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AERC BYLAw Changes

I just read the proposed bylaw changes on page 46 of the Oct 98 EN. Proposal #3 eliminates the age requirements in our BYLAWS. The reason stated for this is so the board can modify the age requirements without a vote of the membership.  If I were a cynical person (well maybe I am) then I would think the current AERC directors are making this change in response to their earlier attempt to
make 6 the minimum age for 100 mile rides. This rule was changed about 1 year ago (pg 13 June 97 EN effective 1998) but then somebody (Dane? ,pg 14 Sept 97 EN) reminded the board that the age was also in thye BYLAWS and therefore could not be changed without a vote of the membership. I thought the proposed change in the bylaws making 6 the minimum age for 100's would be on the ballot clearly stated as such this fall or that the issue would remain unchanged. (Feb 98 EN pg 49 possibly should have given me some warning since the board opposed putting it to a membership vote? The elected representatives don't trust the people's ability to make a decision? Why don't you want us to vote on this?)  But yet it appears to me that the board decided to slide around the issue in this manner. 
   Please tell me this isn't so? In this time of Bill Clinton I had hoped AERC would stay upfront and not resort to this kind of effort. If this change passes I would have to believe in short order the 6 year old rule would go through since the board already passed it once before.  (As a reference pg 18 April 98 EN, Donna Snyder-Smith presents her argument for not riding any horse under 6 in a 100, I thought she was attempting to influence us to vote her way when the vote came. Then the next issue, May had an article written by Ray Randall DVM.  He also supported raising the age to 6 and ended the article with "It is time to take a serious look at raising the minimum age for starting 100 mile horses to six years.) These articles sure made me believe that we would vote on this issue with it clearly marked as such.
   Then in EN Sept 98, pg 37, DSS moved from the education committee a proposal that we vote on the 6 yr rule for 100's. It was clearly written. The full board voted it down, I assumed the rule would remain unchanged.  Why did you not want the full membership to vote on this my riding friends, Stephanie, Ramey, Barbara, Mike, Terry? And the ones I have never met, Randy, Crockett, Stagg, Dean and the others whose first names I do not know by memory)  
  I am not stating an opinion on 6 yr old for 100's rule in any way. I just wish the board would have had the guts to let us vote on the issue instead of doing it this way.  Or if they claim it they didn't mean to attempt to bypass the issue then I think they need some guidance in how something like this would be perceived by some of the members. At least the cynical ones.
   And of course maybe they won't change the rule, but since they thought they changed it over a year ago only to get stymied but the bylaws I don't see it that way.
   I don't mean to inflame this issue here on an already burdened ridecamp but this vote leaves no time for discussions in EN. So although ridecamp is not the voice of AERC I know most of the directors are on here and I want to hear them say they do not plan on changing the age rule to 6 without a membership vote or that it was their intent to bypass us in this way.
   I want to state I have been a supporter of board actions, I believe we elect then to serve us and I have always put faith in their decisions. I do rides with many of them and believe them all to be great and honest people. I did not jump on the last 2 executive director issues because I believed the board was right in keeping some privacy while they worked things out and I trusted their decisions. I have not criticized any other actions that I can remember. But this appears so blatant, intended or not.
Jim Mitchell
AERC 13117
PS  Thank you DSS, Maryben and the others who voted aye for attempting to let us vote on the subject.

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