Thursday, August 19, 2010

Proposal to merge CGSSD with SDGS - Pros and Cons

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) members will vote on a proposal to mergew CGSSD with the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) on Saturday, 21 August at UCSD at a 9 a.m. meeting.

An email was sent by President Del Ritchhart to the CGSSD members two months ago, and appeared in the July 2010 COMPU.GEN newsletter published by CGSSD, received this past week. The contents of the email and newsletter article includes:

"Marna Clemons, President of the San Diego Genealogical Society, and two accompanying board members presented a proposal to the Board of Directors of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego at our May 15 meeting that the CGSSD merge into SDGS. Following her presentation, the board asked Marna several questions and then, after dismissing her from the meeting, discussed the proposal within the board. It was the consensus of the board that the issue should be taken to a vote of the membership of the society.

"Our by-laws require that written notice be given to the members at least 10 but not more than 90 days before a meeting that would involve “Electing to wind up and dissolve the corporation; or” other additional items including removal of a director, filling board vacancies, etc.

"Following are pros, cons and discussion points regarding the proposed merge.


"--The two organizations combined would be stronger in membership and skills than operating separately. The SDGS currently has a membership of 450 and ours is at 222 members. About 75 of our current members also belong to the SDGS.

"--CGSSD was originally formed to focus on improving our membership’s knowledge and capabilities concerning the use of computers in genealogical research and documentation. At that time this focus was not being provided by SDGS or other societies in the San Diego area, nor did they seem to have an interest in computer genealogy. That is no longer the case in SDGS (or other area Genealogy organizations), as most members conducting research about their family history these days use computers in their research and to document their findings.

"--Over at least the last three years, the board of the CGSSD has had difficulty recruiting members to serve on the Board of Directors. In fact, at the present time we have vacancies on the Board for the Vice President Administration and Program Chairman. Combining the organizations should provide a larger pool of talent to serve the organization in leadership positions.

"--The combined organization should have more financial resources to help increase the pool of potential speakers we can attract to San Diego. In most cases the two societies are limited to speakers who live in the Southern California area. We are fortunate that there are a number of very talented people to draw from; but being able to pay more for travel expenses will help broaden the scope of speakers we can attract.

"--For some people who already belong to both SDGS and CGSSD, it will free up one day a month and be one less meeting to attend.

"--The Southern California Genealogy Society has been very successful in combining several diverse genealogy organizations into one and to continue to serve the unique needs of them all. They are a good example of the positive results that could be achieved.

"--With the newly-instituted change to parking rules and fees at UCSD on weekends, CGSSD meeting attendance may fall significantly; a change of venue could be very attractive to members. In any event, the UCSD venue will certainly evaporate when Gary Hoffman retires in a few years. When this occurs it will inevitably mean an increase in dues unless another free location can be found.


"--When two organizations combine, there is always the chance that the identity of the lesser organization will be lost. We have discussed ways to overcome this with the SDGS; but it remains a concern.

"--For various reasons, it is likely that some of our members will not join the new combined organization. Thus, we will miss the opportunity to serve them and interface with them.

"--While it is listed as a “Pro” that combining the organizations will reduce the number of meetings members will have to attend each month; some members might enjoy having the additional opportunity to hear speakers and interface with fellow members on a more frequent and diversified basis.

"--The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego will no longer exist as a separate identity and we will no longer have a separate organization, venue and newsletter. Thus, there will be one less option available for people in the San Diego area who are interested in genealogy. But, it is likely that the SDGS Newsletter will capture the kinds of articles written for CompuGen now, and will serve the same purpose as CompuGen has done, requiring some input from the contributors currently serving in that capacity for CGSSD.

"--To continue to provide the same kinds of SIG and interest group presentations, a more tech-friendly venue for SDGS / CGSSD meetings will be necessary. If the current venue is kept, there will be a significant change in the way the interest groups are handled.


"At our August meeting we will hold a general meeting of the members from 9-10 AM in place of normal SIGs and User Group meetings. This subject will be discussed and at the end of the meeting a vote will be held to determine whether or not the members want to merge with SDGS.

"On June 25 members of the boards of CGSSD and SDGS met to discuss issues concerning how the merge would be handled should it be approved by the CGSSD members. Following are items that were discussed:

"--Since CGSSD handles dues on a 12-month basis i.e., June through June; and SDGS handles dues on a calendar year, Jan through Dec; the following was generally agreed upon. Regardless of when CGSSD members paid their dues in 2010, the dues would be good through the end of 2011. Thus, if a CGSSD member paid their dues in February 2010, he or she would not have to pay dues again until January of 2012. Current SDGS annual dues are $25 and for a second member of the family it is only an additional $15—thus it is $40 for two members of a family.

"--SDGS has formed a committee to search for a new, more centralized venue for meetings. One of the criteria will be more spaces for simultaneous user group and SIG meetings prior to the monthly meetings. They currently meet the 2nd Saturday of the month at the St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 8350 Lake Murray Blvd.

"--A SDGS Board Position will be created for the Computer Genealogy Committee. That position will be filled by a current CGSSD member.

"--SDGS normally has a two hour segment for their featured speaker at their monthly meetings. A balance will be maintained between presentations on computer and non-computer oriented topics. For example, a speaker might give the first presentation on “Researching Your Irish Ancestors” and the second presentation on “Great New Websites for Conducting Irish Research”. In other cases two separate speakers might give presentation—one about genealogy in general and the other more oriented toward computer genealogy.

"--There was some discussion of switching to a morning schedule similar to CGSSD’s. No final decision was made realizing that the schedule might be dictated by the venue selected.

"--Articles that normally would have been contained in CompuGen will be gladly accepted by SDGS for incorporation into their monthly newsletter. It will be incumbent on CGSSD members to compose and submit the articles just as they have done in the past.

"--SDGS recently moved their library to a more centralized location at 7343 Ronson Road in the Kearny Mesa area. Members have 24-hour access to the library and its facilities which are equipped for wireless connectivity. They conduct regular classes on Wednesday mornings at 10 AM at the library, as well as beginner classes in the mornings prior to the monthly meetings. They sponsor annual trips to the Salt Lake City Family History Library, Los Angeles Public Library and to the SCGS Jamboree and every-other-year to Allen County Public Library. All of this will be available to CGSSD members.

"--SDGS is strongly considering changing their web site so as to have a “members only” section similar to ours at CGSSD. They are very receptive to incorporating a Detailed Calendar of Events similar to that currently provided on our web site by Joan Lowery.

"--Should the membership of CGSSD vote in favor of merging into SDGS, the target date for consolidating operations is 1 January 2011.

"--We have learned that the UCSD management has decided that, commencing 1 September 2010, parking will no longer be free on Saturdays. After that date members will have to deal with the regular rates: A one-day parking pass is $9.00. The hourly rate, payable at the machine in the Pangea structure, is $2.00 per hour. There are some other options, but they involve group purchases at $8.00 per day. There is no half-day rate, even though the evening rate is $5.00.

"This could have a serious impact on our future meetings. Car pooling is a possibility; but it is doubtful that many members will find that option very attractive. Finding a new meeting place is a possibility; but past efforts at this have shown it to be a real challenge and would probably involve paying a fee for use of the facilities."

I will comment on the proposed merger in the next post.

1 comment:

Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski said...

This could very well be the 'wave of the future.' Will stay tuned for the next installment.