I am writing this report on Friday before the Christmas weekend.  It is a time for reflection. It seems like yesterday we were ushering in the new century and now it will be 2012 in one week. I am sure we all have changed in the last twelve years (and not just being twelve years older). We did not realize it in 2000, but we were witnessing the last stages of the industrial age and the beginning of the 21st Century information age. Today we are using information age words that did not exist just twelve short years ago, such as tweets, face-book, droids, I-pads, texting, etc. Our cell phones have more memory than our desktop computers in the 80s, and are really small computers. The speed of change will continue to increase at an even more rapid pace into 2012 and beyond. Change is now the norm. We need to accept and be comfortable working in a rapidly changing environment in our occupations, retirement, and organizations such as VALA.

Since becoming your president, and beginning my third term, my goals have always been to recognize this new operation environment, and with your support make the on-going changes necessary to allow VALA to be a force in Vermont in the information age. Change can be difficult at first, but I have found the more you are invested in the changes the easier it is to feel comfortable working in this new environment. There will be areas in VALA that show how we did business in past which will not be the way we do business in 2012 and future years. That is the norm of the 21st Century.

What changes have we made?

  • VALA’s new website is active and available after a year of development. The loose ends will be completed in early 2012.
  • VALA’s quarterly newsletter is part of our new communication plan
  • VALA’s Membership Committee now has an accurate membership list that is available and will be maintained as a communication tool. The committee will be marketing VALA to attract new members.
  • VALA’s Finance Committee developed a 2012 revised dues structure that begins to reflect the value of our organization to Vermont Listers and Assessors. We are also working to implement a financial statement model to provide enhanced information on the financial condition of the organization
  • VALA’s Education Committee has initiated a plan to respond to member requests for specific education classes (Example the January 18-19 Ratio Study class). This committee, in conjunction with the membership committee, plans the process to market, register, setup, and follow-up on these classes.
  • VALA’s Legislative Committee is more visible in their advocacy role in Montpelier. They are asked to be members of committees to study pertinent issues. This year we will have sponsors that introduce legislation that was developed by VALA.
  • VALA’s bi-monthly meetings have moved to a more focused business meeting with input from all committees and a discussion of relevant issues within the three hour time period.

The above list demonstrates the changes the organization has made in less than three years.

What are some changes to be addressed in 2012?

  • VALA’s By-Laws need to be reviewed and updated to reflect the changes in the organization. Galen and his committee are ready to get feedback on recommended changes, and to make recommendations to the Board for the annual meeting. This review is long overdue. Carol will have copies of the By-Laws for distribution at the January meeting.
  • VALA’s Membership Committee needs to begin marketing the new dues structure and the value-added services VALA provides for all Listers and Assessors. This marketing also needs to be the responsibility of all VALA members.
  • It is time for VALA to look at developing a president successor plan. The changes that have been made and will continue to be made makes it very difficult to become a VALA president without having committee experience and specific responsibilities prior to his/her election. Addressing this plan is vital to maintaining focus and direction.

Submitted By:
John B. Fike President


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