedadebate.org/about> where you
> will find minutes from our buisness
> meetings. annual reports, and our disclosures of our conflict of
> interest policies. If you have additional questions please feel free
> to contact kelly mcdonald."
> On 12/30/08, Darren Elliott <*delliott at kckcc.edu* <delliott at kckcc.edu>>
> wrote:
> > Associated Press reporting:
> >
> > Achten and Whalen jet-setting to European Parli Conference on the back of
> > CEDA Rewards Points.  Stop.
> > Jarman and Massey attending Big 12 Championship Games in Kansas City and
> > living it up at Downtown Marriott.  Not as shocking as OU win! : ) Stop.
> > Baker, Steinberg, Warner, and Sandoz enjoying golf outing in Tempe with
> > McDonald.  Charging extravagant meals to Holiday Inn Reward Points Club.
> > Stop.
> > Patrice movements unknown and protected by National Security as Debate
> Coach
> > of entire Army!  Stop.
> >
> > Here is a better one--just Stop!
> >
> > Andy asks about the rewards points possibility from past CEDA Nationals.
> > Wonder if he asked the right people?
> >
> > I only comment because quite often, "questions" posed to edebate/ceda-l
> are
> > suspicious in their intent.  Anyone who has hosted a CEDA Nationals in
> the
> > past x number of years (Jarman, Massey, Mahoney, Whalen, Warner,
> McDonald)
> > or who was CEDA President at the time (Patrice, Steinberg, Baker,
> Schriver,
> > Sandoz, Whalen) or who was CEDA Treasurer at the time (McDonald, Achten)
> > could take that public posting as an attempt to expose some underhanded
> > activity on their part.  The post even suggested the points were being
> > "quietly used" to pad the room nights of CEDA execs or "going to" the
> person
> > charging things on their credit card.  Both of these suggest ill-intent
> on
> > those who would have had the power to do so.  Their names for the last 6
> > years are above.  But this does not seem to be a productive inquiry.
> >
> > Andy, did you email any of these folks personally and ask:
> > 1.  Did CEDA ever look into banking reward points for the ideas you
> listed
> > in your 2nd email?
> > 2.  Did CEDA ever try to formalize a relationship with parent hotel
> > companies to allow the organization to benefit from points?
> > 3.  Did CEDA allow individual programs to earn their own points
> (something I
> > am sure is happening and completely legitimate for schools paying their
> own
> > bills).
> >
> > My point is, edebate and ceda-l as a launching point for these
> "questions"
> > are more often than not seen as "accusations" towards people who give
> their
> > time, energy, heart, and soul to this organization.  It gets frustrating
> > that good intentions get slammed, that good people get accused of things
> > that are crazy, and that we dont first assume people are acting in good
> > faith.
> > If Andy is elected to a leadership position, he will understand too well
> how
> > these forums serve to frustrate more than accomplish anything positive.
> >
> > Final 2 points.  First, you alluded to me doing some work in this area
> but
> > you have no idea where the points are.  I have no idea what work you are
> > referring to.  At one a year or so ago you mentioned rewards points and I
> > echoed that if CEDA were to create a relationship that would be great.
>  The
> > conversation ended there.  Second point, my guess is many individual
> > programs collect their own points for use during the year OR that CEDA
> execs
> > simply didnt have the TIME to invest in reward points banking with all of
> > the other demands that come with the job.
> >
> > Cut folks some slack.  Ask them directly.  Then begin a productive
> dialogue
> > about what CEDA should do.  Your ideas are valuable ones.  They just get
> > lost in the accusatory tone of "quietly used" rhetoric.
> >
> > Of course, maybe I am wrong.  Wonder where Achten spent the Holidays!  ;
> )
> >
> > chief
> >
> > Darren Elliott
> > Director of Debate and Forensics--KCKCC
> > CEDA President
> > _______________________________________________
> > CEDA-L mailing list
> > *CEDA-L at www.ndtceda.com* <CEDA-L at www.ndtceda.com>
> > *http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/ceda-l
> >
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