The changing of the calendar year brings with it a hope of a new beginning for the Chicago Fire in the same way it brings anticipation of something better in other aspects of life. 2015 will bring to the community a new and exciting Fire roster and the hope of a fresh start. The Independent Supporters Association (ISA), like the Fire they support, is also looking to shake up their personnel. The ISA, known more informally as Section 8 Chicago (S8C), has begun its annual election process to select the 2015 volunteer board that will represent the supporters' community.
Elections will be held during the 2015 ISA Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held on Saturday January 17th at 1 pm at the Toyota Park Stadium Club.
For those not familiar with the ISA, it is a group that seeks to represent, under an umbrella of its support, both affiliate supporters groups and independent supporters. The vision of the ISA is as follows:
". . . to unite all Chicago Fire fans, to create a dominant in-stadium force unseen in any American team sport and to establish a home-field advantage whenever the Chicago Fire play."
The ISA acts as a liaison between the club, supporters groups and independent supporters and seeks to foster passionate support in the community.
The deadline to declare candidacy for the ISA board was as the December 6th ISA Monthly meeting, so all candidates for positions have been identified. On December 18th S8C formally posted the candidates for office online which can be seen here. The Candidates are as follows:
- Chair: Dan Martin; Don Walsh
- Vice-Chair: Frank Cardenas, Una Sheridan
- Marketing: Aimee Warshall, Eva Hall, Jesus Navarro
- Merchandise: Maud Squiers
- Communications: Nicole Hack
- Finance: Merrie Bunt
- Events: Jacob Peters
- Operations: Rudy Gomez
Those who can not be in attendance at the AGM but would like to vote must request an absentee ballot from current Vice-Chair Peter Bychowski at email@example.com by January 7th by 11:59 pm. To avoid similar questions that followed the counting of ballots in the 2014 election where the then Vice-Chair was responsible for absentee ballots for his own election for chair, an independent third party will be present to count all ballots, both in person and absentee.
At the AGM each candidate will be allotted 5 minutes of time to speak beginning with an introduction for the uncontested positions first. The contested position will have the same 5 minutes to make a speech to identify why they should be elected. The candidates for the chairmanship will speak last.
The candidates have begun to introduce themselves and express their credentials to the community on the S8C forum which you can see here if you would like more information on the candidates. If you are interested in what each candidate brings to the table the forum is a great resource to collect more information.
The election of the ISA leadership is extremely important to the entire Chicago Fire supporters community, regardless of where fans sit while at Toyota Park. The new ISA board will act as a liaison between the community at large and the club so each fan must weigh what message they want portrayed to the Fire leadership. Some issues that may be dealt with by the new board might include the balance between committed support and dissatisfaction with the Fire front office, the balance between the Harlem End interests and the interests of supporters in other areas of the stadium, the status of Sector Latino and any number of other issues pertinent to the community at large.
The new board will lead the community in a variety of supporters activities including: bus trips, tifo design, tailgates, flag design and guidelines, watch parties, pub-to-pitch and other section and Fire related events. If you have an interest in how these activities are done it is important that you select candidates that share your vision AND remain involved in the section by attending events and meetings throughout the year.
Everyone who considers themselves a loyal supporter of the Fire should make an effort to come out to the AGM and participate. If unable to attend it is still important to become informed and participate in elections by absentee vote. Your vote counts!