The Board of Directors has approved changes to the Club Rules and Bylaws. The membership will be asked to approve those changes during the February meeting. Please click on the following links to review the changes.
Rules: Article II - Application for Membership
Bylaws: Article VII - Membership
The major change is to the rules having to do with Application for Membership. The changes remove Section 1, which requires an applicant to attend one Club event before being eligible for membership. The current Section 4 is also changed to remove the need for a three-fourths vote of the Board by substituting approval of a Membership Committee consisting of at least three Board members. Here are the reasons for these changes.
Requiring a three-fourths vote of the Board should be limited to extremely important and sensitive issues. Approving new membership applications does not fit that profile. In fact, as far as I know, the Board has always approved membership applications. Sometimes it takes a while for us to collect the appropriate documentation and payments, but we want new members and are happy to approve their applications. In fact, we would like to allow new members to apply online, which would make it easier for them and us. However, that brings us to the reason for removing Section 1.
The requirement in Section 1 that an applicant must attend one Club event in order to be eligible for membership, along with the requirement in Section 4 for a three-fourths vote of the Board to approve an application, makes it appear that we are extremely picky about who joins the Club. Nothing could be further from the truth. We want new members and we are happy to see them whoever they are. We would even like to have new members who live pretty much anywhere in the world and want to go diving with us. Removing Section 1 would allow us to create an online application process that could be used by local and remote applicants.
The Rules changes would give us a membership approval process that is more in line with other organization like ours. The resulting process would make it faster and easier for new members to join. There would still be a Membership Committee made up of Board members, but approvals would not require an official Board meeting.
Some might have a question about what happens if a new member turns out to be a bad fit for our Club. That is already handled in Article VII of our Bylaws. Section 3 allows for revoking membership under certain circumstances. There is just one change that was made to that Section. Revoking membership for non-payment of dues was removed from the list of things that require a three-fourths vote of the Board and moved to a section of its own.