California Owners, TWHBEA Grapple over Vote

A group of California-based Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA) members contend that the association is forcing them to travel across the country in order to remove a board of directors member, a step they believe they shouldn't have to take. Meanwhile, TWHBEA leadership is standing by the organization's decision.

Fran Cole, a former TWHBEA director and the California group's representative, said the group of TWHBEA members is seeking to remove a California-based board of directors member on grounds that she does not represent their interests, specifically regarding the use of pads, chains, and other action devices sometimes used on Tennessee Walking Horses.

Under the Tennessee Nonprofits Corporations Act, Cole said, 10% of the California membership is required to vote on such matters. She said the group petitioned TWHBEA to remove the director without requiring group members to travel to the TWHBEA headquarters in Tennessee because more than 25% of the California members petitioned for the removal. Also under the act, Cole said, the California group could remove—with or without cause—the directors that they elected.

“It's the first time in history TWHBEA has required members to travel to its corporate offices for this purpose,” Cole said.

However, in a written statement, TWHBEA Executive Director Tracy Boyd said that since no special place is designated for special meetings under the act, those events must take place in Lewisburg, Tenn., home of the TWHBEA headquarters.

“As far as we can tell, this portion (cited by the California group) of the Tennessee Nonprofit Corporations Act was written in 1987, and to our knowledge, it has never been invoked,” Boyd's statement said. “This is new territory for us, and since the members of California are requesting this special meeting under the Tennessee Nonprofit Corporations Act, we are following the advice of our legal counsel and will adhere to the requirements of the act.”

Additionally, Boyd's statement indicated that the association requires a cause be cited for a board of directors member to be removed.

“(Their) petition did not cite any cause,” Boyd said in his statement.

The special meeting requested by the California group is slated for Feb. 3 at the TWHBEA headquarters in Lewisburg.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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