APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2007-07 > 1183760906
From: "Joan M Lowry" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Why do genealogists disenfranchise themselves? (long)
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2007 18:29:07 -0400
I got my APG Digest this afternoon and discovered that I am missing at least
two previous digests and missing an important discussion! I, too, was most
distressed by the proxy mailing from the NYG&B - and was even more
amazed/dismayed when I went to the website to read the actual proposed
changes! Also disappointing is that the special meeting is called for noon
on a weekday - which seems to me to be designed to discourage most people
from even contemplating attending.
As Joy pointed out - the By-laws change will completely do away with
membership in the society - a place I do still view as "my society" even
though I am a less-than-infrequent visitor at this point in time.
Unfortunately, this change is more far reaching than even "just" doing away
with the membership. It vests all authority for the society and its future
in the hands of 15 people - with no oversight from any other governing body.
Even the (unfortunate) changes to the HisGen's governance allowed for
oversight of the board from a council of the corporation.
The NYG&B board, however, will be the only power with say-so over what
happens to the collections, the publications, and the society as a whole.
They will be the only ones with power to appoint or remove each other -
which can mean that the board can be stacked any way they want and any
dissent easily squashed with no fear of reprisals - either from "wayward"
board members or those pesky former-members. All checks and balances will
be removed in what will become a "dictatorship of the few for the
(supposed?) good of the many."
If the problem they are trying to fix here was only the expense and timing
of mailing proxies to members and the lack of response, why not change the
by-laws to allow members to vote online as do many other organizations
(including APG)? This would allow them to eliminate all that expensive
postage - which they said was why they didn't bother to include copies of
the proposed By-laws changes in the mailing... Would that it not, also, do
away with all the nasty and time-consuming hand-tabulating of votes? They
did say in their cover letter that most members log on to the website - so
why not make use of that resource to encourage participation rather than
taking away the possibility of participating?
I know that they said they are hoping to do away with the members so that
they can "act in a timely manner" and jump on opportunities as they arise.
Do you suppose this means that if they get a good offer from someone willing
to buy the collections that they can and will "jump on it"? Note that the
proposed by-laws as presented do not include any reference to a
brick-and-mortar facility and there is no mention of maintaining a
collection of materials available to be used by members (excuse me, PATRONS)
and/or the general public. So, having sold the building, are they now also
setting themselves up to be able to dispose of the physical collections,
which have been so lovingly and laboriously collected over the history of
As president of a neighboring state-level genealogical society - and this is
my unofficial position here, not the society's - other board members and I
are often frustrated by the lack of participation by our members. However,
rather than seeking to disenfranchise our members so we can "do what we
want" - we have been trying to find ways to increase member participation.
I can't fathom what makes them think this is really the right way to go.
Joan M. Lowry
|Re: [APG] Why do genealogists disenfranchise themselves? (long) by "Joan M Lowry" <>|