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Focus on Section Issues: Presidents Meeting (7/98)


It was a sunny Saturday in April and I was going to be spending it indoors. I must say, I wasn't exactly looking forward to my first Section Presidents' meeting at the Vermont Law School on April 18. It seemed a day tailor-made for cleaning up storm damage.

What a pleasant surprise the meeting turned out to be! GMC President Rolf Anderson began by making the first official announcement that Ben Rose had been chosen as GMC Executive Director. He enthusiastically described Ben's background and painted a bright picture of the GMC's future under his leadership. Rolf's enthusiasm was infectious and it carried over into the entire meeting.

As we got into the meat of the meeting, we each briefly outlined the problems our sections faced and what we were doing to solve them. As we went around the room, some common threads emerged. It seemed that all sections were adjusting to the new uniform dues arrangement, and for several sections this presented a real hardship. Several sections were grappling with a shrinking and aging membership and seeking ideas on how to spark growth, especially among younger people. And many sections were concerned about ongoing relationships between the sections and the Club administration in Waterbury Center.

After lunch and informal conversation, we met in small groups to discuss in greater depth the issues brought up in the morning. Two concrete steps grew out of these discussions. First, the Club administration will work to develop a set of policies and procedures to govern financial relationships between the sections and the main Club. And second, a follow-up meeting will be held in early November that will include all section leaders, not just the presidents.

The best thing from the meeting for me was the spirit of cooperation evident throughout. Much of this emanated from Rolf Anderson. It was clear from the beginning that he understood that the relationships between the sections and the administration have not always been good, but it was equally clear that he is determined to improve this situation while he is president. He had good insight into the problems faced by the various sections and many good suggestions for solving them. I believe the future is bright for the vitality of GMC sections and the GMC.