The Luxe Life at CSA
February 13th, 2014
Let’s say that you’ve got a choice of two options. First, you could “coordinate the efforts of producers and others for the improvement and standardization of engineering materials.” Or, second, you could “play a round on our world class golf course.” Which would you rather?
If you’re like most people, you’ll be golfing. RestoreCSA isn’t much good at golfing but we understand the appeal of it. “No distractions, no interruptions, just quality family time, business networking and resort-style living.” Must be nice.
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) tends to locate their offices beside golf courses. In Tennessee, they’re located beside the Bluegrass Yacht and Country Club. RestoreCSA isn’t familiar with yacht clubs either, but it seems that CSA picked a nice one. The Bluegrass Yacht club has “one of the most prestigious marinas” and “the best in fine dining” for an “exemplary experience in an elegant setting.” The place is “a cherished Member haven.”
Reading the reviews, most posh people seem to think the place is absolutely scrummy. “Everything was perfect,” they say, and “no request was ever turned down no matter how bizarre it was.” Though one sourpuss said that the yacht club was “a bit pricey,” she still thought it “was entirely worth it.” Good to know.
So how far is the CSA office in Tennessee located from all this opulence? Well, the CSA located their office just 45 seconds away.
Actually, the CSA did the same thing in Chicago. There, the CSA office is 3 minutes from the Hinsdale Golf Club. What is Hinsdale?
Well, Hinsdale is a very prestigious, and very old, private golf and country club. Its nice, its rated 4 stars by Golf Digest. “Founded in 1898, the Club’s amenities include a traditional 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool, clay tennis courts, a new paddle tennis facility, skeet shooting in the winter and a stately Tudor-style clubhouse.”
Obviously, “the standardization of engineering materials” can only really happen in a “Tudor-style clubhouse.”
If Hinsdale isn’t swish enough for CSA executives, they can always drive just down the road, a distance of less than one minute, to the Willowcrest Golf Club. Its nice too, its “on the property of the Oakbrook Hills Marriott Resort.”
In all, there are 15 golf courses within 15 minutes of the front door of CSA’s Chicago office. In contrast, the industrial area of Chicago is a half-hour drive away, at interstate speeds. Its the same in Tennessee, the CSA is located where golf courses abound, but the business district is 27 minutes away, again by interstate.
International offices are supposedly needed for “the coordination” of engineering standards. So why would CSA locate their offices in recreation areas rather than industrial areas?
Well, would you prefer “the stately beauty of the Bluegrass Yacht and Country Club, with its lush and meticulously landscaped surroundings, [providing] an exemplary private club experience within a tasteful, elegant setting?” Or would you rather “prepare and promote the general adoption of standards?”
Regardless of CSA’s preference, there is absolutely no excuse for a domestic regulator to have any international offices. We live in the age of autocad and video conferencing but, ironically, in the days before autocad the CSA didn’t have all these offices. So in the years when they might’ve needed these offices they didn’t have them, but now that they’re redundant they’re everywhere. Why so?
There’s an entitlement culture in play. While March is cold in Toronto, its comparatively balmy in Nashville. Whereas regulatory is decidedly un-sexy, taxpayer dollars can be used to “access the luxe life.” Whereas mere ordinary people have to be careful with their money, the CSA spends more than $65,000 of taxpayer money, just on travel, per day. Per day, mind you! And whereas RestoreCSA regularly lambastes CSA’s leadership for abuses and excesses, the entitlement life instead affords a “sense of belonging each time you walk through the door, the way the staff anticipates your needs and wants, the way other Members welcome your presence….” and so on.
Some of that entitlement culture comes home with them. The CSA has its own conference centre, for instance. Yes they do. And their website used to talk-up how opulent it is, crammed with “luxuries” apparently. And, like other private clubs, its members’ only. The electricians who pay for it can’t get in the door. Of course, after RestoreCSA’s debut last year, the CSA deleted all these references.
Right now the CSA can get away with all of this extravagance; the social clubs in Asia, the murky accounting, the 36 offices around the world, mostly located nowhere near their stated purposes, and the self serving empire building to benefit the blank resume bureaucrats who’ve yet to acquaint themselves with the responsibilities and accountabilities common to the legitimate businesses that they milk for money.
Time is running out on CSA’s luxury option. RestoreCSA is confident that 2014 will witness a recovery of the CSA organization, and we’ll continue to keep you updated at every step along the way.