Senior Conformation Judges Association, Inc.

Senior Conformation Judges Association, Inc.

Wallace H. Pedé Chief Executive Officer
7200 Tanager St., Springfield, VA 22150
(703) 451-5656 Fax (703) 451-5979

November 1st, 2011

Mr. Ronald Menaker, AKC Chairman of the Board
All AKC Board Members
Mr. Dennis Sprung, AKC President
The American Kennel Club
260 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016

Subject: Chairman Bob Smith’s Committee’s Report on Proposal for Judges Approval Process


First Mention January 2011: There was an Executive Session to discuss Judging Approval. Mr. Hayes and Mr. Wade, staff, were present for this discussion.  In August the Judging Approval proposal was discussed and then, with amendment, unanimously approved in the October Board Meeting.

Dear Ron, All AKC Board Members and Dennis:

Note: the following letter (bottom of this page) was prepared and the time-consuming coordination effected prior to the action and comments made at AKC’s October 2011 Board meeting which obviously bears on some of the letters’ contents. The SCJA will offer further comments concerning the AKC’s Board actions at their October 2011 meeting. It is essential that the AKC Board and Delegates be aware of the contents without further delay, for any action they deem appropriate.

Reference the published comments of the committee chair concerning other AKC Board members’ actions and comments on this issue. Notwithstanding, we trust the AKC Chairman, Committee Chairman and other AKC Board members realize that here in the United States, we have a good number of our sovereign states asking the Supreme Court for a decision questioning the action of the U.S. President and federal government and a number of State Attorney Generals questioning their differences with the U. S. Government and asking for a decision. In view of actions such as these and others, we trust it is acceptable for the AKC President, AKC Chairman and other AKC Board members to listen to and consider comments offered by organizations whose Board members have equal, and in some cases, due to the greater numbers, more versatile experience including at the national level.

Incidentally, SCJA’s one and two-page letters have proven ineffective. One such letter addressed to VP for Dog Show Judges criticizing the action of the Director of Judging Operations was sent through AKC’s Chief Operating Officer (at his personal request) and was actually answered by the very person whose actions were being questioned. Hard to believe, but a fact. Another recent letter to AKC’s Chairman and Board asked for their leadership to solve a problem involving thousands of judges. Unbeknownst to the AKC Board, our letter was answered by a fifth echelon staff member and referred to a forthcoming unapproved committee report. The staff member obviously did not realize his reply indicated our request for leadership was being accomplished by a committee!!


We want to congratulate all AKC Board members who realized the necessity of the motion to grant an extension to submit comments on subject report. Notwithstanding, we find it incomprehensible for the AKC Board to expect meaningful input and effective coordination with the national judges groups Board members to say nothing of their other members in the time frame mentioned. An experienced management analyst knows very well you gain little when the authors of a proposal critique the criticism of their own efforts or products. A number of Board members on the national judges groups, like the AKC Board members, have all kinds of business, law, military and senior government experience. This of course applies to the AKC Delegate body as well. It most certainly should be taken advantage of. You can rest assured, in the process, they have collectively analyzed things just a bit more complicated than the subject at hand.

Over a year ago, the SCJA made a request personally to the chairman of subject committee before initial action by the committee - that an independent representative from each of the national judges groups be made a member of the AKC committee. Obviously, this never occurred.

The most egregious issue in this entire matter is the fact that the AKC Board realizes full well that any change involving an increase in the number of approved Groups must be voted on by the Delegates! (This fact was included in AKC’s official letter on this subject.) Yet somehow they believe the Delegates are not the sole authority for voting on changes on just who can judge an AKC dog show? (Last time we checked, the clubs formed to conduct dogs shows needed both dogs and judges to put on a dog show!!!!) The AKC Board has repeatedly ignored the issue of the Delegates’ sole authority on this issue.

AKC’s Bylaws are crystal clear – the AKC Board has no authority to arbitrarily change any provision in AKC’s Bylaws or a rule governing a dog show or any association or club formed to conduct the dog show.


The Board of Directors shall have the general management of the business and affairs of the Club and generally perform all duties appertaining to the office of director provided, however, that all the powers conferred by this Article of the Bylaws shall be exercised subject to all other provisions of these Bylaws and to the statutes of the State of New York and all amendments thereof and additions thereto." (underlining added)

This Article gives the AKC Board the general power to run the AKC provided they comply with all the other provisions of the Bylaws and to the statutes of the State of New York and all amendments thereof and additions thereto.

We are somewhat surprised, on occasion, as to how many individuals in authority are not aware of ARTICLE XIX of AKC’s Charter, Constitution and Bylaws. ARTICLE XIX quoted below certainly is an unequivocal statement. Sole power means sole power. It trumps any words that individuals use to bring up a perceived conflict.

Remember, we are stressing ARTICLE XIX of AKC’s Charter, Constitution and Bylaws, titled "RULES". Individuals often get it confused with a rule but it is a Bylaw entitled "RULES". To quote ARTICLE XIX of AKC’s Charter, Constitution and Bylaws:


The Delegates to the AKC shall have sole power to make the rules governing dog shows and field trials and the clubs or associations formed to conduct them." (underlining added)

Since the Delegates have the "sole power" to make a rule, it does not include the AKC President, AKC Board of Directors and obviously no AKC staff member. The SCJA wants to point out that no one, including the AKC Board of Directors, can use ARTICLE X SPECIFIC POWERS of AKC’s Charter, Constitution and Bylaws as authority to take the action they have taken in changing a rule. ARTICLE X outlines in 16 sections the AKC’s Board of Directors’ "SPECIFIC POWERS" without detracting from any general powers of the AKC Board of Directors or the bylaws.

ARTICLE X Section 9 gives the AKC Board the power to issue and revoke licenses to judges, superintendents and handlers. The power is given to the AKC Board, not to their subordinates on the staff or some committee. This in no way alters the "sole power" of the Delegates to make or change a rule. The AKC Board was involved in another apparent violation a few years back which the SCJA brought up at the time. After 120+ years of approving judges, as required by the Bylaws, the AKC Board of Directors, many of whom were judges, including the Chairman, on their own decided they would like more breeds while serving on the AKC Board - - - and what do you know? The AKC Board delegates the very important judges approval to the subordinate AKC staff. Some folks wonder how many AKC Board members or their wives have been turned down for breeds by their subordinates or committee since the change???? Something that no one is aware of happening before – a very senior AKC Board member was approved for the remainder of the breeds in a Group and a number of breeds into their next Group in the same issue of the Gazette!

Section 3 of ARTICLE X indicates that the AKC Board of Directors should indeed examine all proposed amendments or alterations to the Bylaws, Rules or Regulations of the AKC and report thereon to the AKC for action. Note - the AKC Board reports - they don’t’ take action - the Delegates have the "sole power" to take action on rules governing dog shows. ARTICLE X also clearly indicates without a shadow of a doubt in Section 4 "All matters in dispute as to interpretation of the Rules or Regulations of the AKC shall be submitted to the Board for its construction, which shall be decisive." Obviously, the AKC Board cannot illegally make a rule for dog shows without the Delegates approval, publish it, put it in effect, then when it’s in dispute, take action on it. Remember, that is if there is a dispute with a rule or regulation, NOT A BYLAW, Article XIX gives the Delegates the "sole power" to make the rules governing dog shows. If there is a dispute, between a bylaw and a rule and the AKC Board somehow wants to argue with the Delegates, it can only be settled by a government entity, state or federal. The Senior Conformation Judges Association has already had two disputes in past years settled by federal statutes and settled in accordance with the laws of the land and the statutes cited by the Senior Conformation Judges Association. As the more senior AKC Board members realize, there have been a good many other AKC policies established by the Board that the SCJA has recommended be discontinued and that in fact, have been discontinued from Hands On Testing many years ago to the infamous Slay’s list of punishment and fines for our judges. Amazing how many individuals within the sport aren’t aware of what prompted the changes.

One especially egregious provision in the Smith Committee Report still remains – AKC’s insistence that a new provisional judge must attend the AKC Institute thereby making it necessary for new provisional judges to attend two basic courses should they want to attend the original, and by far, the most comprehensive basic course a new judge could attend – the ACEF Basic Institute. One AKC Board member covers the fact that the AKC should get out of judges education and leave it up to judges that have been judging 30 – 50 years. He also talks about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be saved.

To his credit and with previous thanks from SCJA Board members, Committee Chair Bob Smith was a motivating factor and indeed played a leading role in assisting the SCJA CEO in putting on the very
first national judges institute in the early 80’s even paying his own travel expenses in the process. Presently, the committee chair and other AKC Board members who agree that the oldest most experienced judges institute should be acceptable apparently were unable to convince the AKC Judges Department to give up the dictatorial power they enjoy irrespective of the cost saved for the improved quality of judges education. Worth mentioning, AKC must be extremely mindful of their financial liability concerning the IRS when you treat individuals as employees rather than independent contractors. We should not have to continually bring up the subject of IRS rules concerning the limited authority an organization has over independent contractors! If you want to make our judges employees, that’s another story, and with it goes all of the ramifications involved. This really should not enter into the equation. We apparently were misled into believing this problem would be solved in the committee report. Apparently, it was not.

The SCJA suggests once again that one of the AKC Board members, who has indicated personally that they agree, make the motion that the SCJA’s (now ACEF) five-day original Judges Institute be accepted along with AKC’s own one or two-day course. (Do away with the "MUST ATTEND AKC’S INSTITUTE".) NOTE – Since the ACEF’s very first Judges Institute, the AKC has always had a full day of the top individual within AKC to lecture on AKC Rules, Regulations and Judging Guidelines and Bench Committee Hearings and Trial Boards – AKC’s Executive Secretary, Mr. James Crowley – who has always been the after-dinner speaker as well. Also, all the time necessary has been allotted for an AKC Rep to speak, and on many occasions, we have had a number of AKC Board members address the class as well as an AKC Board Chairman and President or two. The change in AKC Rep attendance and approval status occurred sometime after a change in the AKC Judges Department. Strong exceptions were expressed concerning SCJA official correspondence containing written recommendations made to the AKC Chairman of the Board, Board members and AKC’s President.

We were somewhat disappointed when the subject of appointing a member from each of the national judges groups was suggested, and we were told, in effect, that that wasn’t a good idea since the judges groups just look out for the judges!! Inferring that the judges had little regard for the good of the overall sport and couldn’t be trusted to offer constructive criticism! The SCJA finds this rather insulting to infer that those of us on the Board of Directors and SCJA members don’t have the best interest of the sport at heart. In case anyone didn’t realize it, all of us are very much a part of and deeply involved in the entire sport, and we get zero compensation and many members donate expenses as opposed to the AKC Board of Directors who, for well over a hundred years received no compensation for their services until the latest change in leadership.


Just suppose ARTICLE XIX did not mandate that the Delegates had the "sole power" – what on earth would be wrong in having the Delegates confirm something as important as the judges approval process that some committee and the AKC Board approved? Remember the AKC Board reports – it doesn’t take action on certain items. THIS SUPPOSITION doesn’t change the unequivocal clarity of ARTICLE XIX. It appears the AKC Board does not trust the intelligence and good intentions of the Delegates to confirm the decisions the AKC Judges Department and committee and the AKC Board want.


The SCJA agrees with many of the others who have called for more time before it can be properly resolved. It is therefore requested that final action be delayed, and the report be administratively handled as mandated in AKC’s Charter, Constitution and Bylaws.


SCJA Chief Executive Officer - Wallace H. Pedé
Wallace H. Pedé

Chief Executive Officer


cc: AKC Executive Secretary, James P. Crowley
Info copy: AKC Delegates