Letters from Delegates
Congratulations to Lee Billingsley and all the graduated dues proponents who carried the day in Long Beach. Those of us who opposed it only did so out of our love for the organization and because we felt there were significant risks not being addressed. That said, I hope the new dues structure will demonstrate the promised benefits to AAPG and hereby pledge to do whatever I can to help make it work.
In the spirit of inclusiveness that the House vote demonstrated, I would call upon the global state-run oil and gas companies to step up their support for all qualified professional staff. This could be an important component to success of the initiative. Using AAPG membership as an incentive tool is a cheap trick more useful to unskilled managers than to the organizations they purport to serve.
Graduated dues were just one additional step towards making AAPG more relevant in today’s world. Ongoing projects such as improved digital products for members and financial help for struggling geoscience research at our universities are just a couple more ways that AAPG is working towards shaping a new community. We need even more.
A critical issue will be to stem any backlash in our existing member base. I will point out to those folks upset with the new structure that doing nothing would have guaranteed dues increases above inflation as our member base continued to shrink. Graduated dues has the potential of reversing that slide and keeping the organization healthy. However, keeping our existing members is necessary. We’ve spent a lot of time recently reaching out to potential new nternational members. I believe it is imperative in the next year for AAPG leadership to show how much it values its core of U.S. (read Level 1) members.
I also feel that any abuse of the new graduated dues structure will need to be dealt with harshly. Unless those who openly flaunt the guidelines are publicly stripped of membership for their ethics violation, then Level 1 paying members will perceive themselves as patsies and rebel. I am sorry to say that some of us believe that a small number of the American membership will try to cheat the new system. Not anyone in the House of Delegates mind you (I would be shocked and dismayed if anyone in the House falls into that category). I can’t speak relative to professionals in other countries, but suspect some countries will be better and some worse. I suggested to Randi Martinsen that AAPG might track average salaries compared to those claimed at dues time as an ongoing check for compliance.
In conclusion, we still have work to do towards making AAPG the healthy and vibrant society we all wish for and it falls to each of us to do our part towards achieving that goal.