Can we fix Laguna Niguel AYSO Region 41

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Old AYSO Volunteer

Santa Clarita, CA

#1 May 10, 2008
Crisis in Laguna Niguel! AYSO in Region 41 (Laguna Niguel) has been the predominant Recreational Soccer program for the last 35 years. The Region has prospered due to good management, loyal volunteers and an abundance of kids wanting to play the great game of soccer. Fast forward to today....after a new RC has been "in power" for a little over four months...

A new Regional Commissioner was elected to run the AYSO Board of Directors in Laguna Niguel (the vote was taken on December 2007 with the 3 year term commencing in January 2008). Within the first 4 months he has lost the confidence of the entire Board, fired Board members that questioned his actions, drained the Board of years of AYSO knowledge, removed voting on any/all board issues, told volunteers that it will run HIS way and his way only as he is an "elected AYSO official". Apparently , the new sheriff in town has forgotten why volunteers, volunteer. They do it to put kids on fields, help them realize their full potential and enjoy a great game - Soccer!

The new RC's seems to have strayed I hear you say...Alas if this were all it was. The "Brain drain", the complete no confidence from the Board/coaching community and the turmoil Paul Levey is creating and perpetuating seem to be leading AYSO in Laguna Niguel down a path of pure distruction.... this "Guy" is on a MAJOR POWER TRIP at the COMPLETE expense of our Kids enjoyment of a Recreational game that used to be called SOCCER in Laguna Niguel
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#2 May 10, 2008
Thanks for the comments. Other items for individuals to be aware of.
1. Uniforms. In the past my understanding is that the board voted on the vendor for uniforms. Now the new RC has told the board that they will only consider one vendor and that the topic is closed for discussion. The board asked for a review of vendors to discuss quality, price and service. The RC denied their request for a vendor process. The RC stated that this was a mandate from the higher ups and that we have to be compliance with this. Even if the cost is higher and the quality lower. The board wanted each vendor to be evaluated and the findings presented to the board. Again, denied by the RC.
2. The board asked for financial guidelines to be put in place for protection of region funds. These guidelines would serve as a foundation for sound accounting practices and provide accountability for our region to our parents, coaches and volunteers. When the financial guidelines were presented at a board meeting the RC became upset that we would even consider such things. The financial guidelines even though approved by a majority of the board are currently not being followed by the current RC. Do you know where your money is going????? The financial guidelines were put in place not as a way to deter the RC from doing his job but as a means to provide sound accounting practices so that, no matter who became RC the funds of the region would remain in the region and spent with board approval.

Parents need to be aware that the board has asked for several key items from the RC.
Fiscal accountability, review of vendors, review of dismissal of board members. On each of these key concepts the RC has rejected these items despite a majority board approval.
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#3 May 10, 2008
Part II
There are two other key points for discussion.

3. Due process for "fired" or "dismissed" board memmbers. At an emergency board meeting in Feb. and after several long term volunteers were fired the board asked that a new guideline be put in place that would ask that any removal of a board member should be presented to the board for approval or discussion. Again, the majority of the board voted to have this guideline put in place so that, board members could not be fired at the whim of a disgruntled board member. This again is being denied by the current RC. Each of the members of the board that are being fired have asked for a due process hearing in which they can ask why they were fired and have an inpartial representative to hear their case. On each of the fired board members their due process has been denied. The majority of board members feel threatened that their position on the board is threatened if they disagree with the current RC. This type of management style goes against the fundamentals of any board. A board is created to have a group of individuals vote on issues and have an open discussion on region issues. What type of management style is the RC creating.
4. Many of the board members have received an email from the RC stating, "thank you for your service to AYSO, please let me know what projects you are working on so that, I can transition them to the next (whatever board position). This email was sent out to about 10-15 board members after a meeting with the Area Director. The board members also have had their privledges removed from the National eAYSO database. This database allows the board members to do their board tasks...whether it is coaching admin, ref admin, Safe Haven volunteer back ground checks. The Area Director at the last meeting said he would not remove the current RC and that the board was ganging up on him and that we are a bunch of "terrorists".
What does this mean for you???? Currently, coach classes have been canceled because the Regional Coach Administrator has been fired. So no coach classes means that coaches can't get their certificates to coach at whatever level they need to coach at. Safe Haven classes have been canceled. No one is currently doing volunteer background checks on the volunteers. No one is monitoring Safe Haven practices. Are your kids safe? Who is minding the store???
The current scheduler for Region 41 has also been fired. What does that mean for you??? No one will be working on practice field schedules for the fall. Probably it will be done last minute by someone at the Area level. We saw this spring how badly Area scheduled fields. Do you remember having games during your childs spring break? You can thank Area management for that. Who will get priority of the fields in the fall? Will Area understand how to schedule coaches who have multiple teams? Currently our scheduler tries his best to make sure that the field usage works to the advantage of all teams and coaches and works with coaches and teams to work out conflicts before schedules get posted. I can assure you that Area will not be cooperative like that.
Voice of Reason

Laguna Niguel, CA

#4 May 11, 2008
There is not and never has been a "hearing" or review process. Each person serves at the pleasure of the RC. These are volunteer positions, not paid positions. Vince Neale is a great guy and a wonderful AYSO volunteer. But he has served in his current position for 17 years. If this RC wants to let a different guy have a shot at it, that is his prerogative. Bottom line is, if he is not lying cheating or stealing, and if he is abiding by the rules of AYSO, he has the latitude to put the board together as he sees fit.

By the same token, if the board he puts together fails to conduct a proper registration, fails to provide uniforms, fails to provide sufficient qualified referees, sufficient trained and screened coaches, etc. etc. etc. then the region will pay the price.

My experience with Paul Levey is that he ran a terrific program as head of referees, and he is not trying to destroy Region 41 soccer. The folks that voted him in as RC knew him for many years, and they knew the power they were giving him. Now they need to deal with it. If Paul has asked people to leave the board, they need to leave with dignity and go do other volunteer duties. If, as some predict, the league crashes and burns under his stewardship, then the sun will still come up tomorrow and the old guard can come back in and put the pieces back together.

And remember, you can always sign up your kids to play in a different region until this blows over. Region 87 (Dana Point/SJC) runs a very nice region.
head in the sand

United States

#5 May 11, 2008
Voice of Reason wrote:
There is not and never has been a "hearing" or review process. Each person serves at the pleasure of the RC. These are volunteer positions, not paid positions. Vince Neale is a great guy and a wonderful AYSO volunteer. But he has served in his current position for 17 years. If this RC wants to let a different guy have a shot at it, that is his prerogative. Bottom line is, if he is not lying cheating or stealing, and if he is abiding by the rules of AYSO, he has the latitude to put the board together as he sees fit.
By the same token, if the board he puts together fails to conduct a proper registration, fails to provide uniforms, fails to provide sufficient qualified referees, sufficient trained and screened coaches, etc. etc. etc. then the region will pay the price.
My experience with Paul Levey is that he ran a terrific program as head of referees, and he is not trying to destroy Region 41 soccer. The folks that voted him in as RC knew him for many years, and they knew the power they were giving him. Now they need to deal with it. If Paul has asked people to leave the board, they need to leave with dignity and go do other volunteer duties. If, as some predict, the league crashes and burns under his stewardship, then the sun will still come up tomorrow and the old guard can come back in and put the pieces back together.
And remember, you can always sign up your kids to play in a different region until this blows over. Region 87 (Dana Point/SJC) runs a very nice region.
Get your head out of the sand...
All the national youth groups I looked into, Little League, Pony Baseball, ASA softball, Bobby Sox, NJB (basketball)...etc ALL have General Membership Elections, and the board decisions are made by the majority vote of the board. The Presidents (in our case RC) of these leagues do not even vote unless there is a tie. I wonder why that is?

AYSOs current bylaws give the RC, absolute power and control... Last I checked they call this type of governing body a DICTATORSHIP!

I canít believe you would suggest that we leave our wonderful city to play someplace else!
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#6 May 11, 2008
From what I heard Mr. Levey did not run a terrific program as head of the referres. The folks under him did all the work and he took all the credit. They basically ran the program and allowed him to feel important as the "head".

Also, in AYSO guidelines all volunteers are given the right to a hearing for due process. This has not been given to any fired board member.

Even if the current RC creates a new board those members will soon face the same obstacles with the RC.

The issues now become the following:
1. Region 41 is now way behind in recruting coaches for the fall season. And experienced, qualified coaches may not step up to coach this year due to the turmoil. Newer coaches may step up but they won't be trained properly. Do the parents of Region 41 want untrained or improperly trained coaches for their kids? Vince and Ali were wonderful at recruiting coaches. Paul will not be able to recruit coaches as the coaches of Region 41 will not support him in any capacity.
2. Team balancing. Although the team balancer hasn't been fired yet. The team balancer works with the coaching admin team to create teams that are balanced as possible. This won't happen in the fashion that it has in the past. I suspect that kids will just get placed in order to create teams as I would imagine that this process is also way behind.
3. A new board. Good luck with that. As soon as any sane person finds out what is going on I can only imagine they will run away very, very fast.

If the RC was a man of integrity he would step down. The situation is not going to improve under his leadership. His ego is currently driving his motivations to stay in power. I feel badly for his wife and kids. The stress that he must be causing in his own family must be unbelievable.
Voice of Reason

Laguna Niguel, CA

#7 May 11, 2008
Quote:
"AYSOs current bylaws give the RC, absolute power and control... Last I checked they call this type of governing body a DICTATORSHIP!"

Thats correct. And it has always been that way. If you don't like it, try and change it. Until then, this board elected Paul Levey based on his performance as a board member and his performance running the referee program. He was a known commodity then and now.

The volunteer board members serve if invited to serve, and they don't serve if not invited. As I said earlier, there is no appeal or hearing process for a volunteer board member who is not invited to continue serving. If you think there is, please cut'n'paste the AYSO by-law here that says there is one. Hint: There ain't one.

He is the duly elected RC. If the season comes off as poorly as some of you are predicting, then he will be gone. If the season comes off okay (everything happens pretty much on time, and the season and playoffs occur as scheduled) then he will probably serve another year.

He is also not a guy who will step down. If you don't know that, then you don't know him at all.
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#8 May 11, 2008
Here is the information regarding the hearing process. It is part of the National by-laws.
Dispute resolution.
3:22 AYSO Reference Book 2007
ARTICLE NINE: DISPUTE RESOLUTION
4. Removal
The regional commissioner or the regional board may remove a person (whether or not suspended) involved in the region, from further involvement in the program. Such removal may only be made upon prior notice and after a determination is made that removal is appropriate, as the result of a disciplinary hearing described in Paragraph Two above. Such removal is only permitted when there is found to be (a) a violation of the National Bylaws or of the rules, regulations, policies or philosophies of AYSO or (b) conduct which disrupts the region's or AYSO's activities or programs.
2 Hearing Procedures
Any disciplinary hearing shall be held at a neutral location. The hearing procedures shall be communicated to and understood by all parties prior to the commencement of such hearing. All interested parties are to be informed of the date, time, and location of such hearing.
A person who has a direct interest in the outcome of the matter shall not participate in any stage of the procedure.
Bullshit Caller

Laguna Niguel, CA

#9 May 11, 2008
OK, by now it is evident that "Voice of Reason" is Paul Levey. The only problem is that the voice of reason is only in his head. It will become evident in further postings that he operates in his own mind. The AYSO guidelines clearly and succinctly outline the process for the removal of board members. Mr. Levey either cannot read or choses to only "look at the pictures". Hint: There ain't no pictures.
The ony reason Paul Levey was elected to RC was due to the fact that everyone bought into his "bullshit" not unlike the Germans and the Italians with Hitler and Mussolini. I supported him and was betrayed by the wolf in sheep's clothing.
It is time for the RC to sprout some balls, be a man and step aside.
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#10 May 11, 2008
More information on Due Process: Again taken directly from the National By-laws:

2. General Due Process Procedures
Disputes involving day-to-day activities of the region should first be addressed and resolved, if possible, by the appropriate board member in charge of the activity and/or then by the entire regional board, if necessary. Disputes arising out of game conduct should first be addressed and resolved, if possible, by the regional referee administrator and/or then by a disinterested review board appointed by the regional commissioner and/or then by the entire regional board, if necessary.
If it is determined that it is necessary that a person involved in the region needs to be disciplined, or that his or her participation in the region should be limited or terminated, then the regional commissioner or the regional board shall give notice to such person of such intention, initially by telephone, FAX, in writing via email or in person. Notice should always be followed by a written confirmation delivered via certified mail. Such notice shall specify the action to be taken and the reasons therefore. Such notice shall further notify such person that he or she, upon request, will be given a reasonable opportunity to explain why such action should not be taken. Such opportunity to respond may be in person
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#11 May 11, 2008
Again more from the National by-laws regarding due process and removal of volunteers:

1. General Policy
It is the policy of the region to resolve all disputes involving persons involved in the region in an amicable way, if possible. Compromise should be emphasized whenever possible, and personality conflicts should be avoided. If disciplinary action is found to be necessary, it is the regionís policy to take only the minimum action necessary. All means available should be taken to avoid legal action.
It is the policy of the region to avoid punishing the players for the conduct of the parents except when there is no other solution (e.g., where a parent cannot or will not cease his or her disruptive behavior).
It is the policy of the region to avoid wiping out years of good memories of AYSO and good service to AYSO, and that suspension or removal procedures are to be used only as a last resort. Voluntary resignation is preferable to a suspension or removal procedure.

It is the policy of the region to avoid publicizing the suspension or removal proceedings beyond those persons who need to know, and to respect the privacy of the individuals involved. However, the regional commissioner or regional board should notify the area director, the section director, the National Support & Training Center or members of the AYSO Legal Commission of the pending proceedings pursuant to the operating regulations, and must comply with all applicable regulations and laws requiring suspension for abuse and similar events.

"Voice of Reason" needs to read the National and Regional Guidelines especially about the following:

"It is the policy of the region to avoid publicizing the suspension or removal proceedings beyond those persons who need to know, and to respect the privacy of the individuals involved."

I can guarantee that "firing" Vince Neale at the coaches Tuesday night game in front of his fellow coaches did not follow that AYSO policy.
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#12 May 11, 2008
I urge all interested parents, volunteers and coaches to attend board meetings to see the RC in action. Again, according to the National/Regional guidelines:

b) All regional board meetings shall be open to all participating members unless the regional board determines that it is necessary to hold an executive session.

LAGUNA NIGUEL AYSO FAMILIES NEED TO ATTEND THESE OPEN MEETINGS TO OBSERVE THE PROCEEDINGS.
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#13 May 11, 2008
BOARD MEETINGS ARE USUALLY HELD THE FIRST THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH. Check back for details of the next board meeting.

I urge families to ask the following questions:

1. May we see a Regional and Area Financial Balance Sheet? Yes, you have the right to see both. Find out where you money is being spent. Ask the new RC for his budget for the next fiscal year.

2. Uniforms. How much will the uniform company the RC wants to use cost vs. a comparison of other vendors. As AYSO families you have a right to understand the vendor process. The RC does not want to use a vendor process. Ask him why? Is he receiving something in exchange???

3. Since board members are being removed without due process what will happen to the fall program? Board members that have years of AYSO experience on scheduling, coach training, ref training are no longer available.

Remember AYSO families this is YOUR REGION. There is strong speculation that the AREA management wants to get a hold of our funds to use at their discretion. What could that mean. Your registration fees and the Region Funds could be used to provide programs, fields, perks for other Regions and NOT used in our Region. Do you wan that? Do you want your money to stay local or be used elsewhere? Do you want managment to stay local or have some Area managment guy who doesn't understand our Region controlling our funds?

Please attend the next board meeting. Please ask for financial accountability, please ask for control of our region to stay local.
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#14 May 11, 2008
Some other food for thought. Again from the National By-laws:

7. VOLUNTARY SERVICE No board member or any other participant in the region shall receive monetary or other compensation for his/her services to the region, nor may he/she use his/her position to benefit him/her directly or indirectly in any other way, such as a supplier of equipment or camp programs to the region. Nothing in this paragraph prohibits any regional board or staff member, or regional volunteer, from being reimbursed for his or her out-of-pocket expenses incurred for work on behalf of the region with the approval of the regional board.
Shin Guard

Laguna Niguel, CA

#15 May 11, 2008
Another issue AYSO families need to be aware of. The board asked for financial guidelines to be amended. The board asked for guidelines regarding board dismissal. Here are the National guidelines stating that the board is within its right to amend guidelines if voted upon and a majority vote prevails. Currently, our RC is not allowing for these guidelines to become part of our regional guidelines. Why?

ARTICLE TEN: CHANGES IN GUIDELINES
1. Approval of Guidelines
These guidelines shall become effective after being approved by the regional commissioner and the existing regional board, the area director and the section director, and then submitted to the National Support & Training Center.
2 Change in Guidelines

Once adopted, these Guidelines may only be amended by the regional board by a 2/3 vote of the regional board members, with the approval of the regional commissioner, the area director and the section director, and then submitted to the National Support & Training Center.
Mr Offside

Torrance, CA

#16 May 11, 2008
It is the policy of the region to avoid wiping out years of good memories of AYSO and good service to AYSO, and that suspension or removal procedures are to be used only as a last resort. Voluntary resignation is preferable to a suspension or removal procedure.
I have been told by one of the suspended volunteers that after his "firing" he couldn't sleep at night. I feel ashamed to be part of an organization that treated their volunteers this way.

Mr. Levey has taken this volunteer's fond memories of his AYSO experience and trashed them. We should be giving Mr. Neale, Mr. Diba, Mr. Guesman and Mr. Thacker medals for their service not trashing their memories.

Step down now Mr. Levey, don't destroy this Region.
Fell for the Bullshit

San Clemente, CA

#17 May 11, 2008
Mr Levey (Voice of Reason) talking in the 3rd person about yourself is not only odd but lends to the widely held belief that you are either on some strong medication or enjoy a tipple or two on a very regular basis!
Voice of Reason wrote:
There is not and never has been a "hearing" or review process. Each person serves at the pleasure of the RC. These are volunteer positions, not paid positions. Vince Neale is a great guy and a wonderful AYSO volunteer. But he has served in his current position for 17 years. If this RC wants to let a different guy have a shot at it, that is his prerogative. Bottom line is, if he is not lying cheating or stealing, and if he is abiding by the rules of AYSO, he has the latitude to put the board together as he sees fit.
By the same token, if the board he puts together fails to conduct a proper registration, fails to provide uniforms, fails to provide sufficient qualified referees, sufficient trained and screened coaches, etc. etc. etc. then the region will pay the price.
My experience with Paul Levey is that he ran a terrific program as head of referees, and he is not trying to destroy Region 41 soccer. The folks that voted him in as RC knew him for many years, and they knew the power they were giving him. Now they need to deal with it. If Paul has asked people to leave the board, they need to leave with dignity and go do other volunteer duties. If, as some predict, the league crashes and burns under his stewardship, then the sun will still come up tomorrow and the old guard can come back in and put the pieces back together.
And remember, you can always sign up your kids to play in a different region until this blows over. Region 87 (Dana Point/SJC) runs a very nice region.
Old AYSO Volunteer

United States

#18 May 11, 2008
Shin Guard wrote:
Remember AYSO families this is YOUR REGION. There is strong speculation that the AREA management wants to get a hold of our funds to use at their discretion. What could that mean. Your registration fees and the Region Funds could be used to provide programs, fields, perks for other Regions and NOT used in our Region. Do you want that? Do you want your money to stay local or be used elsewhere? Do you want managment to stay local or have some Area managment guy who doesn't understand our Region controlling our funds? please ask for control of our region to stay local.
The Area Director at the last meeting said he would not remove the current RC and that the board was ganging up on him and that we are a bunch of "terrorists".

This is the same type of Area mentality that got La Mirada AYSO kicked out of their city.

The Area Director (AD) tried to dictate how he wanted the region to run. How to spend it's own money. Then he tried to get the RC kicked out when the RC decided to follow what was good for La Mirada and NOT what was good for Area.

AYSO National then stepped in and said NO ONE can kick out an RC except National.

Then the city became involved and said "Who the heck are these people from La Habra and Torrance to tell our local residents how to run a local program.

Like I said there were many coffin nails needed for AYSO to be kicked out of La Mirada. This was just one of many.

Some points of interest you may all need to know,(if you don't already).

AYSO is structured so that EVERYTHING is owned by National. Not local LN residents. Who worked hard to build up everything for LN kids. Everything (equipment and such) and all monies are ultimately owned by National guys who work out of Torrance.

As they learned in La Mirada, National took control of over $150,000,00 worth of monies and equiptment that La Mirada residents had worked for, once Region 22 was removed.

All the new goals, gone, all the region's hard earned monies for next season gone.
Voice of Reason

Laguna Niguel, CA

#19 May 11, 2008
Quote from Mr. Offside:

"It is the policy of the region to avoid wiping out years of good memories of AYSO and good service to AYSO, and that suspension or removal procedures are to be used only as a last resort. Voluntary resignation is preferable to a suspension or removal procedure."

It is? Could you share that policy with us? You can't, because there is no such policy.

"I have been told by one of the suspended volunteers that after his "firing" he couldn't sleep at night. I feel ashamed to be part of an organization that treated their volunteers this way."

Any adult that can't sleep at night because they were not invited to serve on a volunteer board needs serious help. Its a volunteer gig in a local soccer league...no more no less. Its not war and peace. People need to lighten up.

"Mr. Levey has taken this volunteer's fond memories of his AYSO experience and trashed them. We should be giving Mr. Neale, Mr. Diba, Mr. Guesman and Mr. Thacker medals for their service not trashing their memories."

If Mr. Neale, Mr. Diba Mr. Guesman and Mr. Thacker are so fragile that they would allow a person like Paul Levey to destroy their fond memories, then they need help. Nobody can destroy one's fond memories except oneself.

How about the volunteers that Robin K. did not ask to serve? How about the volunteers that John J. did not ask back? And Tim G? All new RCs choose not to invite certain board members from the previous regime back to serve. I guess those volunteers did not have the fan base that the current crop of "not invited" former board members has; and I guess they were not as thin-skinned.

This is SOP people. Paul L. is not going to step down. If the new board members that he brings in screw things up, then he will be held responsible. In the meantime, we should wish the new board members and Paul the best of luck, and give them all the help we can. THAT is what would be in the best interest of the kids. Not whining and politicking about not being asked to serve on a volunteer board.
Voice of Reason

Laguna Niguel, CA

#20 May 11, 2008
Fell for the Bullshit wrote:
Mr Levey (Voice of Reason) talking in the 3rd person about yourself is not only odd but lends to the widely held belief that you are either on some strong medication or enjoy a tipple or two on a very regular basis!
<quoted text>
I'm a fine dancer as well.

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