Dear Robert Trent Jones Golf Club Board of Trustees,
On November 16, 2010, you made the decision to terminate Glenn Smickley without cause after 21 years of dedicated service.
We, the members, strongly object to your decision. We feel Glenn Smickley possesses an intimate knowledge of the history and operations of Robert Trent Jones Golf Club and that Glenn’s loyalty is second to none of any employee in the life of our great club. Glenn worked with 20 different boards and 7 Presidents of RTJ producing undeniable accomplishments that made our club the envy of all golfers seeking a membership in the Washington, DC area.
Last fall, the past Presidents of RTJ grew concerned that normal contract periods had come and gone (for some managers including Glenn) without being renegotiated. In September, sensing that something was amiss, the past Presidents sent the Board a letter. That letter expressed their unilateral support for Glenn and his management team. They requested that you complete the contract process and keep this team intact. This letter went without response or acknowledgement.
After Glenn’s dismissal in November, the past Presidents asked to meet with you in person on December 11th to express concern with the direction you were taking our club. Every single past President of the club disagreed with your decision to replace Glenn and they all agreed that not a single substantive reason was given for his dismissal. During this meeting, the past Presidents requested several things, most importantly the reinstatement of Glenn Smickley. Your written response to those requests was inadequate at best.
In addition to the unjust termination of Glenn Smickley, we are concerned about the direction of the club set by the Board of Trustees. 18 months of budget cutting and revenue generation are taking a toll on the feel and image of our great club. Our exclusive club has now broken its longtime policy by hosting “outings” and allowing “unescorted” guest play. The club has different room rates and greens fees depending on the day of the week. Merchandise displays have been placed in the locker room. Traditional “rest” days for the golf course (Mondays and August) are being eliminated for revenue reasons. There is an inconsistent membership policy that features “membership specials” and club shop credit for membership referrals. The club no longer has an executive chief on site and service levels have dropped with staff reductions.
We understand that clubs are experiencing challenging times but we believe these policies and others are changing our club’s character. The RTJ experience was never intended to be common. Our club is a special place and our policies should consistently be a reflection of that. You have a responsibility as a Board to set club policy. The Trustees, in their time on the Board, also have the responsibility to act as “caretakers” of our club. We believe that your dismissal of Glenn Smickley has and will continue to have a negative effect on staff morale, club management and member experience. This, along with your policy direction, has violated the Board’s “caretaker” responsibilities.
Vernon Jordan, Club President, 05/97 - 06/03
Tom Tracy, Club President, 06/03 - 06/04
Tom Essslinger, Club President, 06/04 - 06/05
David Flanagan, Club President, 06/05 - 06/07
Bud Elliot, Club President, 06/07 - 06/08
Andy Zausner, Club President, 06/08 - 06/10
Dave Thomas, Club Secretary, 12/96 - 06/05
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