By Don Crawford, F11012
National Vice President, Great Lakes Area
The last time I contributed to this column, in the April 2002 issue, I attempted to explain how the governance of FMCA works. You may recall that I also used a chart to help in the explanation.
This month I would like to expand on that theme, and try to develop for you a model of how FMCA’s committee system works. For purposes of this article, I will not discuss how the committees are appointed. FMCA does have an extensive database, and if our members have provided facts about their interests and skills to us, we should be able to draw upon it.
FMCA’s committees aid in the governance of our association by assisting the Executive Board in covering the workload that has to be done. Usually, but not always, they are composed of FMCA members who have a particular interest or skill that falls within the committee’s focus. The committee chairperson may or may not be a member of the Executive Board, although, for obvious reasons, the national treasurer chairs the Finance Committee, and, historically, the senior vice president chairs the Convention Committee. FMCA’s committees usually meet together formally twice each year at the national office in Cincinnati.
The President’s Council, although technically not a committee, assists the president in various functions and may, on occasion, report to the president or to the Governing Board. A revamped policy and procedure that outlines the processes followed by the President’s Council will be considered this month by the Governing Board during our convention in Buffalo, so I will leave that for another time.
The Policy and Procedure Committee and the Constitution and Bylaws Committee were combined into one committee for the 2002-2003 term. At this month’s convention in Buffalo, their primary purpose will be to guide us through the 55 proposed policies and procedures that were developed to conform to changes made to the Bylaws and adopted after the Hutchinson convention last October. This committee has had the task of reviewing and preparing in detail the many changes to these policies and procedures. Proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws are first discussed by this committee and evaluated before they are forwarded.
The Nominating Committee is responsible for bringing forth a slate of candidates for the Governing Board to consider for our four top offices — president, senior vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The committee interviews the suggested candidates and makes its report directly to the Governing Board. This year the committee’s Nominating Report indicates that two candidates are running for each office. A Nominating Committee-Elect takes over after each Governing Board meeting to start the search for next year’s candidates.
Some committees are ongoing, and others may be appointed for a specific term or purpose, such as the Member Recruitment Committee, which originated in 2001 to assist in gaining new members.
The Convention Committee helps in developing and overseeing conventions and works with FMCA staff to wade through the myriad details that are required to put on these events. During the actual convention, committee members are helped by the Convention Subcommittee, members of which have specific duties to perform, such as overseeing trams, greeters, sound, commercial parking, security, vendors, etc.
The Education Committee is relatively new. It has been responsible for planning and placing several items before the Executive Board in recent times, including programs that help FMCA members learn about coach weights, safety, and driving issues, to make motorhoming safer for all of us.
The Finance Committee is basically self-explanatory, but for obvious reasons is one of the most important. Committee members are assisted by office staff in developing our budgets, which go first to the Executive Board and then to the Governing Board for approval, or otherwise. They also monitor FMCA’s investment managers. The committee typically includes people with an accounting or investment background.
The Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee has a full agenda, from dealing with local RV parking ordinances to statewide laws that affect length, weight, taxation, and myriad other items that impact our members. The scope of this committee was recently broadened to enable its members to engage in some limited lobbying of governments on FMCA’s behalf. Again, the committee system allows for a more detailed examination of a situation than the Executive Board could do alone.
The Long-Range & Development Committee is a relatively new committee that is cast with the duty to look ahead — to see where FMCA is going or, more importantly, where it should be going. This committee deals with all sorts of topics, including governance, finances, motorhome definitions, or anything else that fits in with our Strategic Plan.
The Membership/Member Services Committee is the committee that does the lion’s share of the work, with the help of staff, to scrutinize the many proposed benefits. All new member benefits pass through this committee first. The committee screens out those that would not serve members; asks some who propose benefits to fine-tune their ideas to better meet the needs of our members; and recommends other benefits to the Executive Board for consideration. Committee members also consult continually with the companies that supply existing benefits to improve these packages and negotiate prices, whether that means the cost FMCA pays (for a benefit that members receive for free, such as the MEDEX emergency medical evacuation program), or the cost that a member pays (such as FMCA’s emergency road service).
The Risk Management Committee is also one of our more important committees, especially since the general increase in premiums after September 11, 2001. The committee is continually monitoring the market through our professional brokers to obtain the best programs for us.
The Technical Advisory Committee evaluates potential technical articles for the magazine. Committee members assist the magazine staff in presenting accurate technical information that magazine readers can rely on. Again, we draw on their skills and expertise to help other members.
The Youth Activities Committee also is important. The committee has an especially important task this year, as we need assistance in obtaining volunteers to help oversee the activities of the 500 or so children that we expect to attend the Buffalo convention. Although this committee functions primarily at our two conventions, its work forms the basis for the future of our association. To attract younger members with children, or members with grandchildren, we need a strong committee to lead and guide the youth program.
The Magazine Panel is not a committee, but it performs an important service by examining published issues of FMC magazine and providing its comments, along with feedback from other members, to our professional publishing staff.
Our committee system enables many FMCA members to have direct input into the governance of our association and, just as importantly, allows the Executive Board and Governing Board to function better, to make FMCA a better association for all of our members. I hope these notes have given you some insight into and appreciation for the governance of FMCA, and that this article, along with the April 2002 article, has helped explain to you how the governance of FMCA really works. Why not get involved?