FNPS Member Discussion Forum on BOD Approved Recommended Bylaw Revisions

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SteveWoodmansee

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on: March 10, 2014, 03:08:56 PM
Greetings FNPS members,

From this address, you can download the proposed bylaw revisions (see below attachment).  You will not need to sign-in in order to download this file.  The file is in pdf format, and we recommend that you save it to your computer/device, so you can view the comments providing rationale for the changes.  The FNPS forum allows FNPS members to discuss the proposed revisions.  For those of you who wish to do so, you can comment on the proposed revisions or post questions.  You will need to register on forum (if you have not already done so), and then sign in.  You can get help with this by contacting our webteam using the following email address:  webteam@fnps.org

Following this process, we cannot accept any further revisions to the FNPS bylaws.  Voting on these changes to the bylaws will be either yes, no, or abstain. Therefore, your comments should focus on requests for clarification or your opinion about the changes rather than suggestion for revisions. This will not be the last round of needed revisions in future years, rather, the first substantive set of changes to address the Society's strategic plan.

FNPS is now formally announcing the vote to approve bylaws changes as recommended by your state Board of Directors. FNPS will send all members with an email address on record a message linking them to the online vote.  This message will be sent on April 12, 2014.  The online voting period will end at 12:00AM on April 20, 2014.  For those of you without an email address on record, you can contact us (info@fnps.org) and provide an email address, or you can request a mail-in ballot.  Either option must be done by April 4, 2014.  Mail-in ballots must be post dated by April 19, 2014.  The Council of Chapters will count the mail-in ballots.  Only one vote may be cast per membership level.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 03:14:30 PM by SteveWoodmansee »
Steve Woodmansee
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Al Squires

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Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 06:05:41 PM
I encourage all members of FNPS to vote YES on these by-law changes.  They are needed to make FNPS a more manageable and member responsive organization. Al Squires, Mangrove Chapter Chapter Represenative

Shirley Denton

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Reply #2 on: March 14, 2014, 10:29:15 AM
I encourage you to vote!

I championed the idea that the membership should get more voice than it has ever had.  I am putting my faith in you, our membership, to be responsible.  This vote is the first time that the general membership has had any voice except by attending the annual meeting at the conference.  This vote lets all of us determine the future of the organization.

It also gives you responsibility.  Responsibility to review the proposed changes, to ask questions, to participate by voting.

I also encourage you to vote "yes" to the proposed bylaws changes.  They are intended to strengthen the organization.  We want them to strengthen the chapters.  We want them to streamline society management and make it more responsive.

The reorganization is complex.  The bylaws changes are a first step.  We expect to tweak them as we go forward.  The proposed changes allow us to start moving forward.

Please vote "yes"

--- Shirley Denton -- Suncoast Chapter
--- Communications Chair, FNPS
--- past, past, past, past president, FNPS

--- past president, Suncoast
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 10:35:39 AM by Shirley Denton »
Shirley Denton

Julie Becker

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Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 10:21:41 PM
Please  vote!!! This is a result  of so much hard work. These changes  will make FNPS  more efficient and effective
And --this establishes our Council of Chapters officially.
Julie Becker

Scott Davis

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Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 08:34:48 PM
I'm so excited about all of the changes that have begun to make themselves known throughout our society. These bylaws seal the deal. Among many other benefits, they will enable me to officially serve as recorder for our new-formed Council of Chapters, and positively assist our leadership in this reformation.

Please take a look at them, and remember to vote!

Some Southern Ecology for Southern Lay folk:
 If the Live Oak is the "southern belle" of our trees, then the Longleaf Pine is certainly the mule.

FNPSmember

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Reply #5 on: April 03, 2014, 06:45:05 AM
Had hoped to see more discussion! But realized I had not even read the Dec Sabal Minor with the info for Forum discussion, so wonder that many members will not have had "time" to digest these Bylaws changes.

I read the by law changes this morning. I "think" I like the idea of the Council of Chapters but I have not yet seen how that Council will operate and wonder if there will be too wide a gap between the chapters and the FNPS Board with only 3 reps from the Council. Back when I was involved with the FNPS board (serving as my chapter's rep and later as VP Admin) I appreciated getting to know members from other parts of the state. How will FNPS leaders interact with the Council?

I would hope there would be a fluidity between these groups and not a wide gap. Can Julie and Scott point us to some document that  describes how Council will operate?

Thanks for all the work involved to keep FNPS up to date. I love FNPS! (and my local Chapter!!) we need each other.

Joan B

SteveWoodmansee

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Reply #6 on: April 03, 2014, 10:39:52 AM
Had hoped to see more discussion! But realized I had not even read the Dec Sabal Minor with the info for Forum discussion, so wonder that many members will not have had "time" to digest these Bylaws changes.

I read the by law changes this morning. I "think" I like the idea of the Council of Chapters but I have not yet seen how that Council will operate and wonder if there will be too wide a gap between the chapters and the FNPS Board with only 3 reps from the Council. Back when I was involved with the FNPS board (serving as my chapter's rep and later as VP Admin) I appreciated getting to know members from other parts of the state. How will FNPS leaders interact with the Council?

I would hope there would be a fluidity between these groups and not a wide gap. Can Julie and Scott point us to some document that  describes how Council will operate?

Thanks for all the work involved to keep FNPS up to date. I love FNPS! (and my local Chapter!!) we need each other.

Joan B

Thanks Joan,

Don't worry we aren't abandoning you, and I realize that change is difficult.  We worked hard (over 18 months) at finding a solution to having representation from the chapters to the board, and even hired experts to aid us.  When discovering the size of our current Board of Directors, they gawked at how we could possibly get anything done.  And really, we weren't (aren't) getting as much done as we should.  That was also an underlying sentiment by many board members as well as other FNPS members.  Currently, the Board of Directors is not very "fluid". 

A recent example is that we (the FNPS BOD) just voted online for this year's Palmetto Awards.  Doing this online should be simple, and is necessary as Board meetings are too infrequent, and there is a lot of other business that occupies time.  Our bylaws necessitate a quorum of 1/3 of the BOD, we barely met that despite having a 2-week window to vote, advanced notification of the vote, and constant cajoling and reminders.  We do not function very well with our current governance structure. 

When I announced the vote of the proposed bylaw changes at my chapter's monthly meeting, one of our members, a founding member of FNPS, stood up with a smile and addressed the audience.  She stated that back in the early '80s, we never envisioned such success and growth.  She also never envisioned the potential logistics and communications problems with over 30 FNPS chapters.  She understood the need to modify ourselves, and adapt to the times as well as to our own success.

The Board (including chapter reps) and others feel that  3 chapter reps appointed to the new BOD and having one of them be on the new Executive Committee (which would essentially be the officers, past president, and the Council of chapters Rep. (likely the chairperson) will create a sufficient link.  Although not necessary for the bylaws (which are still a bit too wordy), the operations will likely entail having the FNPS president and Executive Director attend the Council meetings as bystanders.  In addition, having the Council of Chapters as a separate entity will allow them to better discuss Chapter issues, which often fall to the wayside due to limited time at the meetings.  It will allow more time for orientation and program development.  The Council has also created smaller councils for each region of the state, allowing for more crosswalk, shorter distances for physical meetings, and support for those chapters which are drifting, or have drifted.

In addition, we envision seeing everyone at our Annual Conference, and at an additional retreat each year.

We do need to adapt to the times, and the tools for communication are more numerous today than they have ever been.  Board meetings need to be more frequent, remote, and for shorter duration (say ten meetings online at 1-2 hours as opposed to four 8-hour physical meetings tacked onto travel time, which is 6 hours/meeting in my case).  Online video or teleconferencing with 40-60 people simply cannot be done.  Meeting online, posting reports online, and having records available to any and everyone allows for monitoring of the FNPS BOD, the Council of Chapters and other Committees.  We should at least give it a shot, and please remember that we went through a long process to get to here, so this isn't a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants decision.  If it doesn't work, then we will find another solution.

Steve
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 10:42:19 AM by SteveWoodmansee »
Steve Woodmansee
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Shirley Denton

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Reply #7 on: April 03, 2014, 09:50:51 PM
Joan B -- and others --

The Council is working hard on its operating procedures.  They are posting their drafts on this forum, so they are available to you and others to review.

You can find the latest status here:
http://www.forum.fnps.org/index.php/topic,894.0.html
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 10:00:04 PM by Shirley Denton »
Shirley Denton

Jon Pospisil

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Reply #8 on: April 11, 2014, 10:16:36 PM
Perhaps the concrete example that convinced me that we needed to change something will also help you understand the importance of the changes now being proposed.  On an almost daily basis, our Society website, blog and social media are becoming a more effective way of getting our message out.  Fortunately for the Society, we have a very knowledgeable  and extremely dedicated team of members who have worked tirelessly under the leadership of Shirley Denton, one of our recently past presidents, to upgrade the website and make our blog and other media the "go to" places for information on Florida's native plants. 

About two years ago now, Shirley needed to buy a $400 bit of software to substantially upgrade the functionality of our database and website.  But, in order to obtain authorization to spend an amount of money that is a fraction of one percent of the Society's annual budget, she had to wait for a quarterly Board meeting -- not at all helpful in today's fast moving world of electronic communication.  Then, at the BOD meeting, about 50 officers, committee chairs and chapter reps gathered from around the state heard her request and had to discuss it briefly, then vote on it -- time better spent on sharing ideas between the chapters and the Society's larger strategic and policy objectives.

The foregoing example is but one of many in which a large gathering of dedicated leaders has been virtually mandated to get bogged down in minutiae.  Under the proposed structure, the new smaller Board can quickly attend to the nuts and bolts of Society operations, while every chapter will continue to have a representative on the Council of Chapters.  The Council  will now be freed up with more time for chapters to exchange ideas and consider some of the bigger picture questions including how to best support the chapters and grow the Society and it's influence.

That's why I've voted FOR the proposed changes.

KarenFraley

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Reply #9 on: April 16, 2014, 09:04:09 AM
A big thank you to all who worked on updating the by-laws and structure of FNPS. I am involved with a group that has a very large board and know how difficult it is to get anything done with so many voices needing to be heard. Representation will be there, but efficiency improved.

Also, bringing the virtual meeting into play is critical in our current economy - everyone is stretched to the limit and many don't have the time to travel to meetings across our large geographic area.

Great job in getting us to this point Steve Woodmansee and Board!
Karen Fraley
Serenoa Chapter

SteveWoodmansee

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Reply #10 on: April 16, 2014, 06:33:01 PM
thanks Karen  ;D
Steve Woodmansee
Past President, FNPS