International Competitive Figure Skating – Issues and Events

Tracking ISU and U.S. Figure Skating Events, Issues and Governance

Ron Pfenning, Candidate for USFS President: Putting rumors to rest and some proposals for consideration


I want to put the rumors to rest.  Individuals concerned with my ISU eligibility status impacting negatively on our international athletes and our federation need to be aware of the facts.  If I believed there was any validity to this concern I would not run for president, I would never jeopardize our athletes and/or association, having built a life-long record of integrity supporting our athletes and U.S. Figure Skating.

The accusation my election will have a negative effect on USFS athletes is totally unfounded.  What is the ISU going to do?  They cannot prohibit the entry of our athletes into ISU competitions and championships.  And everyone agrees that is correct.  So then I hear, well they will influence the judges.  I will be the first to admit there is some external influence on judges, but it comes from the federations, not the ISU.  I know of no instance where the ISU has tried to influence a result.  I do personally know of many times judges have been approached, either by their own federation or by a judge/official from other federations trying to influence judge’s marks and placements.

The ISU needs U.S. Figure Skating.  We channel a lot of money towards the ISU through American television contracts, hosting ISU Championships and our loyal fans attending their events.  Our associaiton will continue to be awarded ISU Championship events, the ISU will not turn its back to the US dollars.  That is a fact. These rumors and accusations are totally unfounded and are only being used as a scare technique to keep delegates from voting for me.

Here are more facts:  in 2005 the ISU Council voted to make me ineligible.  I was told I could apply for reinstatement after 3 years.  There was no reason for me to submit an application for reinstatement until now.  To be a delegate to an ISU Congress I need to be an eligible person according to the ISU Rules.

When I first considered running for president and made my intentions public in June 2013, I took proper action to be reinstated.  According to ISU Rules, an application for reinstatement must be submitted by the individual’s federation, in my case USFS.  In early July 2013 I contacted President St. Peter and requested our association submit my application.  The matter was consider at the August Board of Directors meeting and I received the following reply: “This is to advise you the Board decided that because U.S. Figure has no organizational need at this time to put forward an application to the ISU requesting the ISU to reinstate your eligibility, the Board declines your request. “.  I then asked the matter be reconsidered noting the ISU Council only meets a few times a year and since our elections will be in May 2014 and the ISU Congress is in June 2014 there would be no time for the ISU Council to consider my reinstatement application, they have no meetings scheduled between the Olympics and ISU Congress.  Our Board of Directors again declined my request.

I have made every effort to be reinstated by the ISU, my only obstacle has been my own federation’s Board of Directors.  My hands are tied.  Should I be elected president in May I will immediately ask the new Board to initiate my reinstatement application.  However, it will not be possible for me to be a member of our delegatioin to the ISU Congress in June.  I will send the 1st Vice President in my place.


Ron’s Proposals for consideration at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Governing Council



For each of the elected office holders on the Board of Directors, the Nominating Committe shall provide two (2) names to USFS member clubs and delegates for consideration.   The election for these positions will be conducted electronically by an indepdent vendor, with results reported to delegates within a week prior to the GC meeting. and should a run-off be required, it is to be conducted at the respective Sectional Caucus with GC delegates in attendance voting on the morning of the last day of the CG meeting.

(Rational:  the delegates deserve a choice and the right to make the final decision. its the 21st century and time for all our elections to be conducted electcronicallly by an independent vendor.)

Election of Nominating Committee members will also be conducted electronically.  Should a run-off be required, it would be conducted at the respective Sectonal Caucus with GC delegates in attendance voting, the final day of Governing Council.



The current BOD is a Top-Down type of governance.  I would propose it is time to consider a greater Bottom-Up governance for the Association.

There is a need for more participation in our governance from the member clubs and grassroot members.  A need for greater transparency in our goverance and broader particiipation in the decision making process.

To achieve this it it would be necessary to modify the BOD.  There should continue to be the Officers: President, Vice Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer.  Four athletes, representing the four disciplines of our sport, ice dance, pairs, singles and synchro plus a Coach. The remaining members of the BOD would be three Sectional representatives, one elected from each Section.  These 15 individuals would be the voting members of the BOD.  Same number as is currently serving on the BOD but more representative of the total membership.

​The Group Coordinators would be on the BOD as non-voting members.  Their role is to advocate for proposals being presented by the committees they oversee.  As advocates or lobbyist they should not also be voting on their own proposals.



(Elections & terms to be effective with May 2016 elections; Nom Com will recommend 2 candidates for each elected officer beginning March 1, 2016.)

USFS Officers – Term of office (term limits)   President/Vice President* – 2 year term, maximum of 2 consecutive terms (4 yrs) in any given position.  The office of USFS Vice President shall be a voting member of the Board of Directors.

Sectional Vice Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Sectional members – 1 year term (Eastern, Midwest and Pacific Coast), max of 4 consecutive yrs.

Elections – Bi-annual election for President/Vice President; elections to be conducted in even number years to enable the President and vice president be aligned with the Olympic cycle.  Other officers will be elected annually.

Elections to be conducted electronically by an independent vendor, with elections conducted 1 week prior to the first day of the GC meetng; results tabulated and reported 3-5 days before the first day of GC meeting.

All registered delegates vote for the President/Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Sectional Vice Presidents and members of the Nominating Committee are elected by the delegates in their respective Section.

All registered delegates will be assigned a unique ‘pin’ to be used together with their USFS membsership number to enable them to cast their votes.

Athletes voting procedure for the President/Vice President, 3 Sectional Vice Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer to be determined, however the athlete’s voting procedure must reflect the voting process used by member club delegates, electronically by Section.

Nominations from Member Clubs – Within twenty-eight (28) days or by April 1, whichever comes first, following the publication of the nominees from the Nominating Committee, any seven delegates, representing at least three Member Clubs, may submit additional name(s) of candidate(s) for any USFS elected office.  These nominations will appear on the election ballot, listed alphabetically, following the two (2) nominees from the Nominating Committee, also listed alphabetically.

Election procedures  – Delegates vote for all elected positions electronically 7 days before the GC meeting, with polling conducted by an independent vendor, voting will be open for 30 hours to provide each Section a minimum of 24 hours of voting.  All tallies and election results, will be reported and posted on the USFS website 3-5 days prior to the first day of Governing Council meeting.

In any given election, if a candidate fails to obtain a majority vote, 50% plus one; the top two (2) voted candidates shall have a run-off election on the last day of the GC meeting.  All delegates present will vote in a run-off election for the office of President, Secretary or Treasurer.  Delegates at their respective Sectional Caucus shall vote for their Sectional Vice President and/or Nominating Committee member(s) in any required run-off election.

*In the election of the President, the winner must receive a majority vote, or a run-off election is required between the top two candidates.  The individual receiving a majority vote will be elected President and the individual placing second in the election of the President will automatically be elected USFS Vice President.

Vacancy in the office of the President – The USFS Vice President shall become President and serve out the vacated president’s term.  The vacant office of USFS Vice President shall be filled by the procedure outlined immediately following.

Vacancy in an elected office  – Except for the USFS Vice President, any vacancy shall be filled by the second individual proposed by the Nominating Committee or the candidate placing second in a run-off election.  This individaul shall serve out the vacant officer’s term.  Should the individual decline, the remaining elected officers shall fiill the vacany from within the elected office holders, or from a member of the Board of Directors or from a chairperson of a permanent committee. A vacancy in the office of Vice President shall be filled by the remaining elected officers and shall fiill the vacany from within the elected office holders, or from a member of the Board of Directors or from a chairperson of a permanent committee.

Other elected members of the Board of Directors, if any – Additional voting members of the Board of Directors are to be elected annually pursuant to the provisions in Article VIII, Section 2, of the bylaws for a term specified in Article VIII, Section 3, of the bylaws, commencing upon the conclusion of the meeting at which elected or until their respective successors are elected and assume office. 



The committee will be charged to review current guidelines and develop a point-based ranking system, using the two most recent seasons.  Athlete’s placings at Sectional, National, International and ISU Competitions would be considered, with each competition weighted accordingly.  A numerical ranking  would be established based on  the athlete’s placements and level of compeition during the last two seasons, with the current season weighted more. There should be a rigorous calculated ranking applied to every discipline in every case. The goal would be to recommend a selection criteria mostly objective in nature, with a minimal amout of subjectivity.  Athletes, coaches, parents, the press and public should be able to know an athlete’s ranking going into Nationals, and understand how placements at Nationals will impact selection.

Note: The above information is published with permission of the author from his website  

Mr. Pfenning encourages comments regarding his proposals which can be posted here or at his website in the Current Hot Topics section @


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This entry was posted on March 7, 2014 by .
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