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Key Membership Benefits

  • Merchant Services
    Credit Card Processing
    Processing Equipment
    Check Services
  • Insurance Services
    Workers’ Comp Insurance
    Disability Insurance
    Other Insurance
  • Government Relations
    The Retail Council has strong lobbyists protecting our members’ interests.
  • Marketing Support
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Annual Report

A Message from the President

(The Annual Report of Retail Council President and CEO James Sherin prepared for the Council’s Executive Committee)

I am pleased to report that the Retail Council of New York State (RCNYS) completed its 2012-2013 Fiscal Year in solid financial condition despite substantial economic challenges again this year. The Retail Council and its for-profit subsidiary, Retail Council Services Corp. (RCSC) remain fiscally sound and continue to enjoy considerable revenue streams from dues, insurance programs, credit card processing and its other member services programs.

The Retail Council in 2013 also navigated another productive legislative session, achieving significant legislative victories on behalf of its diverse membership and, in fact, all retailing. Both the number of laws which the Council lobbied and supported, as well as the numerous bills blocked or vetoed which we opposed underscore the effectiveness of the Council’s government relations advocacy. Special mention and recognition is given to the Council’s Government Relations team, under the steady direction of Ted Potrikus, Executive Vice President and Director of Government Relations, and Assistant Director Melissa O’Connor for their tireless and effective management of the government affairs programs.

The management team and support staff of the Retail Council once again performed admirably in serving the needs and interests of our members. Rob Leonard, Vice President of Finance and Operations and Rebecca Flach, Vice President of Membership and Communications, and their respective teams worked diligently and cooperatively to create, deliver, and administer the very best member services and programs available.

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Shortly after this FY 2012-2013 Annual Report was written, I officially announced that I will be retiring as President and CEO of the Retail Council, effective August 31, 2014.  Since my retirement date precedes the 2014 Annual Meeting, this will mark my final report to the membership.

Having spent the past 30 years working at the Retail Council, the last 11 as President/CEO, this organization has been like a second family to me. But it is now time for me to step aside and let a new team of leaders carry the Retail Council onward and upward.

In anticipation of this eventuality and to ensure an orderly succession of executive leadership, the Retail Council’s Executive Committee approved a certificate of Resolution in 2011 indicating the Council’s intent to appoint current Executive Vice President and Director of Government Relations Ted Potrikus to succeed me as the head of the organization. Ted has been a very loyal and effective executive partner and team member for 24 years. I wholeheartedly endorse that recommendation and know that Ted and his team will deliver a seamless transition of leadership.

Reflecting back upon three decades of work and service to a single organization evokes many thoughts and emotions. I hope that my efforts and actions have served to make the Retail Council a stronger and more effective advocate for the retail industry. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent an industry that is the foundation of our economy, and I am humbled by the support and consideration proffered by the membership and Board over my career. My heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the opportunity.

FINANCES

RCNYS and RCSC underwent a complete independent financial audit by the accounting firm of Stulmaker, Kohn & Richardson at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The results of the audit reveal another profitable year for the organization and the association’s net assets remain strong and secure.

Membership Dues

Recruiting and maintaining members remains a challenge in today’s unstable economic environment and the staff of the Retail Council continues to work hard to counteract this reality. We continue to offer an impressive blend of money-saving programs and value-added services to appeal to any retailer, regardless of size or format.

Annual membership dues paid to the Retail Council to take advantage of one or more of our attractive services and programs is a primary source of revenue for the association.

Insurance Services

Workers’ Compensation Safety Group 493, managed by the Retail Council and underwritten by the New York State Insurance Fund, is a leading member service program offered to dues paying members. The premium level of Safety Group 493 at the end of the 2012-2013 FY was up 1.35% from the prior year and the administrative fee revenue underwriting the Council’s Group Manager responsibilities increased by .52%. The Council’s Safety Group remains strong and healthy; and my thanks to fellow Executive Committee members Clint Hegeman, Sharon Fenno, Danny Kilbert, Jack Yonally and Ted Potrikus for their guidance and cooperation throughout the year.

The New York State Insurance Fund essentially capped the dividend returned by the Retail Council Safety Group 493 (as well as most other Safety Groups) in calendar year 2012.  The actual Group Accounting of our Safety Group should have allowed a dividend return to member policyholders significantly higher, but our request for the larger dividend was denied. The 25% dividend granted in 2012 returned $ 2,380,836 to Retail Council Members.

Council management also oversees a Disability Insurance (DBL) program, underwritten by The Hartford and offers Business Owners (BOP) Insurance to members. This DBL program is a true association program offering the very lowest quarterly disability insurance rates for any business in New York State. Total premium and commission revenue from the Business Owner’s Insurance increased modestly, while the DBL program experienced a slight decline this fiscal year.

Merchant Services

The Council’s credit card processing program offered to members through our partner Global Payments, Inc. continues to be one of our strongest member benefit programs. FY 2012-2013 ended with total credit card processing volume down 1.3% from the prior fiscal year. Revenue generated for RCNYS and RCSC operations from this program, decreased 12% from the prior year. The decrease in revenue was expected coming off an abnormally high year resulting from changes in federal law. The credit card processing pricing structure since this federal action, is enabling the Council to reevaluate and favorably alter the pricing for many member accounts.

In addition to its core retail merchant membership base, the Retail Council, through the auspices of RCSC, provides and administers payment processing and other merchant services to over 20 industry and professional organizations from coast to coast. We will continue to pursue these extended affiliations by offering a proven turn-key solution to the credit card processing needs of other membership organizations.

Retail Council Services Corp.

Retail Council Services Corp. (RCSC), the for-profit wholly owned subsidiary of the Retail Council of New York State, continues its successful operation. The RCSC Board of Directors, which meets three times annually, is comprised of John D’Aleo, Michael Keegan, Ted Potrikus, Michael Shaffer Gregory Serio, Ruth Walters, and myself. My thanks to all Board members for their valued service and important contributions.

Acknowledgments

The sustained success of any organization is clearly dependent upon the collective and collaborative efforts of its entire staff, and the long-term success of the Retail Council is most certainly testament to that fact. My very talented management team of Ted Potrikus, Rebecca Flach, Rob Leonard and Melissa O’Connor and I repeatedly called on the services, energies and expertise of the Council staff and to each of them – Virginia Hitchcock, Michele Coons, Laura Barry, Nicholl Bautochka, Michelle Bruck, Lori Kelly, Dennis Eck, and Ken Rutsky – I express my thanks and appreciation for all of their hard work, throughout the year, to advance the mission of the Retail Council.

I also want to acknowledge with gratitude the work and contributions of the officers of the Retail Council during the past year. Chairman Tom Zapf, Vice Chairs Sharon Fenno and Ted Potrikus, Secretary Mike Altier and Treasurer Clint Hegeman all devoted much of their valuable time and talents to help oversee and administer the business of the Retail Council. New York retailers have been very well-served by their efforts and I extend my personal thanks and appreciation for their support and good counsel.

Respectfully submitted,

James R. Sherin
President and Chief Executive Officer

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