AVMA delegates approve dues increase, shut down plan for online voting records
CHICAGO — Dues will be going up gradually over the next five years for American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) members following a vote in favor of the increase by the organization's House of Delegates (HOD) Jan. 8.
The association's plan to increase dues by smaller amounts each year rather than by a lump sum every several years was first hatched last summer. The new plan calls for an annual $10 increase for regular members from 2013 to 2015. A $50 hike will take effect for 2011, which the HOD approved at its January 2010 winter session. Prior to the 2011 increase, the last dues increase came in 2004 at $25 for regular members.
The dues increase will result in a $700,000 income boost for AVMA in 2013, $1.4 million in 2014 and $2.1 million in 2015.AVMA's House of Delegates also approved a resolution recognizing 2011 as World Veterinary Year in honor of the founding first veterinary school in Lyon, France, 250 years ago.
Disapproved at the House of Delegates' winter session was a resolution to move voting results online, which was proposed by the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association (AzVMA). The resolution would have directed HOD to change voting procedures to require all main motions and elections to be conducted by open electronic ballot. The results would then be posted online for membership to view. The new system, according to AVMA, would have allowed members to see how each HOD member voted on a particular issue.
"Only the vote tally is revealed at the meeting, not how each delegate voted," AVMA says of the current system. "Individual votes are considered confidential."
In its resolution submission, the AzVMA wrote that "the votes we cast should be available for the members we represent to view and comment upon if desired. The intent of this resolution is to encourage a more open and transparent process, not to increase its complexity."
However, the majority of HOD delegates disagreed, though AVMA spokesperson Sharon Curtis Granskog says there was much discussion on the resolution.
"There was a sense that there might be more pressure on somebody to vote one way ... rather than just voting what they believe," Granskog says. "There might actually be more politics behind it. A number of delegates said they report back to delegation on how they vote anyway."
Another delegate feared online records might open his practice up to protests from animal rights groups depending on what HOD had to vote on.