ASHI has reached a big first. Unfortunately it’s an ugly one. After two years of hard work by our Standards Committee, including Member meetings at our conference, we mailed our Membership the proposed changes to the Standards and a ballot to vote for or against them. We needed to have a return of 30 percent of the voting Membership as required by our Bylaws to pass any changes to the Standards of Practice.
As a Society we tout the validity, quality and strength of our Standards, and they are a big part of who we are and what we do. I guess the feeling of our Members was that the changes were not earthshaking, therefore they would pass by a landslide. Obviously some of you didn’t feel the need to be part of that “landslide.” This appears to have been a case of “let the other guy do it”, and the other guy didn’t.
When we realized we were going to be short of the required number of votes at the end of the required time limit, by a resolution of the Board of Directors we extended the voting period. We e-mailed and faxed everyone we could think of to try and get the necessary 120 or so votes we were missing. In the end, we did not get the requisite vote count, so the Standards’ changes failed. The normal cycle calls for review in another two years.
Board orders count!
By virtue of a resolution by the Board, we counted the votes that were received to determine the sentiment of the Members. We believed we needed to know whether or not it was the will of the members who voted to pass the changes. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the changes. This information will us determine what our next step should be.
Voting is a privilege!
We all worked hard to become Members of ASHI. With that membership comes an obligation to uphold what we stand for and to take part in the governance of the Society by participation. Votes count and you earned the privilege to vote. It’s a shame to waste it after working so hard to get it. The recent presidential election, which was as close as any election can get, was graphic evidence of the value of casting your vote.
I have no idea what the answer to apathy is. I welcome any suggestion you have about improving our response to a membership vote. I just hope that this was an anomaly and is not something that will happen again. We have important issues requiring Membership approval looming on the horizon, and we must have your participation through the ballot. For or against, you need to exercise your earned privilege to vote on all issues.
On another front!
Thanks to all of you who have written and called about my editorial regarding dual memberships. More of you agree with me than I thought would. I will continue to press the message in my chapter visits and hope we can make headway in reducing the competitive atmosphere that presents itself from other groups.