MUFON By-Law changes

Date: Mon, 20 September 2011

I just went back and accessed files I have saved from over ten years ago when I was collecting information used in prosecuting the Carpenter case. These copies and communications turn out to have current relavance. I found BoD member lists for 1993 and 1999 from the MUFON Proceedings for those years and both list 24 Board voting positions. I also reaccessed four communications from Larry Bryant, a former Board member, regarding the disposition of the Carpenter case by MUFON and the 2000-2001 Bylaw change process detailed by John Schuessler as he drove the process from summer 2000 through to the conclusion in late 2001 where major changes were made to the Bylaws using two different change proposals.

MUFON's first conference was in 1970 in Peoria IL (MJ note) so Bylaws were originally created for a 1970 to 1982 period (version 1). The1982 Bylaws we recently obtained from the IRS most likely represents the Bylaws (version 2) in place from 1982 till when the Board tried to change them with an appropriate balloting process through a MUFON Journal vote notification and ballot first unsuccessfully in 2000 then successfully in 2001.

I did not understand the full significance of the MUFON Board's pushing through changes to the Bylaws at that time as I had left MUFON after Jan. 2001 because I could no longer be a part of MUFON's acceptance of John Carpenter's selling out of abductees but understand now the 2001 changes likely were a result of the Carpenter case and the Board's desire to consolidate its control over the MUFON organization by ridding itself of member voting.

In the summaries of Schuessler's communications to the Board below John notes that Walt had called for the Bylaws to be changed in 1999 since they were "years old."  The1982 Bylaws still in force in 2000 stated that: the members as then defined had voting rights to accept or reject proposed changes to the Bylaws and the right to elect four Regional Directors to represent them on the Board. A vote for Bylaw changes required using the MUFON Journal to announce the votes and provide a ballot to complete the process.

The secret MUFON Board communications as supplied by Larry Bryant were:

1) BoD meeting notes from late July 2001:

John Schuessler makes a proposal to declare the voting for new Bylaws (version 3) as voted on in August 2000 null and void. They will be replaced with a new set of Bylaws (version 4) with a ballot printed in the MJ and that not voting on the proposal by a member will be deemed a yes vote to ensure passage up or down. John Schuessler, Tom Deuley and Tom Whitmore will write up the newest Bylaws.

[The failed 2000 version 3 Bylaws still had Regional Directors being voted on by members in each region but the Bylaws were changed from the version 2 1982 Bylaws by eliminating member voting on Bylaw changes. Only the Board did this now. Also in version 3 the Board itself voted on the International Director but other board members were nominated by and voted on by Board members and State Directors. The newest version 4 Bylaws proposal for 2001 reduced the previous Bylaws further to cut the Board to only 7 positions, made only those persons able to change the Bylaws, eliminated Regional Directors and makes all other former Board positions non-voting or non-existent. These Bylaws were the ones put in place by 2002 then slightly changed in 2003 for version 5 as seen posted on the main MUFON website today.]

2) A Sept. 2001 note from John Schuessler to Board Members better explains the Bylaw changes:

Paraphrasing: "Last year (2000) we submitted new, complex many page Bylaws (version 3) to be voted on by the membership after being published in the August 2000 MJ, Voting was open initially until mid-Sept..2000 but the voting was held open until December because only 400 members voted for the Bylaw changes and 20 voted against with many members saying they were too complex, demanding and many pages too long. Since at least 1/4 of MUFON's membership must vote with at least a 2/3rds vote for Bylaw changes to pass they did not.

In July 2001 we the Board agreed to again rewrite and produce a minimal set of Bylaws (version 4). Given last year's Bylaw vote Schuessler says it can be concluded: the 3/4ths of MUFON's membership that did not vote did not care what the Bylaws said as long as they get the MUFON Journal. 'We must not get hung up on the words in Bylaws as words don't really affect the outcome of finding answers to the UFO mystery'."

The newest proposed Bylaws (version 4) were published in the October 2001 MUFON Journal and voting will this time was by exception: members only need to vote if their reply is negative - not to accept the new Bylaws. They will have two months to reply. Voting will closed at the end of Dec. 2001.

3) Nov. 2001 note from Schuessler to the Board:

John goes over the history of the failed Bylaw voting the the year before by saying the 2000 version 3 Bylaws proposed were a long 25-30 pages in an attempt to "keep people in line." In John's opinion the majority of the membership didn't bother to vote because they just did not care what the Bylaws said however many of those voting on the Bylaw revisions also called them "dictatorial." The 4th version of the Bylaws were written and are two pages long - "only as much as the law requires."

John goes on to say that large corporations often vote by exception as most people won't vote anyway. The Board approved this approach. As noted above the Bylaws changes were passed in Dec. 2001 using this process. [I found no notification of the success of the Bylaw change in the MUFON Journal in succeeding months as there now no need to keep the membership informed. The only thing I did find was in June of 2002 where Scheussler mentions that the new Business Board has met as this is a new way to refer to the main Board.] Schuessler notes that MUFON has at this time 3,100 "subscriber/members."

In conclusion: Between Dec. 2001 and Barbara's 9/8/11 message from Clifford Clift the Board has again gone behind closed doors and changed the definition of members as described in the version 4 of the 2001 Bylaw changes to "donor/subscribers" which means the Board of Directors are MUFON's only real "members". We 3,000 or so others are no longer actual members of MUFON.

During this time in 2011 that we have been making a case for change in MUFON the members of MUFON's Board have stonewalled us by showing no interest in detailing this complex history of how vital decision-making went from the Board and the organization's members to a small Board alone that has walled itself to prevent any external input. Of course this has allowed a number of unseemly and corrupt practices to continue and flourish through to the present despite MUFON's Mission Statement to act "for the Good of Humanity."

Gart Hart


NOTE:  The new By-laws "Revised 2003" which are on the MUFON website, have never been sent to the IRS.  Legally they are null.  BB

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