By VeloNews Interactive

USA Cycling announced Monday that the organization has “released” NORBA managing director Leslie Klein. NORBA competition director Eric Moore has been named as acting managing director.

In a release issued Monday night, USA Cycling CEO Lisa Voight cited declining NORBA membership numbers as part of the decision. NORBA membership has fallen 39 percent since 1997.

“We are taking proactive steps to be responsible to our constituency and provide the customer service needed to succeed,” Voight was quoted as saying. “Since USA Cycling’s reorganization in early 2001, all staff members are now held at a higher level of accountability and responsibility. We recognize that changes need to be made. We are looking ahead to assess what it takes to enhance our sport not only for current members, but future ones as well.”

Klein came to NORBA in 1997 after serving 10 years with the U.S. Canoeand Kayak Team. At NORBA, Klein oversaw and helped manage the ChevyTrucks NORBA National Championship Series. Klein was also responsible for NORBA’s corporate and event promoter relationships. She only recently was assigned responsibility for NORBA member programs. Membership duties had been the responsibility of USA Cycling’s membership director Warren Conrad, but his position was recently eliminated in an organization-wide layoff.

Moore steps in at a time when NORBA numbers have continued to fall over the past year — 24,836 to 21,327. Part of that decline is due to the growing number of alternative sanctioning bodies springing up across the country. Oregon, Michigan and Colorado, for example, have all seen a steady shift away from NORBA-sanctioned events to those sanctioned and insured by regional race organizations.

NORBA has recently stepped up efforts to woo those breakaway associations, using insurance rebates and lower sanction fees as an incentive. In the release, Moore expressed optimism about NORBA’s efforts.

“By increasing this market share, by sanctioning more races, only then can we increase membership and provide a high-quality network of events for mountain bike racers.”