I really want to respond as a member of the IAS since
1976 or 1977. I am sure that I am one of
the older members in this organization not residing in the Miami environs.
And that is what the IAS originally was. It was a Miami organization. Although Monroe Birdsey was a member, they
allowed Mike Madison to be the scientific leader, even though Mike was from the
West Coast of Florida. And I understand
there was local disagreement about that.
They really didn’t know what to do with me (West Coast of the United
States) or my friend David Burnett (Australia).
Both Burnett and I worked at building up local
memberships and the Miami group really had to listen to us as we had built the
local chapters into 30 to 50 or more in membership. I am afraid I made a terrible enemy in Betty
Waterbury. Alan Fernandez (a very early member, maybe a
founder), hated me until the day he died and yet we never met or communicated. I am not sure why he hated me so.
You see, even though it was called International, the IAS
was really a local organization. They
didn’t mind taking our dues, but they didn’t want anything else from outside
Miami. And I mean anything else. Whether you have or not (and certainly not
with me), you are not the first to raise the ire of the members of the IAS and not
even the first Ozzie.
There was good reason for this, I was told. As long as the IAS was controlled by the Miami
group, the IAS would continue and continue in the manner originally
At one time, as a cost saving move, they wanted to
discontinue the newsletter. At that
time the newsletter primarily concerned a replay of what had happened at the
last meeting in Miami with only a little of general interest. I suggested that except for the quarterly
Aroideana, there was no reason for IAS membership unless the newsletter was
continued. I also started contributing
articles for the newsletter and they were generally published.
I was finally motivated to ask my
questions when I noticed that one of our Board members is not a financial
member and nobody seems to have noticed.
I didn’t know this, but I am not really concerned. Why are you concerned?
To those that felt this is not
the appropriate place to discuss issues relating to the Society, I notice
nobody suggested an alternative forum. There is so little communication about
Society issues and it is sad that some thought it should be shut down.
I think that this is entirely the appropriate place and I
didn’t know anyone wanted to shut it down.
In fact, you may have some constructive ideas and I would like to hear
them. So I hope this conversation is
The first of these is a lack of
communication. To the ordinary member
there is little communication between the Board members. It did disturb me to
watch the communications between Board members trying to find out what was
happening at the Show and Sale. Communication from the Board to the ordinary
members also appears to be almost nonexistent.
One hopes that this is not because there is nothing to tell us. I also
see little evidence of communication between the Society and the general
As to the communication between the Board members
regarding the annual Show and Sale, because it is located in Miami, local
volunteers must be responsible for running it.
In 1984 a Show and Sale was held in Australia and I am guessing that the
particulars of that were not discussed to any great length with the IAS Board
members. What additional communication
would you like to see?
I am not sure what you mean by communication with the
general public. If you mean the
membership, we are the Society and we elect board members annually and we
communicate with them regularly, albeit privately. We also communicate with each other, as you
can attest to. Would you require all
communication made public? If you mean
non-members, I know that the annual show and sale is publicized to the general
public in the Miami and south Florida area.
What else would you have us do?
The second issue is a lack of
planning. If you don't plan to do anything then nothing will happen and you end
up responding to issues rather than driving them. The society does not appear to have any plans
for the future and, from a management perspective,that is a major concern.
How do you know there is a lack of planning? As a member of the Society, have you put
forth any planning ideas? Remember we
members, including you, are the Society.
The third issue is the failure to
put plans into action, but without plans then little will happen.
If, as you say, there is no planning, then how can this
be an issue? However, I suggest that
there is a great deal of planning and that these plans are put into
action. The evidence of this is an almost
40 year history of the Society.
I believe that the facts that the Board is now made up of
members from all over the world and, where possible, volunteers outside of the
Miami environs are performing needed tasks required a lot of planning on the
part of the Board and membership.
Greg, I believe your questions are thoughtful and fair
game, but it might be more constructive if you would make some
suggestions. They might get shot down or
they might get adopted. Be careful, your
suggestions might result in more involvement and work for yourself.
Fort Worth, Texas
(formerly from Los Angeles, California)