NCHA Special Committee
A special committee will review the bylaws for the National Cutting Horse Association. The goal is to identify any potential governance issues. • QHN File Photo.

Update: More Details Released About NCHA Special Committee

A select group of longtime National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) members have been tasked to review the organization’s bylaws. The NCHA says it made the move after questions were raised recently about possible governance issues within the association.

NCHA President Ron Pietrafeso will chair the committee. Other members will be Gary Barker, Matt Gaines and John Rutherford, while attorneys Lewis Stevens and Dan Churchill will serve as advisors.

“It was a consensus of people I talked to,” Pietrafeso said of how he determined which members should serve on the committee. “I was looking for three people to represent amateurs, trainers and non-pros. Those three names kept coming up, and I felt that they were the most neutral that would give their opinions based on what’s best for NCHA.”

Pietrafeso, who in September appointed the special governance committee, said suggestions made by the group will be presented to the NCHA directors at a special meeting in December during the NCHA Futurity. The committee is expected to present general areas of potential governance change for study and feedback.

In addition, the directors will also review recommendations from the NCHA’s existing Governance, Promotion and Growth Committee, which has already prepared its proposed recommendations, Pietrafeso said.

The special governance committee will have access to suggestions sent to the directors from outgoing NCHA Executive Director Kirk Slaughter, who announced his resignation and intends to leave his post after the Futurity. Pietrafeso said the special committee members are aware of everyone that has made suggestions, and he will leave it up to them to decide who they need to talk to.

“I don’t want any influence coming from me or any other EC [Executive Committee] members,” he explained. “I want this to be completely neutral so nobody can claim that there’s any undue influence coming from anywhere.”

It’s unclear if NCHA directors who are not present at December’s directors meeting will be able to participate. According to Article IV, Section Six of the bylaws published in the 2019 NCHA rulebook, “Meetings of directors may be held only in person, and may not be held via conference telephone call, the Internet, video conference or any other electronic communications system;” however, Pietrafeso said he is exploring what other options may be available. Section Seven of the bylaws, which specifically references “special meetings of the Board of Directors,” makes no mention of the manner in which those particular meetings are to be conducted.

The directors will review the suggestions put forth by the special governance committee and the NCHA’s standing committee, and then in accordance with NCHA bylaws, their recommended changes will be presented for a vote during a general membership meeting at the association’s 2020 convention, Pietrafeso explained.

“They’ll make their suggestions,” he said. “We, hopefully, can then formulate what needs to be changed in writing to take to the convention.

“The entire EC and myself have taken this governance issue very seriously and there do need to be changes made. That’s why we’re working right now to get it done as quick as possible.” 

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