Should judges solicit assignments question sparks
more facets than a million dollar gemstone because even the
Judges can’t agree on the answer!
Sources tell us Col. Joe Purkhiser, President of the Dog Judges
Assoc. of America (DJAA) has stated (in print) that he will make sure
anyone who solicits a judging assignment won’t get any more. We don’t
know how Dr. Jerry Penta and the ADSJ (American Dog Show Judges) feel
about AKC capitulating to Col. Wally Pede and the SJCA (Senior
Conformation Judges Assoc) but we probably will soon…
It is complicated so let’s look at the “judges soliciting assignments” issue which
is like cracking a diamond. First, for those who don’t get ShowSight Magazine, I should clear up something. My column
there was more discreet but I would never lead anyone into
thinking that AKC’s decision to recognize judges as Independent
Contractors was an epiphany generated by concern for the judges.
The solicitation story has
been badly miss-characterized by other publications. This is not
a new debate. AKC
did not back down out of “consideration for judges.” The
closest any publication came to the truth was the suggestion
that there was a “threat of lawsuit” and even that was wrong.
There was no need for a lawsuit. Just a little pressure on IRS
to enforce the tax code, especially with tax time looming, would have done
the deed. I think it safe to say (so I will) that the AKC Board
has long held a vested interest in the “good old boy” system of
AKC didn’t give it up
willingly no matter what writers baking Brownie Points for AKC
would spin for you. Forget the idea that multi-group judges
today suffer long drives or awful flights so they can stand for
hours in blazing sun or cold rain out of “love for the sport”.
That was then. This is now. New judges may do it because in
fact, they love the attention and getting their hands on great
dogs. That’s because they still have stardust on their glasses.
For most, it is a grind made
bearable by good club people, good dogs and seeing good friends
but I’m the first to say; multi-group judges deserve more than a
“thanks for coming.” And new judges need a chance to become
multi-group judges so where’s the debate over whether it’s
“right” for judges to advertise or solicit assignments?
Pretend you are Nobody.
Unconnected. You never did the club thing because you had a
family to raise and support. Still, you managed to breed or
handle a few top dogs. You know dogs and you really feel you
can contribute something to the three breeds you’ve worked with
for over twenty years. So you apply.
Or let’s say you have a few
breeds but you are tired of going in the judging hole. You need
to have more breeds in order to be “worth it” for the clubs to
hire you and pay enough to offset your expenses. You are
thinking about retiring so earning income from something you’ve
given more years to than most people spend at one job seems
fair. You know you can do the whole group. So you apply.
After a lot of hurdles and
hoops you nimbly overcame, you are AKC approved for two of the
three additional breeds for which you applied. Or having
applied for a full group, you got four more breeds. You might
be happy with that but do clubs start calling? Who knows (or
cares) that you now have a few more breeds on your resume? You
can’t solicit and you aren’t politically or club connected.
You’re not an extrovert; actually you are a bit on the shy side.
If you’re counting on getting
assignments from the next Judge’s Directory, you will be
disappointed. Unless you’ve already judged for them, show
chairs won’t recognize your name and if you have been on their
panel, the club will pass over you because they can’t be hiring
the same (nobody) judges every year. People would talk!
In the past, you couldn’t
advertise and were afraid to mention that you had new breeds
because someone might report you. Your friends tapped out their
club member friends on your behalf. But suddenly, things are
different after AKC bowed to IRS code. How you look at the
matter of freedom to solicit, to look for job opportunities as a
free agent, depends on who you are. If you have multiple
groups, you don’t see this as a problem for new judges. YOU got
to the top right? YOU are comfortable and the deep dark truth
is - you don’t want any new competition. You like being assured
of a spot at shows where you know the ropes and the people.
That’s okay. Who wants to rock that boat?
If you were thinking about
applying or you are a provisional judge, the path is suddenly
easier. You don’t have to become a social butterfly or drop
discreet hints about your approval and how much you’d like to go
to Nowheresville Alabama. Not with the new AKC soliciting
policy in place.
The first thing you can do,
depending on your judging status, is either curse or thank the
Senior Conformation Judges Association for winning you the right
to shun the political system and come right out and list your
availability on a few websites, maybe run a little business card
advert, talk to show people and tell them how much you enjoy
their shows and yes, you’d love to judge there. Common sense,
business sense is legal now because the SCJA believes you have
the right to solicit an assignment.
Not only that, to ensure that
you get a chance to prove yourself, SCJA started the Help The
Provisional program. And AKC had a fit!!! SCJA multi-group
and all breed judges told clubs to keep their fee and “hire
provisional judges” so of course there were judges who didn’t
like that either. They said we didn’t need any more judges.
They were half right. We don’t need any more judges who get
assignments the old way. We need fresh faces, hearts that love
the sport, and brains that remember the standards. We need
judges who will be invited back, not because they do favors for
the show chairman but because suddenly, they can afford to just
judge the dogs, knowing the exhibitors will appreciate honestly
And that my friends, is the
real story. If there’s any spin in this publication, it’s for truth and
common sense. One thing’s for sure, I rarely show nowadays but
if I do, I sure know who NOT to show to. <smile>
Get more information and dig for gold
Judges Are Independent Contractors Should judges be allowed to advertise?
AKC Ethics teaches Judges
How To Judge but loses Judges. Where's the logic?
Crime & Punishment "Addamo
Asks" Was it fair or was it punishment?
The Purloined Poodle, WKC
Group winner, judge "trafficking dogs"? AKC did nothing.
Judge Boulton Defeats AKC
or did he? Not the $90,000 AKC/CHF settlement.
"Sendto" has been through 8 weeks training and loves his job - click the puppy to send this article to your friends
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