Chronology of Events
February 2009 - BAASS Contract Agreement was finalized and approved by MUFON Board.
- Planning and development of a PowerPoint presentation for State Directors and Membership was initiated to outline the project and invite participation in the project.
- This PowerPoint presentation was emailed to State Directors.
March 2009 - First Funding check from BAASS received by MUFON sometime before March 1, 2009 and a campaign for hiring for Dispatch Operators and Field Investigators was initiated.
- Live Presentation for a rollout of SIP Project to State Directors was set up via scheduled conference calls, looking for State Directors suggestions and input, fielding questions and getting their buy-into program.
- Final planning for SIP Project completed based on State Directors input.
- Application and enrollment period – received applications at MUFON HQ.
- SIP Project Management Team meeting in Colorado (4 days) to review applications and finalize hiring of Dispatchers and STAR Team Field Investigators.
- Applications processed and paperwork was completed for employment and tax withholding for 12 Dispatchers and 54 Investigators.
- Live training meetings were conducted for the Dispatch Team, via a series of conference calls.
- SOP for Dispatch operation was finalized.
April 2009 - First Successful month of SIP project and Dispatch Operation started to run continuous shifts.
- Management team works closely with Dispatchers for first 2-3 weeks
- ShiftBoard, which was a scheduling website was set up with teams for each state and region
- BAASS and MUFON management team start weekly meetings
- Discussions about project and weekly sighting reports
- Deployments and Investigation Reports were forwarded to BAASS
Trouble Starts - Issues with Performance Review (June)
June, 2009 - Performance Review - Concerns were raised by BAASS about funding and the excess funds that were not spent on the project by MUFON. There was clearly some gray areas in the wording of the contract agreement, in that there was not specific language as to how MUFON could or should use unspent funds. Both parties had opposing thoughts on the issue.
MUFON taking a position that they could keep the excess money, without accounting to BAASS for how they used it.
- BAASS had paid MUFON $224,000 by June ($56,000 X 4 Months)
- MUFON was spending about $25,000 per month on the project and had accumulated about $120,000 in savings, which was not spend on the SIP project.
On the other hand BAASS maintained that they expected that most of funds should be spent on the SIP Project in which money was budgeted for:
- $5000. each month was to allocated for a special Rewards Program (bonus)
· for incentive Bonus for SIP Investigators ($1500 and $750 monthly)
· for incentive Bonus for Dispatchers ($750)
- Advertising MUFON on National Media
- Creating a paid Public Relations position
- Advertising to Police departments across the USA
- Paying for Google ad status (MUFON on top in searches for "Reporting UFOs")
Note: incentive bonus was
partly paid for one month and then discontinued to save money. A Public
Relations person was ultimately hired late in the program. National police
advertising and Google ads were never initiated. These problems were not
resolved and it was obvious that animosity toward BAASS was building with-in
MUFON Board Leadership.
As part of the performance review process, in June, BAASS reduced the amount of money they were paying MUFON to $25,000 a month.
July 2009 - Symposium - I personally made a presentation at the State Directors meeting explaining the SIP Project, which lasted over 2 hours and was well received. After I spoke a financial report was made to the State Directors. At the time I was very busy (with my presentation and the training meetings) but I remember being very surprised when the financial report indicated funds in MUFON at $54,000. At that time there was an additional $120,000 in a separate checking account for the SIP project, which was not disclosed to the membership. I have often wondered how this would affect the Non-profit status of the organization.
September 2009 - By September the animosity toward BAASS was continuing to build within MUFON Board Leadership. At the same time the SIP project was running in high gear and BAASS was very pleased with the work the STAR team was doing providing the Significant Reportable Events and Case Reports.
- There was a lot of good publicity about the SIP project. The quality of the SIP investigative work was considered very high. The dispatch operation was well organized and producing very useful information.
- The weekly Conference calls with the BAASS management team were getting more intense, with Carrion, Harzan and Reever very upset with BAASS, while Modlin and I remained supportive of the project. I was in a sticky spot trying to keep the SIP project going forward, while tension continued to build about the funding issues. The BAASS guys were always very professional with me. I was embarrassed at times with the way MUFON Leadership treated them.
- BAASS was still very cognizant of the $120,000 which they believed to be in savings and it was clear they were going to take a stand with MUFON to get more money spent on the project.
- Behind the scenes, there was a lot of tough talk about BAASS trying to control MUFON and the MUFON Board wasn't going to put up with it! I never understood this because no one at BAASS ever tried to interfere with the operation of the SIP Project or tell me what to do.
Note: apparently after the symposium, MUFON moved about $30,000 of the SIP Project money to the MUFON account, to help pay for the symposium, which was not disclosed to BAASS (in the monthly reports) at the time when it was done. MUFON later maintained that it was the equivalent of Carrion's salary that he donated to the symposium. It became an audit issue became it was not reported to BAASS until much later in the year.