Proposal:Rule amendments terminating unfinancial members

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This page is a proposal being developed by our members.  The proposal was moved by John Vandenberg and seconded by Graham Pearce. If you are not a member of the organisation, you may request an account on this wiki using special:RequestAccount, and discuss this proposal on the discussion page.


Background

Under the Rules, the status of members who have not paid their annual dues is not clear.

The only relevant rule is

5(12): "The annual subscription is the relevant amount set out in Appendix 4 and is payable in advance on or before 1 July in each year."

Rule 6. Ceasing membership currently only addresses voluntary and explicit cessation of membership. It requires all membership fees to have been paid. As a result, on July 2 of each year the cohort of members who have not paid their dues are not permitted to leave the membership of the organisation unless they pay their membership for one additional year.

To date the organisation has only had a few explicit requests for cessation of membership to the secretary.

The committee has accepted lack of payment as effectively an implicit cessation of membership, however a strict reading of the rules says they are still members who have payable dues.

In most years the secretary or another committee member has asked some or all of the unfinancial members (usually only the active members) whether they wish to continue being a member. When a member has indicated they dont wish to continue their membership, we have not requested they pay their dues, nor have we included them in the number of members reported at AGMs or elsewhere.

Therefore the organisation has a large number ( 50-100+? ) members who no longer wish to be a member, and also dont wish to pay dues.

The only option available to the committee is to invoke Rules#7._Discipline.2C_suspension_and_expulsion_of_members to force the removal of these unfinancial member. This is an onerous and frighteningly rude process to invoke on people who have been our members in the past, but have either implicitly left the organisation or have explicitly indicated they wish to leave the organisation when queried about unpaid dues.

The committee believes it is in the organisations interest to keep only financial members on our membership register to financial members only. (expand rationale here, including the inflation of membership numbers being bad for the organisation, and the privacy risk of these members being on our books)

The committee does not want to force people to pay an additional year of dues should they have failed to pay the annual dues by the due date, and the committee does not want to use rule 7 to remove these members.

The committee would like the organisation to approve rule amendments that allow us to quietly remove all unfinancial members since 2009, and have a clear process for handling unfinancial members at the end of each membership period.

Three other aspects have also been taken into account when drafting this amendment.

Expulsion of members need to be recorded.

Rule 5 does not require that cessation date or reason for cessation be recorded. These should both be recorded for future committees to access, however the register is currently accessible by any member.

The membership cessation process defined in 6(2) does require the cessation date to be recorded, however this is strictly tied to the voluntary procedure defined in 6(1).

The provision of expulsion in rule 7(1)(c) is not linked with 6(2), meaning there is currently no process after successful expulsion of a member.

Rule 5(2)&(3) allow the membership register to be accessed by any member, which is effectively a cost of $20. Records about ceased members should not be given out as freely as those to do with the current membership. The reason for cessation may also be quite confidential (worst case: death of a Wikipedian by suicide and the family doesnt want their association with Wikipedia to be public.).

Discipline and mediation procedures can be sidestepped by resignation of membership

The worst case scenario for the discipline procedure is 51 days (28 days notice of the proposed resolution, 48 hours to appeal, and 21 days to hold a general meeting of members). A member facing disciplinary action should not be able to resign their membership, as this would mean the Rules no longer apply to them. Should the discipline procedure be to recoup organisation money, this would mean the organisation must initiate more costly and more public processes.

The worst case scenario for the mediation process is lower at 24 days (14 days after initially raised, 10 days to meet in person).

Examples from other organisations

The committee has investigated the rules of other organisations before constructing this proposal.

w:RACQ has the following rule:

3.1 (Overdue Subscriptions): Any Member whose subscription fee is overdue for more than 3 calendar months shall automatically cease to be a Member.

w:Linux Users of Victoria (LUV), who use the same model rules as WMAU, has the following in Section 6 (http://luv.asn.au/node/8):

(3) A member who has not made other arrangements with the committee may be deemed by the committee to have resigned if:

(a) in the case where an annual membership fee is payable, that fee has not been paid within 28 days of the due date; and
(b) in the case where no annual membership fee is payable, the member has not been contactable for a period of 28 days.

Recommendation 1

This proposal recommends that the following rule amendment is made.

Replace Rule 6 being:

" (1) A member of the Association who has paid all moneys due and payable by a member to the Association may resign from the Association by giving one month's notice in writing to the Secretary of his or her intention to resign.

(2) After the expiry of the period referred to in sub-rule (1)--

(a) the member ceases to be a member; and
(b) the Secretary must record in the register of members the date on which the member ceased to be a member.

"

with:

" (1) A member of the Association may resign from the Association by giving notice in writing to the Secretary of his or her intention to resign no less than

(a) one week after conclusion of a procedure defined in these Rules, and
(b) one month after payment of all moneys due and payable.

(2) After the expiry of the period referred to in sub-rule (1) the member ceases to be a member.

(3) A member who has not made other arrangements with the committee may be deemed by the committee to have resigned if:

(a) in the case where an annual membership fee is payable, that fee has not been paid within 28 days of the due date; and
(b) in the case where no annual membership fee is payable, the member has not been contactable for a period of 28 days.

"

Recommendation 2

This proposal recommends that one of the follow rule amendments are made.

Option 1

Assuming that Recommendation 1 is approved, add the following to Rule 6

(4) the Secretary must record in the register of members the date on which a member ceased to be a member.

Option 2

Add to Rule 5(1)

(c) the date on which each member ceased to be a member;
(d) the cessation reason for each member, to be recorded as death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise.

Recommendation 3

Option 1

Change 5(2) from

The register is available for inspection free of charge by any member upon request.

to

The register is available for inspection free of charge upon request by any person that has been a member of the organisation for the two consecutive years prior to the request.

Option 2

Change 5(2&3) to

(2) A copy of the register will be provided to any member free of charge upon request to the Secretary.
(3) A copy provided under sub-rule (2) will be redacted by the Secretary, removing
(a) the entry of ceased members if the request is from a person that has not been a member of the organisation for at least two consecutive years prior to the request; and
(b) the member's name and address from each entry if the request is from a person that has not attended a general meeting of the organisation.

Recommendation 4

Add to 5:

(4) By resolution of the committee, any detail of a register of members entry may be suppressed excepting the date on which the member's name was entered in the register and the date on which the member ceased to be a member.

(5) Where a member's name is suppressed from the register of members in accordance with sub-rule (4), a unique identifier created solely for use on this register will be included in the entry and be made available when the register of members is inspected in accordance with sub-rule (2).