CROSSVILLE MOVE EXPECTED NEXT SUMMER
USCF is expected to move its headquarters to Crossville, Tennessee in the summer of 2004. After the Executive Board voted to move to Palm Beach Gardens in January, Crossville submitted a bid to be considered as a backup site should problems develop with the Florida bid. The Crossville offer was financially attractive, and there is some dispute over whether problems developed with Palm Beach Gardens or the Board simply changed its mind upon seeing the Crossville offer. In any event, the Board voted for Crossville in a June 10 conference call, and after a few weeks of reports that others were still being considered, the decision now appears to be final.
The Governor of Tennessee personally lobbied Executive Board members on behalf of the Crossville bid, which included a donation of land to USCF, free use of a building while USCF constructs its own building on the land, and a special price for the construction. The federation expects to benefit financially from selling its New Windsor building while having low costs in Tennessee, not only for its office space but also for salaries. ED Frank Niro expects to reorganize the office and upgrade USCF's computer systems so that far fewer employees are needed than now work in New Windsor. Niro has complained that under traditional USCF methods, "six people have to handle every piece of paper," but he seems to be waiting until the move to try to correct this situation.
The Crossville move has its critics, with the major objections being its isolated location and a possible shortage of competent employees. Crossville is 70 miles from Knoxville and 113 miles from Nashville and has no commercial airport, so is much more difficult to fly to than New Windsor, located near Stewart Airport in Newburgh. I think this may be a problem when USCF tries to hire a new Executive Director, as many executives would prefer to live in Florida or near New York City than in a location so far from a major city. The Federation may have to eventually pay more to get the right person to move to Crossville as compared to Palm Beach. However, other savings may overwhelm this problem and make this a wise move. I am not aware of the details of the competing bids and so am not editorializing for or against this move.
It is possible that Chess Life will continue to have its office in New Windsor, perhaps for a few years, after the rest of USCF moves to Crossville. The Editor of Chess Life already works mostly out of his home in Buffalo and commutes on occasion to New Windsor. The magazine has been plagued with continual lateness, a problem some blame on having an absentee editor. I believe that all USCF employees should work in the same office in order to maximize efficiency.