Earlier this month, the ANA emailed members to join the “Crowdfunding Drive to Improve Our Online Technology.” The email admitted the “pandemic taught us a lot about the importance of online learning and communication.” Thus, money is needed to “make much-needed website improvements to allow the ANA to take advantage of current technologies, resulting in a better online experience for ANA members and the collecting community.”
The email says that an anonymous donor will match all gifts.
I also thank the anonymous donor. I raise my coffee cup to you, and that’s a high honor from a coffee addict!
The ANA should not be in this situation. While there were failures before the pandemic put the ANA on the path to this failure, President Steve Ellsworth cemented the ANA’s fate because his bravado and ego got in the way of effectively running this organization.
Ellsworth dismissed the Technology Committee Chairperson in October 2019, and he did not replace the chair before the pandemic precautions caused the world to shut down. Ellsworth assigned Ron Oberth to work on ANA technology, who had no background in technology, and came up with unimaginative solutions and put the ANA behind other organizations who learned from the pandemic.
Although Ellsworth is out of office, he continues to be an ex-officio member of the Board of Governors. President Ron Ross has not demonstrated an understanding of the issue. Sources say that the loudest voice in the room is influencing Ross and that loudest voice belongs to Governor Ron Oberth. Oberth runs a successful numismatic company, but he does not know or understand technology, nor is he experienced in education that should guide the technology.
Ross and Oberth have not asked the ANA community to help. While they have listened to the ANA Headquarters staff, they have not listened to any other advisors with the experience necessary to lead the ANA into the future.
In other words, Ross and Oberth turned the Board of Governors into an insular club, and the rest of the membership was not welcome.
Both will deny their responsibility for the failures and ignore calls for their resignation. What you can do as a member is donate to the fund and add a note that the donation is conditional on the ANA assigning an independent committee to oversee the future of the technology policy. It was the model used by Presidents Walt Ostromecki, Jeff Garrett, and Gary Adkins to modernize the ANA technology infrastructure, and it should be the model in the future.