To All-MUFON: A Proposal to the MUFON Board calling for elections
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Tom Whitmore twhitmore@... Jan Harzan
Marie Malzahn mmalzahn@... Chuck Reever
Robert Swiatek rswiatek@... Dr. Bob
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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