Business Meeting on Thursday AND Please Vote No! on Amendment 7

We’re wondering why this board won’t give us a full accounting regarding the sale of the fully-paid-for NCRA building which public records show sold for $5 million.  And why the board won’t allow the full membership to vote on the proposed $30 dues increase.

There is an unspoken rule that present boards do not undermine the decisions of previous boards.  But how many previous boards have sold a building and left $5 million unaccounted for?  Many past board members spent ten or more years on the Board of Directors of NCRA (then they go to the Foundation and do more damage there!)

If you are going to the business meeting at o’dark thirty on Thursday morning, please make a motion to table the dues increase until we get answers to questions that we are entitled to, like:  Where has ALL of OUR money gone? Are the rumors true that $1 million of that money went to a former executive director/CEO at the end of his employment? Has ANY of our money been used for that purpose?

If there is a vote for an increase in dues, please have the fortitude to represent your fellow members who may not be able to afford to attend the business meeting and vote against the dues increase!

PLEASE VOTE NO! on AMENDMENT NO. 7!

Also, please remember to Vote No! on Amendment 7 after you receive notice that the polls are open. Not only is this a backdoor way to let nonsteno members into NCRA, removing the proposed language will create the need to rewrite and clarify NCRA’s Constitution and Bylaws next year.

There are many solutions to address the issues espoused by the proponents of Amendment 7.  For instance, Memoranda of Understanding are great ways to work with other organizations without having to change NCRA’s Constitution & Bylaws.  That is how it’s done with many organizations desiring to change legislation.  (We’re wondering why Victoria P. wants to have alternative technologies creep into NCRA anyway!  Don’t let one person’s desire change the goals and desires of NCRA’s membership!)

Amendment No. 7 is a backdoor way to dilute membership’s resounding message to keep NCRA’s focus on Verbatim Stenographic Reporters!

It is VERY IMPORTANT to vote No! on Amendment No. 7. 

Every vote counts!  Remember that there will be many phone calls made by the three people and their friends to make sure that the vote goes their way!  Don’t let that happen.  Vote No! on 7!!! 

PLEASE VOTE ON THURSDAY, NCRA!
FRANK N. SENSE

 P.S. Please send this to 10 NCRA members so that they know to VOTE NO! on AMENDMENT NO. 7, too.

VERY IMPORTANT! VOTE NO! TO AMENDMENT NO. 7!

On August 15th, 2019, all NCRA members will have the ability to vote on proposed Constitution and Bylaws amendments.

As our C&B is written now, the state affiliation policy requires that a majority of the members of an affiliated association of NCRA (your state association) must consist of Verbatim Stenographic Reporters.

Amendment No. 7 seeks to REMOVE the language “A state association is eligible for affiliation if a majority of its members are verbatim stenographic reporters” from a state association’s eligibility for NCRA affiliation.

Removing that language from Amendment No. 7 will allow state associations to welcome electronic reporters to their memberships, thus opening the door for ER to infiltrate the NCRA.

There are many more reasons why Amendment No. 7 is a terrible amendment, but … enough said, right?

Please VOTE NO! to Amendment No. 7!

PLEASE VOTE, NCRA!
FRANK N. SENSE

P.S.  Please send this to ten NCRA members so that they know to VOTE NO! to Amendment No. 7, too!

ANOTHER DUES INCREASE??? THE AUDACITY!!!

On June 3rd, buried deep in a weekly JCR blast titled “Working from Home While Parenting” is a “reminder” of an NCRA member dues increase to $300 a year!!! All of us here at WUNCRA can’t recall any previous notices of a dues increase to be “reminded” of.

Where were the previous notices posted? Perhaps in the “detailed” minutes of a board meeting where NCRA board members voted for this increase?

If you attend the Annual Business Meeting, you can vote against this insanity. But that privilege comes at a large cost – a roundtrip flight from wherever you live, and probably at least one night of lodging!!!*

Why not put this issue of a dues increase online for ALL MEMBERS to vote on at the same time we vote for the board slate of nominees and the proposed bylaw amendments? What is the board afraid of?

What happened to the $5 million from the sale of the paid-off building? Is it all gone? Have the previous boards blown through $5 million in less than five years? Is that why a dues increase is needed?

Membership needs a FULL ACCOUNTING before we even consider a dues increase. We’ve been asking for a full accounting for many years now.

Here are some questions that we want answered:

Why was the building sold? Which board members voted in favor and against the sale of the building? What was the listing price of the building? What was the sales price of the building? How much was owed on the building? Why was a mortgage taken against the fully-paid-for building? How was the realtor selected? How much was the realtor paid? Why was the realtor selected? Was it a-friend-of-a-friend situation? Where has all of the money been spent?

Why won’t the board answer membership’s questions?

Has an analysis been done about how many members will leave NCRA because of this latest dues increase? $300 a year is a lot of money for dues!

The blast mentioned that the last dues increase was in 2016. Was that $5 million already gone before that last increase?

What value has membership received since the last dues increase?

WAKE UP, NCRA!
Frank N. Sense

*Any member can attend the Annual Business Meeting held at the convention without having to pay for attending the convention.

Conflicts, Conflicts and MORE CONFLICTS!

Max C. posted in a thread of the Firm Owners’ Listserv about his state’s association putting on a party in Denver honoring his installation as President of NCRA.  Well, it looks like Tennessee is offering sponsorships for the party to offset some of the expenses.  Apparently, if any profits are left over from the party, they will benefit “NCRA’s A-to-Z programs and outreach across Tennessee about the opportunities that exist in a court reporting and captioning career.”

The thread on the Firm Owners’ Listserv began with an announcement about a new organization called Reliance — a group of independent firm owners and reporters — formed on June 1, 2019, because NCRA’s premier events at the national convention remained unsponsored (for many years, these premier events were often sponsored by some of the 1-800, big-box shops*). “The cost of hosting events like the Members’ Gala has been unattainable for a single small firm or individual at a $25,000 price tag.” By June 4, 2019, they raised enough money to not only sponsor the Members’ Gala, but they also funded five student convention registrations, AND have earmarked money to be donated to NCRA Strong, to further promote stenographic reporting!  An unbelievable feat, we’re sure that you’d all agree!

Well, a group of “the old guard,” beginning with Sandy V. (who received the Distinguished Service Award while Nancy V. was immediate past president) rebuked Max about her “concerns about using an NCRA annual convention to raise money for a state’s project.”  She went on to say, “Is there a conflict there or at least a potential conflict that considers additional thought before anyone contributes to this event?”**

Well, some of us here at WUNCRA recall Sandy V. using NCRA’s Listservs to gather a bunch of NCRA members to put their heads together to discuss the “impending shortage of reporters” which ultimately ended up with a hijacking of the NCRA convention in New Orleans to demonstrate and promote Revolutionary Text.  Of course, she was quick to point out that “Project SOS” was not in any way, shape or form associated with NCRA. And now Sandy and Tammy are using their positions on the National Court Reporters Foundation*** to create best practices tantamount to super marketing materials to legitimize remote reporting that will ultimately be the demise of the remaining “mom-and-pop shops.”  We don’t believe for one second that what appeared as an innocent request on NCRA’s Listservs wasn’t  Step 1 to them helping their friends at Revo Text – and perhaps a couple of large firms that can afford to develop their own remote-reporting platforms in-house. 

Talking about “conflicts,” we see SO MANY conflicts in what they’ve done and are doing that we can’t even count them all.

The public rebuke of Max continued with Tonya D. (who mysteriously left the NCRA Board, along with Immediate Past President Chris W. and a few other members of the clique — and since then seems to try to gut-punch Max and the board at every opportunity possible); Chris W. chimed in about all of the problems that she had with inurement (remember the board meeting that she was responsible for on March 9, 2018, regarding NCRA’s stance on contracting that was changed 16 months earlier without membership – and probably most of the board – knowing, that gave a front-row seat to a couple of big-box executives, but left a bunch of members in ante rooms because the room wasn’t large enough to accommodate everybody, which was discovered because the NCRA board wouldn’t show up for Virginia’s anti-contracting legislation that was being argued before its Legislature? Also, recall that the board under her leadership fired NCRA’s long-term lobbyist and hired that young dude from her home state of Wisconsin? A whole bunch of inurement that we have problems with, too!); then Doreen S. (a bestie for life) added a short message about agreeing with Chris; then Nancy V. busted in with a wah-wah-wah lecture about how her business venture isn’t allowed to raise money on the NCRA Listservs (maybe someday she will explain why she waited until AFTER her board tenure to begin that project); Max then ate some crow; then Art R. agreed with Nancy; then WEW added his “wise counsel” requesting that NCRA change its policy so that both Nancy and Tennessee can reap benefits.

Whew, those phones were lit up in a frenzy getting all of those past “leaders” to have each other’s backs on the Listserv while they were “poking the bear,” weren’t they?

Wake Up, NCRA!
Frank N. Sense

*Did they stop sponsoring these events because they no longer have enough self-dealing pawns on the board?

**It would have been nice to know that those little devils at the NCRF were going to use our hard-earned Angels donations to help promote a business owned by two past presidents and a director before making those contributions, too.

***Mission Statement of the National Court Reporters Foundation: The National Court Reporters Foundation supports the court reporting and captioning professions through philanthropic activities funded through charitable contributions.

NCRA/NCRF FOR SALE!!!

REMOTE JUDICIAL REPORTING IS GOING TO KILL WHAT IS LEFT OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!

Tami Keenan, as head of the National Court Reporters Foundation, wrote a letter in the May JCR discussing Remote Judicial Reporting or RJR (yes, they’ve already even given it an acronym!).  Sounds so nontoxic, doesn’t it?  But this is poison to every member of the National Court Reporters Association that makes their living as a stenographic reporter!

Do you know those national contracts that have taken work out of your community?  Those contracts that require your best clients to use a 1-800 company when they schedule depositions?  Those contracts that you get called for to cover now that don’t pay you for all the copies that the 1-800s are selling?  Yes, THOSE contracts!

Well, once this remote judicial reporting (RJR) gets traction, with the aid and blessing of the National Court Reporters Foundation — which also means with the blessing of the NCRA because lawyers don’t know that the NCRF even exists — you won’t even be getting the calls to cover work for your best clients because those depositions will be covered remotely.

Ah, yes, the argument that is going to be made is that they’re only looking at judicial reporting now.  But once they get that national notary through, all gloves are off.  (Remember all of those defectors to the tape-recording convention earlier this year?  That’s a large organization to get behind the national notary, isn’t it?) Believe us when we tell you that this “RJR” thing is VERY calculated.

Below is an excerpt from Tami Keenan’s letter in May’s JCR magazine:

“NCRF has formed a new task force to explore the feasibility of remote judicial reporting, or RJR.* This often-misunderstood process allows for a stenographic reporter to work from a remote location at the time the job is being conducted.   The virtual venue can help fill the job gap by supplying reporters to locations where there are shortages** or places that are too far to travel to.  In addition, RJR has the potential to appeal to the next generation of court reporters, as the millennial and Generation Z populations place a high value on flexibility and efficiency. “

Look, Tami, this is NOT a misunderstood process!  We understand perfectly why the NCRF is doing this!

Who are Tami’s besties?  Who are Sandy’s besties?  Who was on the NCRA board when Sandy received the DSA?  Who did Tami sit on the NCRA board with all of those years?  This nepotism must STOP … RIGHT NOW!!!

We believe that it is absolutely OUTRAGEOUS and UNCONSCIONABLE that the NCRF, under Tami’s leadership, is giving its blessing for “RJR” to help two past presidents and one past director market their remote reporting business!!!

Adding millennials and Generation Z’ers to the equation is one, big, fat smokescreen!

Where is the NCRA board while the NCRF is in the process of annihilating most of their members’ businesses?  Why is the board just standing on the sidelines?

It is time that membership DEMAND that the NCRA board get involved and INSIST that the NCRF cease and desist!

Wake up, NCRA!!!
Frank N. Sense

P.S.  Would you have even donated your hard-earned money to this foundation only to find out that they were going to use it against you?

P.P.S.  Please send this to every stenographic reporter that you know so that they know what the foundation is doing to ruin their businesses.

* What gives the National Court Reporters Foundation the authority to even explore the feasibility of remote judicial reporting anyway? We believe that it’s in violation of its charter and bylaws.

 ** PERCEIVED SHORTAGES!

What Will be the Big Push at Boot Camp Next Week? Will it be Moving a National Notary Forward?

We all know that Dave Wenhold’s big focus was getting a national notary through Congress when he was the lobbyist for NCRA.  Now that he’s the Interim Executive Director and CEO, is that still NCRA’s big goal?

Recently, a bunch of past presidents and leaders of NCRA, as well as executives from the big-box shops, “Benedict-Arnolded” to the electronic recording organization, so we’re sure that they’ll all be advocating for a national notary, too.

The big gathering of state leaders from around the country ends with face-to-face meetings with Congressmen and Senators on “The Hill.”  Is it a push for a national notary that is going to be touted, or will the NCRA board take a public stance against being able to swear witnesses over the Internet and phone lines?

We want to know:  Where does the NCRA stand on a national notary?

Will this be the final nail in the coffin for independent steno reporters – still the bulk of NCRA’s membership?

Wake Up, NCRA!
Frank N. Sense

P.S.  Please don’t play semantics tricks on us by coming up with a new name for “notary.”

P.P.S.  State leaders attending boot camp:  Beware!  Remember, you are there representing your membership.

NCRF – ANGELS WITH PITCHFORKS!

From a past president who has been screaming from the mountaintops that the sky is falling regarding a shortage of steno reporters across the country; has a company that uses steno reporters remotely;  is pushing for a national notary so witnesses can be sworn in across the country from his own basement: 

“I’ll try to be less snarky … We NEED a way to swear witnesses nationally.” 

Yep, you’ve read it correctly.  His thoughts from his head down to his fingers, sent from us to you.

Like we’ve said before:  The National Court Reporters Foundation is putting together a “best practices” guide for remote reporting (paid for by the sweat of the donations of Angels!) to benefit one remote reporting company.  This “best practices guide” will be wonderful for marketing, along with the sanctioning that the title of “president of NCRA” will give them.  It will be so much easier with a national notary, too.

And here we also have a quote from an NCRA board member recently appointed by the board, even though he lost a past election or two:

“Kudos to Reesa, Bill, Judy, and whoever else may be involved. A remote reporter fills the gap in remote areas where, yes, the shortage (or unwillingness to move there) doesn’t allow for a reporter on-site.”

So, do you think that “Reesa, Bill, Judy, and whoever else may be involved” (in the remote reporting company) are going to show up with NCRF’s best practices guide, the imprimatur of two past presidents and one past NCRA board member, AND a national notary, and limit their marketing to “remote areas where, yes, the shortage (or unwillingness to move there) doesn’t allow for a reporter on-site”? 

Yeah, we don’t think that they’re going to stop where there is a perceived shortage either.   Of course, we believe that the shortage is going to be work for reporters living in every state in the country that the remote reporting company enters.

Wake Up, NCRA!
Frank N. Sense

P.S. Please send this to steno reporters that you know, so they are informed about what the National Court Reporters Foundation is spending their hard-earned donations on AND what past and present leadership are doing to line their own pockets.

P.P.S.  NCRA Board: How much more are you going to help the national consolidators put your rank and file membership/local reporters out of business? You MUST put a kibosh to the NCRF publishing “best practices” for a company owned by former leaders of NCRA.  When is enough going to be enough already?

All of Us Here at WUNCRA Put Our Heads Together, and We Can Only Come Up With One Company Dedicated to Remote Steno Reporting

That one company is owned by two past presidents of NCRA.

Why is the National Court Reporters Foundation, through a “Remote Reporting Committee,” ”working on educating the industry on remote judicial reporting and potentially coming up with best practices, provide seminars, etc.”?

So now when those two presidents go out to market their remote reporting company, not only do they have the imprimatur of being past presidents of NCRA, they can say that the NCRA is totally behind their company by saying, “Hey, look, NCRA has seminars on remote reporting, they’ve developed best practices, and even provide seminars on remote reporting.”

All we can say is “CHA-CHING!” for two past presidents … again, on the backs of those wonderful angels (and the huge donation from that big 1-800 company).

Now, all they’ll need is a national notary so they can swear witnesses over the Internet in your state, too.  Of course, they’ve promised to send you a check every time they take your work and give you the opportunity to stay home, right?  No way THAT can go wrong!

The NCRF taking this big step that benefits just a couple of members is wrong … on many levels.  Taking this big step for a couple of past presidents is simply unconscionable.

Wake Up, NCRA!
Frank N. Sense

We Want to Receive Some Data, Too!!!

A past NCRA DSA recipient and co-chair of SOS Plan B, the catalyst for the change in the conversation to digital recording going on right now – and the group that was not-affiliated-whatsoever-with-NCRA —  posted a response on the NCRA STRONG message board:

“Sandy Bunch Vanderpol:  Since NCRA is a boutique association, representing and promoting “Steno Only,” I understand the Board’s actions. However, I don’t necessarily agree.  I would like to receive data that steno is the only option for judicial reporting, depositions more specifically … NCRF, and I as the chair of the NCRF Remote Reporting Committee, is working on educating the industry on remote judicial reporting and potentially coming up with best practices, provide seminars, etc. …”

All of us here at WUNCRA — and we’re sure general membership of the “boutique association” called NCRA  — want to know if this “chair of the NCRF Remote Reporting Committee,” is an owner in, has any affiliation with, is besties with, or is expecting any remuneration whatsoever from any company or associate of any “remote reporting” company.  We also want to know under which board/president this chair of NCRF’s Remote Reporting Committee became a trustee of the NCRF.

Perhaps the “angels” should cease all donations to the NCRF until membership is provided with the requested data.

We took our own poll, and our data reflects that 100% of us here at WUNCRA agree that NCRA needs to continue to represent and promote “Steno Only.”

 Wake Up, NCRA!
Frank N. Sense

CRICKETS!

All of us here at WUNCRA have been patiently waiting for the NCRA board to reveal their big plan for countering the very well organized group that is changing the conversation in this country from stenographers to digital recording.

But all we are hearing are … crickets!

While the board is redefining itself into NCRA 2.0, the world, once again, is passing it by.  A big bunch of past presidents of NCRA are attending the national convention of digital recorders in Orlando in a couple of weeks, and what have we heard from the board? Crickets!

The theme of the recorders’ convention is “The Paradigm Shift”!!!  A past president with a Ph.D. is the keynote speaker!!!

Here’s a secret NCRA BoardThis digital recording onslaught is a bigger issue to steno reporters than contracting!  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. 

A bill was introduced in California, AB 424, clarifying a current law:

“Existing law provides procedures for the recording of depositions by means of audio or video technology. A party who intends to offer an audio or video recording of the deposition in evidence must accompany the offer with a stenographic transcript prepared from the recording, unless a stenographic record was previously prepared.

“This bill would clarify that a stenographic transcript accompanying an audio or video recording of deposition testimony offered into evidence must be prepared by a certified shorthand reporter.”

Planet Depos, whose director of court reporting is a past president of NCRA, submitted an opposition to the clarifying bill stating that digital recorders “perform the same functions as a stenographic reporter on the job.”

We need somebody out there getting in front of this assault! 

There is nothing that NCRA does right now that is more important than getting front of the misrepresentations and deceit that has already begun to bleed into the profession.

Aside from “essential services,” we implore the NCRA board to put EVERYTHING else aside and get all hands on deck to represent stenographic reporters. 

We are tired of hearing … crickets!

WAKE UP, NCRA!
Frank N. Sense

P.S. Please send this to every stenographic reporter that you know so that they know what’s coming down the pike, too!