2032 Gauguin Place
25 July 1996
Subject: NomCom 96
I'm enclosing the C[andidate] I[nformation] F[orm] that I downloaded from the Mensa WWW page and filled out. I realize that you have to start with something and that it won't do to try to be exhaustive in an initial application, but there isn't any way to do justice to anyone's qualifications in so brief a form. To do the job right, you've got to dig into history and not be dazzled by a pretty face or glib promises.
What I want to do in this letter is to discuss in moderate depth the problem that Mensa faces with respect to the nominating process and to extend, in part, some of my qualifications. Please don't take it as any sort of criticism of the present NomCom; for one thing, you haven't acted yet and should not be pre-judged.
Mensa has been mis-led (or badly led) for a number of years. The evidence is clear and cumulative. It came close to bankruptcy a few years ago because of a foolish, possibly venal, commitment to a predictably unproductive advertising campaign. It employed disloyal staff who wound up trashing its offices. It entered into bad employment contracts that tolerated poor performance. An elected AMC Chair resigned upon election because of the poisonous political atmosphere. Membership is down by some 20% from its high and there is no evidence of a grasp of the nature of the problems we have faced.
There isn't any magic bullet that will cure so complex a syndrome, only a diverse collection of actions guided by a clear vision can begin to restore Mensa. One of these actions has to do with the reform of the NomCom process. I have addressed this issue in a letter to InterLoc that is scheduled for publication in the next issue. The reforms I have suggested there cannot be implemented immediately because of the baroque legal structure that has been built into the bylaws, but it is possible to apply some of the spirit of the reforms in actual practice if the members of NomCom will only do so on their own.
What Mensa needs first is a restoration of the vision that motivated the period of growth back in the '70s (check the historical record). This doesn't mean going back to an irretrievable past but adapting those principles that worked to present circumstances. You can read about my part in these ancient events on the World Wide web at URL:
In particular, look at the red asterisk-marked articles and the old annual reports.
For those of your committee who do not have access to the WWW, I'll be glad to provide an alternative by mail, but they've got to show a real interest in looking at the material.
My contributions to Mensa are still valid and relevant. I can't de scribe them all here, particularly since I don't know how seriously your committee will take them. I can list a few salient examples, however:
- I initiated the original newsletter subsidy plan to break the AMC's monopoly over internal communication.
- I developed a non-hierarchical concept of the structure of Mensa to reflect its "round table" ideology.
- I produced the first membership list that was integrated with Mensa's own membership records
- I saved Mensa from early bankruptcy (in 1966) by introducing a form of accrual accounting to replace misleading cash accounting that was misrepresenting our obligations to the members.
All that, of course, is history. If NomCom takes my candidacy seriously, I'll be glad to enter into a dialogue about how I would start Mensa's revival.
I look forward to the next phase of Mensa's recovery.
Nominating Committee ChairM
104 Brassel Street
Lockport, IL 60441
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Revised: 18 Nov 96