Central Electric Railfans’ Association will hold its next Annual Meeting on January 24, 2014. This will coincide with our monthly program meeting, which will take place immediately afterward.
Per our By-Laws. the eligible voters at the business meeting are our Active, Contributing, and Sustaining Members from the year 2013. Associate Members do not vote.
Your CERA Board of Directors will mail out materials relating to the Annual Meeting on January 8, 2014. These will go out to all eligible voters. In conjunction with the Annual Meeting, CERA will send out an Annual Report to all our members.
Three Directors will be elected at the Annual Meeting. The top two vote-getters will receive three-year terms, and the third-place finisher will get a two-year term. This is a transitional election, in conjunction with the By-Laws change approved by the members in January 2013, reducing the size of the Board from 9 to 7.
Ballots will be mailed out to all eligible voters, and can be cast either through the mail, or in person at the meeting. Diana L. Koester, our Election Committee chair, will collect the ballots and will count them at the meeting. In order to eliminate the possibility of handing out more than one ballot to someone, ballots for the Directors election will not be distributed at the Annual Meeting. In order to vote in person, you must use the ballot you received in the mail.
The three candidates for election are John Nicholson, Bill Reynolds, and Joe Reuter. This is the order their names will appear on the ballot, determined by drawing lots. The ballot also provides space for write-in candidates.
All three candidates are long-time Members, current Directors, and are well-known to the membership. Short bios of each candidate will be mailed out along with the ballots.
In addition to the Directors election, there are two By-Laws changes proposed by the Directors, which will be voted on in person by the eligible voters at the Annual Meeting.
The first change to be considered would establish an Honorary Life Membership. If approved, this would allow the Directors to designate up to two such memberships per calendar year, for exemplary service to the organization. However, it does not require the Directors to do so, meaning that in any calendar year, there could be zero, one, or two such Honorary Life Memberships created.
The By-Laws at present do not allow for Life Members, and the proposed rewording of the By-Laws changes this. If approved, this change would be effective immediately.
The second By-Laws change to be considered phases out the Associate Member category. Over the course of many decades, the founders’ original intentions behind creating this category have been lost, and therefore it is no longer necessary.
In CERA’s early days, candidates had to undergo a catechism, correctly answering several questions about electric railways, in order to become Active Members. Even if done partly in jest, we haven’t required this of our members in a long time.
In addition, the founders thought that people in the Chicago area would be the Active Members, and those in other areas would become Associates. Today, this geographic distinction has been lost, and we have many Active Members in other parts of the country, and Associates who are local.
The main difference between the two membership categories today involves mailings and voting rights. Associate Members do not receive all the same program mailings that Active members do, and Associates cannot serve on CERA committees or vote in our elections.
In 2013, we began sending our members “CERA News” every month, and it does not seem fair to keep this information from some of our members. We would prefer to send all of our members the same information about CERA and its activities.
Anyone who wants to save CERA the cost of “snail mail” can do so right now by subscribing to the CERA Members Blog, and then informing us that they would prefer to get their news that way. Therefore, there is really no need to continue having the Associate category. It is superfluous.
As part of this transitioning away from the Associate category, it only costs our members an additional $3 to “step up” to a 2014 Active Membership. You can purchase memberships online here. Using the same link, you can also print out an application form that you can mail in along with a check.
If approved by our members at the Annual Meeting, this change would take effect with the 2015 calendar year. You can still purchase an Associate CERA Membership for 2014.
If this By-Laws change is approved, all CERA Members would have voting rights and could serve on our committees. The CERA Directors want to expand the voting franchise and encourage the active participation of all our Members.
If you have any questions about the Annual Meeting, you can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A complete information packet, including the exact wording of the proposed By-Laws changes, will be sent out to all eligible voters on January 8, 2014.
-Your CERA Directors
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