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TOPIC: An Old Timer Speaks Out

An Old Timer Speaks Out 22 Jan 2007 00:03 #1

I have been a member of the AFA for a long time. From the beginning the Association was targeting certification as its primary goal in the Farrier industry. A great number of us who were busy trying to make a buck and keep our families in the style they were so accustomed to that we didn't have time to travel to the conventions or to take the time to prepare and take the certification tests.

I always looked for my Journal to see what was new in our industry and if someone had invented a better nail. As far as the business of the Association, Walt Taylor ran everything from his home. Then the Association membership grew to the point where it could move into its own facilities and have a staff. That's when all the trouble started.

Last year, for the first time I considered dropping my membership. I didn't like what I was seeing with the management of the Association.

Power corrupts and many see positions within the Association as power. In my opinion, that mindset has corrupted the Association to the point it is now devouring itself. So much infighting for power and control. The issue of the Journal is an example of this. Its not the first time someone has tried to control the AFA through the Journal. It probable won't be the last. BUT, the membership own the AFA, not the Officers, Executive Board or Board of Directors. I have always found that organizations with hugh board are incapable of making smart decisions and implode. Don't be fooled about the Journal controversy, its about money and power in the Farrier industry.

I am upset with the AFA. I was lied to by Bryan Quinsey, the former Executive Director, that a proposed By-Law change that I submitted would be submitted to the By-Laws Committee for their review and then to the Board of Directors. As far as I know, no one has seen my proposal and if they have, they don't have the courtesy to respond to it. It had to do with disabled Farriers (Members). If he lied to me, he lied to the Officers and Executive Board.

I am also a retired Philadelphia, PA. Police Office. Throughout my life I have despised liars and thieves and subscribed to the following philosophy. "A liar is a thief because he steals the truth."

In my view, the members need to demand a stream-lining of the Board of Directors and change the By-laws to enable the membership to challenge the decisions of the Officers and Executive Board.

What a bunch of foolishness, mandating only a CJF can be President or Vice President. I have know a ton of Farriers in my life and most were living hand to mouth. None had ever managed a payroll or a large company. Just because they are farriers, it doesn't make them administrators. That's what the AFA needs, members who are administrators and look to enhance the organization beyond testing and certification. If that's all the AFA is, then its doomed. Farriers need a loud vocal voice in every State. Farriers are under attack with legislature around this Country. Veterinarians are always looking for ways to control the Farrier industry and make it law that farriers work for them, not themselves.

I really don't care if I upset anyone with these writings, I have an opinion and its been quite a long time coming. I have tried to participate and have volunteered many, many times for different committee assignments. I have never received an acknowledgment or a thanks, but no thanks, from the AFA Board. This forum is wonderful, if the members read it. If they don't, its a monumental waste of time.

Its time for the membership to elect people who will not stand for the status quo and won't turn a blind eye to misconduct. It is time for a change in the management of the AFA.
Tom McKeon, #583
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RE:An Old Timer Speaks Out 22 Jan 2007 01:48 #2

  • TRIP HAMMER's Avatar
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Tom-TNTenterprises wrote:
In my view, the members need to demand a stream-lining of the Board of Directors and change the By-laws to enable the membership to challenge the decisions of the Officers and Executive Board.

What a bunch of foolishness, mandating only a CJF can be President or Vice President. It is time for a change in the management of the AFA.

I agree with you, there is no company or enterprise in the world that can operate and function with a Board of more than 60 people.

The members need to demand a board of functional size and further demand that any member who desires should be eligible to hold any elected office. As it stands now we have virtually reduced the pool of electable members to a group of about less than one percent (give or take a percent or two) of the entire society.

John Blombach
"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet"
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RE:An Old Timer Speaks Out 22 Jan 2007 11:35 #3

  • David Hayne
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Tom ...It was with great interest that I read your letter today. Over the last year I have concerns about this wonderful association the AFA in which I am a member off. Your letter seems to have explained to me the problems that have found its way into my Association in which I see farriers arguing with farriers and nothing seems to be improving in the publics eye.

I am reminded of the Gun Club I was a member off...everything went smoothly for the first ten years all work was free and our community benefieted from the club....gave money to childrens groups, churches, families in need etc.

The club sat on alot of money an one day a member who was a carpenter was hired to do one weeks work and this is when things changed....other members felt the need to be paid also...plumber, painter, heck a janitor was hired full time...members who didnot benefiet slowly didnot rejoin.

Then in came the Gun Law Register in Canada...guns where considered evil by many...and slowly the Gun Club ended and now has become a 4 wheeler Club and not a shot has been fired since.

I find Tom your letter may have the answer to redirect or put back on track the concerns of problems with in the AFA.....your letter was my answer in what I see could repair the troubles that lie within. I was going to write the AFA and ask them to go back to the beginning and reach out to the older members who worked so hard to start a Farrier Association that is of great importance to me and my fellow farriers all over the world....we want to be Educated to help our business......

I agree with what you see and say....did you ever consider running in the elections.

The direction of the running of the AFA as I see it can be just as complicated as trying to make a shoe board that would pass...( another story)

The AFA has benefieted my business and my knowledge and I believe that we as members need to listen more to the FARRIERS who started the AFA and I truly believe that the silent majority need to speak out.

Tom thanks again and I look forward to reading more Old timer speaks out and if more new guys like me speak up then perhaps we will and I believe we can get back on track.

My first idea is to have all examiners and testers on the same playing field when it comes to Certification....mainly the shoe board....and that every member should be allowed to run for office regardless of their letters in front of their name.....we are all in this together.

replying with respect.....David Hayne AFA 7600
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RE:An Old Timer Speaks Out 22 Jan 2007 12:31 #4

  • ThomasRideandDrive
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I'm not a member of the AFA but I've got to say that having kept track of all the comings and goings what Tom said is absolute sound common sense.

Regrettably a lot of organisations make the huge mistake of having well-meaning technical operators trying to run them and its just not good sense.

An organisation needs to have a well organised small team with specific skill set who can work together to lead, manage the operations, finances and people, respond to market forces and the requirements of their stakeholders as a basic minimum.

You don't even need to know what a horse looks like, let alone be able to shoe it providing you know how to understand your market and listen and respond to stakeholders.

Neither can you operate effiently and effectively with a hugely unnecessary and unwieldly committee. Well you can but you end up with something that resembles a camel - which is merely a horse designed by a committee!

Until the leadership is sorted out and the "stuff" of basic operations, finances and publications delivered as just routine business then there isn't a snow ball in he ll's chance of being able to influence and lobby and make major changes and add value as is always required in today's world.

Our British Driving Society is going through a difficult period too: the well meaning carriage driving enthusiasts that run it have missed out on large government sponsored training grants available to fund the training of more qualified professional light harness horse instructors! And why? Because its a big group of well meaning individuals who haven't got a clue when it comes to efficient business and they never submitted their grant applications DUHH
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RE:An Old Timer Speaks Out 03 May 2007 11:12 #5

I would like to bring this farriers opinion back to the fore front again and hope it does not turn into a monumental waste of time.
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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