Letter to the Airmail Editor
From Wes Fleming, #3120
Re: June 2015 issue and the apparent feud between the Editor and Joe Glowacki
The kids today, they have this acronym they use whenever they’re perplexed by something. Like “dude,” it’s a catchall for a variety of emotions and reactions, and it can be applied to many situations.
Even though I’m not a kid – though many Airheads might consider me so at the tender age of almost 46 years old – but after reading (eagerly, from cover to cover) the June 2015 Airmail, I have to invoke the kids.
While I think many of us can figure out what that means, I’ll relay the kinder, gentler version – WTH, or What The Hell! As in WTF is going on between B. Jan (Hofman) (editor) and Joe Glowacki (chair)?
When I opened the June issue and started reading, I found myself quickly confronted by five (5) – FIVE! – pages of Editor Hofman defending himself and blaming current leadership for spending/cash flow problems. I wasn’t aware until that moment that the editor received a stipend at all.
After perusing the Board of Directors Minutes covering meetings from September 2014 to March 2015, I found myself asking myself WTF have I gotten (back) into? People getting removed from their positions and booted from the club? Disappointing to say the least. I’d also like to know where the financial report mentioned in the November meeting minutes is – the comment “upon the submission of his report” is vague, and there’s no further mention of that report. If finances are an issue, then where is this report and why hasn’t it been made public?
The capper, though, is page 17, on which Chairman Glowacki makes aspersions against Editor Hofman and lays out a pay schedule that (apparently) clearly shows that the $1,000-a-month stipend schedule isn’t what’s being paid to the editor at all. I’m pretty sure $1,000 a month means $12,000 a year, and the $16,688 paid in 2014 isn’t $1,000 a month. Now, of course, there could be other expenses built into that amount (and the others) that aren’t being relayed, but that’s beside the point right now.
First of all, I don’t know nor have I ever met Mssrs. Hofman or Glowacki. It’s clear that Glowacki has no fucking clue how much work goes into the production of a monthly magazine – even one of just 24 pages. A thousand dollars a month is a paltry sum, a mere drop in the bucket, for doing a job with relentless deadlines and little in the way of thanks.
Having said that, for $1,000 a month, I definitely expect a higher-quality publication. Pages 2-11 of the June issue could have been laid out by my 13-year-old daughter using Microsoft Pages. While this reflects the club canon “Airheads believe that the simplest [engineering] solutions are best,” there’s no reason to pay somebody (anybody) even 12 grand a year for this kind of amateur product. I’m not generally one to toot my own horn, but in this instance, I’m going to do just that and encourage every Airhead reading this to visit the website for the BMW Bikers of Metropolitan Washington and check out a recent issue of Between the Spokes, the monthly newsmagazine that I produce for the club – AS A VOLUNTEER. I know exactly how much work goes into releasing a monthly publication at the club level and I know what an amateur in his off hours can produce with some dedication and effort. I’d gladly take $1,000 a month for the work I do for BMWBMW, but because I care about my club, I stepped up as a volunteer and receive no payment whatsoever.
I let my ABC membership lapse for a long time, and when I came back, I find the ABC in turmoil. It’s one thing to see this kind of crap on the Internet, where you expect trolls to go after each other, but quite another to see it in our signature publication.
Reading this issue, I find that the club’s leaders are violating several canons, to wit: “Airheads appreciate function over form, fact over fiction, and friendship over friction,” “Airheads regard money as a tool, not a status symbol,” and “Airheads don’t take themselves, religion or life too seriously.” This issue is filled with fiction (Hofman and Glowacki can’t both be right, can they?), friction, money issues, and Airheads taking themselves far too seriously.
It may be indifference that kills publications, as Hofman writes on page 5, but controversy is what kills clubs. B. Jan Hofman and Joe Glowacki are killing the ABC, and they’re doing it in the pages of Airmail.
Everybody involved in this kerfuffle should be ashamed of themselves and given just my short exposure to what is clearly an internal power struggle, it’s clear to me that the best solution is for EVERYBODY involved to switch from German to Japanese traditions and fall on their sword. I’m calling for the Editor and all current Board members to RESIGN, followed by a snap election to seat all-new Board members and a new Editor as well.
Wes Fleming, #3120, Fairfax, VA