The Big Dig and Being Blind-Sided by the Secret Handshake

Did you know that there are three contested elections that need to be voted on on August 4th? We here at WakeUpNCRA didn’t know about these elections until we began hearing from the candidates themselves. So we decided to do a little digging ourselves by going to NCRA’s website – and, by gosh, digging we had to do!

After finally figuring out that the BIG DIG begins under the “About NCRA” tab, and then clicking on the “Board of Directors” tab, then finally noticing the big blue box that contains “Election Center” in the tiny-font soup – while the first three Nominating Committee candidates’ photos are staring you right in the face – we finally reached a sign-in screen after which we found some more tiny font to click on to “learn more about the 2016 nominees.”

Whew! After taking a break to recover from the mental gymnastics, we dove into the candidates’ questionnaires. (By the way, there is NOTHING, no questionnaires, NO INFORMATION AT ALL!, about the president, president-elect, or the one director who are not facing opponents this year. So much for full disclosure and transparency.)

After reading ALL of the candidates’ questionnaires, we have determined that YOUR nominating process is broken. When the same old same old gets appointed to the Nominating Committee, the result is the same old same old candidates. We are convinced that the three candidates that are “running from the floor” just did not receive the secret handshake before the interview process.

The three candidates not chosen by the NomCom include the INVENTOR of the TRAIN program, a recipient of the Woman of Outstanding Leadership award, and one who was instrumental in getting a realtime courthouse implemented. The Nominating Committee’s recommendations cannot even hold a candle to these three LEADERS!

Please read about them, and you too will be convinced that it was just being blind-sided by the secret handshake that kept them from not making it through NomCom. We are providing links to their individual sites so that you don’t have to go through The Big Dig:

Vision 2018 implores NCRA to “Think Different.” Sue, Debbie and Christine have already demonstrated that they do!

Wake Up NCRA!


P.S. NCRA’s nominating process gave us SueLynn, and it did not give us Melanie. Just sayin’.

P.P.S. Please make sure to VOTE on August 4th – and send this to 10 NCRA members so that they know to vote, too.


Smelly Armadillo Roadkill in Texas! Vote NO! to Every Single TCRA Bylaw Amendment!

There are 21 (twenty-one,  XXI … 21!) bylaws changes that will be voted on  during a luncheon at the Texas Court Reporters Association convention in San Antonio next week.  In the year 2016, when  reporters are leaders in all things tech, why is there not on-line voting  so that TCRA’s  800 (yes,  eight hundred,  DCCC  … 800!) members can weigh in on changing the roadmap of TCRA?

We smell some rotten armadillo in the Alamo City!!!

This isn’t about “good” or “bad” amendments.  This is about giving YOU and every other TCRA member an equal opportunity to decide which amendments y’all think are good or bad, and an equal opportunity to VOTE accordingly.  There is not one pressing issue that needs to be addressed by the amendments this year.  With 800 members, these changes should not be decided by just the members who happen to attend a luncheon.

Teamwork Does Make the Dream Work!!!  Every TCRA member at the convention in San Antonio,  please take one for the team  and eat some rubber chicken — attend that luncheon on Friday, July 8th, and vote NO! to every single bylaw amendment!!!

Wake up, TCRA!

Frank N. Sense

P.S.  Please send this to every TCRA member that you know so that they know that they should vote NO!, too!

Alamo-like Massacre: Dark Days Ahead for Texas CSRs

What is the motivation behind the small number of reporters and others that want to do away with the 1/3 Rule in Texas? Hmmm, could it be because they are or represent contracting companies that are losing money in Texas because they can’t GOUGE the litigants on copy sales after low-balling the price of the originals to those that can most afford to pay? The contract holders are the ones making money off of the low-balled rates because they deal in volume. These are the fortunate few that will be able to live in mansions and survive after the massacre that they are engineering on the working reporters in Texas.

The 1/3 Rule is the gold standard for protecting working reporters and litigants. It’s a rule that many reporters in other states are longing to have placed in their reporting rules.

At the Alamo, nobody knew who was going to die or survive. But in the massacre potentially facing Texas CSRs, we know who is going to die and who is going to survive. The few people who will benefit financially from the removal of the 1/3 Rule are the ones who are going to survive. Those who are going to die are all the CSRs and litigants to whom the removal of the 1/3 Rule will cause financial harm.

Fortunately, Texas CSRs can choose not to be massacred by making your voices heard for the retention of the 1/3 Rule.

Force the bad actors to take the black bean! Let your TCRA Board know RIGHT NOW!!! that you want the 1/3 Rule to be kept status quo.


                                                                                                           Frank N. Sense

P.S. Please send this to every Texas CSR that you know

We’re Not Dead Yet.

Do you remember the scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail when the dead collector is calling in the street to “Bring out the dead” and the old man says, “I’m not dead yet” as the big man is paying ninepence to put him in the dead cart?

That’s where membership is, NCRA — We’re not dead yet.

It’s time for the board of directors and staff of NCRA to stop thinking about the perpetuation of the association and totally concentrate on perpetuating the profession of verbatim stenographic reporters. Without your members, the association does not exist. Your membership has, once again, sent you a resounding message that it wants you to focus on verbatim stenographic reporters exclusively.

Not too long ago, NCRA was an organization of around 35,000 members. It now hovers in the 18,000-member range. Where did 17,000 members go? Why did they go? What will it take to get them back?

We used to hear that they’re retiring out. But the number of retired members is in the 1,000-member range. Plus, as the 1,000 members retired out, there are new reporters being minted.

The board has the ability to figure out why members dropped out. Do a graph and find out the years where there were big drop-offs of membership and research what was going on during those golden years.


How about doing a survey of past members to find out why they left NCRA? Better yet, ask what NCRA can do to get them back. Have a “We Need You” campaign. Have phone-a-thons. Offer drawings for iPads or the president’s suite and dues at the next convention in Chicago if they commit to join. Does the president really need that suite?

And after the membership numbers are up again, stop doing things like selling our building and being coy about it. Let us know the details of what happened with the Nominating Committee that was so hinky this year. (Should the board go back and have a do-over? Tell the Nominating Committee to appoint from the nominees that MEMBERSHIP nominated! LEADERSHIP takes a stand and does the right thing!!!) Don’t try to change the bylaws without first shouting it from the rooftops!!! Stream the Annual Business Meeting so you have accountability to the entire membership, not just the 60 members who attended in person! You see, these are the types of things that irk your members, causing them to jump ship! Open the windows and the doors and let the sun shine in on what’s going on in OUR association. The answer to all things is not a dues increase or tapping into the rainy-day fund that is now full of the profits from a paid-in-full building. Most of the time the answer is just good ol’ LEADERSHIP!

We’re not ready to be hit over the head with a wooden mallet and thrown into the dead cart!

Wake up, NCRA! We’re not dead yet!

Frank N. Sense*

*We are frank, and we make sense.

Your VOTE Counts!!! BE COUNTED!!! Please VOTE Now!!!

Amendment No. 2 of the Constitution and Bylaws proposed by the NCRA Board of Directors is all about VOTING and the future of NCRA. Because if Amendment No. 2 passes, it will be the beginning of giving voting rights and major influence to associate members who are not verbatim stenographic reporters.

If you believe that NCRA should be all about verbatim stenographic reporters, then VOTE AGAINST all three sections of Amendment No. 2.

If you haven’t received an e-mail from NCRA, the voting site is:

You will need your NCRA membership number and your password to VOTE!!!

Amendment No. 2 is broken into three parts, so please make sure that you VOTE in each section.

Frank N. Sense

P.S. Please send this blog post or the link to at least ten reporters to remind them to VOTE, too!!!

P.P.S. The polls are only open until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Please VOTE NOW!!!

Lift the Shades, Open the Windows and Let the Sun Shine In!

We understand how busy it is this time of year with planning a convention, attending quarterly meetings, getting ready for all the partying and celebration at the Annual Convention. Surely, somebody just forgot to call StreamText or Remote Counsel or Vitac to request their services during the Annual Business Meeting.

We are a profession about access, about fairness, about openness and transparency, aren’t we?

This is a time to showcase our own technologies – the technologies that we expect the world of clients to use. If we don’t use these technologies at our very own Annual Business Meeting, why would our clients think it is important to use them at their meetings?

This is also a time for membership to engage with their board of directors of NCRA. This is a time for the NCRA board of directors to engage with their membership. This is a time to hear what membership attendees have on their minds. There are so many captioners, CART providers, freelancers and officials who can’t take the time off work to attend the annual convention, but they have the time and the desire to attend the Annual Business Meeting remotely or to read the rough-draft transcript after the meeting.

Is there something going on that can’t be seen or heard by the entire NCRA membership? You see, not opening the windows and the doors leaves icky suspicions.

But, all of us here at FNS believe that missing this little detail must surely just be an oversight.

Wake up, NCRA! Let the Sun Shine In! Stream the Annual Business Meeting LIVE and post the rough draft as soon as possible after the meeting.

Frank N. Sense

P.S. Please don’t forget to VOTE on the important bylaws amendments on July 30th.

Don’t Fork with our Roadmap!

How did you hear about the bylaws amendments that will give videographers the right to vote in the NCRA? Most folks that we’ve heard from say they found out from their state association, a fellow court reporter, or even perhaps this very blog. But where almost no one seems to have first heard about it is from NCRA itself. Of course, you would think that an organization — whose members have to produce readable transcripts every day — would know better than to use super small microtype to “publicize” the bylaws amendments on its Website. Then, again, maybe the whole point of the microtype was for the changes to go virtually unnoticed.

But thank goodness NCRA is still a democratic association and this change must be put to a vote!

So, whether or not you wish that the board was more forthcoming with their very important proposal to change the bylaws, the amendments ultimately have to come out into the sunshine for a vote!

Bylaws are the roadmap to our association. They tell the board and staff how we, the membership, want to see OUR association run. Back in 2010, when the roadmap was amended by a landslide vote of membership, the words “verbatim stenographic reporters” were added six times in Article III, Sections b) and c), the “Privileges” section — the very section that the board is wanting to change. That landslide vote was a “shout-out” of membership to the board and staff that NCRA’s membership wanted the National Court Reporters Association to focus on VERBATIM STENOGRAPHIC REPORTERS exclusively!!!

Another issue that we have in the proposed Article III, Section c) is that it allows the board of directors to “define” whether a videographer “maintains his/her certifications.” We fear that a future board could somehow change and skew those definitions with clever wordsmithing, lowering the standards for videographers even further. (Upon further research, videographers don’t even need to spend $880 to get certified. The only mandatory day they need to attend is the Saturday event for $550!)

It is so very clear that membership voted that it wanted NCRA to remain an organization focused on Verbatim Stenographic Reporters only in 2010, and adding all of the videographer verbiage in Article III sounds exactly like the afterthought that it is.

Let’s all have another SHOUT-OUT VOTE, and not put a fork in the roadmap of NCRA.

Wake up, NCRA!!!

Please send to at least ten reporters to get out the vote on July 30th.

Frank N. Sense

P.S. We’ve included Amendment #2 for your perusal – in a larger font than on NCRA’s Website. The proposed changes are italicized in red.


Amendment #2

Article III-Membership

Section 7–Associate Members

c) Any person seeking to become or who has been certified by the Association as a Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) shall be eligible to become an Associate Member.

e) Associate Members shall not vote, except as allowed for in Article III, Section 9 b).

Article III-Membership

Section 9–Privileges

a) All classes of Members shall enjoy the privileges of the Association except where certain privileges are specifically restricted to a specific class of Member in this Constitution and Bylaws.

b) All Members may attend meetings of the Members and participate in any debates at such meetings. Only Participating Members who are verbatim stenographic reporters and Registered Members who are verbatim stenographic reporters, as well as Retired Lifetime Members and Honorary Members who have been verbatim stenographic reportersand Certified Legal Video Specialist Associate Members in good standing, upon payment of the equivalent of Participating Member dues, shall be eligible to vote and/or make or second motions at such meetings or to vote by electronic mail or other means of electronic transmission as specifically authorized under Article IX (“Voting Members”).

c) Only Registered Members who are verbatim stenographic reporters or Retired Lifetime Members who have been verbatim stenographic reporters or Honorary Members who have been verbatim stenographic reporters shall be eligible to hold an elective office of the Association.

d) Only Members in good standing holding NCRA certifications, who maintain their certifications as required by the Board of Directors, may use the NCRA certification designations associated with his/her certifications.  The only exception is nonmember Certified Legal Video Specialists who have maintained his/her certification as defined by the Board of Directors.


Proposal 1) is to add the formal name of the CLVS certification. Regarding 2) and 3), the Board of Directors charged the Constitution and Bylaws Committee with exploring the possibility of allowing voting rights by Certified Legal Video Specialists who are NCRA members, without changing the Associate Member category.

Proposal 4), Section 9, subsection d), is a revision of current Article III, Section 10, subsection b), which more appropriately belongs in Section 9.

Don’t Let the Camel’s Nose Under the Tent While You’re Splitting Hairs on the Slippery Slope, Because Once that Camel’s in the Tent, Videographers Still Won’t be Able to Write 225 WPM.

We’ve heard it all before, a proposal gets made, a committee gets formed, the proposal gets vetted, and suddenly the camel’s nose comes under the tent by way of a “fully reviewed and vetted” proposal that is against the interests of Verbatim Stenographic Reporters.  Then when the camel’s nose is already under the tent, the Board says, “Let’s let membership decide.”  But membership knows that once the camel’s nose has gotten in the tent, very soon we’ll have a big, old camel in our tent.

Verbatim Stenographic Reporters know this, and we have stated over and over and over again that we want NCRA to remain an organization focused on Verbatim Stenographic Reporters only.

So hairs are just being split when we hear that videographers won’t hold board positions because a new category of “associate” membership was created only allowing them to vote.   The Board is leading us down a slippery slope.

Doesn’t the Board even wonder why videographers want to be included by having voting rights in NCRA?  We sure do!

It’s not hard to imagine them eventually voting themselves the right to hold board positions.  Is this special “associate member” category the first camel nose in the tent that begins with videographers, then eventually leads to electronic recorders and voicewriters?

Wake Up, NCRA!!!

So, videographers are chomping at the bit to get voting rights in NCRA.  Please make sure that NCRA has an e-mail address on file by July 15th so you can cast your coveted vote on July 30th.

Frank N. Sense

P.S.  Please send this blog site,,  to 10 Verbatim Stenographic Reporters so that they know about this very important issue and they cast their votes on July 30th.

Despite Another Attempt by the Board of Directors to Turn NCRA into an Umbrella Organization, CLVSs Still Can’t Write 225 WPM.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could become RPRs by just attending a three-day seminar for $880, taking a written knowledge test and a production test like videographers?

Not only have we never seen a videographer who can write 225 wpm, we’ve never seen one that can read back steno/testimony.  We’ve never seen one that can do realtime, captioning, or CART.  And why is that?  It’s because these are skills developed through years and years of hard work that belong exclusively to verbatim stenographic reporters.

The very nice folks who happen to be videographers should not have any vote at all that could in any way influence or ever lead to influence over NCRA – an organization whose members have said over and over and over again that it should only represent the interests of verbatim stenographic reporters.

Wake up, NCRA!

 Frank N. Sense

P.S.  Please make sure that NCRA has an e-mail address on file so that they are able to notify you when voting begins on July 30th.

P.P.S.  Also, please send this blog to 10 verbatim stenographic reporters so that they know about the very important vote on July 30th.

Have You Heard About the Videographer Who Writes 225 WPM? We Haven’t Either.

Please make sure that NCRA has an e-mail address on file by July 15th so that you are able to vote on a very important proposed bylaw amendment on July 30th.

The proposed bylaw amendment, if passed, will allow VIDEOGRAPHERS “associate” membership into NCRA – allowing them “associate” membership rights, including voting and potentially holding board positions in the future!!!

We are sorry, but we don’t understand why the board would spend any of their valuable time even pursuing this already-settled issue. Haven’t we, the verbatim stenographic reporter members of NCRA, already spoken LOUDLY and CLEARLY in a survey a few years ago that we want NCRA dedicated solely to verbatim stenography and advancing the causes near and dear to verbatim stenography?


Frank N. Sense

P.S. Please send this Wake Up, NCRA! blog to 10 reporters so that they can send it to 10 reporters so that we all VOTE on July 30th.  We need to get the word out quickly!!!