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AAM members have some thinking to do. Those in good standing will have received a unique e-mail credential today from the AAM Election Coordinator providing a link to vote on significant proposed changes to the AAM governing documents. 

As blog followers will have seen in my post “AAM Members to Lose Voting Rights?” on 7 May (Thistle 2019b), I believe members should reject the changes that remove member voting rights. Instead, I maintain strongly that members must take the AAM in a different direction altogether—while we still have the right to do so.

As a long-time nonprofit employee, board member, general member, & supporter of numerous nonprofit heritage organisations in the United States & Canada, I firmly believe that members of such organisations should be considered as shareholders with voting rights. Shareholders have the democratic right to direct a corporation to pursue the best interests of the members.

The current AMM Articles, Constitution & Bylaws certainly are deficient in terms of the breadth of existing voting rights provided to its members (Thistle 2019b). However, the intent of the AAM Board to eliminate our rights is patently even more anti-democratic.

Today’s AAM e-mail did not provide a link to the proposed changes in its governing documents. AAM members who have not yet seen the proposals to eliminate their voting rights should examine the changes very carefully.  You can find the relevant information in the American Alliance of Museums (2019) link below.  In my last post, I asked  questions about the changes to governing documents & forwarded them to AAM, but have received no reply as of today’s date, 8:30 p.m EDT.

For my suggestions on how AAM voting rights should be expanded rather than eradicated, see my proposals forwarded in January 2019 to the AMM aimed at strengthening & expanding member voting rights (Thistle 2019a).

Other AAM members critical of the AAM may believe it can be “fixed” without overturning the organisation. However Peterson (2019) does admit that some issues with the American Alliance of Museums “are deeply systemic.”

Every Vote Matters

AAM members who would remain hopeful of fixing the deeply systemic issues with AAM surely should also desire to retain their voting rights so that the AAM Constitution and other governing documents can be amended to ensure our effective engagement in the governance of our organisation. The AAM Board of Directors should be open to receive formal direction from its members as I propose in Thistle (2019a), e.g.:

  • The Board of Directors shall be responsible to the membership for the formulation of policy and the management of the affairs of the Association, subject to the Bylaws.
  • Member voting rights include passing resolutions on operational and policy matters brought forward by the members giving direction to the Board of Directors. . .  on any matter of concern to the members.

AAM members have until the final second of June 28 to vote on these important disruptive changes proposed by the AAM Board of Directors.

Fail to vote AGAINST the proposed changes & AAM members will just disenfranchise yourselves from any democratic input on future decisions of the American Alliance of Museums Board of Directors.

There exist ways & means of enacting effective change to take place in the existing AAM Constitution. By rejecting the current Board proposals, AAM members certainly can work to maintain our rightful place in the governance of our organisation.

Thanks for thinking seriously about these important AAM governance matters.

References Cited:

American Alliance of Museums. 2019. “Member Vote Information” web page. Washington, DC: American Alliance of Museums https://www.aam-us.org/programs/about-aam/member-vote-information/ (accessed 10 June 2019).

Jackie Peterson. 2019. “When Large-Scale Professional Development Can’t Keep Up.” Leadership Matters Posted: June 3, 2019 at https://leadershipmatters1213.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/when-large-scale-professional-development-cant-keep-up/ (accessed 8 June 2019).

Thistle, Paul C. 2019a. “Letter Thistle to Leonard Re: Needed Amendments to Constitution & Bylaws”  posted 28 January at https://solvetasksaturation.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/aam-member-rights-to-leonard-2019-01-28.pdf (accessed 10 June 2019).

Thistle, Paul C. 2019b. “AAM Members to Lose Voting Rights?” Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers posted 7 May at https://solvetasksaturation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/aam-members-to-lose-voting-rights/ .