Home Forums Events & Projects 2020 Bylaw Changes & Vote Discussion

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  • #7289
    David Webb
    Board Member

    Due to the COVID-19 situation, and since many of you may not want / be able to attend an in-person member meeting, the board is recommending finishing the discussion surrounding the upcoming bylaw changes here in this forum and cancelling the general member meeting in April. We will attempt to address some of your questions regarding history/background, why we are suggesting these changes, and to entertain any additional modifications that you all would like to see in the top level replies.

    Those of you that haven’t registered on this new site yet, you can do so here (this link is also in the upper right of every page on the site).

    Do not post rants, attack each other (including us), or use this thread to push your own personal agendas. Do not continue the back-and-forth that’s already been done to death in the other threads, as they will not move this discussion forward.

    If you have a change to propose or disagree with any of the changes marked in red in our proposed edit, reply to the top-level reply in this thread specific to that change (keep things organized).

    Just for reference, here again is the link to the proposed changes (edits are in red):

    https://crestlinesoaring.org/club-info/library/by-laws-membership-revision/

    Also, as stated previously, if you feel you were misled or otherwise have changed your mind about your vote, please send an email to info@crestlinesoaring.org and we will update it for you.

    #7290
    David Webb
    Board Member

    Discussion about RRRG requirements (eliminating day use fees / operating as a commercial flight park):

    Board members have had a lot of back and forth with the RRRG (USHPA’s insurer) regarding how we operate. Steve Rohrbaugh, who is the San Diego club president, is also the RRRG USHPA chapter liason and we have been in touch with him regarding this, since he has had to make changes to how the SD club handles this as well – San Diego has moved to a one month / one year membership model.

    They have been very clear (flat out told us) that in order to avoid being viewed as a “commercial flight park” (which would mean a whole bunch of other hoops to jump through and money), that day use fees must be eliminated. All fees should be “memberships,” and that the minimum term on memberships should be no less than one month. Period.

    It’s in all of our best interests to play nice with USHPA (and RRRG is their insurer). I’m learning that some of us have a bit of disagreement with USHPA in general (whether they should just go away, change their rules, etc), but for now, they’re what we’ve got – closest thing we have to a governing body in the US that protects our sport.

    #7291
    David Webb
    Board Member

    Discussion about allowing the board to adjust membership dues:

    The current bylaws, as they stand now, require the following in regards to dues/memberships:

    • Dues be paid on a specific day every year (June 1)
    • Dues have a proration schedule if they are paid at a different time than the normal membership time
    • Changes in dues are allowed only by an in-person general member vote
    • Amendments must be sent out to members 30 days prior to a meeting

    Since 30 days are needed to allow everyone time to vote on important issues, this means that any change to bylaws or dues requires 60 days to pass. Online tools (this discussion forum, election/voting tools, etc) are already in use to help us all facilitate discussion and voting, so there is little reason why we can’t be a bit more agile.

    There are many reasons why the board is suggesting to be allowed to adjust rates. Here are a few:

    • The specific issue that we encountered this year (RRRG demanded a change to how we charge visiting pilots which required quick action; we could not address this demand in a timely fashion without changes to the bylaws since the term of that membership type was specifically defined)
    • Ability to “dial in” on the best combinations of fees and terms for all pilots; as the board conducts reviews of club finances on a regular basis, we may discover from accounting data that adjustments are needed to address things such as increased club expenditures, lower visiting pilot revenues (possibly because prices are seen as being too high, COVID-19, increase in out-of-town vs local SoCal pilots paying the visitor fee, encouraging local pilots to sign up for the annual membership instead of the visiting, etc)
    • Promotions/attracting visiting pilots – if the board wants to run, let’s say, a week promotion with a reduced visitor fee to attract visiting pilots, that would currently require a bylaw change
    • Board members pay membership fees too (no free lunches) – we have no incentive to raising rates for anyone (member or visitor) other than to ensure the club (which is barely breaking even) stays afloat
    #7292
    David Webb
    Board Member

    Discussion about naming of lifetime members:

    It was suggested that lifetime members be specifically called-out/named in the bylaws, due to their extraordinary contributions. I’m newish to the club, so I don’t know the history of the Jacksons or the McKenzies well – if anyone can offer 2-3 sentences for either that we can include both in the bylaws and on the member directory, that would help a lot.

    #7293
    David Webb
    Board Member

    Discussion about membership dues specifics:

    Since we have very little historical data to look at (membership dues, how much is visitor vs general membership, where visitor pilots are from – locals or out of towners, etc), this first year on the new website is going to require experimentation on finding the right balance of membership dues and terms. With our new method of record keeping (all memberships paid for and tracked on the website), we will be able to look at all of this in detail as the year progresses.

    For now, we felt that the optimal mix that would impact revenues the least (since change is required) is the following:

    • General memberships – $100 for one year (from date of purchase); to encourage on-time payment and so we can do away with the complicated proration method, introduce a $25 signup fee for brand new members (this sign up fee is only paid once – as long as you pay on time every year after that, it is waived); all current members will, of course, not have to pay the sign up fee
    • Associate memberships – $50 for one year (from date of purchase) – same signup fee idea as above, but obviously less
    • Limited membership – $25 for one month (this is the new “day use”)

    Also, since all of this will now be fully automated (including buying/tracking storage container slots), all dues are now good for the term stated (one year for general memberships and storage, one month for limited, etc) at the time of purchase – this greatly simplifies the proration issue and also makes it much clearer to everyone exactly when your membership is up (since you can see the exact date on your “My Account” page once you buy your subscription).

    #7318
    David Webb
    Board Member

    The math we went through to come up with $25 for a month (this is where having that historical data would have been a big help) – if we knew how many visiting pilots were out-of-towners (perhaps coming into town to fly for a long weekend) and how many are SoCal locals who might come up once a month, we could make a better guess on who this would impact the most. $25 for a month means that out-of-towners (or students) would end up saving a little money (as long as they fly for 3 days or more); SoCal pilots who might just pop in for a day here and there would be paying a bit more. $20 seemed too low (you could fly for 4 months and the club would lose out) and $30 seemed a bit high (didn’t want to scare off SoCal locals).

    Tried to “shoot for the middle” as much as possible to minimize impact for everyone and still maintain revenues for the club. Having all of the other multiples of months just seemed unnecessary/impractical and probably targeted at fringe cases of what people might want.

    #7328
    Tim Ward
    Board Member

    I think Jeff has the data from how much cash was received in the lockbox last year.  That’s not much data, but it would be a data point.

    #7338
    David Webb
    Board Member

    Yep – that was included in his Treasurer’s Report of the last year. It includes totals of day use fees vs membership dues, but I was more referring to getting specifics on who the day use pilots are (where they are coming from and how often they paid the fee). The mix of day use vs annual member dollars is a good start, but over the next year we should be able to make better determinations on this.

    Example: end of year we could run a report on a zip code range (such as anyone south of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles/SB/San Diego, etc) to see if most of our visitors are local-ish, or if a large number are out of towners; could also report on how many visitors are buying multiple months (and how many months they are buying).

    #7520
    Tim Ward
    Board Member

    I have a somewhat radical plan.

    The RRRG did not make a decision about our insurance. Some actual human being did.  Let’s find out who that was.

    Bite the bullet and eliminate short-term memberships entirely. It’s a hundred bucks or don’t fly.

    When visiting pilots complain, tell them who decided CSS could no longer offer daily membership.

    Better yet, take out an advertisement in whatever they’re calling the USHPA magazine this year announcing the policy change and the reason for it and naming names.

    #7563
    Gary Anderson
    General Member

    Could you post the last meeting minutes and treasurer’s report to the new club library for member review?

    #7762
    David Webb
    Board Member

    I received a great write-up about the McKenzies which detailed their amazing and continued efforts to support AJX and the club. I simplified the verbiage in the bylaws regarding both lifetime member bullets and added links to detail pages that tell the more complete story of both the Jacksons and the McKenzies. Links were also added on the Member Directory.

    Reply here with any additions/changes/objections.

    #7783
    Jimmy Bagheslai
    General Member

    Dear Members,

    Sometimes out of trust and in our haste to support our club we may not look at the details of what we are agreeing to when our board makes urgent requests. Likewise, sometimes those we trust to run our club may make requests with the best of intentions but in the haste accidentally include provisions that could have long-lasting detrimental effects to the club.

    I believe this is the case with regard to the recent Urgent Vote. For your consideration I have placed below the provision in the change to the bylaws so you that may determine on your own if this was in fact what you intended to vote for.

    Our clubs’ bylaws have always allowed members to play a role in determining if justification for raising membership dues existed and how the increased revenue would be spent. Although our current voting process is not optimal, it can easily be updated to accommodate online voting for speed and convenience. The objective is to preserve the ability for club members to have a voice and stimulate fresh ideas on how best to proceed.

    In the way the newly adopted bylaws are written, club members are no longer allowed to have representation with regard to the need to raise dues nor on how the increased revenue will be spent.

    Here is the provision in the new bylaws that makes the change:

    **************************************************
    Section 3.
    Dues:
    D. Cost of all dues shall be set by the SOCIETY Board to ensure the continued operation of the SOCIETY and the facilities and operations for which it is responsible and to support its purposes as outlined in this document.

    Section 1.
    The Executive Board:
    C. The executive Board shall be empowered to adjust membership dues as needed to ensure the continued successful operation of the SOCIETY.
    Any changes to membership dues, including, but not limited to, general, associate, and limited memberships, must be passed by a majority vote of current board members, either at an in-person meeting or via online voting tool.
    **************************************************

    It could be argued that a change as momentous as this should be a single line item to be discussed openly and voted upon by club members. The intent of this letter is solely to ensure that all those who voted in favor of the Urgent Request are fully informed as to what they voted on. It may be the board simply did not think through the full ramifications of the provision’s wording when asking us to give them the authority to address an urgent issue.

    I believe there are those of us that voted in favor of the Urgent Request without understanding the full scope and effect of what they were voting for. If that is the case, you have a right to rescind your vote.

    It may be that the board offers their plans so we as members can remedy the current urgent matter in a timely way.

    To rescind or change your vote simply place your name and the word ‘rescind/change’ in an e-mail and send it to

    info@crestlinesoaring.org

    There are only a few days remaining to do so (on, or before April 4th).

    Feel free to voice your opinion on the CSS bylaw change discussion board:

    https://crestlinesoaring.org/topic/2020-bylaw-changes-vote-discussion

    Thank you,

    Jimmy

    #7791
    Bikash Pandey
    General Member

    I voted and I completely agree that board should be transparent to all the members about all their intentions when it comes to making decisions. And to not get club members involved when there is a need to raise dues and how the revenue will be spent will only divide the club into different groups. Instead of dividing members, we should make our club unite and be a strong community going forward.

    #7831

    I have to be honest, when I was voting on urgent matter regarding new memberships fees for visiting pilots, I didn’t read all fine print.

    Club members shall always vote on important changes as a membership fee change. We as the members will always support reasonable propositions, but process shall be transparent.

    As said, maybe meant well, few board members shall not decide alone on important issues which affect every member of our club.

    Michal

    #7842
    David Webb
    Board Member

    We really appreciate your participation in the discussion and vote on the proposed changes to the CSS Bylaws.

    Final vote came to the following:

    • 55 yays
    • 4 nays

    Just a reminder that nothing is ever set in stone, and we will continue to take all of your concerns and feedback into account to help improve the club. Our (virtual) door is always open, so if you feel that you haven’t been heard, have questions, or want to propose other changes that you think will improve how we operate, feel free to email us at info@crestlinesoaring.org, or post something in the forums to start up a (civil!) discussion.

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