Delegates to tackle dues overhaul

June 1, 2012

The AOA House of Delegates sessions at the upcoming 115th annual congress will devote considerable time to reviewing and revising a dues structure that rivals the US tax code in complexity and apparent paucity of rationale.

Key Points

Chicago-The AOA House of Delegates sessions at the upcoming 115th annual congress will devote considerable time to reviewing and revising a dues structure that rivals the US tax code in complexity and apparent paucity of rationale.

For example, there's a "retired" category for those still wishing to claim membership after hanging up the BIO. There's a "life" category for those who have been members for many years. There are "descending" dues for those approaching retirement and whose fees decline each of the final years. Full dues are for full-time practitioners.

Three different "partial practice" categories stipulate different dues depending on how many days a week you practice. Students who join the American Optometric Student Association and automatically become members of the AOA have their own dues level.

Throughout three days of deliberations, the House will review each bylaw having to do with dues and vote on whether to retain or jettison it. "What we're trying to do is make a fairer and simpler dues structure," he says.

To that end, Dr. Cockrell and fellow reformers hope to winnow the partial-practice dues categories down to just one.

Descending dues targeted

Another proposal aims to eliminate the descending dues echelon. Meantime, the delegates will consider a plan to add a second retired dues level, so retirees who wish to receive the AOA's mailings pay one level, and those who wish to remain members yet be left alone pay another. "My hope is that it's revenue-neutral," Dr. Cockrell said.

One of the major uses of AOA revenue goes to upgrading its headquarters' information technology. While member dues provide the bulk of the association's revenue, industry kicks in with sponsorship of various AOA projects as well buying booth space at Optometry's Meeting.

Other business involves voting on open seats of the Board of Trustees (with terms of 1, 2, or 3 years), as well as selecting a new president elect, vice president, and secretary-treasurer. Dr. Cockrell will review the past year's finances and present a budget for the year to come.