1. Section 1, D- I found this to be confusing and a bit vague. Pardon my ignorance but what does it mean that "any member can waive notice of an annual membership meeting"? And is "any member" defined as a BOD member or any one of the member classifications.
"Member" is defined by Article III. The section you inquire about in Article IV means that a member can waive notice of the annual meeting. State law requires all corporations to notify its membership of the yearly annual meeting which is also required by state statute. This section of the by-laws articulates the fact that a member can waive their statutory right to notice of the annual meeting. More importantly the section goes on to indicate that if a member shows up at the meeting, their waiver of notice occurs de facto. Except when the only reason they show up at the meeting is to stop the meeting for unproper notice. In short, this section covers UFWDA by saying that a member can't whine they didn't get notice if they in fact show up to the meeting, unless the ONLY reason they show up to the meeting is to complain about not getting notice. If they accomplish any business at that meeting they can't later complain they didn't get "notice". Clear as mud, huh?
2. Also in Section 2, B- I am pretty good at reading and comprehension but I read that several times and have no idea what that means. Maybe someone could paraphrase that into a few easy-to-understand sentences.
This section means that UFWDA isn't expected to notify all new members of the annual meeting who join after we've published the original notice. For example, we publish notice of the annual meeting in the Voice and on our website on June 1, 2008. We do not have to then notify all new members who join after June 1, 2008.
This section also speaks to another situation for when UFWDA can draw a line in the sand on when it has to calculate membership. Absentee voting is provided for in these by-laws. But absentee votes have to be received in the office at a certain time prior to the annual meeting. This section organizes who UFWDA must allow to vote by absentee ballot by giving UFWDA the opportunity to set a drop-dead date for determining who is on our membership roster.
3. Section 5- Will members have access to the resumes that the nominees have submitted prior to voting, so that the members may make an educated vote on who they want to elect for office? And again, does members refer to all of the classifications of membership to UFWDA?
Yes, members will have access to information about the nominess to aid them in making an informed decision. Yes, members refers to all classification of members appearing in Article III.
With regards to the Business Plan:
I found this to be impressive and informative. However, I have to say that many of the Northeast organizations have found support to be a bit lacking from the national organizations. We understand that this is also in part to our lack of communication with the national organizations but at times we have communicated our issues only to be told that we cannot be helped because various people that sit on the board of the national organizations do not have the proper training/license to advocate in the Northeast. I read time and again in this Business Plan that efforts are going to be concentrated on all regions and support and attention will be given to local events, etc. So does this mean we can expect a better response to issues we are facing in the Northeast? Does this also mean when we have events that UFWDA will make more of an effort to attend if given ample notice? I know of at least three major events we host in the Northeast and I know we have asked for representatives from some of the national organizations and we never have received any interest. I understand sometimes schedules conflict and all you can do is send material but organizations are better received and accepted if there are actual representatives present.
I can only speak to this national organization - UFWDA. When I have been asked for legal support or advise I have given it to the extent I am able to. For example, my help was requested in drafting by-laws for a club in Massachusetts. Although I am not licensed to practice law in MA, indicating such to the club I worked with, I was able to give them guidance on general issues pertaining to the by-laws and also give them pointers on specific issues that needed more attention. I was able to give them the help they needed but also pointed out areas where I could not give them advise on what to do, only what to look for and how to use their own best judgment to resolve the issue or how to seek legal advise from an attorney licensed in MA.
I have also been contacted many years ago about state law road access claims. I offered my legal opinion and advise on handling the issue from a general standpoint.
Recognizing the limitations UFWDA has with the states its attorney(s) is limited to practicing state law claims in does not detract from the overall legal benefits that UFWDA can offer state organizations. UFWDA may not be able to send an attorney to court in your state of interest on a state law claim but that doesn't mean your organization can't get legal benefits for the amount of dues it pays.
UFWDA makes every effort to attend the events at which our attendence is requested. However, our financial situation dictates that decisions are made based on the money available to pay for travel, balanced against the revenue and goodwill potential of the event, the size of the event, the amount of advanced notice, the time of year, the length of the event, etc. The business plan reflects an acknowledgment on the part of UFWDA that "face time" is important - as you point out. The business plan is a general guide. I can't speak directly to whether or not UFWDA will meet your organizations expectations because I don't know what you need or desire. I can ensure that UFWDA is putting into place objective and fair criteria under which we can make decisions on which events to attend, which events to donate raffle prizes to, which events to send information to, which events to have a booth at, etc. Please list the three major events in the Northeast and the details surrounding each event and whether or not you want UFWDA representation at each one.
I also do not understand and did not see a response to the question regarding the whole "Competition" issue. Why would you be worried about other national groups as long as we are all working towards the same goal? I wouldn't view it as a competition-I would view it as strength in numbers with each organization working on issues using their own styles and expertise. I can't confirm the competition you speak of but if they are the other organizations mentioned in a previous post, I think each of them work individually with separate initiatives but in the end they all have the same result in mind-increased land access as well as sustaining the rights of those who wish to use the land we have been blessed with.
We identify and worry about what other national groups are doing because our membership requires it of us. UFWDA is asked very frequently "what have you done for me lately"? What has UFWDA done in the NE? What events has UFWDA supported in the NE? What legal assistance has UFWDA rendered for clubs in the NE? UFWDA only cares about public land, what has it ever done for those of us living in states without public land? If we can not address these questions and address them in a manner that is better than BlueRibbon Coaltion or TreadLightly! or SEMA, or whoever, then you will spend your dues with them, not with us.
When organizations believe they can purchase better benefits from the new "legal beagle" eco-law group they will divert their membership funds to the new entity with new promises in a New York minute. We must stay competitive and responsive to our membership in order to maintain their membership. We can only stay responsive if we do a better job of servicing them than our competitors.
The same thing is occuring at a state level. Over the past decade state-level multiple-use organizations have cropped up in many states. They often refer to themselves as [state] Off Highway Vehicle Council (Coalition, Association, etc.). Their purpose is to "give a larger voice to the motorized recreation community" by pooling numbers into a single organization that represents a large cross-section of modes of motorized recreation - ATV, OHM, 4x4. 4x4 clubs then see the new OHV council and start asking their state 4x4 association what they are doing to be the "voice" for motorized recreation. While the overreaching goal of the two entities is the same - save access - they compete for money from the same set of individuals.
My final comment in the "competition" question is to point out the intricate relationship between dues, benefits perceived, and the mind-set of some members. It is incumbent upon UFWDA to provide benefits that square with the dollar amount of dues. It matters not that many 4x4 enthusiasts spend thousands of dollars for a winch, a lift-kit, a CB, a couple tanks of gas and registration for some wheeling events, or whatever. They will NOT see the value in spending $25 (or more) with UFWDA, AND joining BRC for $20. If either one of those entities are not working on a specific project in their backyard, they do not see any "benefits" in belonging to them, let alone to both of them. They believe $45 a year is too much to spend because they do not believe that the legal battles our groups spend at the national level ever has or will have any impact on their access at the local level.
I'm very passionate about the competitive nature of getting and keeping dues. I've re-read my post in the hopes that I've achieved a balance between being passionate about the issue without being defensive. I hope you take my words based my passion for UFWDA and not as being a defensive answer to your harmless question.
Thanks for posting your questions here and now while I have a chance to respond to them.