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Proposed Changes in Bylaws

May 14, 2013 8:47 PM | Anonymous
As you all know CAMFT has proposed changing the bylaws and we are currently in the voting process (ballots are to be counted 6/7/13).  There have been a number of views expressed and some strong concerns voiced (via emails).  The most controversial aspect of the proposed changes centers around a new definition of the voting members, called "clinical members" and it goes as follows:  "Any individual licensed as a mental health professional by a regulatory Board of the State of California that requires a minimum of a master's degree...."
The Redding Regional Chapter of CAMFT does not have a specific position regarding which way the issue should be decided, but I want to open up this blog as an opportunity for members to dialogue about it.  Please feel free to contribute, whether you are licensed or pre-licensed; your thoughts are important to us.  
We urge each of you who received ballots to think through this and other issues in the proposals and cast your vote in a timely manor (ballots must be received in San Diego no later than June 6th).
Steve Weathersbee, Chapter President 


  • May 15, 2013 2:15 PM | Anonymous
    I want to encourage everyone to join in on this discussion. Please post comments here.
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  • May 31, 2013 11:54 PM | Michael Elterman
    I am very concerned about the new proposed bylaws. CAMFT is a special interest group that watches out and advocates for the profession. These bylaws strip us of that. LCSWs have their special interest group as do the psychologists. CAMFT has been the force behind our continued growth through the turf wars of these other two professions. We have our own turf issues and we need to maintain a special interest group for us. If we allow all other professions in as clinical members, we will lose this and any clout we had, will be gone. I am also DISTURBED by the ballot which does not tell anyone what is being stricken and after discussion with several people, the response was, "I am not going to read the old bylaws to see what is different." What is different is that the language of MFTs are being stricken so that CAMFT will no longer represent MFTs but all "mental health professionals." This is not in the best interest of our license. In addition, it is an all or nothing ballot and we are being told that things have to go together. Seems many things are being hidden. AAMFT went through this several years ago and they were very transparent and allowed a lot of talking back and forth and the membership decided against what CAMFT is trying to do. I cannot believe that CAMFT does not remember what happened during the last bylaw change and I hope you don't either. Many of us voted without much consideration and then we became upset and had to rally and confront the board to get it changed back. If this passes, and it very well might, the very nature of CAMFT will be changed. I implore everyone to really go over the bylaws carefully and think of the ramifications and ignore the "sales pitch" and discover the changes yourself. If you agree, PLEASE VOTE NO on the new changes. It will destroy our professional organization.

    Michael L. Elterman
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  • June 01, 2013 12:04 AM | Michael Elterman
    Here is a post by Daniel Sonkin that is very thought provoking:

    We are a group of long-time members of CAMFT, including former Presidents, Board Members, former and current Ethics Committee Chairs and Ethics Committee members, and others, who have serious concerns about the recent proposed Bylaws Vote 2013. We were appalled at not only the substance of the changes the Board is proposing, but also the manner in which this vote is being conducted. We have spoken with many members who have expressed similar outrage at this entire process.

    One of our immediate concerns was that the Bylaws Vote 2013 booklet, contained no strikeout summary of changes, or a copy of the current Bylaws so that members could intelligently vote on the proposed changes. The manner in which the proposed Bylaws were presented make it easy for members to be misled about the consequential nature of their vote. Additionally, the process leading up to this vote raises serious legal and ethical concerns. There is outrage, dismay, and shock being expressed by many members, especially those who have voted "yes" and now feel duped, because they voted based on their trust in CAMFT’s good faith efforts in the past. Many members who had not voted yet have expressed great relief that a group of clinicians have highlighted the serious implications of these proposed Bylaws should they pass; even though educating the membership should have been the role of CAMFT to begin with. This overall discontent within the membership is palpable. The reason for this is quite simple. Members have trusted CAMFT to advance and protect their profession for decades; and now, if the proposed Bylaws are enacted, the organization that they have financially supported over the years will cease to exist.

    We have several questions for the Board of Directors (that we are also circulating to members), the answers of which will help us determine what further actions we must take to protect our organization.

    1) Members of the Board of Directors, and the Executive Director, have repeatedly stated that this fundamental change in focus for CAMFT has been discussed or planned for years. Why would there be no reference to these drastic changes planned for CAMFT in the minutes of the Board of Directors meetings over the past three years?

    2) There have been no email blasts and no articles in the Therapist magazine about the Board’s intent to radically change the focus of the organization, change the name of the organization, and leave our profession without its advocacy organization. Why didn’t the Board inform the members about these significant plans?

    3) The memo from the board, in the Bylaws booklet, refers to this change as an “update” and a “modernization” that bring them into full compliance with modern California law (“…originally drafted in 1964”). This terminology is both misleading and wrong, giving members the impression that the Bylaws are out of date and somehow in violation of California Law. What the members/voters are not told is that the Bylaws have been amended throughout the years - as recently as 2009. A CAMFT staff attorney recently updated the Bylaws to be in compliance with California law, and the Board and the membership adopted these changes in 2009. Why would the Board intentionally use this misleading and inaccurate language in their message to the voting members on such a critical issue?

    4) Under California law, the membership of a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation may remove one or more Directors without cause by a majority vote of the membership. This statutory right/power of the membership (appearing on page 13 of the proposed Bylaws booklet -Section 6) leaves out the words “without cause.” Who decided to leave out those words and why would a statutory right of the members be altered in a proposal that was allegedly intended to bring the Bylaws into full compliance with modern law?

    In addition to these four issues, there are also numerous other changes in the proposed Bylaws that have not been fully disclosed and explained to the membership and therefore they are unable to fully understand their implications for the future of our organization (e.g., changing Standing Committees to Advisory committees for legally unsupportable reasons, changing the percentage votes needed to overturn the bylaws, changing dues, etc). This lack of transparency and due diligence makes us wonder whether this was a result of benign error or an attempt to pass a controversial measure by circumventing the vetting process presenting the voting members with a deceptive and misleading voter pamphlet. If it is the former, we are concerned that there is incompetence in the ranks of our leadership. If it is the latter, we believe there has been a breach of good faith and we intend to hold all those responsible accountable for their actions.
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