First there was a bylaw change designed to enable the membership to vote for changes in leadership. Then the leadership undid that bylaw change. Then the leadership announced changes to the leadership.

That is a down and dirty summary of the going-ons within Maryland’s most powerful equine-industry association (if power is defined by the amount of money controlled by said association).

On May 23, 2012, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s Board of Directors announced that Executive Secretary Wayne W. Wright would retire on September 15, 2012 and president Richard Hoffberger would resign his position at the time Wright retires. According to the MTHA press release, this has been Hoffbergers “long held plan.” Hoffberger has been president since the MTHA was founded 27 years ago. According to the press release, Hoffberger will continue to participate in MTHA activity as a member of the Board of Directors, and he will continue to participate, even after he steps down as president, in contract negotiations with The Stronach Group,, which owns the Maryland Jockey Club (which, in turn, owns Pimlico and Laurel racetracks and the Bowie training track).

It was noted in the press release that Vice President Richard J. Meyer will also down on September 15th.

In beginning the transition to new leadership, the Board also announced these changes:

• The MTHA Finance Committee’s role will be expanded and Board member Michael F. Horning has been appointed to this Committee and will share Chairman duties with current Chairman Howard M. Bender.

• The Board also established an ad hoc committee to review its bylaws and report back to the full Board with recommended modifications.

• The Board also expanded it’s Legislative Committee, appointed Katy Voss to Co-Chair the Committee with current Chairman Arnold Heft and will focus on fundraising and joint efforts with Maryland Horse Breeders’ Association.

• The Board authorized board member R. Larry Johnson to work closely with MTHA’s Accountant when analyzing Maryland Racing Proposals submitted by The Stronach Group.

How does this affect the membership vote to change the bylaws? What happens if the bylaws are not changed, and another president becomes entrenched for 20 or 30 years? Presumably the bylaws committee will address these issues.

For more information and commentary, we recommend the following from the newsblog That’s Amore:

MTHA Announces Significant Personnel, Other Changes

Horsemen react to MTHA changes with hope, caution

Our Opinion: Next steps for the MTHA

Bylaw committee of MTHA to meet