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Next Tuesday the Delegates will elect four Directors to the American Kennel Club Board.  Term limits and a large field of candidates offers opportunity to clean up decades of good-ole-boy stagnation.


03|04|09 TheDogPress - In the past, Delegates had limited candidate choices.  The Nominating Committee selects three candidates and on rare occasions, one or two people will buck the odds (and the sitting Board) to run from the floor but AKC Board elections are pretty much ho-hum.


Not so this year.  Due to a confluence of events, history is in the making.  The Board Of Directors recent expansion from 12 to 13 means a 1-in-4 year opportunity to elect four instead of three Directors.  Only the most progressive and involved Kennel and Breed clubs make a big deal of it and generally, that’s only because a friend is running.  In that case, the AKC Member Club Board of Directors will instruct or encourage the club’s Delegate to vote for a particular candidate.


The Delegate may or may not vote the club’s wishes and if in fact, the membership is involved and participating in the election process, that’s a travesty!


Our system is designed well.  Members of Member Clubs debate and discuss potential candidates for the American Kennel Club Board.  The Club will have provided them with objective background information on the candidates.  There will be widespread interest and discussion after which the club will poll the members and the club’s Delegate will represent and vote on behalf of the club membership.


Sure, and dogs will fly.


In reality, not one in ten club members knows who is running for the AKC Board Of Directors, not one in twenty gives a hoot, and rare is the club that initiates any election discussion whatsoever.  Our sport relies on non-objective sources for AKC news and therefore we are, like most voters – poorly uninformed.


We should all do a better job of informing you about what’s at stake.  TheDogPress has frequently risked AKC retaliation in order to do just that.  Democrat, Republican, Conservative or Liberal; Novice or “Long Time” Dog Fancier, Club Member or Not, you should have access to differing opinions, both sides of an issue, and fearless, “non-partisan” reporting.  That isn’t necessarily the case in the mainstream media or even in dog publications.  There are always conflicts of interest and risk vs. benefit considerations.


Some Board Members serve from the heart but here are just a few perks that make securing an AKC Board Position worthwhile.


Getting on the AKC board is like “boarding” Air Force One.  Perks and privileges are served up First Class.  Yachting trips, island vacations, foreign assignments and all-expenses travel.  Let it be known you’re going to attend a show and the Kennel Club Board will roll out the red carpet.  While there’s not much opportunity to sell a (Senate?) seat, the financial rewards for top Board Members are downright shocking to those few fanciers who are in the know.  Insiders click for AKC Board Of Directors Salaries and give NewsDog 5 seconds to retrieve your key to the page.


Okay, here are the candidates and there’s still time, right now, while it is fresh on your mind, to call the President of your AKC Member club, ask if your Delegate has been instructed, and then, call your Delegate.  You are entitled to a vote!


The AKC Board selected Nominating Committee was: Erik Bergishagen, Detroit Kennel Club, Chair, and Rey Burgos, Chihuahua Club of America, Blackie Nygood, Mispillion Kennel Club, Harry Ottmann, Fort Worth Kennel Club, Jack Smith, Great Western Terrier Association of Southern California, plus Alternates, Carl Holder, Beaumont Kennel Club and Patte Klecan, American Bouvier des Flandres Club.


They selected the following four candidates:  Lee Arnold, Delegate Southern Colorado Kennel Club, Alan Kalter, Delegate American Bullmastiff Assoc., John Neilsen, Delegate English Setter Assoc. Of America, and Robert Smith, Delegate Memphis Kennel Club.


Running from the floor are Carl Ashby, Delegate United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club, Dr. Fred Bock, Delegate Key City Kennel Club, Judi Daniels, Delegate Mt. Baker Kennel Club, and Carl Gomes, Delegate Pacific Coast Boston Terrier Club.


Lee Arnold, a New Jersey resident, strong background in Broadcast Communications, TV news anchor, interest in country music radio stations and fittingly, he may be seen on Animal Planet or ESPN as a dog show co-host.  His breed is Chinese Shar-Pei.  He has solid fund-raising, kennel club board experience, and as Vice-Chair, Mr. Arnold is working to keep the AKC/CHF on track.


Carl Ashby, a North Carolina resident, had a brilliant career with AT&T which included building a company within the company.  He has extensive business administration experience in his own companies in addition to chairing non-profits organizations.  His breed is the Kerry Blue Terrier.  Mr. Ashby has served the board of many Kennel Clubs in various capacities from Treasurer to Show Chair.


Dr. Fred Bock, a Minnesota resident, was an Air Force Navigator and Radar man who also chaired the Department of Theater and Dance for the state university.  Guiding the AKC should be easy compared to big aircraft and college students.  His breeds are Newfoundlands and American Eskimo Dogs.  Dr. Bock has served many dog clubs, dramatically increasing membership and treasuries.


Judi Daniels, a California resident, has degrees in Business Management and Finance which she has put to practical use as a business owner, and in serving many dog club including several directorships in AKC.  She served a beleaguered term as AKC President in the mid-90s which many feel was far too short.  Ms. Daniels is as capable and determined as her breed, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.


Carl Gomes, a resident of New York, has extensive educational and practical background in Education and Business.  As manager of an insurance company Claims Department with responsibility for audit and quality control, plus success as a licensed professional handler, Mr. Gomes is both detailed and diplomatic, qualities which could serve well on the AKC Board.  His breed is the Boston Terrier.


Alan Kalter, a Michigan resident, is the most experienced candidate in advertising, an area in which many feel AKC is deficient.  He built the Doner agency into a multi-billion dollar business while donating his skills to the Morris Animal Foundation, AKC, and other dog-related campaigns.  Mr. Kalter is on the AKC PAC and helps determine where legislative donations should go.  His passion is the Bullmastiff.


John Nielsen, a Maryland resident, has decades of IBM business and financial experience as preparation for any management position and a similar in-depth involvement in dogs and dog clubs is most impressive.  Mr. Neilsen’s analytical capabilities and long service to the sport make him an interesting candidate.  His breeds are English Cocker and English Setters.


Robert Smith, Virginia resident, with degrees in Political Science and vast experience in the business and management sector as well as the dog sport, make him one to watch.  He is a “hands-on” person who was three times nominated for the prestigious Kennel Review Owner-Handler Of The Year and he has twice served on the AKC Board.  Mr. Smith’s breed is the American Foxhound.


We hope you know these candidates and if not, will take the time to acquaint yourself with them and their philosophies.  Dog News sent out an excellent candidate questionnaire and the answers should still be available on their website.  Consider this field carefully for we face many challenges over the next year.  Every person running is capable and dedicated.  Which candidates will your Delegate vote for?




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