President’s Note to the Membership, July 2022
First, I would like to apologize for the delay in my first letter to the membership. Besides having to review an enormous amount of information and documentation produced by the Board during 2021, I’ve been dealing with the results of a rather impressive hailstorm here. So far, including buildings, cars and camper, we are up to $60,000+ in damages just to our property alone. Remember the old saying, “when it rains, it pours”? I’d take pouring rain over 3.5” hail anytime!
I want to welcome the new members of the Board: Marilyn Fox, Vice President; Jessica Barnett, Secretary; Larkin McCormack, Member at Large 1 and Christina Byrd, Member at Large 2. The lone holdover from last year’s Board is Shane Tucker, Treasurer. Due to resignation in 2021, there was no president to move into the Past President board position. At our first Board meeting, Matthew Miller was selected to fill that position. I have the greatest confidence in Matt and the other 2022 Board members and want to thank them for stepping up during a difficult time for AMMP. They are all dedicated to moving AMMP forward and deserve our thanks and support.
I would also like to thank members of the prior Board for their service, and particularly those who have helped us so much during the transition. Regardless of past difficulties that were encountered, all have served with honor and with the best interests of AMMP foremost. Most have agreed to continue providing historical perspective and council to the new Board, an essential component of successful leadership in the coming years.
We also need to thank all the Board candidates who agreed to stand for election. We hope they will continue to actively participate in building AMMP success.
Prior to our first official board meeting of 2022, the new board was treated to an extremely informative transition meeting on Zoom by members of the prior board, organized and led by Michelle Pinsdorf and Michael Holland. The meeting focused on providing an historical perspective of 2021 Board activity, outstanding issues carried over from 2021, and some of the prior Board’s unrealized goals for the future.
Our first Board meeting of the year was held on 22 June 2022 via Zoom. Also present by invitation were Matthew Miller and former Board members Michelle Pinsdorf, Vanessa Rhue, Juliet Hook and Michael Holland.
First order of business was to fill the position of Past President which was vacant due to prior resignation. As previously mentioned, Matthew Miller, most recently Chair of the Election Committee, had indicated a strong interest in continuing to serve AMMP in whatever capacity the Board saw fit. After Board discussion, and without dissent, Matthew accepted the offer to step in as Past President and will serve in that capacity until the currently elected President’s term ends in 2024.
Christina Byrd, elected to a one-year term filling the vacant Member-at-Large 2 position, is looking for a one-year replacement as Chair of the Resources Committee. She would like to return to her role with the committee when her Board term ends. The Resources Committee will be the focus of considerable activity as we strive to provide significantly more valuable content to AMMP members over the next year.
A new committee, Health and Safety, is being established. This committee will be tasked with ensuring that presentations, workshops, and publications depict safe practices. They will also provide resources to the prep community to help keep us safe and healthy in the lab and field. The Communications Committee and Resources Committee also need new chairs and members. If you have an interest in these or any of our other committees and want to contribute to AMMP’s success, please let us know with a call or email to any of the chairs or Board members.
Several suggestions were made for changes to the Bylaws. Present and past members of the Board recognized the need for more guidance to help deal with various issues but agreed that bylaws are intentionally broad to provide only basic rules for the operation of an organization. The proper place for developing detailed guidance is by codifying policies and procedures. Policies and procedures approved by the Board have the same weight as bylaws but are more readily enacted and modified than bylaws. This will be an ongoing goal of this Board. Michelle Pinsdorf volunteered to lead this effort.
In 2021, the Board faced several difficulties due in part to the inability to achieve a quorum as a result of resignations and unavoidable absences during the field season. To address this, a suggestion was made to add two additional Board positions. This suggestion was tabled in favor of research into better solutions.
The Annual Meeting Committee (AMC) has remained quite active planning the 2023 Annual Meeting. The Board has approved the Burke Museum’s submission (again!) and appropriate venue contacts have been signed. If you would like to share your expertise with other members in a hands-on setting, the workshop submissions page will open very soon. Seattle is a great destination and those of us who attended the last AMMP meeting there more than a decade ago are looking forward to seeing what’s new at the Burke! The host committee and AMC have been working hard on some great programs and professional development opportunities for 2023. I hope everyone can attend. I’ll leave the details to the AMC to disclose. Check the AMMP web page often for updates.
If you have any questions or concerns, I invite you to contact me directly at email@example.com. Thank you all for your continued support of AMMP!
[Posting this note from Matthew Miller on his behalf--Gregory Brown]
Dear AMMP Member;
I am Matthew Miller. You may remember me from previous emails as the former Elections Committee Chair; a position I held for five years. Like many of you, I have been deeply troubled by the dysfunction within our Association that we experienced during this last term. From my position on the Elections Committee I knew that having a fully functioning Board would be vital to the continued success of our organization. To that end, at the close of the 2022 election, I resigned my position on the Elections Committee and submitted to the new Board my desire to fill the role of Past President. The Board of Directors has unanimously appointed me to be your Past President for the 2022-2024 term.
With no remaining President from last term, there would have been no new Past President. This position is never elected, but is vital to the function of the Board, providing continuity between terms and being an important seventh - potentially tie breaking - vote.
In my letter to the Board seeking this office I spoke of my experience improving elections processes, building up the Elections Committee from one person to five, being a meticulous record keeper, and working with my Committee to submit numerous bylaws amendments.
During my term I expect to act as a third Member-At-Large, fulfilling duties assigned me by the Board. I am committed to transparency to members about the actions of your Board of Directors and will consistently strive to ensure that you are made aware of our every action, when able. The Board will be in discussions over the coming weeks about how best to move our organization forward.
Should any of you have specific questions for me, or think there are additional topics/problems/issues you would like the Board of Directors to handle this term (other than the obvious ones) please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One last thing. With my leaving the Elections Committee please know that your elections are in very good hands. The current Chair, Georgia Knauss did a fantastic job with this years election and the other members will work to keep our democratic processes running for years to come.
Association for Materials and Methods in Paleontology