The NSPE House of Delegates met on Sunday in Denver and had a very animated discussion on membership options. In the end, the W&PR Resolution was passed by a strong majority. Before getting into more details (talk about governance issues puts some people to sleep), I would like to say the W&PR came together as a group and we were successful. I think that’s exactly what the Region’s purpose is and it’s good to see immediate results proving that we can successfully influence the future direction of NSPE.
I would also like to thank ASPE and CSPE for submitting the resolution and Alan Werner for drafting the proposed Bylaws and Administrative Procedures that defined the intent of the Resolution. Several more people also helped bring this action to the House; it was definitely a Regional effort.
Now, down into the nitty-gritty of what we did. There were four (4) competing membership options that were debated by the House:
The first option was the one presented by the Florida Engineering Society that we discussed at our Regional meeting in Las Vegas. It would have modified the NSPE Bylaws to create a new NSPE Affiliate Member category for individuals who were not otherwise qualified to be NSPE members. It required individuals to become NSPE Affiliate Members in order to be a State Affiliate Member.
The second option was presented by the Minneapolis Society of Professional Engineers and modified the first proposal to add companies and to remove the requirement that they also be NSPE Affiliate Members.
The third option was presented by Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota and Iowa Society of Professional Engineers and would have allowed each State Society to determine its own membership requirements. This could have applied to all individuals and companies whether they were eligible for NSPE membership or not.
The fourth option was the W&PR Resolution that was submitted to NSPE by the Arizona and California Societies of Professional Engineers. It modified the NSPE Bylaws to allow State Societies to have State Affiliates who could be individuals or companies not already eligible for NSPE membership.
The W&PR Resolution was the only one passed, largely because it evolved very rapidly in the last few days before the House of Delegates meeting to address specific concerns that different groups within NSPE brought up. After ASPE and CSPE submitted the resolution, the NSPE Past Presidents Council issued a statement expressing strong concern over allowing the term “member” to be used by anyone who was not within the existing definition of NSPE Member or NSPE Licensed Member. The report also made several suggestions for how individuals or companies could “affiliate” with NSPE State Societies. The report was discussed during the W&PR Conference call and it was agreed to amend the resolution to remove references to “member” and to find out the best way to codify the Past-President Council’s suggestions.
Between the conference call and the House meeting, a NSPE Bylaws amendment and an Administrative Procedure (AP) was drafted and reviewed by NSPE Legal Council in order provide the House with specific language that could be acted on immediately instead of having to wait for the next Bylaws revision cycle. The Resolution, proposed Bylaws revisions and AP was presented to the NSPE Board of Directors who voted to recommend approval to the House. Because our proposal aligned with the Past-Presidents’ Council recommendations, we also had their support. The delegates and staff from Minnesota also supported the W&PR action because the intent of our two proposals was essentially the same. In the end, the W&PR Resolution was the only option voted on and it was approved by a substantial majority.
The House of Delegates did not specifically vote on the third option (submitted by KSPE, MSPE, SDSPE & ISPE) however the fundamental issue that it brought up, that of whether to allow State Societies to have State-only members who also qualify for NSPE membership, was eventually voted on. This issue was defeated by about a 3:2 margin although a specific vote count was not taken.
There are still a few membership issues that the other proposals and the discussion in the House brought up that will need to be addressed. I expect the various governance bodies within NSPE will be addressing them in the coming months. I will try to keep you informed as the discussions progress.
The next NSPE Board of Directors’ meeting is at the end of September, please contact me if you have any issues that you would like addressed. We will also continue to have monthly conference calls on the 3rd Monday of each month at 3:00 PM PST. Conference call information will be distributed in the coming weeks. Please invite everyone to participate.