October 2, 2012
Now Wait Just a Minute: Who is voting on AALL's membership bylaw amendments?
In what has to be the most absurd reason AALL offers for voting in favor of its proposed bylaw membership changes, one reason given in response to the following AALL-produced FAQ question is
1) Why are we revising the bylaws regarding membership categories at this time?
There are several reasons that we would like to revise the bylaws membership categories.
(b) When a librarian new to AALL signs up to become a member or changes jobs, he or she selects the membership category. AALL staff members have noticed that some new members have selected Active even when (by the current definition) they do not fit the definition. AALL staff makes no independent assessment of whether an individual should be in a particular category. Thus, we already have members, including vendor members, who are categorized as Active members.
Ah, OK. So AALL staffers don't think to ask themselves "this person works for [insert name of vendor] and/or his or her email address (at)[vendor].com so the membership application or renewal calls into question whether the dues-payer may be disqualifed from being an "Active Member." What our association is telling the membership is that AALL HQ does not perform the necessary due diligence required under our association's bylaws. Therefore rank-and-file members should change the bylaws. What the hell is the purpose of bylaws if they are not enforced?
Based on AALL own admission, some vendor reps are voting this month. Do we need a "Jimmy Carter" advocate to ensure voting integrity? Frankly, if officially accepted by AALL as "active members," even Jimmy Carter might say they are permitted to vote. AALL's administrative incompetence calls into question every damn office holder election as well as this bylaws voting.
AALL does not state how many vendor reps have been erroneously granted voting privileges. Perhaps not many. However, except for those very, very few who work in a law library or legal information center for their vendor-employers, the rest are not eligible to vote under the current bylaws.
When folks we hire to "mind the store" aren't doing the job we are paying them to perform and folks we elect to national office to lead our association are not making damn sure the job is being properly performed under our bylaws, it just might be time for the rank-and-file to send a message that AALL better gets its collective act together.
Is voting for the bylaws changes in compliance with AALL's current Bylaws? According to AALL's own admission against interest, the answer is "no."
End note. It is not like this is the first or only example of routine AALL administrative incompetence. It is, however, the most serious currently visible in the sunlight. [JH]
Though I support the proposed amendment, I agree with your point here. The failure to enforce the current definition of active membership is NOT a rational reason to change the definition. One doesn't tear down the barn just because a horse got out. My primary reason for supporting the change is my belief that an attempt to limit the membership category as you suggested in earlier posts will inadvertently exclude those we truly wish to include.
Posted by: Ken Hirsh | Oct 2, 2012 7:58:10 AM
I absolutely agree with you! AALL is saying they don't want to enforce the rule, so let's find a way to change the rule so they don't have to do their jobs. Just because they may be uncomfortable with the rule doesn't mean the rule is bad. So if these staffers aren't checking the validity of applications, exactly what are they doing?
Posted by: Stephanie Wilson | Oct 2, 2012 7:51:50 AM
Associate members have the right to vote in elections. So all of the vendors get to vote on this by laws amendment anyway as long as they are an associate member.
Posted by: Caren Biberman | Oct 2, 2012 7:43:52 AM