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To All-MUFON: A Proposal to the MUFON Board calling for elections

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  • Elaine Douglass
    Here it is! A formal Proposal to the MUFON Board calling for elections in MUFON Talk is one thing. But this is a blueprint-a blueprint for how MUFON gets from
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2011
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      Here it is! A formal Proposal to the MUFON Board

      calling for elections in MUFON



      Talk is one thing. But this is a blueprint-a blueprint for how MUFON gets
      from where it is to where it needs to go. Where MUFON is now is we have a
      Board of Directors that appoints itself. What we need is a Board of
      Directors that all the 2900 members of MUFON have voted on and elected.



      On June 19th a group of 37 MUFON members emailed the formal Proposal below
      to the 9 members of the Board of Directors. The Proposal is a plan for how
      MUFON can move to a Member-elected Board. Since the Proposal was mailed, the
      number of signers has increased: 91 MUFON Members have now signed, names
      shown below.



      The Proposal originated with the Committee to Reform MUFON, but it is bigger
      than just the Committee. And it needs to be bigger still. Please read the
      Proposal and consider whether you would like to be an additional signer.
      The names of all new signers will be forwarded to the MUFON Board in 10
      days.



      ID Clifford Clift responded to the Proposal with a note saying it would be
      voted on at the Board meeting at the Irvine Symposium on July 29th. But we
      know it will be "voted on" before then. Before the members of the Board get
      to the Irvine symposium, they will already have made up their minds. That
      means that if you agree with the Proposal it is very important that you
      email or telephone the members of the Board now urging them to vote in favor
      of the Proposal. A list of the members of the Board and their email
      addresses appears below following the Proposal.



      What's in the Proposal?

      The Proposal calls for election of the 9 members of the Board of Directors,
      including the International Director, as well as the Director of
      Investigations. It calls for 3 year staggered terms in which 1/3 of the
      Board would be elected each year. All 2900 members of MUFON would be
      eligible to vote in a secret, mailed-in ballot. Qualifications for
      candidates are specified. Nothing in the Proposal prevents any current
      member of the Board from running for election.



      The Proposal makes clear what everyone in MUFON already knows: that changing
      MUFON's Article of Incorporation to provide for a member-elected Board is
      easy to do and would not change MUFON's tax-exempt, non-profit status.
      Furthermore, prior to 1982 the MUFON corporate charter DID provide for
      member-election of the Board. An elected Board was the original intention of
      MUFON's founder, Walt Andrus.



      Please read the Proposal

      If you agree with the document, we urge you to make your views known to the
      Board of Directors. If you wish to add your name to the 91 people who have
      already signed, hit reply to this email and let us know. We will submit all
      the new Proposal signers to the MUFON Board in 10 days. Here is the
      Proposal:







      TO: MUFON Board of Directors: Clifford Clift, Tom Deuley,
      Tom Whitmore, Jan Harzan, Marie Malzahn, Chuck Reever, Rob Swiatek, Robert
      Wood, John Schuessler



      FROM: The following 91 Members of MUFON: Steve Arsenault, Roslyn
      Aubuchon, Steve Bass, Marsha Barnhart, J.R. Bertram, John Bodin, Kevin
      Botelho, Hal Brandenburg, Dennis Briefer, Larry Bryant, George Bucho, Frank
      Burchardt, Debbie Butler, John Calman, Cathy Carignan, Marilyn Carlson,
      Anthony Caruso, Pat Ciuffreda, Matti Colan, Don Colclasure, Richard Csuk,
      Brian DeFiore, Margaret DeFiore, Christine Dickey, Paul Dickey, Nancy Doty,
      Steve Doherty, Elaine Douglass, Ben Eden, Melvin England, Don Flickinger,
      Walt Foster, David Galindo, John Geiger, Sandalio Gonzalez, Paula Gorgas,
      Cindy Gutierrez, L. Chris Hager, Joel Henry, Rob Hicks, Fredric Hissong,
      Lorna Hunter, John James, Pat Jump, Bob Krieckhaus, Karl Kuykendall, Barbara
      Lamb, Barbara Landa, Larry Larmen, Chris Licht, Marion Lovett, Barry Lutsky,


      Michael Mace, Bill May, Julie May, Bill McNeff, Tom Maher, Larry Mencotti,
      Michael Menkin, Vince Migliore, Darcy Moehring, Mike Mougan, Torre Nelson,
      Mary Oliva, Roger Peacock, Sam Polk, Michelle Poolet, Bill Reed, Joel
      Rencsok, Richard Richardson, Joe Roam, Mark Rubinger, Phillip Schliem,
      Frederick Schwartz, Morgan Sierra, Janet Smith, Marlee Spendlove, Ron
      Spicer, Chuck Tappan, Margo Temple, Klaus Thiel, Richard Tuminello, John
      Turner, Mike Ward, Laura Weisser, Margaret Wilson, Kristen Winslet, David
      Wisbey, Terah Woodcock, Loraine Morgan, John Yates



      DATE: June 19, 2011 (date of original submission to the Board)



      RE: Proposal for a change in MUFON operations to provide
      for the election of the Board of Directors, the International Director, and
      the Director of Investigations, through vote of the Membership





      In its capacity since 1976, the MUFON Board of Directors (BOD) has provided
      inestimable service to MUFON. The members of the current BOD, and your
      predecessors, have wisely safeguarded the Mission of MUFON and steered the
      organization into the 21st century.

      The leadership provided by these Boards has brought MUFON to levels of
      achievement not seen in previous decades, and it is that growth in MUFON's
      capacity that has called forth this proposal outlining a more encompassing
      method of choosing a BOD, International Director, and Director of
      Investigations via election by the Membership. Today, the Membership of
      MUFON has the capacity and the desire to choose the leadership of the
      organization, and MUFON will be well served if the Board of Directors
      provides that vehicle for the aspirations of the Members. The past method of
      choosing officers has served MUFON well, and we ask you to consider whether
      from this point forward MUFON will be best served if the leadership is
      chosen via election by the Membership.

      In characterizing MUFON, we note the extraordinary seriousness with which
      many Members approach their roles in MUFON/ufology, marked by sacrifice,
      commitment, and long tenure. We note it is the Members who provide the
      greatest part of MUFON's operating funds, some $160,000 annually. It will be
      to MUFON's advantage in the years ahead to capture the energy of this
      commitment by fostering a culture of upward mobility so all Members know
      their efforts can potentially take them to the top of the organization.

      We believe a Member-elected Board will build morale in MUFON and commitment
      to the organization. Equally important, choosing a BOD via election by the
      Membership will confer upon an elected Board the prize of legitimacy-and the
      advantages of that are obvious.





      This proposal in summary



      This is a proposal to change the Articles of Incorporation to
      provide for the election of a 9-member Board of Directors, the International
      Director, and the Director of Investigations, with 3-year terms for each of
      these officers. We propose that candidates for these positions be generated
      from the Membership of MUFON and voted upon by the full Membership.





      An elected Board was the vision of MUFON's founder Walt Andrus



      Article 8 of the old Articles of Incorporation in effect from 1976 to 1982
      reads:



      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
      of MUFON].



      This provision reflects Walt Andres' original vision. It was his aspiration
      that the leadership of MUFON be elected by the Members of MUFON, but in
      those early, leaner years that did not prove possible. 'We just did not set
      up the mechanism for voting,' Walt will tell you today. Accordingly, in1982,
      an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation providing for the present
      method of choosing the Board was adopted in keeping with the realities of
      those times.

      Nonetheless, Walt never relinquished his desire to have an elected
      leadership, and during the late 1980s Walt held a number of elections in
      which the Members of MUFON voted for members of the Board of Directors.

      In 1988 and 1989, and possibly in other years, Walt Andrus conducted
      elections for Regional Directors who then served on the Board. Nominations
      were submitted by state directors and any Member of MUFON who wanted to run
      for Regional Director/Board of Directors submitted their name.

      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 the state director of Florida had won the
      election after "receiving more than half the total votes cast" and would be
      "representing the eastern region of states on the Board of Directors for the
      next four years."



      Note how Walt cultivated upward mobility. Middle management in MUFON was a
      stepping stone to the Board of Directors, as was performance in the
      organization.



      As we review the history of the 1976 Articles, the issue of MUFON's lack of
      compliance with those Articles also arises. Since the 1976 Articles called
      for election of the trustees by the members, and since no elections were
      actually held, that means that the pre-1982 Board, as well as subsequent
      Boards, were not in compliance with the Articles as required by Texas law,
      and this Board inherited a flawed authority. This creates an underlying
      legal weakness in the Board's authority to act, a weakness which could be
      actionable, contracts could be challenged, etc., but which would be remedied
      and the vulnerability removed if this Board fulfilled the mandate of the
      1976 Articles. That is a further reason for changing the Articles and
      providing for a Member-elected Board at this time.



      A Membership-elected Board is part of the history and aspirations of MUFON,
      it is what today's Members want, it will confer public legitimacy on our
      organization's governance, and it will bring MUFON into proper legal
      alignment with the earlier articles. Today there is an opportunity to
      realize these benefits and we hope the Board will take advantage of it.



      Elements of the transition



      The transition from the current method of choosing MUFON's BOD to a
      Member-elected Board will involve several steps:



      1. An amendment to Article 8 of the Articles of Incorporation

      2. A change in Article 6, Section 2 of the By-laws and other sections

      3. Designation of qualifications for member of the Board

      4. Designation of qualifications for voting

      5. Designation of the mechanism for voting

      6. A timetable involving decisions how and when the current Board will
      transition to the newly elected Board.



      These steps are discussed one by one below, in moderate detail. We do not
      attempt to specify all details, but only the salient features of the
      necessary steps.





      1. An amendment to the Articles of Incorporation



      Amending the Articles is not difficult and can be accomplished even without
      attorney assistance. It would involve filing Form 424 Certification of
      Amendment with the state of Texas at this office:



      Secretary of State of Texas

      512-463-5555



      Here is a suggested text of an amended Article 8:



      The Board of Directors shall consist of 9 persons chosen by vote of the
      Membership. The International Director shall be a member of the Board and
      shall be chosen by vote of the Membership. The Director of Investigations
      shall also be chosen by vote of the Membership. All these Officers shall
      serve 3-year terms.



      2. Changes to the By-laws



      Changing the By-laws does not require approval of the state of Texas and can
      be accomplished internally within MUFON. We suggest appointing a committee
      for this purpose, as well as a committee to administer the election.





      3. Qualifications for the MUFON officers named here



      We suggest the qualifications for an individual to run for election and
      serve as a member of the Board shall be: a 5-year continuous Member of
      MUFON; a field investigator; and has attained the age of 27 years; for
      International Director shall be: a 5-year continuous Member of MUFON; a
      field investigator; and has attained the age of 35 years; for Director of
      Investigations: a 5-year continuous Member of MUFON; a field investigator
      for 3 years; and has attained the age of 27 years.





      4. Qualifications to vote for a member of the Board of Directors



      We suggest that the franchise include all Members of MUFON whose dues are
      paid as of the date of the close of voting. All of MUFON's current 2900
      Members would be eligible to vote.



      5. The mechanism for voting



      We suggest the nomination and campaign period be approximately 60 days prior
      to the annual Symposium and the voting period be approximately 30 days
      following the Symposium. We suggest the MUFON Journal and the website carry
      information about the candidates during the 60 day period. We suggest the
      Symposium provide an opportunity to meet the candidates. We suggest that
      printed ballots be distributed in the July and August MUFON Journal,
      including the electronic version of the Journal, with ballots then mailed to
      MUFON Headquarters. We suggest the ballots be secret ballots and be counted
      in two stages. In the first stage compare the incoming ballots to the
      official Member list and remove the name from the ballot. In the second
      stage, count the ballots.



      We suggest that State Directors be given some responsibility for getting the
      vote in from their respective states. Of course, Members cannot be compelled
      to vote. We suggest that the winners be derived from the cast ballots,
      whatever number of ballots is received.





      6. A timetable for transitioning the current Board of Directors to a newly
      elected Board



      Special arrangements will be necessary for the first election in
      2011 which will result in shortened first terms for 6 of those elected.



      We suggest a 9-member Board with each member serving a 3-year
      term. We suggest that the terms of office for the International Director and
      the Director of Investigations also be 3 years. For the Board, we suggest
      staggered terms of office so 3 Board members will reach the end of their
      term every year. If this arrangement is adopted, that will mean 3 members of
      the initial elected Board will serve one year, 3 members will serve 2 years,
      and 3 members will serve 3 years. These terms of service will apply to the
      initial Board only.



      On subsequent Boards, each member will serve 3 years and the terms of 3
      Board members will expire each year. Each year the Members of MUFON will
      elect one-third of the Board. The International Director will also serve for
      3 years and every third year the elections will include voting for an
      International Director and a Director of Investigations.



      We have suggested that in future years, the campaign period begin 60 days
      before the annual Symposium and that voting conclude 30 days later. In 2011,
      however, a different timetable would be required.

      We are reluctant to see the entire proposed transition to a member-elected
      Board delayed an entire year until, for example, 60 days before the 2012
      Symposium. We believe 3 months is a sufficient time period to effect this
      transition, and 3 months after the 2011 Symposium brings us to the date of
      October 2011.



      If nominations were opened in October and votes counted in December, that
      would add 6 months of term to the first member-elected Board. The result
      would be that 3 members would serve 1.5 years, 3 members would serve 2.5
      years, and 3 members would serve 3.5 years. Alternatively, 6 months could be
      subtracted from the terms of the initial member-elected Board.



      Another feature of the first election will be that, unlike subsequent years,
      all 9 Board seats will be vacant at one time. In subsequent years, only 3
      seats will become vacant annually.



      In conclusion



      This is our proposal to the Board of Directors to effect a
      transition of the manner in which MUFON chooses its leadership. To initiate
      this transition, we submit the following motion for presentation to the
      Board and vote at the earliest opportunity:



      MOVED: That the Articles of Incorporation be changed to provide for
      Member-election of the Director of Investigations and a 9-member Board of
      Directors, including the International Director, and that the first election
      of these officers take place in 2011.



      End of Proposal





      Now that you've read it, what do you think of the Proposal?

      If we were using a system like this, we'd have a whole different
      MUFON, wouldn't we? And it would be a lot better MUFON, wouldn't it? It
      would be a NEW MUFON! We would no longer be "only Journal subscribers" with
      "no. . .authority or voting rights," as Clifford Clift informed us in a
      recent email. Instead, we, the Members, would have a voice in MUFON which
      we richly deserve. The old MUFON we've had for 40 years was great, and now
      it's time for a New Mufon, time for a change, time the Members of MUFON have
      the right to choose the leadership of our organization.



      What can you do to help?

      Sign the Proposal

      Join the 91 Members of MUFON who have already signed the
      Proposal. Just hit the reply button on this email and let the Committee to
      Reform MUFON know you want to add your name to the signers of the Proposal.
      We will collect these signatures for the next 10 days and then forward the
      names to the Board of Directors.



      Send emails or letters to the Board of Directors

      Here are the names and email addresses of each of the 9 members
      of the MUFON Board. If you want this Proposal approved, it is very important
      that you write to the Board members and tell them so.



      Clifford Clift, Director cclift@... Tom Deuley
      tdeuley@...

      Tom Whitmore twhitmore@... Jan Harzan
      jharzan@...

      Marie Malzahn mmalzahn@... Chuck Reever
      creever@...

      Robert Swiatek rswiatek@... Dr. Bob
      Wood rwood@...

      John Schuessler jschuessler@...





      This communication has been brought to you by the Committee to Reform MUFON:
      Steve Bass, Marilyn Carlson, Elaine Douglass, Sandy Gonzalez, Bill McNeff,
      Marlee Spendlove, Ron Spicer

      Visit our website: www.reformmufon.org <http://www.reformmufon.org/>





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