ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - No more conflicts of interest for board members, no more member elected positions and discussions about reducing the number of dogs allowed on a dog team.
Those were some of the highlights of the Iditarod board of directors’ meeting in Anchroage's Lakefront Hotel Friday morning, the first major meeting since the 46th running of the race in March.
Chas St. George, Iditarod’s Chief Operations Officer, said after a controversy filled year, the 2018 race saw no positive drug tests for any sled dog or their musher.
For the Friday meeting, the board started implementing recommendations made by non-profit consultants, the Foraker Group.
In terms of decisions, St. George said that the board will eliminate all member-elected seats, instead, the board will progress to becoming entirely self-appointed.
Secondly, the board said by the end of the fiscal year, all conflicts of interest would be removed for board members. In practice, St. George explained that members would now not be an active musher or have an immediate family member in the race.
Thirdly, St. George said the board would consider including an ex-officio member who is part of the Iditarod Official Finisher's Club (IOFC), a group that seems to have formed itself into a sort of player's union for Iditarod mushers.
The position would not have voting rights but would be involved in all the dialogue of the board and would be allowed in executive sessions.
On April 26, the rules committee will deliberate on a proposal to reduce the number of dogs allowed on a dog team, said St. George. In the past, mushers were allowed to race with 20 dogs but that number was later reduced to 16.
St. George says there was a fear that wouldn't work, but the result has been fewer dog fatalities, fewer injuries and a faster race.
Advocates for that rule change say it would lead to mushers having to manage their teams differently by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of each individual dog throughout the race.