The next election was to be even
more contentious then the last. Region Twelve Coordinator Admiral Dan McGinnis was again
running for the position of Commander, STARFLEET. With a new slate of
backers, Fleet Admiral Lerman ran for reelection, and Rear Admiral Janis Moore, one of
Fleet Admiral Lerman's oldest supporters, also entered the fray. This time Admiral
McGinnis would win the plurality of votes, thus being elected the 10th Commander, STARFLEET.
However the outgoing Executive Committee refused to seat him due to the continuing
financial scandal, taking the unprecedented step of revoking his membership. The Executive
Committee did however swear in the new Vice Commander, STARFLEET -
Admiral Deborah Nelson.
Nelson's first act as interim Commander, STARFLEET, was to restore
Admiral McGinnis to STARFLEET. Then Nelson named him her Vice Commander,
then resigned as Commander, STARFLEET. Consequently in the end and in
less than a day after his dismissal from STARFLEET, Dan McGinnis became
Fleet Admiral and the Commander, STARFLEET. Fleet Admiral McGinnis then
appointed Admiral Nelson Vice Commander, STARFLEET. This event was later
known as the "Nelson Shuffle".
Strife and disagreement riddled and haunted the Administration of Fleet Admiral Dan
McGinnis. Although thought to be a brilliant administrator by some, McGinnis endeavored,
in the beginning of his term, to continue the legacy set by his fellow Commanders, STARFLEET.
The infamous 'Questar Debacle', which actually broke a few months into his
administration, plagued Fleet Admiral McGinnis throughout his tenure. The affair arose
from Admiral McGinnis' booking company, 'Questar', allegedly failed to pay Star Trek: The Next Generation Star Wil 'Wesley Crusher' Wheaton for appearing at conventions hosted by
Questar. Although some STARFLEET members tried to work with the new
administration, others were less cooperative and more vocal.
There were several members who throughout the first few months of 1995 called for Fleet
Admiral McGinnis to resign. The most vocal of these members were Region 15 Coordinator
Rear Admiral Alan Ravitch and former candidate for the CS position, Rear Admiral Janis
Moore, who at the time was serving as Region 4 Coordinator.
Midway through the first year of his term a push by some influential members within STARFLEET,in
a plan called "The Compromise", which called for Fleet Admiral McGinnis and his entire
Executive Committee to resign and to install the popular Chief of Operations, Admiral
Cindy Krell as Commander, STARFLEET. "The Compromise" fell apart
when Region One Coordinator, Admiral Linda Neighbors, called for a secession of the
attacks on Fleet Admiral McGinnis and then started an effort within her own region to have
others sign on to a pledge to do so. The member of McGinnis' own staff, Vice Chief of
Staff, Fleet Captain Michael 'Ranger' Smith, who was trying to mediate the affair
for McGinnis, resigned in protest of the failed compromise and joined the vocal
These attacks on Fleet Admiral McGinnis came to a head
during the 1995 International Conference in Atlanta when charges of 'Conduct Unbecoming
an Officer' and 'Violation of the Officer Code of Conduct' were brought against Ravitch
and Moore. Admiral Moore was accused of releasing materials (given to her by what appears
to be the Wheaton people) that Fleet Admiral McGinnis felt was a personal problem best
handled privately by the courts. Admiral Ravitch was very vocal over the unofficial STARFLEET
Mailing List. Known as the 'Atlanta Massacre', the consequences of these charges
would lead to their dismissal as Regional Coordinators.
A year later, during the 1996 International Conference in Oklahoma City, Captain Herrmann was brought up on the same
charges, for his outspokenness over the STARFLEET Mailing List. As a result
Herrmann was reduced in rank to Captain and dismissed as Commanding Officer of the USS Rutledge.
The officers and crew of the Rutledge refused to recognize the dismissal by the
McGinnis Admiralty Board, standing by Captain Herrmann as their CO.
As membership services started to falter under the siege mentality undertaken by the
McGinnis Administration, members turned to each other for support. Regional summits and
conferences, which began in earnest under the Lerman Administration, spread to every
Region and were attended by people from adjoining Regions. But some chapters and members
decide to withdraw from STARFLEET, some who would form other Star
Trek fan organizations.
The charges and countercharges, along with slanderous attacks against both supporters and
detractors of the McGinnis Administration began to exact a heavy toll on STARFLEETs
chapters and members. Many decided not to renew, and some of the most vocal detractors
actually had their membership renewals sent back to them, unopened and uncashed, and
chapters started to pull out to become either independent or join the other existing Trek
fan clubs, waiting and hoping things would get better soon.
One of these fan clubs that STARFLEET chapters and members joined was the
United Federation of Planets Internationalé. Debuted to the world at the
Region 4 Conference by Kaye Downing and Dennis Rayburn, many in STARFLEET
saw UFPI as "the way STARFLEET used to be" and
either became dual-affiliated with them, or abandoned STARFLEET outright
to join UFPI. Other saw it as a way to destroy STARFLEET
and McGinnis. Perhaps because it was debuted in Region 4, this Region was hit especially hard
with defections to UFPI.
As for STARFLEET, the IRS issue continued to percolate on the back
burner. Fleet Admiral McGinnis noted that while STARFLEET owed back
taxes, he was filing the necessary Form 990s with the IRS to ensure that STARFLEET
remained current. However, it appears that, like Maddox, McGinnis never filed these forms,
and once again, they would come back to haunt the next Administration.
One of the bright spots during the McGinnis Administration was the appointment of Bjo
Trimble, known as the First Fan of Star Trek, as Commandant of STARFLEET
Academy. Regional Conferences and Summits became even more numerous during this time and
more and more members turned to their chapter to organize parties and celebrations.
Another beacon which members could go to was STARFLEET's unofficial
Editorial Website "Area 52", run by 'Cap'n Mike Wilkerson, who's cartoons
graced previous STARFLEET Membership Handbooks.
'Cap'n Mike' Cartoons alleviated the hardship the members faced, informing them and
entertaining them at the same time. Also the Membership Handbookformat was
changed from a small-type half page pamphlet to several large full pages publication. The Handbook
was only recently changed when an updated handbook, which kept the full page readable
format, was finally released in 1999.
Admiral Nelson, noting the complete lack of communication between herself and Fleet
Admiral McGinnis, resigned as Vice Commander in August of 1996 and was succeeded by Region
12 Coordinator Paula "Coyote" Schaff, who continued to serve as RC while VCS.
She resigned shortly after the 1996 IC, citing the same reasons as Admiral Nelson.
At that moment Fleet Admiral McGinnis, who had declared he would not be seeking a second
term, announced before the beginning of November 1996, that he would resign the position
of Commander, STARFLEET, as well as his own STARFLEET membership,
effective on Nov. 14. As McGinnis had yet to appoint a new Vice Commander, STARFLEET,
Commodore James Herring, Chief of Operations, STARFLEET, and next in the
line of succession, became the 12th Commander, STARFLEET.
The legacy of Dan McGinnis was the condition in which he
left STARFLEET which would haunt the organization into the next election
as the administration of Admiral Herring would try to do their duty to that membership. As
a postmortem on all this, McGinnis would later be arrested and found guilty of criminal
charges (unrelated to anything done while in service to STARFLEET) that
would send him to a Federal Penitentiary, which he was released from in 2000.
Chapter Eleven: James Herring