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    [RC] New Bylaws & subsequent Amendment(s) - Randy H Eiland

    I am very glad to see discussion on the new Bylaws - it is too bad this
    did not happen sooner, but thats ok.  A quick history of why the New
    Bylaws are needed and what can and will happen as it relates to the Vote
    and a subsequent correction by Amendment:
    In 1999 Rich Maxwell, then Chair of the AERC Legal Committee, and a very
    knowledgeable attorney and well respected endurance rider from the NE,
    told the BOD that our current Bylaws are outdated, some sections are in
    violation of California Corp Code, and some articles were obsolete.  A
    motion was made and passed at the 1999 BOD Midyear Meeting to rewrite and
    update the AERC Bylaws.  Since then, Rich Maxwell, Steve Rutter, Courtney
    Hart, John Parke, other regular members, and every Director serving since
    1999 has worked on - or discussed, debated, and eventually approved - the
    New Bylaws as presented to you.  The New Bylaws are not perfect but they
    are excellent.   The New Bylaws represent 3 1/2 years of very detailed
    and focused work by volunteers whose valuable expertise far exceeds what
    AERC could afford to pay for.  
    At the last minute two items seem to have risen to the top in the concern
    category.   I will give you my personal opinion and what I think will
    happen:  In order, the problem areas and the solution are: 1)  Family
    Membership, 2) voting rights of non US citizens....and 3) Amendments.
    1) The Family Membership has been discussed by the BOD, but it was
    pointed out that Family Membership is no guaranty of an economic savings.
     The BOD determines and sets our dues structure, and in the last ten
    years I have personally seen many motions to the BOD to raise Family Dues
    to make them equal to single membership dues (for the adult family
    members).  The BOD has always voted against that proposed policy.  There
    is no reason to believe the BOD would now change their mind.  The New
    Bylaws actually allow a family group to be better and stronger by giving
    each adult Family Member a vote - the Old Bylaws disenfranchised adult
    family members after the first two.  Having a large family (I have
    personally had as many as 6 members), I understand the concern, but
    Family Membership is only a name - not a guaranty.  The concern boils
    down to "economics" and economics is not guaranteed by the title, Family
    Membership.  The BOD recognizes that a large segment of our Membership is
    made up of people who are living together as a family and fully intends
    to continue the Dues Policy of giving a financial break to those of you
    who reside as a Family.  There is no planned change in the financial
    status of what was the Family Membership.
    2) Non Citizen voting rights.  I think the current discussion on this
    subject has been very good.  I can't think of a good reason that a
    "resident non citizen" should not have the same voting rights as other
    AERC Members.  There is a need (unless further debate proves otherwise)
    to modify or amend this clause.  There is not much else to discuss on
    this subject.
    3) AMENDMENT.   If you recall, in 1998 the BOD agreed that LIMITED
    DISTANCE should be changed to reflect any distance between "0 to 49
    Miles".  This proposal produced much emotional debate and there were very
    strong feelings evoked by this Amendment.  There was discussion and
    debate, and the AERC Membership (all of us) voted on this Amendment, 
    with the majority passing "0 to 49 Miles".  It was quickly pointed out,
    in retrospect, this was not a good policy - followed by even more
    emotional debate -  and the BOD agreed to put a new Amendment to the
    membership reversing "0 to 49" back to "25 to 35 miles".  That new
    Amendment vote had the largest voter turnout in the history of AERC and
    the membership was almost unanimous in their vote to go back to "25 to
    35".   I firmly believe there will be an Amendment to modify one or more
    sections of the New Bylaws, once they are passed.  I see no reason we
    can't or should not do so.
    I will go on record stating I believe the BOD is receptive to Amending
    those items that, as shown by the current discussion, need to be
    modified, tweaked, or outright changed.  Remember, your Directors are
    here to represent YOUR BEST INTERESTS, not theirs, in the operation of
    OUR AERC.   If it is obvious that something in the New Bylaws needs to be
    changed to better represent what the AERC Membership wants, the BOD is
    going to make sure you have the opportunity to make that happen by
    Amendment Vote.   I urge you to vote YES on the New Bylaws because they
    really are better for AERC than the Old Bylaws.  If changes need to be
    made, then lets do it by Amendment -  that can be done quickly and more
    cost effective than rejection of the New Bylaws over two items that can
    be easily corrected. 
    Randy Eiland
    SW Region Director
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