X-Message-Number: 837
Date: 20 May 92 03:20:52 EDT
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: For CRYONET - Alcor Board Meeting Search

A recent CRYONET posting from Mike Paulle related to a proposal which was
made at the ALCOR Board of Directors meeting held on May 3, 1992.  It seems
to me, that it is at best speculative, time-wasting, chit-chat, and at
worst irresponsible and perhaps malicious, gossip to be posting notes about
that which has never appeared in its original form.

I have finally succumbed to joining CRYONET, in order to provide just this.
Here follows the complete proposal, exactly as presented to the Board:

A Proposal to Appoint a Board Sanctioned Search Committee to Find
a New Executive Director (Chief Operating Officer) for Alcor

    by Paul Wakfer

Some Principles of Corporate Organization

1.  The directors of a profit making or not-for-profit organization are
    generally not employees of the corporation.  For profit making
    corporations the directors are either major shareholders or
    representatives of such.  For not-for-profits they are wise,
    intelligent, accomplished individuals who have an abiding interest in
    the goals and success of the organization.  This is not to say that
    employees may not also have those qualifications, but simply that the
    common sense of management suggests that wherever possible there should
    be a hierarchical chain of command.  It is clearly unwise to have
    someone in a position of partial authority over the one who is supposed
    to be directing his/her work.
2.  This organizational strategy often applies to the chief operating
    officer of the corporation.  He/she is often only an ex-officio member
    of the board of directors.  That much is necessary because he/she is
    the employee who reports directly to the board.  The president or
    chairman of the board is the board's liaison with the chief operating
    officer on a day to day basis (i.e. between board meetings).  For not-
    for-profit organizations this chief operating officer (the senior
    employee of the organization) is usually called executive director. 
    The executive director and the president or chairman of the board are
    generally not the same person.
3.  While Alcor was small it was perhaps necessary to violate these basic
    management principles.  We are large enough now or soon will be that we
    should seriously consider adopting this tried and proven corporate
    organizational strategy.
4.  The Alcor Board should therefore resolve to begin a gradual separation
    of directors and employees until this has been accomplished.

A First Step for Alcor

1.  Currently Alcor combines the position of President of its Board of
    Directors with that of Executive Director.  This is a position of
    importance and stress perhaps second only to that of suspension team
    leader.  Separating these positions would split the work and
    qualifications required.
2.  The Presidency/Executive Directorship was last changed at a time of
    crisis, without there being any time for the Board to make a thorough
    search for candidates and a considered choice.
3.  Over 4 years have elapsed since that time.  During this period, there
    have been tremendous changes to Alcor.  Its suspension membership has
    more than tripled to over 300.  It has evolved from a mostly volunteer
    organization to one with several paid staff.  Its financial holdings
    and spending have increased enormously. Very different organizational
    and management methods are now required.
4.  The current President/Executive Director has done an excellent job of
    pulling Alcor out of the crisis which caused him to become president,
    of solving several other crises, and of managing the ensuing legal
5.  He has had to endure a large cut in salary from that which he was
    earning and could be earning.
6.  He has several times seriously stated that he would be happy to step
    down from the Presidency if a competent person were available to
    replace him; that he could easily obtain a position with much higher
    salary outside of Alcor.
7.  The Board would be remiss if it did not take all possible steps to find
    a qualified person for Executive Director and permit Carlos to resume
    his career.
8.  The Board should therefore appoint a committee to begin a search for a
    person with high public relations, organizational and management skills
    to fill this critical position of Executive Director.  The current     
    President/Executive Director would then be free to return to the       
    business world while retaining his position as a director and President
    of the Board.
9.  Since there may be some critical tasks which would not be complete at
    the time of installation of the new Executive Director, it might be
    wise for the President to receive a small stipend while continuing to
    manage those tasks until they are either completed or have been
    successfully turned over to the new Executive Director.  The task of
    Alcor's relocation to new premises is so critical, that it might be
    best if the installation of a new Executive Director was delayed until
    after the completion of that task.

Suggested Search Committee Parameters

1.  The search committee should be composed of Alcor suspension members
    from both inside and outside the board.  Its members should themselves
    have some public relations and management experience.  The board might
    also possibly wish to have regional representation in the membership of
    the committee.  Several Alcor members have indicated their willingness
    to serve on this committee.
2.  Candidates for Executive Director must be Alcor suspension members.
3.  Salary range for this position shall be as set by the Board, augmented
    by any donations which can be raised for this express purpose.
4.  Candidates must be willing to move to where Alcor HQ is located.
5.  Any search committee member wishing to apply should advise the Board
    and be replaced at the next Board meeting.

Suggested method of operation

1.  After the committee has created a job description, a list of mandatory
    requirements and a list of desired qualifications, they should announce
    the beginning of the search for an Executive Director by publishing
    these in Cryonics (or by a direct mailing) together with a request for
    applications.  (The board may wish to review and approve the job
    description and qualifications before publication.)
2.  The committee evaluates the applications, interviews the applicants,
    and checks their references.
3.  When one or more qualified applicants have appeared, the search
    committee presents these to the Board.
4.  The Board may then wish to do further evaluation and interviewing as a
    committee of the whole, in order to make a decision whether there
    is one (or more) viable candidate(s) for Executive Director.
5.  If there is more than one viable candidate for Executive Director,
    there shall be a vote of the Board to decide which is appointed.
6.  In keeping with the principles of good management, 6 months after
    appointment of the Executive Director and perhaps yearly thereafter,
    the Board should undertake a formal evaluation of the his/her

(End of the Proposal)


As the reader can see, I tried very hard, and I believe that I succeeded,
to create a document that did not criticize or attack Carlos, that catered
to his expressed needs and wishes, and, in fact, which should have, or at
least could have, not been antagonistic to any board member.  The proposal
was originally for a search committee for President, but after a suggestion
from Steve Bridge, which supported my own thinking, and the comment from
Carlos (after reading a one page version of the above 12 days prior to the
Board meeting, which called for a Presidential search committee) that "I
would be more likely to support this if it was a search committee for an
Executive Director".  (This quote is strictly from memory and may not be
100% literal).  To me, this meant that he would have no great objection to
    The proposal ran into trouble when Dave Pizer (who, though he has been
very critical of Carlos in the past, is currently very supportive
apparently because of his desire to have Alcor move to near his home in
Phoenix) was determined that this proposal be interpreted as a direct,
major attack on Carlos.  In fact, I believe that it was he who convinced
Carlos to view it as an insult and as a move to get rid of him.
    However, as the reader can see, there are no grounds for such an
interpretation.  All I am saying and meaning by this proposal is: that
Carlos was appointed at a time when Alcor was very different from what it
it now and that he might not be the best possible person to be directing
its operations currently;  that most non-profit organizations above a
certain size, split what is Carlos' current position into that of President
(chairman) of the Board and Executive Director; and that therefore, the
Board would be acting responsibly by spliting Carlos' position in just this
way and having a publicized look to see if there was not someone more
appropriate for the Executive Director portion.
    The proposal was tabled, not defeated and in any case, what occurred
was the just the beginning of an ongoing process.  It is unfortunate that
this process may cause difficultly and embarrassment for the Board and for
Carlos.  The Board chose not to accept my non-antagonistic proposal hoping,
I assume, that I would feel discouraged and go away.  They under-estimated
my perseverance.  There will be a search committee with or without Board
approval.  Because I feel that a search committee without Board approval
may cause dissension and bring harm to Alcor, there will be further
attempts to gain Board approval for such.
    At the Board meeting, I was challenged to present a list of specific
criticisms of Carlos' handling of the Presidency.  Since my close
experience with Alcor is of short duration, my criticisms based on first
hand observation will, by necessity, be mostly general.  I would welcome
the contribution of any specific, detailed, factual statements from others
concerning any shortcomings they have observed in Carlos' handling of the
Presidency.  These will become part of a brief to be presented to the
    In closing, I wish to state very strongly that I am not out to *get*
Carlos.  We owe him gratitude for his past stewardship of Alcor.  As my
proposal states, it would be best if he were available to carry on, to
conclusion, some of the projects which he has begun, and to pass on
critical information to a new Executive Director.  I am a very strong
supporter of Alcor as it has been and as it will be.  While I am strongly
critical of the way in which the move to a new building was decided and has
evolved, I am not out to sabatoge that move.  I have contributed the
remaining $20K of my paid-up suspension funding towards its purchase (the
other $15K went to fund the UK building) even though I am of mixed mind on
the question of whether such a move is right for Alcor at this time.

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