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American Mensa Region 10

RVC Column

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February 2024

I am writing this column from the Central Florida Mensa's "Sun ‘n' Games" Regional Gathering (RG), which is the only regular RG remaining in Florida. When I moved here from New York in 2000, there were several RGs to choose from: Tampa Bay Mensa over Memorial Day weekend, Northwest Florida Mensa's "ValenTime" in mid-February, Central Florida Mensa's "SmartiGras" in mid-January, and Broward Mensa's "FLoRanGe" and Space Coast Area Mensa's "SCAM-o-Ween" trading off every other autumn for their biannual RGs. There was even a Micro-G in the Florida Keys in November. But unfortunately, with the loss of affordable hotel venues, retirement of many long-serving volunteers, and general burnout, we're now down to this last hurrah in Orlando. Fortunately, Event Chair Debbie Freeland continues to display boundless energy, and with her excellent crew including Jen Keating, Bill Keevan, Tiffany Patterson, Stephen Stull and more, put on an excellent weekend of speakers, games, tournaments and special events. I hope this may help inspire others to relaunch some of the other Gatherings, as they are among the best opportunities for members to have full immersion in the Mensa Experience. (If you're feeling adventurous, other Gatherings are held all year ‘round throughout the country, and you can find them in every issue of the Mensa Bulletin or by viewing the National Events Calendar at  https://www.us.mensa.org/attend/calendar/entries/.)


The next regular meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC) will be held on March 9, 2024, at the national headquarters in Hurst, TX. Currently we don't have a draft of the agenda for the meeting, but because there will be a second motion regarding the membership dues change, our bylaws specify that the agenda must be posted 30 days prior to the meeting. This can be found at the link https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/ under the dropdown "2024-03-09 -- Hurst, TX".


I mentioned this last month but it's worth mentioning again: The American Mensa Elections are coming up in April. To vote in this election, your membership must be current as of March 31, so be certain that you remember to renew, if this applies to you. This is especially important because if the dues motion passes at the March meeting, renewing after the deadline will be at the new rate.


At this writing, there are just over two weeks left for petitions to be completed for AMC candidates, including RVC 10. Only four Regions have candidates who have qualified, and no candidates have yet qualified for Secretary or Treasurer. Any position that does not have a candidate receiving sufficient signatures to appear on the ballot will revert to the current officeholder. I sincerely hope it doesn't come to that. If the national positions are not filled by election, they can be filled by a vote of the incoming AMC, but if any RVC defaults to an officeholder who chooses to resign the position, their role would be filled by a Regional Coordinator (RC) chosen by the Local Secretaries in their Region, who would have all the rights and responsibilities of an RVC, but no vote on the national board.


Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
Mensa Connect https://connect.us.mensa.org/communities/local-groups/region-10
Region 10 Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/

January 2024

The American Mensa Committee (AMC) met via teleconference on Saturday, December 9, 2023. Both motions that I noted in my column last month passed. The Principles of Conduct motion stated that AMC members could not concurrently serve in certain Local Group positions for which they were responsible for financial decisions. There was discussion about removing the Ombuds section from the motion, but motions to amend the initial motion failed.

The motion to increase the annual membership dues rate to $107 passed the first vote, but per the American Mensa Bylaws it will not take effect unless it passes a second vote at the March AMC meeting. If it passes, the new rate will be effective April 1, 2024. This would also be effective for late renewals, so if it applies to you, make sure to renew your membership before March 31. (Side note: Local Groups get Jewel Points for early renewals prior to February 1, and also for prompt renewals prior to March 31.)

Because this motion passed, there will be two different budgets presented at the March meeting, which is when the budget for the following year is traditionally presented. One motion will be derived from revenues without the dues increase, and the second will take the new dues rate into account. The main impact of the dues increase will not be seen until the 2025-2026 fiscal year, since the 2024-2025 revenues will still be based on the current dues, with only incremental increases in revenue from new members, reinstatements and late renewals.

If the increases are approved, it is hoped that the next Budget and Finance Committee will consider long-standing requests which were not feasible with the current budget, including increasing local group funding support. These suggestions will be documented and shared with the next AMC for their consideration.

Additional actions from the meeting included the appointment of Tommy Ryan as the interim Communications Officer to complete the remainder of the 2023-2024 term. Tommy had previously served as Communications Officer during the 2017-2019 term. The AMC also chose Atlanta, GA as the location for the 2027 Annual Gathering pending approval of the contract by the AMC Executive Committee. Both of these actions took place in executive session, the

former because discussions of individuals and appointments are not held in open session, and the latter because contract terms had not yet been approved and could not be discussed publicly without compromising the negotiations with the hotel.

The mini-minutes from the meeting can be found by clicking the dropdown item "2023-12-09 -- Teleconference" at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/. A recording of the meeting will also be posted for those who wish to hear the details of the discussions.


Petitions are currently available for candidates for the 2024-27 AMC term, and I encourage you to visit https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/elections/candidate-petitions to sign petitions for the national candidates and Region 10. National candidates require 250 signatures to qualify, and Regional Vice Chairs (RVCs) require 100 signatures. While this doesn't sound like a high threshold, in the last election one of the Regions did not have any candidates qualify with 100 petition signatures, and their RVC continued from the previous term without election. Since I am not running this time, I ask for RVC 10 candidates to get as many signatures as possible so I won't be in the same position as that other RVC.


Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
Mensa Connect https://connect.us.mensa.org/communities/local-groups/region-10
Region 10 Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/

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