Edward B. Dunn Our New President
Major changes in the administrative organization of the American Rhododendron Society were made by the Board of Directors at a meeting in Portland, Oregon, on Oct. 6. The Board voted to employ a part-time administrative officer, tentatively designated as an Executive Vice President, with duties as follows. He will edit the Quarterly Bulletin, the books and any other publications, serve as Registrar, handle the details of the Secretary's office, keep in touch with the various Chapters, attempt to build up the membership, promote the Society, and act as general business manager. The position was offered to Dr. J. Harold Clarke, of Long Beach, Wash., who accepted. Dr. Clarke then resigned as President of the Society and Mr. Edward B. Dunn, the Vice President automatically came into office.
As the action was taken at a time when most of the material for this Bulletin was already in the hands of the printer, there has been little time to work out details. Although the Bylaws do not specifically provide for an Executive Vice President it was felt that that name best described the position the Directors wanted to fill. The By-laws do state that "The Governing Body shall be vested with the authority to carry on the business of the organization and the management of its affairs…".
By-laws Revisions Being Considered
A committee, under the chairmanship of Ed. Dunn, has been working on revisions of the By-laws, which will be presented to the Board, published in the Bulletin, and voted on at the next annual meeting. At that time the members will have an opportunity to vote on various changes being proposed to bring the By-laws as nearly as possible into conformity with the Society's needs.
The Board was faced with the necessity of filling the position of editor of the Quarterly Bulletin, vacant since the untimely death of our long-time editor, Rudolph Henny. Arrangements for editing our next book, due to go to the printer in late 1965, had to be made. The Society has grown to such a size, some 2500 members and 21 Chapters that the administrative details of the Secretary's office have become more numerous and involved.
Growth Problems of Single Plant Societies
The usual experience of single plant societies, such as ours, has been that they were started with volunteer help, involving a great deal of time on the part of a few loyal people. Then a minimum compensation is paid certain ones for handling most of the detail work. Eventually the time comes when an administrative office, with adequate personnel, seems essential. For some time various members had been indicating their feeling that the American Rhododendron Society has reached that point.
In some other societies the business affairs of the organization have been satisfactorily combined with the editorship of its publications. The Directors, feeling that this would be desirable in the A.R.S., and faced with the emergency of having to find an editor, decided to move ahead, with the hope and expectation that the membership would approve, at the annual meeting, any By-laws revisions necessary to fully legalize the proposed changes.
Dues should be Raised
Although the new administrative officer is on a part time basis it was realized that, as the Society grows, the duties of the office will become more numerous and involved and, some time in the future, will require one or more full time employees. Other expenses of the organization, including new projects designed to give the members and Chapters greater service, and to promote the accumulation of knowledge about, and interest in, the genus Rhododendron, will undoubtedly continue the upward trend.
There has been no increase in dues since the American Rhododendron Society was established some 17 years ago while costs have risen and the activities of the Society have greatly increased. The Directors have frequently discussed the dues structure and have felt that an increase must come. At the meeting on Oct. 6, in view of the changes in organization, they voted to recommend that the dues be raised to $7.50 per year, with $1.50 of the total, as at present, going to the Chapter. Membership, at this rate, could be in the name of "Mr. and Mrs." if desired, but there would be but one vote, and one Bulletin. In some families both husband and wife have full membership and it is hoped that they will continue.
As the dues are specified in our present By-laws at $5.00 per year it will be necessary that this action be approved at the next annual meeting, the dues increase to go into effect for the year 1965. The A.R.S. treasury, as indicated in the Auditor's report, published in the July Bulletin, is in good shape, but a large part of the balance on hand is in a special fund to finance the publication of our next book. Our working balance is relatively small.
The Society Has Been Run Economically
The fact that we have been able to operate so long without a raise in the dues may be attributed, in large part, to the fact that the Secretary and the Bulletin Editor have worked for very low salaries. Mrs. Hansen was always most careful in conserving the resources of the Society. Our Yearbooks and, more recently, our "Five Year" books were edited without cost to the Society.
The Directors, in voting to consolidate most of the details of the Secretary's office in the new business office did so with an expression of grateful appreciation for Mrs. Hansen's many years of service to the American Rhododendron Society.
New President From Seattle
The new President, Edward B. Dunn, has been Vice President for several years. He is a resident of Seattle, Washington, and has been President of the Seattle Chapter, a member of the A. R. S. Board of Directors, and active in various ways at both the Chapter and the national levels. Many of our eastern members will remember him as a featured speaker at the annual meeting held at Winterthur. The Society can look forward to efficient and sympathetic leadership from its new President.
Dr. J. Harold Clarke was Vice President of the Society, became President at the death of President Claude Sersanous, and has been re-elected since that time. Although he lives at Long Beach, Washington, he is a member of the Portland Chapter, and served as President of that Chapter for two terms. He edited the Society's books, "Rhododendrons 1956" and "Rhododendrons For Your Garden."
The new business office address will be Long Beach, Washington.