You know that I am active in the Society of Broadcast Engineers. This year I am serving as the chairman of the national Nominations Committee for the elections to be held later this summer. To run in the election, a candidate’s name can be submitted by the Nominations Committee, or a person can be nominated from the general membership. The general nominations are not handled through the Nominations Committee, but rather through the national secretary and the national office.
To serve as a director or officer, an individual must be an SBE member (regular, senior or fellow) and hold an SBE engineering-level certification. To be nominated by the general membership, the SBE member must have the support of at least 10 SBE members in good standing. It’s this last requirement that proved to be difficult for some candidates this year.
Because I chaired the Nominations Committee and I wanted to run for a director seat, I chose to nominate myself through a floor nomination rather than the Nominations Committee. I did this to avoid any potential claim of abuse of power or coercing the committee. I submitted 13 signatures to support my nomination. I asked each one before he signed, and all 13 said he was a member. It turned out that 12 of my signatories were SBE members.
Other candidates who submitted floor nominations had similar experiences with non-member endorsements, and while I only had one bad signature, some of them had to submit many additional names to reach the required 10.
What baffles me is how someone cannot know if he is or is not a current member. In some cases, the membership just lapsed. Ok, that’s not too difficult. In some cases, the membership lapsed five years ago. In one or two cases, the supporter was never a member.
It was suggested to me that there is confusion between membership status and certification status. Membership is renewed every year, while SBE certification is valid for five years. The two are obviously separate to me, but perhaps there is a blur to some. Still, how can someone not be aware of his membership status? If you have any insight, please share it with me.