FLA Fireworks: Time For A Fizzle

Posted on May 26, 2009 by LCT Magazine

The Florida Limousine Association is dealing with industry in-fighting at board election time. South Florida again looks like an industry divided with members at odds with each other over personal and professional dealings, and the interpretation of bylaws and leadership. 
Emails are flying disclosing the “he said-she saids.” Meanwhile, real industry issues are lying on the back burner. As the fighting continues, members attempt to distance themselves and avoid taking sides by just ignoring what is going on or not showing up to meetings. What could be the strongest industry association is now a shadow of its former self.   
I will once again take a stance on a controversial issue for which I have friends on both sides of this fence. My advice to all of you:
  • Stop the fighting
  • Leave your egos at the door and work for the good of the industry. Personal issues are just that — personal. They should not be brought into the association. The association is not an arbitrator for bad deals with vendor members or amongst members themselves. 
  • Pick a leader who is not at all political and who is willing to work for the good of the industry first and foremost
  • Consider hiring an executive director to manage the association (Make sure this individual is unbiased)
  • Get D&O (Director’s and Officers) Insurance: This is a volunteer job. Make sure the association and you are covered.
  • Be totally upfront on everything that has to do with the association: Send regular minutes to the members with the financials. Show how money is being spent. 
  • Treat the association like the professional organization that it is. Who wants to be part of an organization that does nothing but fight among its members?
  • Once you put a board together that is agreeable to the membership, have a planning session and set goals for the organization along with an execution plan for those goals. Track the progress and report it to your members. Remember that you can’t do everything. Prioritize those things that you plan to accomplish and don’t get off track.
  • Create a mission statement for your organization and live by your mission.
  • Get successful associations to mentor your association. Find out how they manage to get things done with the same dynamics that you have. 
  • Become passionate (as you are right now about your fighting) about making the organization successful. Why do all of you come out when it’s controversial yet the meetings are dead otherwise?
As I sit and read these emails going back and forth, it sickens me. I sit in association meetings across the country and watch association presidents ask for volunteers while no hands go up or the same few people volunteer. I listen to the bickering, and the ones who are the most vocal are typically those who do nothing. I challenge all of you to become part of the solution and not the problem. Florida is riddled with problems that a strong association would be able to resolve, but not if you can’t work with each other. 
I will end with this final point. At least the people who are in this debate care enough to participate in our industry. They are heated because it matters. I have much more contempt for those of you who sit back and are critical who never attend meetings, never participate, and never do anything to further our industry. As you ride on the coattails of what others are doing, realize that you are giving up your right to criticize by not participating. You are like the baby who is spoon fed. Take what ever is given to you and eat it — after the fact is just too late to criticize.
— Linda Moore, LCT East Coast Editor
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