Vote Count "Error" Leaves DMCNY Future Unclear

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The Direct Marketing Club of New York's future as an independent organization remained up in the air yesterday following a board meeting that ended with reports that a vote-counting error had taken place.

According to several sources, the board shelved the motion originally on the table to become a chapter of the Direct Marketing Association in favor of a substitute motion to only "pursue" the idea. Past president JoAnne Dunn, board member Tom Brady and others left the meeting believing the vote ended in a 6-6 tie.

Shortly after the meeting, club president Vito Fortuna also told DM News that the vote had ended in a tie, which would have ended efforts to merge with the DMA for the time being. Later in the day, Fortuna contacted DM News again, saying "a simple error was made," and that the vote was in fact 7-6 in favor of pursuing a merger.

Fortuna indicated that at the request of the board members he would not make public how individual members of the board voted or which board members were present. The board is made up of 15 members and the immediate past president of the club, who also votes.

Of the 16 eligible to vote, 13 were present, according to several sources.

Fortuna previously had said he felt board members who voted against becoming a DMA chapter should give an explanation for the way they voted and present alternate solutions to the club's financial woes.

Stuart Boysen, executive director of the club, acknowledged that he was responsible for counting the vote and said that he made a mistake. Boysen said the meeting was "moving very fast" and that several non-voting past club presidents, who serve as advisors to the board, had made presentations.

The implications of the vote were unclear. Fortuna indicated a membership meeting would be called for June but members would not be asked to vote at that time on the proposed merger. He indicated there were no details yet about how the club would proceed with the motion to pursue the merger.

Dunn called the development "really bizarre" and said that the vote had been counted twice.

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