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Redefining the role of the Tea Association.

It's been a year since we were together as a group. Now is probably a good time to briefly discuss what your Tea Association has been trying to accomplish this year.

Shortly after the formation of the new board and officers last fall, there were a series of discussions with the Tea Council. The charters of the two organizations are reasonably clear. But, over the years the two organizations ended up intertwined to some extent. Despite the best of intentions, sometimes there were duplications of effort and a division of responsibility.

The joint discussions soon yielded a reaffirmation of the charters of the two organizations. Very simply, the role of the Tea Council is to stimulate the sale and consumption of tea in the U.S. the role of the Tea Association includes responsibility for the protection of the industry, administration and other matters typical of trade responsibility for some functions--including administration and the professional staff-- to the association. Simultaneously, responsibility for the tea & health and foodservice committees was transferred to the Tea Council.

One result was a basic change in the philosophy and operation of the professional staff. You may recall that in the past, a part of the staff was employed by the Tea Association and another part was employed by the Tea Council. Now we have one professional staff which forms one very professional organization. Our staff organization simultaneously serves the big responsiveness.

The smooth functioning of our professional staff made it possible for the board to make significant savings in operating costs while adding member services. Line item by line item, the executive committee went over all aspects of operating costs--and saved significant money. but then this sort of activity is not news to you--we're all doing it in our business. And, we are all driven by the same necessity to become more efficient while providing better quality and increased customer satisfaction. Having said that, however, I must tell you that in my opinion, we have probably reached the practical limit of what can be made more efficient in the operating budget.

A number of administrative issues were resolved this year. A personnel policy manual, reflective of up-to-date laws and regulations was formulated. The pension plan is being overhauled and modernized. Having moved into new offices after the convention last fall, the association took legal responsibility for the office lease and other contracts. The staff began to prepare financial statements and budgets internally, New computer and copying equipment eased time pressures and increased accuracy. And, yes, we even had the opportunity to survive an IRS audit. al standards organization to new amendments to the FDA act to the Federal Nutritional, labeling and education act, and included the food and agricultural organization of the U.N., customs issues, the freight classification of tea, country of origin marking, the tea act, a potential retaliatory tariff on Chinese tea imported into this country, and much more.

This would be an excellent time to thank the many members of Tea Association committees whose dedication meant so much this year for our our favorite beverage. The board of directors gets a special vote of thanks. We are fortunate in having this group of industry executives willing to give their time.

And what about our professional staff? How do you thank a group that has tirelessly and efficiently made it happen all year? What do you say to the people who were at the center of change and, whatever the problem, made it happen with a smile? Let's ask Joe Simrany-executive director of both the Tea Council and the Tea Association, Libby Clendenning, and Kathlyne Borruso. The staff is young in experience with our industry but united in their dedication. All of us are grateful for what they are doing.
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Title Annotation:George T. Richards address to the Tea Association of the U.S.A.
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Transcript
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:French shelves bloom with a new array of China teas.
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