Friends of Nature Center board seeks to raise dues

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The board of the Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks seeks to raise member dues in order to help finance program expansion at the Nature Center. To do so, it must change a provision in its existing Articles of Incorporation that requires any bylaw modification for dues and assessments be approved by “the vote or written consent of a majority of the voting members of this corporation.”

Current board President George Ray estimates current membership at 400. “Our concern is that there’s no way we can get everyone at a meeting,” he said. “We don’t expect to get 50 percent even with proxies.”

To accomplish the goal of raising dues, Ray and his board plan to ask attending members at the annual meeting at 6 p.m. Friday, June 17, to approve deletion of the Article provision requiring majority vote of the voting members to change dues. Ray argued that current bylaws allow a membership vote to amend the Articles of Incorporation by a simple quorum of those attending its annual meeting. “To amend the Articles does not require a full vote of the membership,” he said.

According to Ray, current bylaws define quorum at the annual meeting as 20. With 20 members present, a majority of those could vote to delete the Article provision. The net effect would allow directors to file an amendment to the Articles with the California Secretary of State deleting the referenced section

With the Article section deleted, the board may then specify in the bylaws the methods by which members are assessed, how dues are collected, and the amount of those dues.

Ray noted raising dues could expand current programs, including the new speaker series, provide reimbursement to school districts for busing of students and grow current festivals. Ray said there has been some encouragement from the county to raise dues because doing so would expand programs and likely increase attendance at the county facility. Also, membership allows free entry into the center, thereby reducing possible county revenue given the large Friends membership base.

The board, currently numbering seven, also will seek to reduce the authorized number of directors from nine to seven, with a quorum being a majority of those then serving. Three director terms expire on June 30, 2016. No incumbents are seeking reelection. Anyone interested in running should nominate themselves or ask another member to nominate them at the meeting.

The meeting will be held at the Nature Center on Highway 243. The call to order is at 6:15 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. The meeting centers on bylaw amendment and election of directors.

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