By Donald Crawford, F11012
National Vice President, Great Lakes Area
Chairman, Policy and Procedure Committee
In the April 2002 “Executive Notes” column (“How Your Executive Committee Works,” page 10), I referred to the governance of FMCA with respect to the role of the Executive Committee. As in any organization, before the governance can work, there must be a framework that guides, shapes, and molds the workings of the organization. In FMCA’s case, that framework comes in the form of the association’s Constitution, Bylaws, and Policies and Procedures.
Briefly, FMCA’s Constitution, which is approved by the whole membership, is the mainframe document. The Bylaws, which are approved by the Governing Board, are the means by which the aims of the Constitution are carried out. The Policies and Procedures, which have various levels of approval, are the detailed version, if you will, of how many of the inner workings of the association are accomplished.
With the help of a consultant who specializes in association bylaws, FMCA has been involved in a project to revise our Constitution and Bylaws. My column this month is not intended to be a treatise on the whole Constitution and Bylaws amendment package but a helpful look, I hope, at the role of the Policies and Procedures involved in the package. I will attempt to explain the role of FMCA’s Policies and Procedures, and, more importantly, those that the Governing Board delegates will discuss as they meet on September 29 and 30 in Hutchinson, Kansas, during FMCA’s 68th Premier International Motorhome Extravaganza, and later will be asked to approve as part of the Proposed Bylaws package. Each chapter’s national director has been given a detailed analysis of the suggested Policies and Procedures, as well as a grid flow chart that shows where the Policy and Procedure language was taken from the existing Bylaws; so, you who belong to chapters can obtain more detailed information there.
Currently, the Policies and Procedures run the gamut. They tell how the phone should be answered by the receptionist at the national office, cover the travel allowance to staff and committee members on company business, and explain the duties of people campaigning for office.
Approximately a year ago, the existing Policies and Procedures were divided into two groups. Those pertaining to the membership, which number approximately 50, are now contained in the “Member and Volunteer Handbook,” which is available online through the “For Members Only” portion of FMCA’s Web site — www.fmca.com. A total of 55 new ones are proposed for review in Hutchinson. The rest of the Policies and Procedures deal basically with internal office policies; this information is contained in the “Staff Handbook.”
The idea behind the new proposal is to move items in the Constitution that should not be there into the Bylaws, and to move items in the Bylaws that should not be there into the Policies and Procedures. We hope this will allow clearer understanding, simplified reasoning, lack of redundancy, and easier governance in the day-to-day life and workings of your association.
As chairman of the Policy and Procedure Committee since August 2000, I have developed some working knowledge of how the Policies and Procedures function. As indicated above, the existing Policies and Procedures control everything from items in the “Member and Volunteer Handbook” to the fine details in the “Staff Handbook.” In the “Member and Volunteer Handbook,” you will find details about FMCA logo licensing, member benefits, mail-forwarding, deposits, and many other topics. This is in the General Membership section. In the Volunteer section you will also find many topics, such as income and expense reports; reimbursements of educational programs for rallies and conventions; travel costs for individuals on association business; and much more. The Chapter and Area section, as you might expect, mentions area rally dates, badges, registration, and programs, as well as chapter attachment plates, chapter anniversary presentations, and much more.
The “Staff Handbook” includes sections on Administrative Services, Commercial Services/Conventions, Communications/Publishing, Finance, and Information Services. Subjects such as staff dress, staff educational policy and procedures, capital purchases, payroll, supplies and services, and hardware and software purchasing are included.
If the proposed Constitution and Bylaws amendments are passed, then the Policies and Procedures gleaned from the existing Bylaws will take effect, with the wording remaining basically the same as it exists now in FMCA’s Bylaws. The new Policies and Procedures deal with membership; annual meetings; Governing Board responsibilities and voting procedures; national officer and committee responsibilities; executive director responsibilities and authority; budget; audits; reports; and committee duties and responsibilities. They also mention area associations, chapters, chapter officer responsibilities, national director responsibilities, enforcement procedures, and amending procedures.
FMCA’s Policies and Procedures have three different approval levels. Depending on the nature of the Policy and Procedure, changes must be approved by the executive director, the Executive Committee, or the Governing Board. At this time, only two policies require Governing Board approval. Of the 55 new Policies and Procedures created as a result of the Bylaws rewrite, 34 have been recommended to have a Governing Board approval level.
I realize that this can be a very dry subject, as well as somewhat confusing. I hope this explanation helps you understand the current Policies and Procedures and the additional Policies and Procedures that are being proposed to the Governing Board at the meeting in Hutchinson, Kansas.