This weekend, I received my ballot for the 2011 election of the American Numismatic Association Board of Governors. As opposed to years past, this ballot is without controversy since the only contest is for the office of the Vice President. Since all of the officers need one vote to be elected, and it is assured that each will vote for themselves, the ANA Board will be as follows:
Tom Hallenbeck, President
Hallenbeck is the current ANA Vice President and will be the 57th President of the ANA. Prior to being Vice President, Hallenbeck served as Governor. His father, Ken Hallenbeck, served as ANA President from 1989 to 1991. In his candidate statement Hallenbeck said, “One of the areas that the ANA must improve on is the utilization of technology. We must be more creative in drawing new collectors to our website and then encouraging them to join our collector community.” If he is serious about this, he will not only have my support but he can have my time to assist in his goals. Hallenbeck is free to lookup my contact information in the ANA database use it to call on my help.
The Vice President race will be discussed below.
Gary Adkins, Governor
Adkins is an ANA Life Member and long time dealer from Minneapolis. What concerns me is that in his candidate statement, the last sentence reads, “Gary will work hard to increase the ANA’s web presence, including implementing educational ‘webinars.’” It reads almost as if the statement was a last minute add-on in order to appease a certain part of the electorate. I hope he is serious and is willing to accept help from the membership who cares about this issue.
Mike Ellis, Governor
Error collectors will recognize Ellis as one of the foremost expert on error coins. Ellis, from Camilla, Georgia, has been an officer of the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America (CONECA). Ellis is well known as a teacher, author, and very collector centric. Ellis does not mention the use of technology, but that is not his forte which tells me he will not presume this type of agenda. However, Ellis has proven that he will support any effort if it is good for the collector.
Jeff Garrett, Governor
Garrett is an incumbent Governor that has been involved in helping turn around the ANA from its previous issues. The Lexington, Kentucky resident is a champion for numismatic education based on his experiences with programs like the ANA Summer Seminar. I wonder if Garrett would be in favor of extending education to the electronic world?
Greg Lyon, Governor
Lyon may be the youngest member of the Board of Governors and could fall into the age group I called the “Lost Demographic” Even if he is older than the lost demographic age, the St. Louis future governor’s candidate statement echoes many of my concerns on the ANA’s non-use of technology for communicating.
Cliff Mishler, Governor
Mishler is well known in the numismatics industry as the former publisher at Krause Publications. Mishler, from Iola, Wisconsin, is the current ANA President who first ran for governor in 2007 wants to return to being Governor. Based on the few email notes I have received from Misher, I am not sure he understands the impact that technology could have on the ANA. However, I know that technocrats can meander beyond the business realities that an organization could handle. Having someone experienced with the inner workings of the ANA could help keep those of us pushing technology grounded.
Scott Rottinghaus, Governor
Rottinghaus is an incumbent Governor who sill be serving his second term. Rottinghaus is a physician in New London, Connecticut where is works as a director of clinical trials, he is on the faculty at Yale Medical School, and cares for patients at the local VA Hospital. Rottinghaus, a younger member of the board, comes to his position as a collector and from a field far different from numismatics—which provides a good mix for the Board of Governors.
Wendell Wolka, Governor
Of all the board members listed, I have heard Wolka speak the most. You will not find a more enthusiastic person than Wolka. I would also recommend his columns in The Numismatist, especially if you want to learn about currency! Wolka, from Greenwood, Indiana, is an incumbent who will be serving his third term on the Board. Having Wolka on the Board of Governors is good for the ANA.
Vice President: Arthur Fitts versus Walt Ostromecki
In the only election battle, it features Arthur Fitts of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire versus Walter Ostromecki of Encino, California. In their candidate statement, both have emphasized their education credentials working with the ANA as well as their past service to the association—Ostromecki is currently a member of the Board of Governors. Outside of the ANA Fitts is involved in the numismatic industry and Ostromecki is a teacher. Fitts is more experienced with the numismatic industry than Ostromecki but Ostromecki has been involved with youth activities within and outside of the ANA that gives him a better perspective on raising he future leaders of the ANA.
This one is difficult because both bring excellent experiences from different perspective to the ANA. Although I do have a radical streak that does not want to see industry insiders taking over the Board, I am mature enough to know that the Board needs a balance between insiders and outsiders. Fitts being a proven educator and author with the knowledge of the industry makes him a good candidate for the position.
On the other hand Ostromecki is “a 38-year veteran public high school teacher” is working with young adults who are on their way to their adult pursuits. These are the people who are about to enter the “lost demographic” age and it would be helpful to have his experience help try to keep the Young Numismatists engaged. His work over the last few years as Governor also makes him a good candidate.
Although not always the case, the Vice President is usually the President-in-waiting. This year, Tom Hallenbeck will move up from the Vice President’s position to be the ANA President and should something unforeseen happen to Hallenbeck (which we hope doesn’t), the Vice President takes over as President. In this case, Ostromecki would be a better candidate since he has been directly involved in the reforms of the last few years. However, Fitts is the more experienced with ANA and has the overall experience to step in if needed. So the question is who is better for the future of the ANA?
The future of the ANA has to be younger, more adaptable, and able to really communicate to the younger members and possible work to getting the “Lost Demographic” involved. In that regard, it might be good for the association to have a professional educator near the top of the organization and one-step away from being the President. Therefore, I am endorsing Walt Ostromecki as Vice President for the ANA.
My ballot is marked and will be mailed this week.
I am very disappointed that there are no other races for the ANA Board of Governors. I do not know why the ANA cannot recruit people to work on behalf of the association, but if it is to build on the work of the last four years to repair the damage done by those in the past, they really need to figure out how to get more people interested in being part of the board.
Another disturbing trend is the lack of women and minorities. Two years ago, Patti Finner ran for president but was defeated by Cliff Mishler. Maybe the organization Women in Numismatics can help promote the hobby to women of all ages to become involved. This might be an issue for the new Board of Governors to consider for the future of the association.
As for minority participation, I would not know where to begin. Maybe there should be an outreach program through the scouts to build an interest amongst their minority members. If I have minority readers (and I hope I do), I hope they will reply to this post and provide suggestions.
In fact, if you have comments or are a member of the ANA Board of Governors and want to comment about what I said above, please feel free to post them!