"We're still on track and going forward," she said. "We hope to take the White Paper to a final vote in July. We will be on an aggressive campaign to take the message out to regional members over the next couple of months." ASA executives plan to attend conventions or board meetings of various regional associations to obtain feedback, she said.
At the meeting, the Finance and Dues Task Force proposed a dues schedule for wholesaler members for the reorganized ASA based on total sales, using membership statistics, and the latest schedule of combined ASA and regional dues.
One question at the meeting involved the impact of the proposed dues schedule on small wholesalers, Calderon said. "Some small wholesalers said that it appeared they would have a disproportionate increase."
A breakdown of the number of ASA member home office locations by region and current dues category, excluding national members, indicates that about three-fourths fall within the $1 million to $10 million sales categories. The dues as currently proposed would represent an increase of $60 to $1,500 per year for wholesaler members of nine of the 13 current regionals in those volume categories, while members of the remaining four regionals would pay less in dues than currently charged, in some cases saving thousands of dollars per year.
"The board is meeting again March 21 to re-evaluate the proposed dues and see whether a more equitable schedule can be proposed, based on feedback we have received to date," Calderon said. "We found that in one region, for example, a $5-million distributor may pay $3,000 in dues, while in another region, the same size distributor pays $500. ASA gets the same amount in dues in both cases. We did not know that in some regions members' dues pay for additional services, such as credit reporting."
Some wholesalers, who declined to be quoted, expressed concern that a dues increase might result in the loss of members from smaller firms. Others said a dues increase of such magnitude that does not carry with it additional benefits would be a hard sell. Calderon said ASA shares those concerns.
New dues schedules for manufacturer and manufacturers rep associate members were also suggested by the task force. The proposed dues, ranging from $250 to $1,500 per year, are based on total sales or commissions.
"That dues schedule will also be revisited," Calderon said. "Some manufacturers have told us that the proposed dues are too low."
The disposition of future regional surpluses remained a point of difference to be resolved after the January board meeting, she said. A third issue yet to be resolved is the size of the reorganized ASA board of directors, she said. Proposals currently under consideration suggest 21 to 23 members and differ on the number of manufacturers and manufacturers reps serving on the board, Calderon said.