ACSM/NSPS: Now is Not Soon Enough

If 40 bucks a year is all it’s gonna take to give us a national voice, where do I mail my check?

Eighteen months ago, in this very space, Curt Sumner, executive director of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) told us in what he described as a NEWSFLASH that, “as you are reading this article, the leaders of the three ACSM Member Organizations are meeting in Gaithersburg, Md., with a facilitator to work out the details to reconstitute our national organization into one in which members belong to one entity, providing a stronger, more uniform voice on behalf of our profession.”

“This,” he explained, “is a positive step toward making our national organization stronger.”

So, 18 months later, where are we?

Last month, finally and way too slowly, the organization announced that ACSM has been merged into the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), one of its remaining member organizations (and by far its largest). 

While the NSPS leadership finishes working out details of how NSPS will integrate former ACSM functions, we believe it’s time for them to kick things into high gear.

The reconstituted NSPS has approved a motion to present a proposal to the state societies to have their members join the national organization for the discounted annual fee of $40.  The state societies will have to decide themselves which way to go (most likely by a vote of some kind).  Most state societies that agree to this arrangement will probably add the $40 to their current dues.  One state body has indicated it may subsidize the whole fee without raising dues; others are exploring other ways of dealing with this issue.

Whatever the case, all this reorganization has come at a high cost to our profession.

Far too much time, effort, and money has been spent on something that is not creating a powerful voice at the national level.  We have been too quiet for the past two years.

While I urge all state societies to help in any financial way possible, I also strongly urge the leaders of NSPS to show us their plan to provide the clear national leadership we so desperately need.

I think this should not be an open-ended commitment of support.  I’d give NSPS a year at most to unveil a well thought-out, action-oriented master plan that will give us a stronger voice at the highest levels of government, as well as a campaign to raise our profile among the American public.  If, however, they continue internal discussions and display relative inaction, don’t look for our check in the mail. We’ve wasted too much time already.
~ Neil Sandler

About the Author

  • Neil Sandler
    Neil Sandler
    Neil is publisher of the magazine.

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