Monday, April 18, 2016

April 2016 SDADA Column

Are you paying your service adviser overtime pay? If you don't know, it may be a good time to check.

The U.S. Supreme Court is checking. They took up that question last week (April 20) in the case of five dealership service advisers who sought overtime pay for their 55-hour workweeks. The ruling could have big implications us and how we pay our service advisers.

We have always assumed service advisers fall into the same category as dealership salespeople, mechanics and parts department workers, who are exempted from overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many of our service advisers are paid commission.

But (surprise, surprise) the Obama administration has challenged that assumption. A California district court disagreed with the administration. But the 9th Circuit reversed that decision, breaking with previous appeals court decisions dating to the 1980s and paving the way for the Supreme Court to settle the dispute.

I have a non-lawyer, non-regulator, simple man's question: If the service writers are on commission, how do you determine what time and a half is? Is it based on minimum wage or some kind of combination?

About that current vacancy on the court - yes, that could affect the outcome in this case. It raises the prospect of a 4-4 tie, which would keep things as they are. The good news for South Dakota dealers (for now): The 9th Circuit's ruling would apply only in its nine-state Western jurisdiction.

We can expect to hear a ruling this summer.

NADA 100

Next year, NADA celebrates its 100th anniversary with various events, including the NADA 100 convention in New Orleans.

The NADA story began when 30 dealers traveled to the nation’s capital in 1917 to persuade Congress not to impose a luxury tax on cars. They successfully argued that the automobile is a necessity of American life, not a luxury. From that group effort, NADA was born.

Since then, NADA has experienced many major milestones. And so have its dealers.

Each dealer’s story is an integral part of the NADA story, especially since so many generations of dealers have been steadfast NADA members. These stories range from store openings and mergers to dealers meeting with their members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

To learn more about these important dealer milestones, NADA has launched the “Share Your Story” contest. Dealers can submit photos, videos, newspaper clippings, print and digital ads, their own dealership histories or other memorabilia. If you participate in NADA’s “Tell Us Your Story” contest, you have a chance to win one of two an all-expense paid trips to the 2017 NADA 100 show in New Orleans. Ten runners up each will win VISA gifts cards worth $100.

One trait best describes NADA, its dealers and the franchised business system: the ability to adapt. Whether it’s dealing with economic curveballs or learning the latest digital technology, being adaptable has allowed this association and its members to thrive during the past 100 years. And it continues to propel us toward the future.

Looking back, it’s interesting to see just how much NADA has changed—and adapted—over the years.

South Dakota has several dealerships with a rich history. I hope they will consider partaking in this great event!!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Reviewing a Space City Classic

I have documented here before my tradition of attending college basketball's championship weekend. I have shared stories, tales and traditions from our group. Others have told our story as well - in several different newspapers  and on television. Even David Letterman gave us a cameo on his "Late Night" show back in 1996.

This year I attended my 35th consecutive Final Four in Houston, TX. There were six regulars and one new attendee in our group. Chris Korth, my Final Four partner on all thirty five, Emmet Kenney, attending his 25th, Calvin Rider (23rd), Bren Abbott (22nd), Matt Hesse (14th) and our new guy was Mark Wellmeyer who who attending his 2nd but his first with us. All totalled, this group had taken in 156 Final Fours.

A couple of the Houston media outlets found our three-plus decade Final Four quest to be a compelling story. On the Tuesday before the final Four, the Houston Chronicle published a story by sports reporter, Joseph Duarte, on Chris and me. He had conducted a phone interview of each of us the week before and asked for some photos of previous trips.

On Friday, just after we arrived in Houston, the local NBC affiliate, KPRC, interviewed us for their 10 PM news show. Our reporter, Laine Fritz, was on her fifth day on this job in Houston. She was a good sport as we got into the cocktails before she and her cameraman (woman), Simone Eli, arrived. When they left, we did not think we had given them much to work with. But she did a tremendous job of piecing a story together.

It was a fun way to start the weekend and it launched us into an extended round of reminiscing about March Madness past over dinner.

As for the games, Saturday delivered a pair of snoozers. In the first national semifinal game, Villanova thumped Oklahoma 95-51 in the most lopsided Final Four game of all time. Game two provided a little more drama as North Carolina whipped Syracuse 83-66 setting up a Villanova vs. North Carolina matchup in the Monday night title tilt.

While North Carolina was a 2.5 point favorite, the computer simulators had Villanova winning 50.1% of the games, North Carolina winning 49.9%. It looked like we could be in for a good championship game.

Well no one could have predicted what a tremendous game we would have. To say that Villanova won 77-74 in an instant classic would be a severe understatement. This was a great game from tip to buzzer. The quality of basketball was very high. Rather than try to detail all of the action in the final minute and a half, you can watch it below:


Knowing that I had been to 35 Final Fours, almost immediately, the texts and calls from friends began asking me if this was the best game I've seen. That's an interesting question and I decided to reserve judgement until we get past the immediate drama and emotion. We live in a "Now" moment...every year we hear "this is the best tournament ever" because of the upsets...that happen every year.

Let me point out that I have seen some pretty good Final Four games. Even if we limit the choices to championship games only, I have seen some dramatic finishes.

1982 - North Carolina vs. Georgetown

1983 - North Carolina State vs. Houston

1985 - Villanova vs. Georgetown

1987 - Syracuse vs. Indiana

1989 - Michigan vs. Seton Hall

2010 - Butler vs. Duke

(Note that the first five of these games occurred in my first eight trips to the Final Four. Is there any wonder why I kept going back?!)

...and this list omits two overtime games and a couple of HUGE upsets that have taken place. There have been some truly remarkable games over the past thirty five years. 

Perhaps you can appreciate why I hesitate to call Villanova's win over North Carolina best I've ever seen. It is a classic and it will always be mentioned when the list of greatest games is being discussed. Kris Jenkins will always be remembered for that shot. Had he not made it though, it would be Marcus Paige's double clutcher that we would be talking about.