Garry Cole, owner/manager of the 192-site Shelby/Mansfield KOA in Ohio, sent a letter to his fellow board members of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) concerning the upcoming ARVC board elections. Rob Schutter Jr., who is first vice chairman of the ARVC board and chief operating officer for Leisure Systems Inc., franchisors of the Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, is in line to become the next ARVC chairman. A copy of Cole's letter, dated Oct. 28, was provided to Woodall's Campground Management and appears below.
Subject: Officer Qualifications for Upcoming Elections
A number of years ago I had the opportunity of sitting on the ARVC Board of Directors (BOD) when we discussed the possibility of reducing the size of the board to reduce expense and to allow us to be more nimble in response to our industry’s needs. At that time, the BOD was very concerned that we would retain adequate representation of our members and still utilize available talent we had in the industry. These are still very important concepts for our BOD.
Recently, you received communication suggesting that our current first VP become the next chair of ARVC. In most cases this would be considered normal. However, given the position that Mr. Schutter holds with Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI) such a move would be questionable as meeting the Bylaws of ARVC.
The intent and spirit of the Bylaws was to provide ARVC with officer leadership that had the direct experience and day to day responsibilities of campground ownership/operation. Specifically, Article IX, Section 3, D states in part that a board member “…may be eligible to become an officer provided they have been an RV Park or campground owner/operator for at least two years”. Even though LSI does now own and operate a campground, that does not seem to equate that Mr. Schutter meets those requirements
As President of LSI, a major franchisor of campgrounds and RV parks, I do not believe it is appropriate for him to be Chairman of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. While he has provided much valuable time and effort to ARVC, I suggest that he not consider running for the Chairman of ARVC. Additionally, as a Director, each of you needs to seriously consider what the intent of ARVC Bylaws is.
If any of you meet the eligibility requirements of being an officer, please consider running for a position. It is a challenging, but rewarding experience.
Garry Cole, CPO