I have been listening to the conversations on the listserv for quite awhile now, and although some of what I am going to ask may have already been discussed, I would appreciate additional help with these issues.
 First, some background.  I work for a mid-size privately held company.  Our owners have always taken very good care of the employees, but in these economic conditions, we are facing layoffs and administrative cuts across the board.  The company has decided that in order to stay in business, we need to focus on our core-business, and put our dwindling resources into making our product the best, and focusing on customer service, which means that all the administrative areas have been asked to cut costs 15%.  I do not disagree with the conceptóthe company can only survive if the customers purchase the product, and since customers arenít purchasing anything these days, we have to be the best at what we do to sell to them.

 Because of the cuts, though, we have had to layoff employees and trim all of our other budget items.  We are obviously not traveling to anything unless we pay ourselves, and we are also going to have to pay our own membership dues to professional organizations, as well as any meeting costs, including local.

 Within my unit, weíve had several ARMA memberships and also memberships in SAA, AIIM, and other professional organizations.  These obviously add up when one is thinking about paying them out of pocket.  The question to this group is, if you could only keep one, which would it be?  What do the members of this list find the most useful?

 I enjoy ARMA members, but outside of the IMJ, I donít feel I receive any benefit from the ARMA organization itself.  I think ARMA has lost focus and does not care about the members.  Iíve watched them add staff and raise dues, throw away money on SII and instead of getting rid of something that didnít work, bring it in-house and continue to waste money, and give no regard to the economics the members face in their organizations.  Iíve watched the elected board of directors become totally irrelevant, and completely powerless to stop any of it.  I donít really view AIIM as the organization that can really help me, either.  Although they are starting to give more lip-service to records management, I donít believe that will sustain itself and the info they are sending out is basic at best.  I am leaning towards SAA, which seems to value the members, seems to be doing the most in research into the issues, and seems to listen to what the members are saying.

 Iíd also be interested in hearing if anyone else is facing these same issues of budget, and how you are working to make the records management area more useful to the organization during these times.


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