Board of Directors meet
What: OOIDA Fall Board of Directors meeting
When: October 2014
Where: OOIDA headquarters, Grain Valley, Mo.

The OOIDA Board of Directors convened at the Association’s Grain Valley, Mo., headquarters in mid-October. Executive officers, government affairs staff, legal counsel and others joined them for a round of committee meetings followed by three days of full board sessions.

OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston and Chief Operating Officer Rod Nofziger gave the business report on OOIDA’s operations, plus the wholly owned businesses. Summing up the overall activity, Johnston said the Association’s switchboard – one that is staffed with operators – is currently getting 16,000 calls a week.

Board Treasurer Bill Rode, Eagle, Idaho, and the Finance Committee arrived early at OOIDA headquarters in order to review the Association’s financial record-keeping systems and to discuss and make recommendations. During the full board session, Rode reported on the Association’s finances.

Rode is also chairman of the scholarship committee. He reported that as of October 2014, the Mary Johnston OOIDA Scholarship fund had awarded $257,500 to students. Board Member Lewie Pugh was named co-chair of the scholarship committee. More on the scholarship fund on Page 54 of this issue.

OOIDA’s legal counsel Paul Cullen Sr. of The Cullen Law Firm in Washington, D.C., updated the board on the Association’s litigation efforts, including a recently filed case similar to one OOIDA won in Alabama 20 years ago, which resulted in $70 million in refunds to truckers.

OOIDA’s lawsuit against the state of New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance was certified Sept. 1 as a class action by the state’s Supreme Court, which is the state’s trial court. The lawsuit challenges certain highway taxes as unconstitutional and discriminatory against out-of-state truckers who have paid the taxes in order to do business in New York. Named plaintiffs in the case are OOIDA and OOIDA Board Members Bryan Spoon, Steve Bixler, Jack McComb and Lewie Pugh.

Cullen also reported on lawsuits that OOIDA plans to file soon.

The board heard reports on legislative activities from Executive Vice President Todd Spencer and Director of Government Affairs Ryan Bowley. Spencer provided an overview of the economy as it relates to freight demand and small-business truckers.

“Currently shippers want good service and they are willing to pay for it,” said Spencer. “Now is not the time to be giving your services away.”

Bowley and Director of Legislative Affairs Ben Siegrist reported on the efforts of OOIDA’s grassroots campaign and said that the website was getting plenty of attention in Washington, D.C. Bowley said 27,000 messages have been sent by truckers to their lawmakers since April.

Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth reported on priority issues in the regulatory arena. The big two that dominated discussion included minimum levels of insurance and the medical registry.

Grenerth reported on the meeting he and OOIDA Business Services’ Dale Watkins had recently with FMCSA’s Chuck Horan regarding the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. More details on the meeting on Page 28 of this issue.

Grenerth updated the board on another major issue – the entry-level driver training regulation negotiation, or “reg neg,” that is planned by the FMCSA. He explained that reg neg requires a mediator, or convener, who gathers facts, talks to key players in the industry and if there is a consensus, it moves to a full rulemaking process. Grenerth reported that the regulation negotiation is currently in the stage where the convener is gathering info and talking to key players. 

“This has been a priority of the organization for a very long time,” said Grenerth. “Previous attempts by the agency at a rule have failed. This different approach will hopefully result in a meaningful outcome. We will provide input at every opportunity possible.”

OOIDA’s Director of State Legislative Affairs Mike Matousek reported on the Association’s stepped-up activities regarding towing reform, tolling and public-private partnerships, truck parking, anti-indemnification, lane restrictions and speed limits.

“That’s basically our world of issues, and we are going to try to be as active and effective as possible,” said Matousek.

General Vice President Woody Chambers reported on the activities of the OOIDA Foundation. Chambers announced that Board Member Miles Verhoef is the new Foundation Committee chairman. Board Member Johanne Couture is now the co-chair.

Chambers also reported on the recent meeting of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. UCR registration is now open and fees will remain the same. More on the UCR fees on Page 95 of this issue.

The next board meeting is tentatively set for April 22-25, 2015, at OOIDA headquarters. The board meets twice a year. LL