To all MUFON: Democracy is not an alien being in MUFON
- View SourceThe following analysis has been conducted by the Committee to Reform MUFON
for the benefit of the Members of MUFON. Every effort has been made to
ensure accuracy and sound judgment in this analysis.
Democracy is not an alien being in MUFON
In February, the Committee to Reform MUFON (CRM) began raising these
4Why can't the members of MUFON vote on who is on the Board of Directors?
4Why do 9 people in MUFON get to appoint themselves to the Board?
4Why is it none of MUFON's 2800 members has a chance of ever being on the
4Why is it the 2800 Members of MUFON have no say in how MUFON is run?
Why? And why can't we change it? Why DON'T we change it? Why don't we get a
system where anyone who has been a member of MUFON for, say, 5 years could
run for the Board and we'd all vote on those people? The candidates could
present themselves and we could ask questions. Then we would all vote. Why
don't we have a democratic system like that in MUFON?
As soon as CRM raised these issues, various people in MUFON responded with
misleading statements. They said if MUFON changed its governing corporate
document, MUFON would lose its tax exempt status and cease to be a
non-profit organization. They also said changing the corporate documents
would be extremely difficult and expensive.
Here are some examples. On Feb. 5, Terry Groff, assistant director of
investigations for Texas, wrote:
MUFON is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization. Any attempt at restructuring or
reformation would violate its terms and MUFON would have to give up its
On Feb. 3, Fletcher Gray, assistant state director for Texas,
MUFON is a 501(C)3 organization doing business under the authority set down
with the IRS. Changes to these guidelines could cause MUFON to lose their
501(C)3 status. The undertaking. . .would be an enormous task not to say an
Proving that the Directors of MUFON do not always have a firm
grip on the truth, the following statement is attributed to Board member and
Chief of Investigations Marie Malzahn in February:
This [MUFON] is a non-profit organization. . . .we must follow the federal
guidelines in order to keep our non-profit status. . .
Originally, MUFON was supposed to have an elected Board
The Committee to Reform MUFON knew that these statements were not correct.
We knew the organization would not lose its non-profit status if it changed
the Articles of Incorporation to provide for member election of the Board of
Directors, and we knew it would not be difficult. But just to be doubly
sure, we consulted an attorney knowledgeable in the law of non-profit
In the process we learned something interesting: until 1982 MUFON's
corporate charter (Articles of Incorporation) DID provide for member
election of the Board of Directors. Here's what the corporate charter once
ARTICLE 8: The business of the association shall be transacted by 3
trustees to be elected by the members of the association [i.e., the Members
And of course, at that time (prior to 1982) MUFON was a tax-exempt
corporation, just like it is today. In other words, democracy is not the
alien, never-before-seen-in-MUFON, tax-exempt-destroying being some people
want us to think it is. Far from it! Walt Andrus, founder of MUFON, intended
for the Members of MUFON to vote for the Board of Directors and he wrote the
instructions for voting into Article 8 of the original corporate charter.
We lost our voting rights in 1982
In 1982, the then Board amended Article 8 to do away with member voting.
They replaced it with a new Article 8 in which the 9 members of the Board of
Directors vote for themselves, as follows:
ARTICLE 8 [current version]: The business of the corporation shall be
transacted by the Executive Board composed of the International Director,
Deputy Director of Administration, Deputy Director of Business Management,
Secretary, and Treasurer, to be elected by the members of the Board of
(The MUFON corporate Articles of Incorporation, as well as the corporate
By-laws, can be seen at www.mufon.com <http://www.mufon.com/> under "About"
and "Our organization.")
Would it be it difficult and expensive to change MUFON's
corporate documents? Not at all. All it would take is to file a paper with
the state of Texas, where MUFON is registered as a corporation. It would not
even be necessary to have the assistance of an attorney, and if an attorney
was involved it would take about 2 hours of attorney time ($600), according
to the attorney CRM consulted.
In other words, with the stroke of a pen the MUFON Board could change the
corporate charter to restore the vote to the Members of MUFON-just like they
changed the rules in 1982 to do away with the vote.
With the stroke of a pen the MUFON Board could change MUFON from an
autocratic to a democratic organization. With the stroke of a pen we could
have a NEW MUFON in which the Members would have a voice in the direction of
Elections for the Board WERE held in the 1980s
Not only that, but it seems there can be member voting for the Board of
Directors even without a change in the corporate charter because in the
1980s there was. In 1988 and 1989, and possibly in other years, Walt Andrus
conducted elections for Regional Directors who then served on the Board of
Directors. Nominations were submitted by state directors and any member of
MUFON who wanted to run for Regional Director/Board of Directors submitted
their name to their State Director.
In the spring of 1988 Walt conducted an election for Central Regional
Director. MUFON members from 19 states voted on a ballot enclosed in the May
issue of the MUFON Journal. In the Director's Message in June, Walt
announced that "George Coyne was seated on the Board of Directors after his
election to the position of Central Regional Director by popular vote of the
members in the central states." George Coyne was at that time the state
director of Michigan and, according to Walt, he had "served as assistant
chairman of the very successful and professionally managed MUFON 1986 UFO
Symposium in Michigan."
In the spring of 1989 Walt held another election, this time for Eastern
Regional Director/Board of Directors. "Every member is encouraged to vote,"
Walt wrote in the Director's Message, "since this is your opportunity to
select the person you feel will best represent the eastern states on the
MUFON Board of Directors."
In May, Walt announced that Florida state director had won the election
after "receiving more than half the total votes cast. Therefore he will be
representing the eastern region of states on the Board of Directors for the
next four years."
Democracy not an alien being in MUFON
As can be seen, without difficulty, and in short order, we could
have a democratic MUFON. That was the vision of MUFON's founder Walt Andrus,
and MUFON would not lose its tax-exempt status. It is time for change in
MUFON, and this is the change we need.
The Board of Directors' idea of change
In the meantime, last week ID Clifford Clift sent out an email (June 10)
acknowledging that change is needed on the Board of Directors. And here is
his idea of the kind of change needed: Clifford said the Board is looking
for 3 people willing to serve on the Board for up to 2 years without a vote
on the Board, as long as they are willing to work, pay their own expenses,
and donate money to MUFON.
Cliff called these positions "interim" positions, by which he meant a kind
of try-out or audition for the Board. Cliff did not say this, but if history
is a guide these Board try-outs will be required to sign a paper saying they
agree the Board can dismiss them at any time without cause.
With this announcement from Cliff, the Board is offering nothing to the
Members of MUFON. As in the past, the Board and only the Board will appoint
the 3 new members. In the past, however, when an individual was appointed,
they became a real voting Board member, not easily dismissed before their
term of office expired. The 3 new interim members, whether they come from
the Board's inner circle, as in the past, or from farther afield, will be
carefully screened and they will have less independence and be more
compliant than a normal Board member since they are on "try-out." In other
words, they will be debilitated Board members. There are no advantages in
this arrangement, either for the try-outs, or for the Members of MUFON.
The MUFON Board does no fund raising
For years we have been told about the financial contributions
made by members of the Board. It is implied that, Sure, anyone in MUFON
could be a member of the Board as long as they are willing to contribute
money to MUFON annually. In this vein, Cliff reports in the June MUFON
Journal that the Board of Directors contributed $15,000 to MUFON in 2010.
$15,000? That is a pittance compared to the amounts of money
MUFON could potentially raise if our organization were mobilized to do
professional fund raising! Not that professional fund raising is easy. It
requires a sustained, long term commitment to reach out to the foundation
world and to people in New York and Hollywood, but that is exactly the kind
of professional fund raising that is done by every successful non-profit in
this country. It is also the kind of fund raising that has never been
undertaken by any MUFON Board of Directors, as far as we know.
In other words, we have a Board which does no outside fund
raising, leaving MUFON in a perpetual hole; the Board periodically kicks in
tiny amounts such as $15,000 and the Members of MUFON are then told we must
have this Board because this Board gives money. There is something wrong
with this picture. Similarly, we were told MUFON must get in bed with Robert
Bigelow because he was the ONLY person who would give substantial amounts to
MUFON. Really? Was anyone else asked? Can this Board provide a list of
funding sources approached in the last two years?
Please note that $15,000 represents an average contribution per
Board member of $1700. Is that enough to purchase control of MUFON? In the
meantime, the 2900 Members of MUFON collectively contributed $160,000 at
minimum, not counting state assessments and other given monies. How is it
that $15,000 buys a voice in MUFON and $160,000 doesn't?
Why did Cliff announce the Board is looking for "interim"
members? Previous new Board members were drawn from the Board's inner
circle. Is there no one left in the inner circle? Do some members of the
Board wish to leave and there is no one to take their place? What about the
position of International Director? The word is Clifford Clift intends to
resign. In the past, the ID job always went to someone on the Board. Word
was that longtime Board member Jan Harzan would be the next International
Director, but now it is known he will not be taking that position. In other
words, this Board is unable to generate a new leader for the organization.
Fine. Will this Board, then, permit the Membership of MUFON to generate our
The answer is: Hold elections
Hold elections for the Board of Directors and the International Director.
With the stroke of a pen, change the Articles of Incorporation. Restore Walt
Andrus' original vision of democracy in MUFON. Provide MUFON with legitimate
leadership elected by the Members of MUFON. That is the solution to the
Submitted by the Committee to Reform MUFON
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