The National Association for Cave Diving (NACD), based in Gainesville Florida, is one of the most widely recognized organizations in the world representing and advocating for the sport of cave diving. Throughout its long history the NACD has made major contributions to the cave diving community through training, education, exploration, and conservation. Visit the NACD website for more information.
The regularly scheduled NACD board meeting, held October 13th at Lloyd Bailey’s Scuba & Watersports Superstore 3405 NW 97th Blvd. Gainesville, Florida was a critical meeting in which a number of issues were addressed relative to a recent controversy involving the board. With the able leadership of NACD Vice-President Rick Murcar the directors were able to address the current difficulties in a calm, business–like manner.
The controversy arose earlier this year over differences of opinion about the proper actions of the NACD Board after the felony conviction of a prominent NACD instructor. The debate expanded to many general issues with NACD Board actions and has led to resignations, dismissals, and NACD memberships being cancelled. Arguments were posted on various public internet forums and the situation has created a tremendous amount of consternation among NACD members and non-members alike. It was the board’s task that Saturday evening to address the issues before them in an open meeting where any NACD member could attend.
Vice-President Murcar presided over the meeting and with the assistance of the other board members, legal counsel, and concerned NACD members in attendance successfully outlined new directions and initiatives designed to resolve this conflict. Proper decorum was maintained by all in attendance and the meeting was conducted with no anger or outbursts, as feared by many of the attendees.
The meeting was called to order at 6:05 pm with board members Rick Murcar, Don Syme, Larry Green, Rob Neto, Jeff Bauer, and Tracy Grubbs in attendance. There were between 20 and 25 NACD general members present as well. Attendees were provided index cards to write questions for the board that were presented and discussed at the end of the meeting. NACD attorney Maria del Carmen Calzon was introduced and the meeting began with regular committee reports.
Vice-President Murcar, presented a chart labeled “Business Functionality Relationships,” which is an overview of the fundamentals of the operation of the organization and outlines the various functions and activities of the NACD. This was presented to introduce and demonstrate the efforts being made to assess and address all issues with the operation of the NACD.
Ms. Calzon then made a presentation discussing her efforts on behalf of the NACD. She has done a general review of the structure and operation of the organization and has examined various legal issues presently confronting the board. Her analysis was thorough and complete and included several opinions on legal matters and numerous valuable recommendations to the board.
The issue of the instructor involved in illegal activities was addressed and Ms. Calzon gave her opinion and interpretation of the NACD by-laws governing the matter. The instructor involved was permitted to speak and after listening to his presentation and the recommendation of Ms. Calzon a vote was taken to table action to give board members an opportunity to consider and discuss the legal opinion before a final vote. As this matter is at the heart of the controversy, it is expected the board will take appropriate action without delay.
After this vote the meeting focus was directed toward assessing and outlining new directions for the NACD. These new directions involve correcting issues arising out of the recent controversy as well as making the organization adapt to its growth, new technology, and trends in the cave diving community. Membership consists of 1,195 individual members, 24 complimentary members, 60 business members, 294 family memberships, 53 instructors, and 750 voting members. Members come from 8 countries and 13 states and the organization continues to grow. Committees have been appointed to review the by-laws, finances, and inventory of the NACD as well as considering use of various new technologies for voting, record keeping, and marketing. An invitation was extended to all members to volunteer to serve on committees and the board.
Various questions were taken from the membership at this point and a general discussion of some of the issues was held. Many good points were made and the board took note; promising to address the issues and be attentive to member’s concerns. After this productive discussion the meeting was adjourned.
The members of the NACD have been presented with a burdensome task. A call has been made for a complete reassessment of the functions and activities of the organization and for improvements in the basic structure. An invitation has been extended for member involvement and it appears the board of directors is ready to take the NACD in a new direction. It will be the responsibility of the individual members to help make this happen by volunteering and serving and it is the responsibility of the board of directors to follow through with their commitments and to welcome member input.
Photos courtesy of Gene Page- Page Photography