The following letter was submitted to the APTA Board on March 22, 2007. If you have questions or comments about this letter, which you wish to address to its authors, please email them to us. Please write to richardjchandler(at)yahoo.com (Please change "at" to @) and your email will be forwarded on.
Richard & Bonnett Chandler, Editors of Polarity Therapy Online
March 22, 2007
To the Board, APTA
As you are aware, there has been active discussion within the APTA membership for the last 4 months or so about organizational changes, as well as experiences with the board. This letter will outline some key points of that discussion, followed by requests for specific action from the board.
Over a year ago, Richard Chandler as editor of ENERGY and subsequently in his letters to the editor and to the board made repeated requests to have a news reporting mechanism, which would have a news reporter on the email list of APTA board members and authority to then report the news, as it was happening, to membership, so we could be informed of the issues being considered and the decisions you were enacting, to enable us as members to weigh in and provide feedback.
You as the board had his formal proposal in hand for almost a half a year before voting on it. Based on your board minutes, it appears that you voted down something quite different than his actual proposal. You voted no to having a reporter present at board meetings when all that was requested was to be included on all email communications.
Many of us have encountered long waits and the need for repeated requests for financial information including access to basic documents such as bylaws and articles of incorporation. With the office instructed not to provide these basic services to the membership and the board both reluctant and sometimes hostile in response to requests, there has been less transparency in how our organization has been functioning, the decisions that have been made, and having access to our current financial status.
Combined with the lack of an annual meeting, a skipped newsletter, and months of a non-operating member communications function of the new website, there has been a marked decrease in membership communications and a significant shift away from having an informed and involved membership as a priority.
2-APTA Strategic Plan
Based on the actions more recently taken by the current board, the planning document, which was developed by the board under the leadership of John Beaulieu, has been disregarded. While we understand that the current board is not obligated to follow this strategic plan, it appears to have been disregarded without explaining the rationale to us as members as to why it is no longer relevant. If a replacement plan has been drafted, we as members are unaware of this. Based on some of our inquiries to individual board members, it appears there was not even much awareness of the history of our association as it related to the strategic plan developed under Dr. Beaulieu’s leadership. Blatant disregard of this strategic plan seems disrespectful to those who put so much time into it, and reckless, in that recent decisions seem to ignore the strategies contained within the strategic plan, that was adopted by the previous board. At the very least, the plan could be referenced in current decisions and departures from the plan openly debated and communicated to us as members.
3- Name Change and Creation of a New Organization
APTA has now undergone its second name change process in a few short years. The first was voted on by the membership, as required in the bylaws, but was then not enacted. Now the name has changed to the APTA Foundation without notification or a vote of the membership. Additionally, a whole new organization has apparently been set up as a 501 ( c ) 6.
We find this to be both a specific violation of the bylaws as well as an action that is significant enough to require informing the membership. This new push towards two corporations is really a "split" in the energy field and founding intentions of APTA . Additionally, an informal opinion dated February 26, 2007, The Washington State Attorney General’s Office reads in part “ Your question refers to a Washington nonprofit corporation classified for federal tax purposes as a 501(c)(3) corporation donating all of its assets to another corporation classified under section 501(c)(6). Washington's nonprofit act provides that when a nonprofit corporation disposes of assets outside the ordinary course of its business then approval of the corporation's members, if it has any, is required. If it does not have members, and many do not, then the distribution can be authorized by a majority vote of the board of directors. RCW 24.03.215. The federal tax classification is not determinative of how Washington law would apply.”
In the apparent transfer of assets from the Foundation to the new organization, the membership has not been informed or consulted. There is no record in the board minutes of conversations about tax consequences, the application of Washington State Law, and other points regarding the consequences of this decision to make the legal changes. In an e-mail from Secretary Larose Daniels to Lewis Harrison, LaRose states that the board will approve the new articles of incorporation at the March 24 th, 2007 board meeting. This is another case of a specific bylaw violation, which states that changes in the articles must be approved by the membership.
4- Educational vs. Business Focus
The proposed change from an educational foundation to a professional association is an alteration of the founding purpose of APTA. The membership has been informed after the fact. Lacking recent surveys, requests for input, or other involvement we specifically question the basis for this decision and the process followed.
It has been suggested in the president’s letter that this change is a mere legal formality. In our opinion, it represents a significant and profound change in focus that further promotes polarity therapy as a profession and business and diminishes the educational goals that were the founding purpose for APTA.
The current board seems to have championed “professionalism” as the motivation for the changes and current activities including the name change, the use of professional offices, the new website, and more. A number of us have repeatedly asked for an explanation of what this means, and how it specifically applies to polarity therapy.
Not only do we question the definition of professionalism, we also would like to know what information and information-gathering methodology the board is using to determine how this reflects the interests and needs of the membership. It is our perception that much of this drive for professionalism is motivated by fear and is a further step towards regulation, standardization, and closing ranks based on that fear, rather than the thoughtful and broad consideration for the advancement of polarity that was part of the development of our Standards for Practice and educational documents and that also involved large numbers of members within our community.
Many of us have found dozens of significant errors with the “professionally designed” website that the board has commissioned. In addition, the interactive parts are not operational. The important resource of how to find a practitioner has been missing for months, the navigation is confusing, and it reflects a cultural change that is disturbing (such as the white-coated male figure featured prominently on how to find a practitioner link). While spelling errors, some bad links and minor issues have been slowly fixed, the larger questions remain: how this site is being developed, who is determining the tone of the site, and the fact that it provides less member service than the former site.
The significant rise in dues, coupled with less members services, (fewer national conferences, a skipped newsletter and slower office response), is of concern. Additionally, the dues renewals were sent out without the full treasurer’s report, and with the surprise that the RPE is now a new category of membership with a more than 40% hike in dues from the old RPP level. Not only was there no explanation for this change, there was also was no advance warning that the status of RPE was to change. Since the DOE communicates with the RPE’s monthly, it would have been easy to at least let them know, if not use it as an opportunity for some discussion.
1- While the new Presidents Council may facilitate some member involvement, the board needs to regularly and fully communicate to the membership through posting minutes, bylaws, policy, and other communications on the website. In addition, Richard Chandler’s request for member oversight in connection with the newsletter should be approved.
While the board must at least minimally comply with the federal laws governing non-profits, the state laws applicable to each organization and our bylaws, a spirit of transparency is essential for healing the problems of the past year that we have stated in this letter.
2- The APTA board should access the hard copy of the strategic plan, as well as the DVD explaining the plan. A Strategic Plan is necessary for a well-run business, therefore we call on the board to review and evaluate this existing plan, and to make any needed revisions and use it as a guiding document for this and for future APTA boards.
3- As members, we deserve a full disclosure of the process to date on this item, as well as on future plans. A tax lawyer should be consulted regarding the transfer of monies from the foundation to the new organization so that no tax event is created. The membership should be informed of the pros and cons of this change, and allowed both input as well as the required vote. The board must report and remedy any illegal action that has already taken place. A full survey of the membership concerning our professional needs, the expectations of APTA, and other information relevant to this change should be undertaken and used to determine future action.
4- See 3 above
5- The APTA board must clearly state to the membership what is meant by professionalism, and give the membership an opportunity to respond and react to any new board goals in this area. Activity in this arena should be incorporated into the Strategic Plan and be pursued within the context of APTA’s additional needs and the stated interests of the membership.
6- The website needs to be reworked. The number one priority of the site is to serve the members. Bulletin boards, current board activities, a directory of the practitioners, archived newsletters, and other member services should be restored as the top priority. A process for choosing articles, “featured speakers” and a request for submissions from the membership for these types of features should be open, accessible, and fairly administered. The technical glitches and unprofessional work should be reviewed, and the contract with the web designer revised accordingly. The additional time that the office and board have had to spend, the missed deadlines, should all be addressed in the contract and compensation be made.
7- The membership should be provided a full explanation of the need for the increase in dues, within the context of a fully disclosed financial report. The change in RPE status should be tied to additional benefits for the registered teachers. A policy for lapsed RPE’s needs to be in place so that we RPE’s can make an informed decision about whether to pay additional fees for the RPE or to use the RPP registration.
All of us who send this letter are fully aware of the significant sacrifices and commitment involved with service to the APTA community through board membership. We look forward to supporting this board in that service, while also recognizing the valuable role we as members voice with our feedback, critique and watchdog roles.
We all have the shared interest in furthering Dr. Stone’s work. The energy that has allowed us to move through this discussion and open sharing is critical to that vision. We look forward to and welcome more discussion and elaboration on any of the points mentioned in this letter.
John Beaulieu, PhD, ND, DPP, RPE, APTA Past President, Principle Author of APTA's Standards for Practice and Education
Richard Chandler, PTP, Past Editor of Energy
John Chitty, RPP, RCST. RPE, APTA Past President, Past Editor of Energy
Linda Diane Feldt. NCTMB, RPP, APTA Past President
Ellie Simmons, Past Executive Director APTA
Phil Young RPP, APTA Past President
Note: If you by in large agree with the contents of this letter and you wish to be added as an additional signatory, please tell us by email: mail(at)polaritytherapyonline.com] (change “at” to @) We will then add your name below.
The following people have requested to be added as additional signatories:
Ann Watters LMT#4867, RPP, RPE
Randall Gibson, M.Ed., LMT, RPE, CST
Frank Weller, former RPP
Shamai Currim PhD RPP RPE