David Pressgrove: Communication breakdown

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I'm sitting at my desk exhausted after interviewing people for three days about the story that's running to the left of my column.

I can't imagine what it has been like for those involved for almost a year. I only spent 10 hours on the phone.

From my viewpoint, which I think is about as objective as can be, there is one major problem.

For that, I'll steal from Led Zepplin -- "Communication breakdown ... drive me insane."

In my job, I've learned that communication is key.

If I want a photo to run a certain way, I have to let the person laying out the page know that's how I want it. If I don't communicate that, I have no reason to complain.

In the instance of the Bad Dawg wrestling team's management, there is a lot of complaining and not enough communication.

Personal vendettas, bad blood and stubbornness has led to a questionable future for a program that, if done right, can benefit the community.

The previous Moffat County Youth Wrestling Board members resigned because, "We were tired of all the crap going on," one member said.

A new board was appointed and there wasn't much communication between the two. Paperwork was handed over, and the old board went its separate way.

Then the new board went ahead and did its own thing. I have no doubt that Joe and Lori Hefton and Ben Crippen wanted what was best for the youth in the wrestling programs. Had they known they were supposed to allow the Bad Dawg board to make the decisions, it would have been done. Instead, there was no board created for the Bad Dawgs, and they made their own decisions.

Apparently, the Bad Dawg coaches either missed or didn't get the memo that the board had decided to change the season.

The decision was that the Bad Dawgs would now be a fall program only. No longer would it run for nine months.

Nine months is a long time. The Major League Baseball season doesn't even run that long. Everybody I talked to outside the Bad Dawgs suggested the club required too much time from its wrestlers.

Everybody I talked to involved in the Bad Dawgs said there has never been a mandate to participate all nine months.

So what's the problem?

Well the kids are the real ones to ask that question.

Have they ever felt pressured to go to a tournament when they didn't want to?

Have they ever felt pressured to go to a practice when they didn't want to?

I was too busy sorting out the he said/she said from the parents to talk to the wrestlers.

I wish I could have.

Instead, I'm writing a column attempting to be the mediator among all parties involved.

Here are my suggestions:

It is imperative that the new board host a public meeting soon. First, though, sit down with the past board members and learn about the original design for Moffat County Youth Wrestling. It is the former board members' responsibility to present the original intent in a clear manner.

The meeting with previous board members may clear up everything. If the decision is made to allow the Bad Dawgs to still elect its own board then the decision to stop in January is null and void. It's all back to the way it was.

I would suggest, though, that in the public meeting, the matter of having separate boards is voted on. This time, the bylaws stating that should be signed and dated.

If the Bad Dawgs are to leave MCYW, then that needs to be voted on publicly, as well.

I would hope that the Bad Dawgs can stay a part of MCYW. The reason it originally merged with freestyle and peewee was because of the conflict that separate youth wrestling entities created.

Finally, to clear up confusion in the future, the organization or the two new organizations need to make themselves 501C3 status. This way, there is never any confusion about who does what in a board or whether bylaws truly exist and what the responsibilities to the public are. A 501C3 organization's rules are clear.

I understand that it takes a good chunk of cash to become a 501C3. But when I read the minutes from a 2004 meeting, I noticed there was a discussion about the pros of buying a facility for the program. That's more than the $2,500 it takes to become a registered nonprofit agency.

Can't we all just get along?

If it truly is for the kids, then that will be the case.

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