Minutes 2010 - St. Louis, MO

Minutes of Robert L Wilson Annual Meeting

St Louis, MO – October 10, 2010

The annual meeting of the USS Robert L. Wilson DD/DDE 847 Association was opened by President Jack Scully at 9:05 AM.

Opening Ceremony

The Pledge of Allegiance was lead by Roger Novak and the invocation was given by Dean Thomas.

Minutes of Last Year’s Meeting

The minutes of  last year’s annual meeting in Charleston, SC were read, discussed, approved and seconded.

Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer’s Report was read by Secretary/Treasurer Richard Utyro.  All bills, including $1,890 for the banquet and $900 for the bus to Centralia have been paid.  Phil Dilloway added that we still had to pay for 42 lunches in Centralia and the bus driver’s tip.  Utyro added the he would pay for the memorial wreath in Centralia as soon as a bill was received.  Frank Esposito was reimbursed $268 for drinks for the hospitality room.  Utyro reported the current treasury balance to be $5,631.   The Treasurer’s report was approved and seconded.

Roll Call of Current Officers

Roll call of current officers:

Jack Scully                    Present

Roger Novak          Present

Frank Esposito          Present

Robert Smith          Absent

Mike Loveall          Present

Lee Jackson                    Absent

John harden                    Absent

Robert Mason          Absent

Richard Utyro          Present

John Banahan          Present

Roll Call of Past Presidents

President Scully reported that it has been traditional to have a Roll call of past presidents at each meeting.  Since that list is now over 25 and a good number of past presidents are deceased, he suggests we forego the roll call and called for discussion on the matter.   Roger Novak suggested that if we have a newsletter in the future, we may can include a list of past presidents. President Scully mentioned we have an accurate list of past presidents if anyone would like a copy.


Incoming president Novak reported that he contacted all current officers scheduled to move up the the next position this year.  The two new members, Lee Jackson and John Harden, who became officers last year reportly declined to move up in the line for personal reasons.  We have a number of openings within the board to vote upon today because of those two resignations.

Two members were reported to have passed away this year.

Richard Utyro reported that he received a letter from Lee Jackson citing his deteriorating health and that he believed best thing for the association would be to elect a replacement for his position.

Richard Utyro reported he received a letter from Don Karaus requesting that the our Association transfer some amout of  our treasury funds to the Charter Member Group.  They have been gathering as a group, separate from the Association Annual Meetings for a couple of years and plan to continue to do so.

Richard Utyro said that he has been requested by a letter from Hansel Hester to send a response to the members of the USS Robert L. Wilson association about the intent of the Charter Members Group to have reunions separate from the Association.  Hester stated that as Charter Members they are concerned about the direction that some of the current Association officers are taking the Wilson association.  Hester further stated that the Charter Members founded the Robert L Wilson Association in 1982 and plan to continue to meet under this separate association of Charter Members .

Jack Scully commented that the only substancial thing in the letter is the request for our funds. Certainly they have a perfect right to meet any time or place they want as a group, but they have come now in writing and requested some of our funds. That’s something to which we must to respond.

Roger Novak commented that listening to the letter you hear they have already formed their own association with a president and treasurer. If they want to form an association as the Robert L Wilson charter member association, let them, but they have to raise their own funds.

Former USS Steinaker Commanding Officer, Bob Johannesen made the comment that being new to the Wilson reunions, he would like to know what caused the conflict that caused them to steam off.  Frank Esposito responded that it started as conflict between Frank when he was secretary/Treasurer and Don Karaus, who was the man on the ground for the Waukegan/Chicago reunion. It all boils down to Don wanting everything run his own way.  Frank, as the Secretary/Treasurer, thought it was his responsibility to make decisions, not Don’s. Frank contacted  President Jack Scully about it and offered to resign. Jack told Frank that as the elected Secretary/Treasurer, he had decision making responsibility, not Don.  Jack told Don the same thing. Don refused to back out of it and ever since has been very antagonistic. He apparantly did not like the way Frank was performing his duties and that’s the basis of this conflict.

Jack Scully added that there is a little history before that.  It started with Don. I mention Don specifically because he’s the key player in this whole thing. Don, a Charter Member of the Association, had always been a very good attendee and a good shipmate. I never will say anything derogatory about him personally, but when we met in New Hampshire, six or seven years ago, Don, totally on his own without asking anyone else, came with a big box of  Wilson caps. Phil is wearing one of them. That hat there with the scrambled eggs. Anyway, the whole point, the real point is he didn’t ask anybody. He just showed up with this box of hats and wanted to be reimbursed for them. No one asked him to buy the hats. He did this totally on his own. It was a surprise to us at the meeting.  Now, traditionally the Secretary/Treasurer really would make those kind of decisions.  The officers at the Portsmouth reunion got together and agreed pay him and gave him the $550 for the hats. He was told, very specifically not to ever do that again. Don’t go out and spend your money and expect reimbursement from the Association. Don’t decide on something yourself and expect us to pay for it without consulting the officers of the Association.  The conflict prior to the Chicago/Great Lakes reunion occurred when I was President and Frank Esposito was the Seretary/Treasurer.  As far as I was concerned, Frank was the guy running the reunion just like we had always done before.  Phil Dilloway did it, Marty O’Brian did it and I did it that way when we were elected to the Secretary/Treasurer position.  Phil Dilloway added some additional information.  Phil noted that when he was Secretary/Treasurer, Don showed up in Kissamee, FL. with a bunch of shirts he brought to sell. Now, we all wear different sizes and have a preference for different colors but this was a closeout that his daughter was able to arrange and they was a good deal. It was also our 20th reunion. He also ordered, on his own, commemorative mugs. They were humongous coffee cups, which were nice, but if you didn’t show up at the reunion, they cost us a fortune to mail the damm things and he wanted to be reimbursed for that. So, I told him not to do it again. Jack Scully added that when we were in Chicago. It started with Don wanting to run everything. He volunteered to be the man on the ground for the reunion.  Don was in close proximity to where we were having the reunion and could have been a big help. With the Secretary/Treasurer a thousand miles away, it made sense to have someone close by to visit hotels and other sites and report back to the Secretary/Treasurer.  So, the man on the ground is not an official position. It is just someone nearby volunteering to give a hand. He does not take any duties and responsibilities or authority away from the Secretary/Treasurer. So, as Frank said, Don apparantly assumed that he was running the reunion. Don went out, on his own, and signed up his cousin who was a travel agent to run the reunion. Phil Dilloway added that we have a shipmate Jerome O’Connor, a famous navel historian, who is a professional planner and lives in Chicago. Phil asked him to participate, and put Karaus in touch with O’connor. I don’t know Karaus’ version, but I thought O’Connor’s nose was out of joint because he never heard from Karaus. Jack Scully added that Don stepped up and made a lot of decisions on his own and was in a lot of conflict with Frank before Jack got involved. Frank Esposito added that Don also signed a hotel contract without Frank’s involvement.  Jack Scully noted that Don had no authority to do that. Within any organization, you have to have some chain of authority to make decisions for the organization. Anyway, Frank was really upset. He sent me an E-mail that said he was willing to resign from planning this reunion if I wanted Don Karaus to run it.  Frank said that one of us is going to run it, but not both of us.

As president you have to make a decision. As far as I am concerned, following traditional rules, Frank was the guy responsible for running it and doing a good job of it. So I wrote a letter to Karaus thanking him very much for his assistance to Frank in planning the reunion, but Frank is in charge and you are not.  You are not to sign anything committing us without going through Frank. He sent a note back thanking me for explaining the situation and seemed very humble in his reply. I thought good, he understands and he accepts it. It’s a done deal.

Frank Esposito added that because the contract with Don’s cousin the travel agent,  We will go with the contract with the hotel. We sat down and developed a menu for the banquat.  Everything went smooth from then on. I signed the menu. Don then said he was going to buy a cake for the 25th reunion. It was supposed to cost $125. I said no I am not paying for the cake. We already have dessert included in the menu. I am not paying for the cake. He went out and bought the cake anyway. He asked for reimbursement and I said no. That’s the basis of the conflict.

Jack Scully said that the cake incident was the third time that Don went ahead, with out agreement from the officers responsible, and committed Association funds without permission. . He had been told twice before not to do this type of thing again.  Don showed up with the cake after being told we were not paying for it. He was very upset that Frank was not going to reimburse him for it. I was on his list because I said Frank was in charge. He was upset with me and upset with Frank.

Bob Johnannesen commented that it’s obvious we have a loose cannon with him. Is there any way to cast him adrift and recover the other 15 members?

Jack Scully commented that it was a good way to put it. I have tried. When I became President last year I set it as my goal to do everything I could to try to get that group back together.  I sent three emails and a letter to Don to ask him about getting his group back with the Association. I suggested we honor the Charter Members with a commerative pin to be presented at the memorial service in Centralia. I asked Don what he thought of that. I never heard anything back. He totally ignored everything. I also tried to recognize the Charter Members by offering a special ceremony at Centralia. He totally ignored everything. I talked with Hansel Hester who was a charter member and in close contact with Don. I talked with him on the phone and told him Don has not answered.  He said he wasn’t going to answer. Hansel said he would try to talk with him as he was in favor in us getting back together.

Phil Dilloway commented that at the Charleston reunion with the conflict between Don and him something came out in the confrontation that Phil  didn’t anticipate. At the Great Lakes reunion I was awarded Shipmate of the Quarter Century plaque.  Don said he should have gotten it.  I didn’t bring it up as it’s kind of personal, but I was very proud of it.

Historian’s Report

Roger Novak reported that following Earl Stubbs (former historian) death  many items of historical interest to the Association were lost.  Roger has been able to collect a few things.  Several items have been donated to the museum in Centralia.  Roger was very proud to donate the binoculars used by many Wilson shipmates during the Cuban Crisis along with the ensign that flew on the main mast.  It is Roger’s intent is to remain as Historian while serving as President next year.

Old Business

Jack Scully reported that three years ago he and Marty O’Brian worked on revising the Association by-laws. There had been a lot of requests to revise the original bylaws. We formed a by-law committee. The procedure we went through was to request members to submit suggested changes to the current by-laws. We received 50 suggestions. Some changes were duplicates while others were combined. We merged them together into 20 items.  Ballots were distributed and a vote was taken.


Mid-Meeting Break

A meeting break was taken and Richard Utyro colleted dues.

The By-Law Revision ballots were distributed during the break.

President Scully called the second half of the meeting to order and called for anymore old business.

Old Business (continued)

The By-Law Revision ballots were counted and the resulting changes will be made to the current By-Laws.

New Business

Phil Dilloway made the point that we should discuss what are we doing about the web site.  Jack Scully commented that just like this association is not incorporated, neither is our web site. It’s Gerold Ricks Web site and Gerold can really do anything he wants with it.

John Banahan made a motion to vote on providing funding to the Charter Members in response to their letter.  The motion was made and seconded. The vote was taken and it was decided not to provide any funding. A letter indicating the decision not to provide funding is to be sent by the Secretary/Treasurer to Don Karaus.

Dilloway reported that we have been working on legitimizing the Association for charitable purposes and to qualify for a waiver of taxes.

John Bahahan updated the members on the opening of a new checking account at Bank of America. The signatures on the new account will be John Banahan, Richard Utyro and Frank Esposito.

John Banahan mentioned that we now have an excellent web master and are well represented. However, Gerold Ricks is not feeling well. And he is not sure how long he will be able to do the site.  Phil Dilloway volunteered to contact Gerold Ricks to discuss a solution.

Election of New Officers

Nominations were open from the floor for the position of 1st and 2nd  Assistant Secretary/Treasurer and Master-at-Arms.

The positions of 1st and 2nd Secretary/Treasurer were filled by John Banahan and Jack Scully.  The position of Master-at-Arms was left open because there were no volunteers.

Voting for Reunion Site

Much discussion was held about selection of a site for the 2011 reunion.  Sites nominated were San Diego, CA, Portsmith, NH, and Virginia Beach, VA.  The site vote was as follows:  San Diego – 10, Portsmith – 3 and Virginia Beach – 6.  The site for the 2011 reunion is San Diego.

Discussion was held on the site for 2012.  Bremerton, WA and Virginia Beach, VA were nominated.  Virginia Beach, VA received 15 votes and was selected as the site for the 2012 reunion.

The meeting was closed by President Jack Scully.