November, 2006
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

The Council of Representatives—The Membership Voice Within ASHI


The purpose of this viewpoint is to provide the membership with an understanding of an important element of governance of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)—the Council of Representatives. The ASHI Bylaws state: “The Society shall have a Council of Representatives (the Council) to provide Members with a representative vehicle to participate in the governance of the Society and to communicate with its leadership.” The Bylaws further state the Board of Directors will “respond to recommendations of the Council.” The ASHI Bylaws go on to specify how our leadership is nominated and elected. The ASHI Members elect the officers. The chapters elect/select council representatives, who each year elect five new of the 15 directors. Council representatives are elected to serve on the Director Nominating Committee. ASHI’s successes come from both the national and chapter levels. Leadership within ASHI is developed at both the chapter and national levels.

Council of Representatives history
In the early days of ASHI, each chapter had a board member. When ASHI reached about 40 chapters, the board meetings became unmanageable. In 1994, ASHI established a board size of 21 including 15 directors plus six officers and the Council of Representatives. The functions of the council were to provide a representative voice of the membership and to elect directors.

Two influential Speakers of the Council of Representatives were Bill Sutton Speaker 1995 - 1996 and Peter Seirup 1999-2000. Bill was the first speaker. He organized the council and established the policies and procedures. Bill brought forth concerns of the membership to the ASHI Board of Directors. Peter Seirup brought harmony between the council and the board. He organized the council into eight groups that allowed for an effective span of control. Since those early days with the advent of e-mail, the communications amongst the council has increased.

Council of Representatives organization
The chapters provide representation in the council. The number of representatives is based upon the chapter size. Chapters with 10-35 ASHI Members have one representative, usually the chapter president. For larger chapters for each additional 35 ASHI Members, the chapter has an additional representative with a maximum of five per chapter. Ten unaffiliated Members can sign a petition and have a petition representative. Two such petition representatives who rose through the ASHI national ranks include a past board member and ASHI treasurer, and past board member and speaker of the council of representatives.

There are currently 106 council representatives. Communicating with over 100 people is too onerous for one person, the Speaker of the Council of Representatives. As such the USA and Canada are broken down into 8 regional groups for communications and representation of the 86 chapters and 106 reps. The groups include: New England/ Canada, New York New Jersey, Mid-Atlantic, South, North Central, Midwest, Mountain, and Pacific. Each group has a group leader. The leaders are the point people in communicating with the reps in their area and being the conduit from these people to the speaker. Before each board meeting, they receive the motions and rationale and participate in a quarterly meeting to voice their group’s opinion on the upcoming business of the board. The speaker then conveys this at the board meeting. Being a group leader provides valuable training of leadership to serve on the Board in the future.

Polling the local leadership
In recent years, the council has conducted several pollings of chapter leadership and the chapter membership. One of these pollings provided valuable data that lead to lower dues. Last year, the Membership Committee requested information about the desires of the candidate membership of ASHI. The council did a polling and produced a report for the Membership Committee concerning Candidate desires. This year the council was polled concerning name changes proposed by the Name Change Task Force.

The ASHI Council of Representatives is the representative voice of the ASHI membership. You are encouraged to get to know your Chapter Council Representatives and make your feelings known to your Council Representative.