Letter to Membership Regarding RenewalsMarch 19, 2010 Dear ZRA Members:
The ZRA Board would like to thank the members for their alertness and diligence in pointing out that an error was made in extending the membership renewal period. Although we had the best intentions for the membership, our Bylaws do not allow this. The renewal period is a set period defined in our Bylaws (Article IV: Section 3B) and an extension can only occur as an amendment ratified at the annual meeting. Under this Bylaw, membership renewals are due and payable at close of business on January 1st. In addition, it was noticed that there was an error in applying late fees only to renewals that occur after March 1st. The Bylaws stipulate that late fees shall be charged to renewals that occur after February 1st, and members that have not renewed after March 1st will be removed from the membership and must follow the first-time application procedure to again be eligible for membership.
However, in discussions with our Parliamentarian, whom we had not previously consulted, she pointed out that this problem arose because of lack of procedures followed for letting the members know when their dues were payable. In consultation with both the Treasurer and the Membership Chairman, the Board has been told that as of March 17th, 2010, 69 professional members have not paid their membership dues. This is more than half of our professional membership.
Although renewal information is in the Bylaws, the usual procedure has been to notify members when the dues are payable. Since dues notices were not sent out and the renewal process on the website was delayed 76 days because of the special meeting held in December, members were not officially notified that their dues were payable. Because there is a time delay for some members to requisition funds from their institutions, the Board erroneously chose to extend the renewal period to accommodate our membership. Part of this extension required changes to our website that, if changed again, would need to involve more time commitment from our Website managers and hourly fees from our Website designer.
The Board, in discussing this matter, has asked themselves, is it better to lose and possibly never regain over half of our professional members by enforcing our Bylaws, or is it in the organization’s best interest to extend the renewal period to May 1st and retain our valuable members? Given these options, the Board has of course decided for this one time only to continue with the letter that was sent March 8, 2010 extending the renewal period to May 1st. To clarify: a late fee of $10.00 will be applied to membership renewal payments received after close of business May 1, 2010. Members that have not renewed after close of business June 1, 2010 will be removed from the membership and must follow the first-time application procedure to again be eligible for membership.
The ZRA Board apologizes for this error and any confusion that it has caused. This is a good example why it is important for all members to become as familiar with our Bylaws as possible. To make sure this does not happen again, the Board will be reviewing current procedures and making necessary changes, as well as proposing Bylaws amendments for this year’s annual business meeting.
The ZRA Board