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Non-Skating Officials => General NSO Discussion => Topic started by: Arithmetrix on May 22, 2012, 03:56:10 pm

Title: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Arithmetrix on May 22, 2012, 03:56:10 pm
We are implenting an NSO membership at our league, and I am very excited about it.  While the required involvement is less than skating roles, it is important that high standards be maintained because I need to have a solid roster for every bout, just like our coaches and head ref.  These are the expectations we decided on:

1) NSOs must work all home bouts, barring serious conflict.  NSOs that cannot work a home bout must tell me as soon as they know of the conflict, and a minimum of two weeks in advance of the bout.
2) NSOs must attend 3 scrimmage practices a month; this includes the 2 directly preceding a bout.  They must inform me if they will miss a scrimmage practice.
3) NSOs must learn/staff any position that they are physically able to.  I will consider preferences but league needs trump that.

One thing I am struggling with a bit is when to terminate an NSO membership. I am admittedly a bit of a marshmallow when dealing with people so having set standards is very important.  I'm thinking of having a "3 strikes" system leading to loss of good standing (which triggers a probationary period).  A strike being:

1) Not informing me of inability to work a home bout with the required notice (barring emergency).
2) Failure to make attendance for a month.
3) Failure to inform me of a known absence.
4) Refusal to work/learn a certain position or a consistently bad/disruptive attitude towards working non-preferred positions.

I am also toying with the idea of allowing strikes to be erased by certain "above and beyond" acts, like working an away bout.

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Major Wood on May 22, 2012, 04:03:42 pm
My first thought is that three strike doesn't always fit. Some offenses are much worse than others. I would think that disciplinary policies should reflect those situations.
What I mean is that someone who fails to meet their attendance requirements is not as bad as someone showing up to a bout drunk. Someone who treats a skater abusively should be taken very seriously as well.

My suggestion is that there be some sort of grievance process as well. So if someone feels that an offense warrants more than just a single strike toward a probationary period, there is a course of action toward that end.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: FNZebra on May 22, 2012, 04:15:50 pm
I would be concerned about the "learn/staff any position" part.

Mental capacity and willingness also are huge factors in someone rocking an NSO position. How some people are wired may make them a 'natural' or cause them to be always working against their own grain to perform the expected duties at an appropriate level.

Gently suggest that you rephrase that along the lines of "cross-training to learn multiple positions is desired, and will be supported during practices, scrimmages and bouts, as appropriate" or some such.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Arithmetrix on May 22, 2012, 04:33:40 pm
Quote
I would be concerned about the "learn/staff any position" part.

Mental capacity and willingness also are huge factors in someone rocking an NSO position. How some people are wired may make them a 'natural' or cause them to be always working against their own grain to perform the expected duties at an appropriate level.

Gently suggest that you rephrase that along the lines of "cross-training to learn multiple positions is desired, and will be supported during practices, scrimmages and bouts, as appropriate" or some such.
Thanks for that input.  I think that my ultimate goal is that people at least be willing to try everything, unless it puts their safety at risk or they genuinely can't perform it (quite a few of our non-rostered skaters who function as NSOs for the time being have hearing loss, for example).  If someone cycles through all the positions and finds one they love, can perform well, and are dead set on, that is terrific.  If they want to stick with the first thing they try because of just preference and aren't open to finding what they might actually be best at, that really doesn't work.


Major Wood, misconduct would be covered under our general membership disciplinary process, but now that you bring it up there might be a bit of uniqueness there as NSOs serve in an official capacity but off-skates and there might need to be clarification about, say, drinking on duty.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Stegoscorus on May 22, 2012, 04:52:08 pm
Echoing Wood's sentiment, and adding: sometimes you just don't have the luxury of enforcing attendance policies.  Even with a huge crew, my former league often had the choice of staffing NSOs who didn't make their required practices, or scrambling to find guests/broken skaters/someone else who we weren't sure of their ability.

I would suggest a probation arrangement.  If you don't meet attendance requirements, or don't give enough notice for not being able to come to a bout, you're on probation for x amount of months.  If you screw up again...figure out if you want to add another strike, or dismiss them from the league then, or what makes sense for a follow up.

Also: what is the policy for refs who commit these offenses?  I'd suggest holding refs and NSOs to the same standards.  Not necessarily the same attendance requirements, but the same repercussions for not fulfilling responsibilities.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Statsquatch on May 22, 2012, 05:18:09 pm
The policy wthat we have in place is simply if you fall out of good standing/don't meet attendance requirements, you aren't allowed to vote on officiating committee matters. You're still more than welcome to volunteer and help out.

Push comes to shove, if I have someone that I know can run the scoreboard while blindfolded that hasn't been able to make practice all month because of a new work schedule, I'm still going to ask them to work a bout that fits in their schedule.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Shaun Ketterman on May 22, 2012, 05:27:13 pm
The policy wthat we have in place is simply if you fall out of good standing/don't meet attendance requirements, you aren't allowed to vote on officiating committee matters. You're still more than welcome to volunteer and help out.

Push comes to shove, if I have someone that I know can run the scoreboard while blindfolded that hasn't been able to make practice all month because of a new work schedule, I'm still going to ask them to work a bout that fits in their schedule.

Agreed.  I do and have used people who've proven themselves capable for staffing positions regardless of how many practices they've been to.  In fact I have a jam timer I have used for 3 years who hasn't been to a practice in about that long.  In all of my official staffing procedures, attendance at practices is far below demonstrated, proven ability in my priorities.  Don't let something like an attendance policy tie your hands.  My policy is that I must see you doing the job and know you're good at the job.  Tacitly, for most people that means you're going to show up to practices to learn and demonstrate this but me saying "you must show up at practice X amount of times" is more of a hindrance than a help.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Arithmetrix on May 22, 2012, 05:46:31 pm
I agree that once someone is solid at a position attendance becomes not much of an issue (assuming that they are reliable, and that is where letting me know if they won't be at a scrimmage comes in).  I have a few bouting-eligible skaters that are, due to their past performance, top choices when they are not rostered even though they scrimmage weekly so haven't NSOed at practice in months.

My concern is avoiding flakiness, basically.  People who show up every once in a while randomly, never consistently enough to learn any position solidly, and then expect to be staffed for the bout, which I can't be sure they will even show up for.  I've encountered that with some of the newer skaters who function as NSOs, but the skater attendance policy kicks in for them and they either shape up or ship out.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Statsquatch on May 22, 2012, 05:56:58 pm
My concern is avoiding flakiness, basically.  People who show up every once in a while randomly, never consistently enough to learn any position solidly, and then expect to be staffed for the bout, which I can't be sure they will even show up for.  I've encountered that with some of the newer skaters who function as NSOs, but the skater attendance policy kicks in for them and they either shape up or ship out.

Then I just wouldn't staff them. If a person isn't showing up because they have a scheduling conflict, and they've made you aware of that? That's a person being an adult. If however it someone telling you at the last minute, "Oh, I was sleepy," that's an issue. I had an NSO bail an hour before a bout because she had the sniffles. I will never again staff her again. I would rather pull a fan from the crowd and teach them a position knowing in advance I will have to do that over finding out at the last moment I'm going to need to. Knowing I'm walking into a shortage > being blindsided with one.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Nick Bergus on May 22, 2012, 06:06:52 pm
My concern is avoiding flakiness, basically.

Would it work for you is to start potential and new NSOs on a "probationary" period of a set length of time during which they need to fulfill certain expectations before being staffed at a bout? That would allow you to waive experienced NSOs (whom you presumably trust to do the job) from the requirements attendance requirements.

What are the benefits of being a member NSO?
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: SeerSin on May 22, 2012, 06:08:19 pm
Also: what is the policy for refs who commit these offenses?  I'd suggest holding refs and NSOs to the same standards.  Not necessarily the same attendance requirements, but the same repercussions for not fulfilling responsibilities.

This. Whatever the end policy having the same or very similar requirements goes a long way toward crew cohesion.

1) NSOs must work all home bouts, barring serious conflict.  NSOs that cannot work a home bout must tell me as soon as they know of the conflict, and a minimum of two weeks in advance of the bout.
2) NSOs must attend 3 scrimmage practices a month; this includes the 2 directly preceding a bout.  They must inform me if they will miss a scrimmage practice.
3) NSOs must learn/staff any position that they are physically able to.  I will consider preferences but league needs trump that.

1) Not informing me of inability to work a home bout with the required notice (barring emergency).
2) Failure to make attendance for a month.
3) Failure to inform me of a known absence.
4) Refusal to work/learn a certain position or a consistently bad/disruptive attitude towards working non-preferred positions.

My first thoughts on this policy are that it's a little harsh for volunteers and it's all negative reinforcement. Attendance policies require some reasonable leeway, otherwise you run the risk of no one being able to meet them when life comes up. We are, after all, volunteers. I'd suggest striking a balance between the needs of the league(showing up, practicing, not bailing on games) and the needs of the volunteers(family obligations, work, school, getting a cold, etc).

Our NSO attendance policy states that attendance will be considered when staffing home games. So if an NSO shows up to practice and score keeps regularly then he/she is going to get the score keeping position at the game. If an NSO wants to scorekeep but only shows up now and then that NSO doesn't get their choice position. NSOs are required to make at least 2 scrimmage practices a month in order to go on away games. The league funds their travel so it's reasonable to expect a little more from NSOs who wish to travel. So this way we have rewards for showing up instead of punishment for not showing up. Rewards work much better with volunteers. Also, the league NSOs created this policy themselves by discussion and voting. It works much better when a crew creates their own requirements, then getting everyone to follow the policy is much easier.

We don't have a specific policy for officials who bail on games a day or two before, but it certainly makes us hesitant to staff a person in the future.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: reflmao on May 22, 2012, 06:37:51 pm
Our officiating group charter was pretty vague to begin with and only became vaguer during rewrites.  

We found that if you are too structured and specific you will run into problems where someone who is willing and able can't be used and you need to either break your rules or go without.

We've basically moved all the requirements to "approved by Board of Officials".  We have a dispute process (which we've never had to use) and yearly votes so the board can't get to far out of line.

For Skating refs, and very similar for NSOs,  this looks like (paraphrased):
[rule]The Board of Officials will have final approval to clear any official to officiate a bout. The BoO will take into account that officials qualifications; including, but not limited to, the following when determining bout readiness:

* Approval of peers
* Sufficient Attendance to referee practices and scrimmages
* Demonstrates knowledge of the rules
* Demonstrates application of the rules[/rule]
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Arithmetrix on May 22, 2012, 06:42:03 pm
Thanks for all the feedback.  Refs who chronically don't make attendance are subject to penalties including and up to being dropped from the league, just like skaters.

Regarding the attendance policy, I do agree that it may be a little too demanding. However, I still have the concern that people may be so erratic/unreliable that they can never be staffed for bouts and are a distraction at practice more than a help.   And (yes I know this is a sticking point because I see it mentioned a lot) NSO positions require skill and practice and the formation of team relationships just like any other derby position - people need to be at practice for that to happen, and for me to be able to assess whether or not they are ready.  I think there is a way to strike a balance but I need to think on it a little more - the probationary period is a good idea; it would differ from other memberships being that for refs and skaters the probationary period is at the beginning of membership and standards rise from there.

Our NSO membership includes the endurance portion of practices and skate coaching if desired, access to merch at cost, and admittance to all league functions.   So the issue of people coming for the good stuff and not pulling their weight is definitely present, just like it is for skaters and refs.

I have an open door policy with experienced NSOs who just want to work bouts, and that has been written into the bylaws.  They are always welcome.  However being that we are a spanking new league, we're still working on forming those relationships.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Two Bit Score on May 22, 2012, 06:45:59 pm

My first thoughts on this policy are that it's a little harsh for volunteers and it's all negative reinforcement.
THIS, and basically the rest of what SeerSin said.  
If I don't make practices, I don't expect to get staffed. If I don't know how to do a job, I don't expect to get staffed to do that job in a live bout.  It's next to impossible to teach adults integrity, responsibility, and dependability, and as they are volunteers, it's going to be pointless to try and use 'punishments' on them.

Focus on rewarding, encouraging, motivating, and retaining those that do a good job. Focus on training those that are trying to do a good job, but aren't there yet.  
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: SeerSin on May 22, 2012, 07:41:25 pm
You're always going to have some unreliable people coming around. If people are just hanging around practice taking advantage of skating time or turning it into a social event just ask them to leave. A strict attendance policy won't fix that problem, it only hurts the dedicated ones you want to keep around. We've had several instances of non-serious officials taking up space and getting in the way only to bail on game day. They were told to step it up or leave. They all chose to leave. Having a strict attendance policy would have made it far more difficult for our dedicated officials to participate while doing nothing to sway the lazy ones.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Darkjester on May 25, 2012, 01:24:02 pm
^  This

Its difficult enough to find interested volunteers who only want to NSO let alone those who will do so under threat of dismissal.

I'm lucky if I have people who've nso'd before come up to me and say "Hey, do you need XXXX?"
Let alone having people who are consistently at practice learning those positions. You can put in the same requirements/guidelines for NSO's as your Skating Officials, but I would keep them more "Expected" than demanded.

For example:
1) NSOs Should be available for Home Bouts and some Travel if possible. If you are unavailable to staff a Home Bout please let the Head NSO/Head Referee know in writing as soon as possible.  Failure to be available on a regular basis may limit your usage in future bouts.
2)To be experienced NSO's should attend practice on the same schedule as the Skating Officials (Insert requirements). This will allow for training on the various positions and nuances as well as familiarity with working with other league officials. Failure to meet attendance requirements may limit your usage in bouts.
3) NSOs can expect to be trained in all NSO positions they are physically capable of fulfilling. The more knowledgeable you are as a NSO the better chance you have of being staffed for a bout. Note:The HEad Ref/Head NSO is responsible for assigning positions, your desired or interested position will be taken into consideration however bout requirements do come first.

The Folloing May be grounds for removal from bout roster, or placement on probationary status depending on frequency and/or severity of infraction. This list is a guideline and subject to change.:
1)Not informing Head Ref/Head NSO of inability to work a home bout with the required notice (barring emergency).
2) Failure to make attendance for a month.
3) Failure to inform Head Ref/Head NSO of a known absence.
4) Refusal to work/learn a certain position or a consistently bad/disruptive attitude towards working non-preferred position.
5)Use of Intoxicants prior or during a bout.
6)Wagering on the outcome of a bout one is working.
7)Disrespectful attitude/Treatment towards Other Officials, Skaters, League Personnel.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: molotovmuffin on June 04, 2012, 07:12:57 pm
Thanks for all the feedback.  Refs who chronically don't make attendance are subject to penalties including and up to being dropped from the league, just like skaters.

Regarding the attendance policy, I do agree that it may be a little too demanding. However, I still have the concern that people may be so erratic/unreliable that they can never be staffed for bouts and are a distraction at practice more than a help.   And (yes I know this is a sticking point because I see it mentioned a lot) NSO positions require skill and practice and the formation of team relationships just like any other derby position - people need to be at practice for that to happen, and for me to be able to assess whether or not they are ready.  I think there is a way to strike a balance but I need to think on it a little more - the probationary period is a good idea; it would differ from other memberships being that for refs and skaters the probationary period is at the beginning of membership and standards rise from there.

Our NSO membership includes the endurance portion of practices and skate coaching if desired, access to merch at cost, and admittance to all league functions.   So the issue of people coming for the good stuff and not pulling their weight is definitely present, just like it is for skaters and refs.

I have an open door policy with experienced NSOs who just want to work bouts, and that has been written into the bylaws.  They are always welcome.  However being that we are a spanking new league, we're still working on forming those relationships.
This.

For small leagues, getting NSO's much less refs is hard. Keeping them is even harder.  Make it worth their while to volunteer and reap the rewards. I think offering them the endurance portion of practice is a novel idea and one I hope we can incorporate into ours.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Skynny Lynny on June 16, 2012, 03:41:43 am
I have to agree with molotovmuffin.

I've been an NSO with my league for a little over a year and have recently had to step in and act as our league's head NSO. Most of the times we use retired/former skaters to assist as NSO's during bouts due to a lack of NSO's.

In my opinion, if you have enough NSO's to consider implementing an attendance policy, that's a good problem to have.

With my league, we have stages of membership for NSO's just like the skaters do, i.e. New Recruit, Fresh Meat, and Skater. It takes 4 months of attendance and work 2 bouts to be considered a league member. Being a league member entitles them to access to our message board and attend league meetings. It's my feeling that people who want to be an NSO, do so because they love derby and want to be a part of it. I say that you should find a way for your league to reward good behavior rather than alienate potential help by reprimanding for minor penalties like scrimmage attendance.

If a person is competent, reliable, and willing, reward them. The rest will fall to the side and chances are, you wouldn't want to keep them anyway.

My Thoughts
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Megan Waves on June 23, 2012, 02:08:37 am
OMG you just recited my circumstances exactly.  I want to get away from using skaters as NSOs and get a stable well trained crew.  I looking for ways to award and I am think, like you, some kind of hierarchy, apprentice, staff, lead, for example might work. 

Also I am trying to get some LEGITIMACY behind the group by establishing an application process, code of conduct,  training programs, and attendance requirements.

My league is worried if I do that I will lose volunteers.  I was trying to point out that we have no volunteers our NSOs are all skaters.  We lost our volunteers already. I am think if we bring up the standards and rewards and recognize, we may get them back and be able to attract more.  If we continue to treat it like we can just grab anyone out of the crowd at the last minute, who would really want to waste their time.  But if we show them that we value their skill, that's different.

Am I fooling myself?
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Noah Tall on June 23, 2012, 03:59:56 am
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Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Darkjester on June 23, 2012, 02:32:23 pm
In some area's its difficult. Other areas seem to have to TURN DOWN NSO's.

Hopefully your problem becomes the latter rather than the former :)
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Samuel Bergus on June 23, 2012, 02:38:54 pm
A someone who regularly NSOs, I really like the direction this conversation is going.

I NSO because it is something I enjoy doing, not because my league has an attendance policy.

I know that if I am willing to attend practices, I can become a better NSO by practicing the positions I know how to do, as well as learn new roles. I know that if I demonstrate a commitment, and competence, to the league's officials, I will get perks, like going on road trips, or being thought of when other leagues approach them trying to find NSOs to staff a bout.

I think if you treat your NSOs well, acknowledge and appreciate the time they commit, you shouldn't have a problem keeping them around.
Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: Arithmetrix on June 26, 2012, 08:44:23 pm
"Also I am trying to get some LEGITIMACY behind the group by establishing an application process, code of conduct,  training programs, and attendance requirements."

Exactly my point of view and where I was going with this.

Unfortunately, it really has shook out this season that our best, most dedicated NSOs are also skaters.  In fact, I was asked last week to transfer my Head NSO duties elsewhere because I am overcommitted and the name that first popped to mind was a skater.  I then ran through every NSO member in my head and, no, no one I can rely on. The NSO members have had erratic attendance and generally a pretty shaky connection to the league, which has been disappointing.  We have not gotten around to clarifying the member terms, and I think that is part of the issue - clear expectations are necessary IMO.

We are more than fine for this season because we have a really awesome group of skaters who are not on track to bout since our season ends in early October but are very invested in the league, but I hope that the NSO corps does take off.

Title: Re: NSO Membership Termination
Post by: SmackTavish on July 24, 2012, 03:29:30 pm
Sorry I'm late to the party on this one. Our league (not a WFTDA apprentice) is still under two years old and we are implementing a Code of Conduct for the refs and NSOs. We've been updating and correcting as the year goes along, and as scenarios we didn't plan for arise.

Generally, the NSOs need to be at half the scrims before a bout. (We bout once a month; we scrim once a week, therefore, NSOs need to come twice a month.) We added a line about special dispensation from the NSO leadership (we have a Head NSO, a VP, and a speaker of the house) if that person has deomstrated excellent ability in their role but just had a busy schedule that month.

Case in point, Shady is a busy family mom. After getting injured last year, she stepped away from skating permanently but did penalty box for us at scrims and bouts last year. She's really good. As a busy mom, she can't make scrims this year, but has done PB for us twice at bouts.

If I needed a scorekeeper, however, and Shady's the last person available and she can't make at least 2 scrims to learn that role, I would adjust the roster to have her in the PB and either train a new scorekeeper or or have a capable scorekeeper move to that role.

We also have skaters fill in at NSO roles. Those skaters are obviously at scrims, but they are not learning the NSO roles. Again, they need to demonstrate capability (at at least one scrim or as an NSO for a neighboring league) to get that slot.

Admittedly, one of the reasons we don't have mandatory attendance at our scrims is because I have 3 scrim dates a year which I cannot attend for work. My VP likewise has work issues once in a while. I won't prevent her, the best PB Manager any non-WFTDA league has (IMHO), from working a bout.

I do like your requirement to learn new positions for the NSOs. However, as had been mentioned in this thread by others, we have one person who is hard of hearing, and she could never do the OWB, IWB, penalty tracker, or penalty wrangler. We have 3 skaters who are recovering from leg injuries. They are not nimble enough to do anything other than lineup tracking or scorekeeping.