Friday, March 12, 2010

The Letter...

This is old news, but important nonetheless. This letter from the Miss America organization to State E.D.s surfaced at the end of February. What do you make of it?

State Executive Directors:

We are extremely proud of the accomplishments that the Miss America family has achieved over recent years and the spirit of teamwork that is allowing our organization to experience even greater success. This year’s record TV ratings for the 2010 Miss America Pageant reflect a continuing growth and resurgence with our historically important organization.

Our commitment to maintain an open dialogue has never been stronger and our continued success is interdependent. Your commitment is greatly valued as we continue making this wonderful organization the very best it can be. We are sincerely committed in promoting our core values, as well as, protecting this organization from assaults on its integrity and operation.

Unfortunately, some recent events have occurred that were designed to undermine our great organization and impede the momentum we have created. We have always met and overcome such challenges and obstacles whenever they appeared, whether in a complaint letter from an angry parent or a disappointed contestant, someone intent on undermining state leadership and even deliberate attempts to discredit the national organization and circumvent the policies that regulate our program.

We have prevailed over all these and more through the years, and we have remained united. More importantly, our bond strengthened as we worked together to rebrand and rebuild our presence throughout the country. The principal seal of this bond has always been the Miss America Organization's support of, and loyalty to, the leaders of our State Organizations.

The one cornerstone of our organization that must remain infallible is the integrity of our judging system. Recent attempts to breach this basic tenet by ignoring conflicts of interest cannot be tolerated. It is paramount that everyone does their due diligence when selecting and approving judges at the local and state levels. Even though we have specific guidelines, the national office has received numerous questions relating to pageant coaches. Under no circumstance may any type of coach be a judge in the Miss America Organization - even if they coach in an unpaid capacity.

In addition, anyone openly disparaging, discrediting or detracting any state organization, its leadership or the Miss America Organization - including present and past actions, cannot be permitted to serve in any capacity. We will not support any person or organization that supports or aligns itself with persons engaged in malicious activity that undermines the integrity of the Miss America Organization system.

Nevertheless, our organization is yet again under assault and we must formally announce our position and make it clear that we will not be daunted by aggression, whether direct or subtle, that undermines anyone, let alone the whole of the Miss America State Organizations. We have deterred these attempts and will continue to do so with your support.

It has also come to our attention that a group has formed with intentions to act as a comprehensive prep team for the contestants in the Miss America Pageant system. They have initiated their presence with announcements directly to contestants and local directors, undermining current state leadership and insist the key to success exists with their guidance and counsel. We strongly state that this group is not operating with the endorsement of the Miss America Organization. The Miss America Organization cannot allow any group to interfere with the right of our states to operate, conduct and produce their annual competitions. We believe that our state organizations are the Miss America experts and strongly recommend that our states handle the coaching of our program’s contestants themselves.

Although the National Office will be represented at the 2010 Miss America Homecoming, it deeply saddens us that our officers will not attend this event due to the direct involvement by an individual who has previously attacked this organization and various members of its leadership. We feel that an appearance by this organization’s Chairman of the Board, President or any other MAO Officer would contradict our position. We remain steadfast in our resolve to protect this organization and it is in the best interest of the organization that we do not attend.

We truly depend on you for our continued success and our ability to operate as a cohesive organization. Please accept our deepest gratitude for your consistent support.

Sam Haskell, III Art McMaster
Board Chairman President & CEO

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