Unit Presidents, Coordinating Council Chairs, Board Members—
On March 18 the WSSRA Executive Board voted to move the date of the 2020 Pasco Convention from June 8 -10 to October 5 -7. The event will be held in the same facility, the Pasco Red Lion Hotel. First and foremost, this was done for the health and safety of the membership in the wake of the coronavirus. This also was done in an effort to meet pandemic-related travel restrictions, and take advantage of the summer months when the virus hopefully will go away. The board is very much interested in having a Convention in 2020 and doing the important work that is necessary for proper Association governance, a vetting of 2020-21 legislative priorities, and consideration of program initiatives.
Members who have used the WSSRA housing block to book Red Lion rooms for the June dates will have those reservations automatically cancelled by the hotel. It will be necessary re-book for the October 5 – 7 dates.
In addition, Michele Hunter will cancel all registration forms and meal choices that have been made up to now. She will be sending out a new form in the summer asking for registration information and meal choices for attendees and spouses. That form may include some modified meal choices that reflect the hotel’s fall offerings. Please feel free to contact Michele if you have questions about the October Convention registration protocol.
In making the Convention postponement decision the board also indicated its support of the following measures deemed necessary in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak:
All Convention-related committee meetings (i.e., Convention Planning, Council of Committee Chairs, Awards Committee) have been moved to August or early September dates. In addition, the April 14 Foundation Board meeting has been cancelled. See the revised WSSRA leadership calendar.
All Lacey-based meetings will be conducted by phone or Skype for an indefinite period. Thus, the Finance, Budget, and Scholarship Committee meetings will be held as originally scheduled on April 14 but will be converted to a virtual format, as will the Executive Board meeting on April 15. In addition, any unit president interested in conducting a telephone meeting with a local committee can arrange for a conference call by contacting Tara Teitzel to reserve a date and time.
The Lacey office will remain open during business hours although Michele Hunter will be doing most of her work from home. The other four staff plan to be in the office, but reserve the option of working at home as the situation demands. However, we plan to keep the office open with at least one employee on hand unless asked to close by government authorities. The conference room will be not available for meetings other than phone/Skype affairs that will be monitored by a staff member.
Units are encouraged to follow the guidance of federal and state authorities when scheduling or cancelling meetings and events. In most cases, and because of the 10-person meeting limit suggested by President Trump, that means that most if not all unit meetings are likely to be cancelled through the spring. Again, interested unit presidents can take advantage of our phone conferencing system to hold virtual meetings by contacting Tara for a reservation.
Between now and the October Convention, 2019-20 officers (Executive Board including District Reps, Coordinating Council Chairs, WSSRA Committee Chairs, Unit leadership) will remain in their positions, with the changeover occurring, as is the normal procedure for our organization, at the conclusion of the Convention. If that is not the case for Unit leadership positions, please let Michele know. If we don’t hear from you, we will assume that those in all WSSRA governance positions—state or local level—will retain those responsibilities through the Convention.
Thanks for your patience and consideration as we work through this unprecedented world emergency. All of us need to be wary of contracting or spreading the virus. As we know by now, this bug is especially lethal for seniors and those with preexisting health conditions or compromised immune systems. Since we are an organization for seniors, we need to be especially vigilant. These measures announced today will help to secure the health and safety of our members.
As coronavirus related matters change, we will be in touch. For now, hunkering down at home seems to be the best way to avoid coronavirus unpleasantries.
WSSRA Executive Director