500 Cummings Center
Beverly, MA 01915
Tel. (978) 927-8330
Fax: (978) 524-8890
Thomas J. Miner, MD
Over the past several years, the executive committee has worked to address the problem of maintaining optimal membership numbers. Although many members of the society have appreciated a smaller and more intimate group, it has become clear that such a small sized group is unable to financially support the society and maintain the robust activities and desirable meeting venues that so many appreciate and value. This issue has been further compounded by the fact that larger numbers of Active members are anticipated to be transferring to Senior status soon. To an extent this issue has been successfully addressed by improved outreach and programing to new members. For the second year in a row the number of Active applicants will be capping at the 35-member per year maximum thereby delaying entry into the society for some. If new membership continues at the current pace, we will optimistically stay at our present size in the future (also accounting for anticipated attrition, geographic limitations, and regional growth rates.) Current bylaws, however, limit our ability to respond to current and future changes in membership demographics. After considerable discussion, the Executive Committee will be proposing changes in the bylaws to allow for a better way to define membership status in the society. Furthermore, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity considerations make arguments for such changes even more compelling. Although these proposals will be presented fully prior to the fall meeting, I hope to offer these ideas now for your consideration and feedback.
To address new membership, we propose that there shall be no limitations (removal of current cap in bylaws) for active, senior, associate candidate or affiliate members and there shall be no limitation on the number of new active members per year. To address changes from active to senior status, we propose removal of automatic transfer of membership status at the age of 65. To better reflect the professional status of our membership, rather than setting an arbitrary age of retirement, we propose making senior membership open to any member who has either retired from full-time employment or become disabled. Upon meeting either criterion, a member upon request and approval of the Executive Committee, will be transferred to Senior status. Senior membership shall be exempt from dues; furthermore, Senior members who reside within New England shall have all other rights and privileges of the Society including the right to vote and hold office. As a related policy separate from the By-laws, if a member has reached the age of 70 and is in arrears for two years but has not communicated anything to the NESS regarding retirement or disability, the NESS would automatically transfer that member to Senior status.
I believe that the proposed By-laws changes will encourage and support a robust membership capable of not only sustaining, but also promoting the impact, reach, and growth of this society that means so much to us.
Thomas J. Miner, MD