Submitted to Dave Mathewson, AMA Executive Director. Concerning new membership rules which will have memberships expiring every month and not just once each year. 06/23/2015
Our club like many has an agreement with the field owners to make certain every user is an insured AMA member in good standing. There are something like 200 to 300 people issued a key to our facility in each year when and only when they show a valid AMA membership card. We change this lock once each year necessitating a presentation of a new AMA card to get the new key. Thereby we assure each members current valid AMA status is eyeball verified once per year.
With memberships expiring every month, how are we to keep track of those wandering in and out now? Are we to post an officer at the field during open hours to check expiration dates on cards and revoke keys? If the club secretary or VP or Pres is made responsible to make these collector calls for the AMA, how are we ever to get volunteers for those positions? What a distasteful horror of a responsibility. The discomfort and embarrassment at confronting people and being confronted over your bill paying capacity is quite an undesirable position to be in. I’m quite certain nobody ever thought they’d be asked to such things when they joined the AMA or their local club. What they were thinking about was having fun!
What if ones membership or grace period expires a day or two after registering for an event?
The officers of our club are probably not aware of this complication as of yet. I think they are going to be slowly discovering the ugly responsibility being thrust upon them all across the country.
I can certainly understand the AMA’s need for a smoother work flow and a more regular cash flow. I do not see how our club can offer assurance to our field owner that we are able to juggle this hot potato. Whats worse, many clubs will decide to go along and get along and not complain. They’ll just continue their regular programs and begin to rely on “the honor system”. Many pilots will slip into an uninsured status which will be left un-managed. Are we seriously expecting our officers to drive to the deadbeats home and demand return of their key? Are we to change the lock and reissue keys on a monthly basis? What color is a valid card this month? Next month? When accidents occur with members who have unpaid expired memberships, they won’t be covered (rightfully so) and those people experiencing loses will be heading to the property owners to be made whole again ‘because of the AMA’. Will fields be slipping way because of this well intentioned program?
Membership periods need to have a predicable and simple pattern if the executive committee wishes to maintain our member clubs capacity to accurately assure financial responsibility compliance.
Why can’t the AMA simply prorate memberships so new member entering in the middle of summer are not paying a full year fee for a 1/2 year membership? Thereby assure they end up with a renewal date that is commiserate with the AMA’s interest in clubs successfully maintaining insured access to flying sites?
If cash flow is an issue, why not offer a goodie, micro discount, pat on the back or….. for the privilege of charging one’s on file card 6 months in advance in 1/2 year increments? There has to be some other answer which does not require the complete revamping of security procedures and additional management complexity at every flying site in America.
What we can’t lose track of is the typical AMA club officer works on meeting day and the events he volunteers at during the summer. These are hard working people who have essentially volunteered for some extra responsibilities when they are “going to be there” anyway. Running collections for the AMA is not going to be considered a pleasant or manageable responsibility.
I am certain as always the AMA’s intentions and your intentions are in the right place. The unseen consequences of this decision and the impact on stature of the executive committee concern me greatly.