May 24, 2002

Little Rock Family Meeting

I’d like to share my expectations the sort of things I hope we address at our session in Little Rock.

1. We need to stop paying unnecessary taxes. Were we to incorporate, we would be eligible to pay our taxes with tax-free distributions. Our tax situations are all different, but in my case this would have saved me $120,000 over the last decade.

2. We need to be able to make sound, timely decisions with a minimum of fuss. It’s nuts to require each of us (and sometimes our spouses) to sign a piece of paper in order to make a single sale. I would like to delegate decision-making to trusted representatives, perhaps a trio of people, each representing the interests of Routons, Prathers, or Crosses.

3. My overriding interest is to balance preserving the long-term value of our holdings while generating respectable year-to-year earnings. I don’t like to leave money on the table by default. This means we owners must take on the functions normally associated with a board of directors and decide how we’re going to do them, things such as:
Setting policy (How conservative should our cutting be?)
Making high-order decisions (Selecting operating management, auditors, attorney)
Evaluating management performance (Against industry best practices and standards)

4. I will never be an expert on Arkansas timber, so I don’t intend to wade through government pamphlets and websites trying. Instead, I want meaningful reports, to include quarterly estimates and information to be plugged directly into tax returns. I want brief quarterly assessments of what we’ve done and what’s coming up.

I may sound like a Yankee sometimes but I am from Hope, and you folks are the only people I know in Arkansas. I am looking forward to enjoying time with the family. Outside of the business meeting, I hope we can have some non-business, family get-togethers.

On that note, I’d like to bring one issue into the open. This is not a meeting about my cousin John. This is a meeting about managing our business.


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