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>Tod's Posting:

>And a meager 3%, if I remember correctly, of our ARMA dues (for those
list 
>member that are also ARMA members) goes towards lobbying efforts.  Not
sure 
>how high a priority that is within the Strategic Plan - sorry, I'm on a

>quick break from painting a bedroom here inside my house inside the 
>Beltway - so I'm not going to pull up the ARMA website to look.  Should
>that area be better funded?

Tod Chernikoff, CRM
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Tod - thanks for the post and please don't take the info. below as any
sort of criticism of that post.  The question is a good one, and I hope
that my comments prove helpful.


As a Board member, perhaps I should know the percentage of our spending
on "lobbying".  I'm not 100% certain of the percentage or of the number.
However, as an "old" and former Chair of what was ARMA International's
Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee (later GRECO and now ARMA's
Public Policy Committee)... there are a few points that I'd like to
make:

(1) The "lobbying environment" has substantially changed for
professional associations.  Our costs are now fully reported to the
Federal Government.  I believe that there are additional hidden costs to
us for performing such services on behalf of our members. Yep, ARMA pays
taxes on such efforts.

(2) Many of our members, whose firms fund the dues of members have
specific 
policies and rules that limit or prohibit the subsidizing of lobbying
activities through member dues payments.  Thus, any substantial
percentage increases would risk the ability of our members to have
employers underwrite their dues payments.

(3) However much we might wish to spend our choose to spend, more than
10% of our members come from Canada, with other somewhat lower
percentages coming from the European Union, the Caribbean and Asia.
Thus, we cannot limit our focus entirely to Washington, D.C.

(4) Finally, that this is crucial... ARMA members have been able to
accomplish a great deal without substantial lobbying investments.  On a 
budget of $ 7,500, and with no available staff support in the "old
days", ARMA was active in protecting a key piece of federal legislation
known as the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).  We were so effective, that
those who sought to limit the effectiveness of the PRA asked that we
halt the letter-writing, the petitions, etc. that we used to bring
attention to our concerns.  Prior to that effort, ARMA played a key and
successful role in 
the creation of the Paperwork Reduction Act, and had a former Chair of
that 
same Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee invited to the White
House for the signing ceremony.  So... my point here is that our
effectiveness has
never been related to the amount of money we spend.  Based on current
Washington standards, there is no amount that we could spend to ensure
that 
we were spending enough.

(5) While working on lobbying - or what I would refer to as education
efforts directed at federal agencies (Yes, that is on ARMA's radar
screen
and is part of our Strategic Plan) - We have other even more critical
areas 
on which we must focus.  First and foremost, providing our members with
the
training and educational tools to ensure that RIM professionals can play
a key role within their organizations is crucial.  Our members, through
surveys have told us that we must also increase our role in the
standards arena.  

There is a great deal that ARMA can do.... but we are simply not
equipped 
to invest heavily in lobbying efforts in the current Washington
environment 
(where investing every time we have would provide little advantage), to
the detriment of the other work that our members need.

Suggestion - Ok... I do NOT suggest that we do nothing.  However, with
more than 2,000 listserv members - and I suspect U.S. members in almost
every single Congressional delegation - perhaps we should rely upon our
individual AND collective voices by writing letters to our Congressmen
asking how a Federal Government that is eager to tell the rest of us
what we must retain, how we should retain it, how we should make it so
readily accessible to regulatory bodies....when they cannot get their
own act together.  

Is this a political matter?  Perhaps the report was politically
motivated... 
but I've never seen a burning desire among executives in any agency
focus an
appropriate level of attention on electronic records - no matter what
party
occupied the White House.

My apologies for the length of this, but I just couldn't resist, given
my
history in working in this area.

Douglas P. Allen, CRM, CDIA+
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