ASTA and the coalition that successfully opposed a recent
reorganization plan, apparently cannot agree on certain aspects of
a new proposal.
During a recent conference call, “we essentially agreed to
disagree on certain aspects,” said Stan Morse, a coalition member
and president of the Hudson Valley, N.Y., chapter. “We also
realized that both sides will need to compromise to get this
ASTA President Richard Copland told coalition members that the
society’s board of directors would discuss its next steps during a
meeting this week.
ASTA members rejected the initial proposal in a 855-539 vote
last month. The defining issue of contention concerns plans to
appoint new members-at-large to the ASTA board.
ASTA President Richard Copland had indicated that the three
positions would be filled by representatives of “major players” in
the industry, such as American Express and Vacation.com. He said
their involvement would “help remove the fragmentation in the
industry” and give agents more clout in lobbying efforts.
Since the defeat, however, Copland now is proposing the addition
of only two members.
“I think our concern is, can we control their influence?” said
Morse. “Do we want new blood? Yes. Do we want their money? Yes. But
what do we get for their money?”
Morse said Copland was undecided whether a new task force would
be formed to create an alternate plan or some other process would
Morse, however, said coalition members stressed that changes are
needed. “We want change, we’ve got to make some moves,” he said.
“What we’re saying to him is don’t do away with the good chapters;
the chapter system is our strength.”
The original proposal would have cut the number of chapters to
14 from 32.
He said the coalition recommended looking closely at chapter
operations, and perhaps basing any reduction on performance
With all the outside forces affecting the travel agent
community, such as the war and uncertain economy, Morse said a new
referendum might not be ready for a vote until October.
But, he said, he hopes it will be sooner and thinks organization
members should gather at the coming Southern and Western regional
meeting to “hash this out.”
Meanwhile, the coalition is asking all interested ASTA members
to submit comments on realistic changes they would like to see or
“how they believe ASTA could save money in these difficult times
without negatively impacting our members’ needs any more than is
absolutely necessary,” according to a recent e-mail.
Members are asked to send ideas to