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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.