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Sharon Wosser's picture
Joined: 01/11/2008
Posts: 15
Letter to the Members of Rancho Murieta Country Club

 

This is the fifth year that we have worked as a volunteer entertainment committee for the Rancho Murieta Country Club.  We work as a team and are dependant on one another to keep this endeavor going.  Joan brings the musicians and Sharon does the advertising, orders the banners, writes programs, places ads on the dot com and in the River Valley Times, with an occasional article in the RVT.

Our original goal as presented to and approved by the Board of Directors at that time was to bring the right music for the planned venue (Murieta Room or 19th Hole), create the right atmosphere for each event and most importantly, as mentioned above, "get the word out - advertise."    The ultimate goal was to make the Rancho Murieta Country Club the "destination of choice" every weekend for members and their guests, sell memberships and bring in more dollars for the Club.    It has been acknowledged that we have accomplished these goals.

At this time we find ourselves in a very difficult situation and in the current environment cannot continue with this volunteer position.  All musicians arranged by us including Jazz Supper Club performers have been cancelled effective the end of March.   The issue that made this endeavor difficult is the lack of cooperation and communication by the RMCC Board's President.  Our committee is circumvented and excluded from decisions regarding entertainment.  Recently we discussed this issue with the Country Club's Executive Committee.  They requested that we work through the House Committee and we, in fact, met with the Chairman of the House Committee to begin this process.  We were quite hopeful that this new procedure would end the previous difficulties we had encountered.  However, within days we were told to cancel all entertainers we had previously booked for Saturday nights in April and May as the President had booked those dates without  even the courtesy of a phone call or a question to us to see if we could make adjustments in the cost  or  variety of the entertainment.  

We don't deserve such treatment.   We are consistent, very well organized and extremely reliable.   Such a successful program should be applauded, not undermined.   We have brought a varied program of musical entertainment to the Club that tripled attendance on Friday nights.  Laid back music on Saturday was not working very well so we perked that up and now Saturdays have a very good turnout.  In addition, we have very successfully brought many new functions to the Country Club, e.g., an annual sell out Crab Feed; a very successful New Year's Eve; a Valentine's Dinner with entertainment that more than doubled attendance of previous years; sellout monthly Jazz Supper Clubs and Special Events.  All in all we do 110/112 contracts a year-basically a full time job.

We apologize to the members of Rancho Murieta Country Club that we can no longer continue under these circumstances.  We want to thank you all for having been so unbelievably supportive and complimentary.  It has been our pleasure to bring quality entertainment to you.                            Regretfully,    Joan Williams and Sharon Wosser

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Alvin Somers's picture
Joined: 08/27/2007
Posts: 51
Poor Management Poor Communication

What is going on here in RM? My wife and I are recent transfers from the Bay Area and have thoroughly enjoyed the professional quality of the social events staged by the Club...especially the Jazz Nights. Who made the decision to cancel them? How was it communicated to the membership? We just received the monthly President's newsletter (late as usual) and no mention of the cancellation. Have we moved to a dictatorship here at the RMCC? Who has oversight? Rubber-stamp boards seems to be contaigious once we enter the gates. In my humble opinion.

Alvin Somers

Beth Buderus's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 926
How Sad

Wow, it's a sad day in paradise!

Dick Cox's picture
Joined: 10/02/2007
Posts: 156
RMCC

Dick Cox

First I’d like to thank the committee that has done an overall great job of improving the entertainment at RMCC on Fridays and Saturdays.  I’ve attended and enjoyed several performances.  I applaud the efforts of this committee; however, it is important they work within the frame work of the club board and management

  

What sometimes sounds like a good idea doesn’t always turn out that way.

I don’t think the whole story has been told by the original poster. One night there was a group that had a young boy from the audience join them.  He appeared to be 13-15-years old and very talented.  As talented as he was I wondered how he was allowed to participate in a performance taking place in a bar? I now understand there was another group scheduled to entertain that had members under the age of 18.  It is my understanding the law does not allow you to pay people under the age of 18 to perform in bars and doing so would violate your liquor license conditions.  If that is correct then it was in the best interest of RMCC members to curtail such activities.  I further have heard the organizers of the entertainment were informed this group couldn’t perform and then allowed them to perform anyway.  That being the case our RMCC was placed in jeopardy of losing their liquor license.

 

Let’s not make the club board or president the bad guys here.  Their action was taken to protect the membership’s assets.  There are no bad guy here on either side, only some people who had a good idea that wasn’t going to work with the boundaries of the LAW

 

Dick Cox

Alvin Somers's picture
Joined: 08/27/2007
Posts: 51
have heard..rumor or fact

Typical of many answers on several subjects discussed, "I have heard" is hardly a reason...and if the youngster that performed several months ago was in violation, then why wasn't this mentionned to the group that runs these evenings when their efforts were cancelled? And why was it not mentioned in the recent newsletter, since the violation and "wrongful" act was ignored several months ago? Again, the communication abilities or lack thereof, have a lot to be desired in RM paradise.

 

Al Somers

Beth Buderus's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 926
Spoke to Vince

I am definitely not going to take sides in this matter as I know Joan personally and have been corresponding with Vince Lepera about the Club (the good and the bad)over the last couple of months and have found him to be fair.

I just spoke to Vince and as we all should remember, there are two sides to every story. He is very frustrated by this new development and how it was announced. He and the House Committee, run by Dennis Martel, are doing everything they can to ensure there is entertainment in the 19th Hole. While the Jazz Supper Clubs have been well attended, the off-Saturday nights range from 2 to 10 customers which doesn't even begin to pay the $350 fee for the musicians for that evening. Because of this, he said, the Finance Committee expressed those concerns to the Board who then, thru chain of command, passed the information onto the House Committee who then spoke with Joan and Sharon. It was requested that they not book acts beyond a monthly basis until the budget for the Club was approved, at this time it has not been approved but should be within the next week or so. He said at no time has he, as President, booked or cancelled an act. Although, he did say he got involved in the recent "Moonlight Swing", big band night.

Additionally, he stated that he and Dennis have been working with a resident who would be willing to take a lesser fee to be able promote his band on those non-Supper Club nights which is a step in the right direction. With the House Committee's approval, they are scheduling two Saturday's in the month of April but no decision has been made for the following months. Vince also wanted to make it clear that the work of Joan and Sharon was appreciated.

My husband and I have attended a hand full of non-Supper Club nights and it is such a shame to see 6 to 10 people in attendance. We said maybe there should only be the monthly Jazz Supper Club nights and forgo the other nights since they are not attended well. But the idea of the local guy sounds great.

Vince also brought up the lateness of the President's/GM letter and wanted me to know that the letter is always available on the website by the 1st of 2nd of the month (that was good to know, I never would have thought of that!). The reason given for the delay was the accounting server breakdown for member invoices, the cause may have been a leap year issue.

The Jazz Supper Club series will continue along with entertainment in the 19th hole. Vince wanted to make sure that all members along with the community understood that.

 

Kim Smith's picture
Joined: 08/23/2007
Posts: 37
too bad

Sharon & Joan,

Your committee did a wonderful job-- I am sorry to see your efforts come to an end. Thank you for all your work in turning around the 'nightlife' at the club! It was a welcome change.

 

 

Joan Williams's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 7
RMCC Entertainment

Dick :  I wanted to let you know that we (the Volunteer Entertainment Committee) always worked within the rules and guidelines that we were given by Vince Lepara, Board President and Bob Johnson, General Manager.    With regard to the minor who was engaged for Bar Entertainment we received permission from the General Manager to book that entertainer.    However, we were told early in March not to book him again and we complied.  Joan Williams

J.Williams

Dennie Standart's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 5
The Real Truth Is...

First, I'd like to reiterate the regrets that I voiced to Joan when she phoned to tell me of her and Sharon's decision to resign from their volunteer position. Their work was truly appreciated by many Club members including the Board. I'm very sorry that they have felt excluded from decisions because the fact of the matter is they have been given more latitude to work outside of the system that any other volunteers in the history of the Club.

Let's recap the real facts of this situation. When Joan first volunteered to seek out and schedule various entertainment venues, she was informed that the appropriate process for her to follow was to work through the House Committee; however, this was unacceptable to her and she expressed her desire to communicate only with the General Manager.  Since she was so adamant on this issue and, at the time, it seemed like such a small concession, the Board agreed to allow that unprecedented arrangement. In retrospect, that seems like an inappropriate decision.

The next inappropriate decision involved the location of some of the entertainment. Certain venues became so popular that many of our members were unable to squeeze into the 19th Hole. The Board requested the General Manager to move these venues to the Murieta/Terrace Lounge in order to accommodate more members; Joan stubbornly refused to even discuss such a move. If ever the Board should have taken charge, it was then, but we did not.

As Vince mentioned in his most recent letter, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) did visit us a few weeks ago. One reason for their visit had to do with a child (under the age of 18) performing in the 19th Hole. This same child had performed in one of the group's that Joan booked last year and she was advised at the time that this was never to happen again. She assured management that it would not.  However, her promise came into question when the child appeared again.

Similarly, the contract for all the entertainers allows a maximum of four (4) guests of the entertainment group during a performance at RMCC; frequently ten (10) or more guests of the entertainers have been counted in the audience while Club members were turned away. Joan and Sharon obviously forgot that one of the most important reasons for working within a committee structure is to avoid these kinds of oversights that are typical of solo performances. The visit from the ABC could have resulted in revoking our liquor license; fortunately, Vince was there to explain the uniquely extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the regulators.

As far as future entertainment is concerned, the Board approved a House Committee recommendation that the Jazz Dinner Club will be a regular event for the foreseeable future. We will also continue to have regularly scheduled entertainment in the 19th Hole in addition to Special Events. Joan and Sharon were aware that the budget has not yet been finalized and were asked not to schedule entertainment more that one month in advance; once again, they ignored a reasonable request from management and the Board by scheduling performers through the month of May. It is true that some of those did have to be either rearranged or cancelled because Joan and Sharon refused to follow the direction provided by management and your Board of Directors.

One final thing, after receiving Joan and Sharon's resignation, they were contacted and requested to provide a list of the contacts they have used to obtain entertainers for the Country Club during their tenure. To our surprise, they denied us this information.  It is unclear whether this is an attempt to prove that they are irreplaceable; but, it is clear that it constitutes childish behavior. It is a shame that this relationship has to end on such a sour note. The Executive Committee was hoping we could avoid this and invited these two ladies to meet with us on Feb. 28th. While they finally agreed to meet with Dennis Martel who chairs the House Committee, it was obvious now that they intended to play by their own rules or not play at all.

The bottom line in this scenario is simple. The Bylaws of our Country Club succinctly state how Advisory Committees are supposed to function. Unfortunately, we failed to adhere to our own process and the outcome was less than desirable for all.

Dennie Standart
RMCC Executive Board Member

Lynda Gavelis's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 19
We Miss Those Nights

Sharon and Joan,

We are so sorry to see what is happening. It looks like this is turning into a very uncomfortable situation.

Just the other day I was telling Gytis how much I missed those nights at the club.  We now have to drive quite a distance to attend similar venues, and those aren't really similar, we are in a crowd of strangers.  We miss the intimacy of the club evenings with friends and neighbors.

We know how hard you both worked to bring these events to the club.  We also know that you have to book these groups several months in advance, just being able to commit to one month at a time is close to impossible when you are booking a variety of groups.  We hope you can work this out and not have all your hard work go down with the controversy.

Best wishes,

Lynda and Gytis Gavelis                                                                            

Powder Springs (Atlanta), GA                                                         

Frank Pumilia's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 134
The Facts...Just the Facts

I am on the RMCC Finance Committee and can confirm the the "Music & Entertainment" was successful in bringing more people to the Club.....but only for special events such as the Jazz Club, Miller Tribute etc.

The posts by Dick Cox, Beth Beduras and Dennie Standart are all very accurate.  The following financial facts may help explain to those who are upset, what actually happened.

The purpose of the program is to increase revenue and activity at the Club.  When looking at the expenses to put on the entertainment vs the additional F&B revenue hopefully gained by the activity, we find only the special event programs paid for themselves.  Many of the normal Fri/Sat night entertainment events were attended by less than 10 people and were staged at a loss.

The facts are in 2007 $43,745 was spent on the Musicians  & Entertainers Additional expenses were used for banners and advertising to promote the events.  These were booked into the member relations department budget.  The budget for 2007 was $37,600 for the music and 0 for the promotion.  The banners along the Parkway cost from $250 to $300 each.  The total cost then was around $47,000 to stage these member popular events vs a budget of $37,600. 

So what was the result???  2007 Member evening F&B revenue for food, liquor,wine and beer sales was $18,806 below budget. The net effect of the additional $47,000 music/entertainment expense did not achieve the expected results of higher F&B evening revenue.

For 2008 the Finance Committee has recommended moving this expense item to the member F&B Department to more accurately measure its impact. If the money is supposed to bring folks to the Club to eat and drink its a F&B item, not a member perk hiding in Member Relations.

There is no question that Joan and Sharon (the volunteer Committee) worked long and hard to try to make the program work, but if the folks don't show up to support it the BOD thru committees needs to look at what works and what does not.  The Club cannot afford to provide entertainment on nights were few people show up.

On the bright side, the entertainment is scheduled to continue with more selective offerings that hopefully will be special and well attended.   The budget for this is being discussed to find the right balance.

Don't despair...there will be entertainment.

 

Alvin Somers's picture
Joined: 08/27/2007
Posts: 51
A professional response

Thank you Frank for the factual and professional response to this subject. I certainly undestand and respect the decision. But...the decision and its communication occur without any previous notice to the membership (as far as I can remember) It would be important to hear about the Board's financial concerns over such budgetary problems and potential consequences, before major changes occur. That certainly would preclude all the "sturm und drung"

By the way, are ther any other such changes planned or in effect that we as dues paying members are not aware of?

Respectfully

 

Al Somers

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