By MARY LOU RECOR
In April 1997 at a meeting held on the Breadloaf Campus of Middlebury College, the GMC Executive Committee and section presidents expressed concern over tensions between the Waterbury Ctr. office and the sections. They recommended that GMC President Rolf Anderson appoint a committee to look into the relationship between the sections and the GMC.
The committee met five times during 1998, and, with input from section members and GMC staff, and after much discussion and many revisions, they drafted a set of suggestions and recommendations which they believe will ultimately better support the mission of the GMC as a whole.
Many of the committee's suggestions have already become current practice. These include:
- sending information about section membership to all new members;
- more articles about section activities in the Long Trail News;
- coordination of publication schedules between the Long Trail News and section newsletters;
- coordination of trail maintenance and educational programs; greater section representation on GMC committees (more sections represented);
- educational programs and other activities taking place in partnership with interested sections; and
- coverage of significant policy issues in the Long Trail News.
The committee further suggested:
- that the sections continue to contribute to the overall health of the GMC;
- that section officers communicate with members about GMC affairs;
- that sections welcome new members and offer activities which appeal to a variety of people;
- that sections have bylaws which are current and in compliance with the GMC bylaws; and
- that the sections collectively prepare a handbook detailing how a section functions.
The Sections Committee recommended the following to the Board of Directors:
- That the GMC consider and support the formation of new sections;
- That the GMC Distribution and Mailing List Policy be amended to permit a section to mail one section membership solicitation to new, at-large members living in that section's geographic area during the at-large member's first membership year;
- That sections have the opportunity to submit verbal section reports at the GMC annual meeting;
- That the GMC president strives to regularly appoint new members to GMC committees to ensure healthy turnover and provide opportunities for more people to become involved in GMC affairs;
- That before making significant policy decisions, the GMC allows sufficient time for discussion with and input from the sections. Also, that sections consult with the GMC before making public statements about GMC issues;
- That committee chairs vary the mode or location of meetings to invite broad geographic participation in the committees;
- That if the GMC needs to make a quick response to a threat to the Long Trail, they notify the appropriate section;
- That the GMC provide nuts and bolts guidance on financial policies and procedures to section treasurers.
On January 23, 1999, after Committee Chair Andrew Nuquist presented the final document to the Board of Directors, the board voted to accept the suggestions and recommendations.
In February, the Sections Committee met with Ben Rose and interested section officers to discuss the future of the committee.
It was agreed the committee had fulfilled its mission and that any future sections committee would have a different focus. Heinz Trebitz of the Ottauquechee Section volunteered to chair a new section task force which will continue to monitor the relationship between the sections and the Waterbury Ctr. office and look into the possibility of writing a section handbook.
Anyone wishing for a copy of the Section Committee's report to the Board of Directors may contact Mary Lou Recor at 660-2834.