Emeritus Issue: Coming to a Resolution
May 20, 2014: For nearly two years, the leadership and members of EYC have been struggling to make changes to the Emeritus status to meet various concerns about that membership. What were the concerns? Well, it depended who you asked. Some felt it was just fine the way it was. Some felt that the numbers were about to be overwhelming in the very near future years. Some felt the discount allowed for Emeritus status over a Voting Member was way too generous. Some objected to the fact that if you merely met the demographic test (20 years in and 65 or over) then you automatically got approved – in effect, an entitlement.
Late last year, there was a proposal to eliminate the category for all future candidates. That provoked a very heated debate inside the club that spilled into people’s email boxes and an on-line discussion on the Club’s web page. Accusations flew, rumors were everywhere and motives were questioned. It was truly ugly.
Just before last year’s Annual Meeting, we got close to a compromise that I felt could achieve some balanced answers on the issue and make all sides of the debate feel their issues of basic equity had been met. However, from a procedural standpoint we could not bring it to a vote as the notice would have been too close to the Annual Meeting to meet our requirements according to the by-laws. So, in the interests of general Member relations, we tabled all the proposed changes and looked to pick up the momentum in the New Year.
When I became Commodore in January, I asked Past Commodore Mike Krissoff to convene a committee of other Past Commodores to make recommendations to the Board and the Members on what was in the best interests of the Club going forward. The only requirement I gave Mike was that one of the Past Commodores had to be an Emeritus Member. I also said that I felt it would be appropriate to have a recommendation before the beginning of the summer. Mike and his gang called themselves the E3 Committee (EYC Emeritus Evolution) and it was composed of Jack Morkan, Terry Fitzsimmons (Emeritus), Scott Burge, Jeff Borland and Mark Murphy.
The E3 guys met several times alone and met with members who answered the call in the Newsblast and VFB for appointments to discuss their views. They also tell me they received many emails and had many informal conversations with members. At last week’s Board meeting, they presented their report and recommendations for consideration. The Board discussed this in Executive Session, trying to think of the best way to present to the Members and solicit input in a way that would be informative but also respectful of all members’ views. We cannot have another divisive debate.
Here is what the Board plans to do to foster the discussion:
- On June 1, there will be a Town Hall at which time the members of E3 will present their report.
- The entire report will be made available on the Members-Only side of the web page.
- A section of the webpage will have a place for members to provide their views or ask questions of the E3 Committee or the Board.
- It is my sincere hope that the Board will have enough input at a point before the middle of July to make a recommendation to the Members for a vote.
- We may consider a special meeting to decide the issue if there is sufficient consensus. One member has indicated that he would not want the “expense” of a special meeting. There is no expense to a special meeting if we decide to take that approach to a vote as we would do the meeting at our Clubhouse. However, we will make that determination later.
Those of you who know me are aware that I like historical analogies and references to make a point. In considering the hot debates and passions of past discussions on the Emeritus issue, let me invoke Abraham Lincoln and appeal “to the better angels of our nature” when we discuss this. We can and we will find a way to put this matter to rest.
Here endeth the sermon … Go in Peace.