October 2008 Presidentís Report
By Ira Pollack
††††††††††† Hope all is well with you this month. We have had a pretty good season this year with many people coming through our facility. Train operations were pretty constant on the weekends, with many pleased customers despite the recent mechanical issues that we have had. I will say to you that we did have some big bumps in the road starting with the SW-8 fan failing, the RS-1 overheating, the additional track repairs and personnel problems. As President I must always remain professional and portray a positive attitude towards our members and, of course, guests, at all times, although sometimes it is not as easy as it sounds. As a leader I find that in addition to the usual expected tasks of my position I am also having to mediate, deal with major and minor crises, discipline, and constantly try to recruit help, follow up, and supervise. Oftentimes my patience has been tried to the limit. Recently I have found being in this position as President has become very stressing and frustrating.
††††††††††† As some of you have noticed, I have not attended the Wednesday night meetings for several weeks now. For many years I have spent extra time and effort to prepare weekly updates and present them on Wednesday nights. I have begun to feel that a good percentage of our Wednesday night attendees really do not care about what is happening at the Museum. I feel frustrated and very awkward standing in front of them, asking for help either in the yard or for whatever event or project I am trying to work on, and getting no positive response. The original intent when I started the Wednesday night sessions was to plan for the upcoming weekend work projects, but now it has changed into a social gathering, which is OK I guess. I can no longer spend the time or energy to call and approach our volunteers to ask for help. Nor can I plan any project accurately if nobody shows up to help with the necessary projects.
††††††††††† I had and still have many goals and aspirations for the Museumís growth, and have succeeded in these many directions, but I cannot do this alone, as I have stated many times in the past. I also have gotten the feeling that many people really do not care or understand the true needs of the Museum or the direction it should be heading in. Everything that is at the DRM is great, with all its diversity, but understand very clearly that without an operating train ride the Museum will wither away very quickly. Our guests come to see and ride the trains. That must be the priority for everyone who is a member, either on the Board or even as a person who might show up on a Wednesday night. I have had a vision of the Museumís future, but I feel now that this really is not the majorityís vision. We need people who will temporarily put aside their own little agendas or personal projects here to help with a project urgently needed for the good of the whole Museum. We have many outstanding problems that are not getting solved, and that only a few people, including myself, are working to solve. This is where my frustration comes from.
††††††††††† I have tried to keep you, the membership, updated on the events going on at the Museum, but I have been getting the impression from the lack of response that maybe it is not important to you, and possibly not worth my time to do it. Do you care whether we do urgently needed maintenance on our tracks in order to keep operating our Railyard Local? Do you care that maintenance issues with our motive power are seriously jeopardizing our ability to give train rides and hold events? Do you really care that soon we will be operating with only half of the motive power working on the Budd car, barely running the Railyard Local? Maybe operating train rides is no longer the priority for the Museum. Please let me know what you think.
††††††††††† We have gotten through this season folks with the many mechanical and personnel issues, and I do not know if we can withstand another season of this stress. I am hoping that there is some light at the end of this mechanical tunnel that we have gone through this year, that we can find some resolve in our future and regain some sort of focus and direction for the Museum. I do not mean to sound negative, but I want to be truthful to you and let you know where things really stand. I am hoping that we can complete the trackwork that is before us, and that we can successfully see through the Pumpkin Patch and Santa Claus events that are coming up very shortly.
††††††††††† THANK YOU to all of you who have pitched in to help with these major issues facing the Museum!††††