Terri-Jane Yuzda


Fee Increases Should
Go to Member Vote

I recently received my yearly membership fee levy from APEGGA. Continuing the trend of the last few years, Council approved a significant increase.

We, the members, as a self-governing, democratic body, should not turn a blind eye to what I believe is a symptom of unrestrained waste. By one means or another, we all pay for this increase, be it directly or through the products and services we purchase from the companies that pay these fees on our behalf.

I propose a solution to this problem. It is one that works for other organizations I belong to. It is that fee changes - increases - need to be approved by a vote of the membership.

This would have two very valuable consequences:

1) Accountability. The leadership, Council and staff would know that there needs to be a strict budgeting and accountability system in place. They would know that expenditures need to be justifiable to the membership.

Programs would require careful review of total costs before being brought forward to the membership for funding. The membership would need to be informed of the real cost before a program is implemented.

2) Membership would be a balance to the rule of Council. Council is an old boys' club. Members are hand-picked by previous members. This ensures the status quo. Therefore, no effective voice for the membership exists.

But by having the membership control the purse strings, each member would have an effective voice. The old boys' club could only operate within the restriction of what is salable to the majority of the membership.

Council would have to present acceptable justifications for funding in order for the membership to approve the necessary funds. New programs would not just be imposed, because the Association would not have the funds to administer these new programs.

Critics will say this would tie Council's hands. Nonsense. Increases due to inflation or other common reasons would be easily justifiable to the membership.

All that would need to be said is that inflation has been X per cent over the last few years, hence we need an increase of Y dollars this year. The membership can easily understand these simple economic realities.

It is new spending or outrageous increases that Council would have to sell to the membership. Democracy at work.

Dave Kachorowski, P.Eng.

Editor's Note: The nominating process used by APEGGA has been explained to Mr. Kachorowski previously so he knows that the statements he has made above are not accurate. Council members are not "hand-picked by previous members," as Mr. Kachorowski claims. They are elected by the membership. Except for the Chair, the Nominating Committee is not made up of previous Council members (although it's not closed to them), and it is appointed at each year's Annual General Meeting for a two-year term with 50 per cent of the members being changed each year. Council's Nominating Committee does arrive at a list of candidates each year, as required under the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act, but APEGGA welcomes further nominations from the general membership as well. A nomination form for the 2004 election, in fact, appears on Page 3 of this month's PEGG.

Council is elected by the membership annually to govern the professions in the interest of public safety and well being, and does so within clear and accepted principles that guarantee fairness and equity to all members, with transparency and generally accepted accountability.

Improving the Value
Of Life Membership

Attaining a life membership after many years of professional practice and years of membership in one's professional association can be considered a landmark event. Therefore, how this event is recognized is important.

APEGGA's recognition process for new life members could be improved.

At present, members who have applied for life membership receive a letter from the Director of Registration advising the applicant that his or her request has been granted. The letter deals with administrative matters, advises that a dinner will be held honouring those who have been granted life membership and that their lifetime membership card and certificate will follow.

The certificate, membership card and the invitation to the dinner arrive in due course. Would it not be appropriate for the certificate and the invitation to the dinner to be accompanied by a letter from the APEGGA President? Receiving them without such a letter really detracts from their significance.

The purpose of the life member dinner could be enhanced if, in addition to the presenting of the life member pins during the dinner, which is the current practice, the life members also received their certificate. The certificate should be presented framed as the cost of purchasing a frame is minimal in the scheme of things.

This gesture from APEGGA would be just something a little extra, which would be appreciated and give greater value to the certificate, as well as suggest that the certificate be displayed and not just filed away.

Not all who belong to APEGGA need to be licensed; some are not practicing one of the professions. They may belong simply because they wish to be members of a professional association.

Any initiative that would enhance the value of membership in APEGGA will have beneficial effects.

Chrys. L. Dmytruk, P.Eng.

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