Gearing Up - June 2010
As this magazine hits mailboxes, just about a month remains in the effort to collect enough proxies from USPA members to have a quorum of 10 percent at the General Membership Meeting called for Friday, July 16, at 7 p.m. in Nashua, New Hampshire. The purpose of the effort is to change USPA’s by-laws to allow the use of online voting in future elections of the board of directors. The current board believes that the use of an online-voting process could increase member participation in board elections, which in recent years has averaged only about 10 percent of the total membership.
In election years, the November issue of Parachutist contains a tear-out paper ballot so that every member receives one. Right now, the by-laws require that members use only these paper ballots (either a reproduction or an original) containing an original signature to vote in board elections. It is important to note that the use of a paper ballot will continue even if the membership approves the use of online voting, so every member will still see a ballot in their issue of Parachutist.
The board of directors can change many of USPA’s by-laws with a two-thirds majority vote. However, those portions of the by-laws dealing with board size, composition and the election process can only be changed by the membership at a General Membership Meeting, and then only if there is a quorum. Because both the call for the upcoming meeting and the proxy form itself announce the intended by-laws change, online voting is the only change to the by-laws that can be discussed and voted on at the General Membership Meeting—no other changes can even be proposed.
Twice in the past decade—once in 2002 and again in 2003—USPA initiated proxy efforts which failed. Both efforts were attempts to contemporize the board election process and change the term of office to three years instead of two. Both failed due to lack of member participation, not due to member opposition. If this proxy effort is successful, it will be due to the extra effort USPA has made, including the use of social networking and USPA’s monthly e-mail newsletter. A successful proxy effort will also show that at least a quorum of members care about moving their association forward. Success may also invigorate a future board to try again to change other election-related by-laws; on the other hand, failure means we’ll remain constrained by an outdated system.
For now, let’s focus on getting enough proxies to allow a discussion and vote by the members on whether to enact online voting. Proxies can be received right up to the eve of the General Membership Meeting, but if you haven’t sent yours in yet, would you do so right now?
A full explanation of the proxy effort and a blank proxy form can be found on page 49 of the June issue.
Ed Scott | D-13532 | USPA Executive Director