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OOIDA Board of Directors Fall 2011 meeting report

By Sandi Soendker, managing editor
and Jami Jones, senior editor

The Board of Directors of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association met Oct. 5-8 at Association headquarters in Grain Valley, MO. The Board meets twice a year to strategize, set policy and conduct Association business.

Fresh off two big legal victories that ensure truckers’ rights, the Board members focused their discussions on equitable, inexpensive solutions, whether for safety regulations or highway funding.

With the uncertain climate in Washington, DC, Board members zeroed in on crafting positions and workable solutions to counter the regulatory onslaught truckers are facing and to steer Congress away from financially devastating funding mechanisms as the next highway bill is developed.

As each point of deliberation was discussed, the Board continually evaluated the driving force behind items such as speed limiters, hours of service and electronic on-board recorders. The end of each discussion landed in the same place: OOIDA remains the sole voice representing the rights of truckers.

OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston and OOIDA Chief of Staff Rod Nofziger gave the business report. Johnston updated the Board on the Association’s litigation efforts, including the latest development in the case of OOIDA v. Minnesota State Patrol (see page 22) where the federal court enjoined the patrol from violating the rights of truckers. He also updated the Board on another important OOIDA win – an opinion filed Aug. 26 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that vacated the electronic on-board recorder regulation.

The Board heard reports on legislative activities from Executive Vice President Todd Spencer, Nofziger, Director of Government Affairs Laura O’Neill and Director of Legislative Affairs Ryan Bowley.

The big issue that claimed a top spot was the highway bill. The DC staff is watching closely as members of the Senate and the House draft versions of the bill. The bill will be a vehicle that determines not only the future of highway funding (and the amount truckers will shoulder), but also future regulatory mandates handed down from Congress.

The Board discussed what it will or will not support as an efficient funding mechanism.

From toll taxes to selling roads and bridges to public-private partnerships, dozens of ways to raise money for highways are on the table in DC. The discussion gave good direction to OOIDA’s DC staff, who returned to the nation’s capital with a clearer direction for the Association’s lobbying efforts on this critical issue.

Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz reported on priority issues in the regulatory arena. Rajkovacz said the “big three” were speed limiters, EOBRs and detention time. Discussions quickly turned to more effective regulations such as driver training, which FMCSA continues to ignore, yet training would solve far more problems.

Director of Security Operations Doug Morris reported on First Observer and TRACER. Morris, who heads up the OOIDA’s TRACER program, said 40 percent of stolen reports posted on TRACER have resulted in recoveries – twice the success rate of the industry as a whole.

General Vice President Woody Chambers reported on the activities of the OOIDA Foundation. Government Affairs Associate Cyndi Cramblett gave the PAC fund report. Treasurer Bill Rode reported on the meeting of the Scholarship Committee. Gary Green advised the board on Media and Marketing efforts, and Secretary Bob Esler gave the Nomination-Election Committee report.

The next Board meeting will be at OOIDA headquarters April 18-21, 2012. LL

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