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RFPB Fellows Society
2015 Annual Meeting Minutes
2 September 2015

A reception began at 1615 for members, guests and awardees.

Chairman O’Connell welcomed the attendees.

Paul Bergson, Chairman of the Awards Nominations Committee, conducted the awards ceremony for the Citizen Patriot Awards – one to a unit and one to an individual.

The unit winner was the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team from the North Carolina Army National Guard. They have a distinguished unit history going back 100 years. Most recently they distinguished themselves in Overseas Contingency Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. (See attached)  

The individual award recipient was Al Zapanta. He is a former Chairman of the RFPB. He served in numerous senior capacities in government, the private sector and military. (See attached) MG Bergson especially noted the active period of the RFPB under Chairman Zapanta, his life-long dedication to Servicemembers, and his extraordinary military career in which among other honors he received the Silver Star and 5 Bronze Medals with V Device, and the Purple Heart.

Hon Richard Wightman previously had been honored in July but at this meeting he received the Truman Bust given to Citizen Patriot Award recipients.

A short reception followed the awards.

The business meeting was convened at 1715 with 15 members present.

Informal reports were made by the Secretary and for the Treasurer and the reports approved. In round numbers we had about $1500 in our accounts and expect to have about $200 in them at the conclusion of our fiscal year which ends 30 September 2015. The diminution in funds reflects the costs incurred in conducting the Annual Meeting and costs associated with the Citizen Patriot Award and reception.  

No old business.

New Business. A by-laws amendment had been submitted to the membership initially about 10 months ago, and twice since then, complying with the by-laws notification requirements. It had been developed by a subcommittee created by the President. It called for the Board to be expanded from 5 to 7 members and a separate position of Treasurer created (now the positions of Secretary and Treasurer are combined). The provision also called for the immediate Past President to serve on the Board. An amendment was offered to expand the Board to nine members. As amended, the proposed amendment was adopted.  

Julie Small was elected unanimously as Treasurer.

George Rubesha was thanked for all the work he has done as a founding Board member and officer.

With Julie Small’s election, there are now six serving board members, requiring that three more be added to bring the total to nine.

Bob Feidler was authorized to submit to the membership information relating to the deadlines for nominations for the new positions and the timing of the election, conduct an electronic election, and report on the results. The goal is to stagger membership on the Board so that there is a reasonable carryover of members at various elections cycles. This process should be completed by mid-October.

The issue of mobilization utilization of the RC under 10 USC 1304B should be revisited to make it more flexible – currently the mobilization must be planned for far in advance, budgeted for, and can only support the needs of a combatant commander. It was suggested that prior to any Board positions being taken, that the RC Chiefs should be consulted for their opinion and the idea was tabled pending that input.

President O’Connell briefed the Board on the status of the application of the FACA laws to the Board and efforts to perhaps modify their application to result in a greater flexibility for the Board to conduct its business.

James Sherrod suggested that the Fellows might seek to have formal input at a Board meeting in December or March. Current FACA laws require that there be an opportunity for public (Fellows) comment. President O’Connell was going to speak with Chairman Punaro how that might work in practice. Although it is clear the Fellows can take any positions on issues they wish, there was discussion about how to do it in a proper way.

Al Zapanta made a most generous commitment to provide financial support to (1) defray costs associated with the Citizen Patriot Award, and (2) to underwrite a program(s) relating to the Guard and Reserve. The total gift would be $20000 with half used for each purpose. One suggestion was to support a program in the Fall regarding the Army Guard and Army Reserve contribution to the Total Force and featuring the CAR and the Director of the ARNG. Another option was for a program to be held on 8 March 2016 to review the final report of the NCFA. This would immediately precede an RFPB meeting set for 9 March. Possible venues might be the ROA or NGAUS facilities in Washington DC. Primary sponsorship of these programs together with the announcement that these are the first in a series re RC support to the Total Force would give substantial visibility to the Fellows Society.

President O’Connell urged the Fellows to consider what contacts they had on Capitol Hill in the event we wished to share information with them on key issues.

The meeting adjourned at 1815.

Respectfully submitted, Bob Feidler, Secretary