The Glen Burnie Improvement Association will consider a bylaw changetonight that would require members to attend meetings to vote in elections.
The change, proposed by a member last month, would requireany GBIA member to attend three meetings out of the past 12 before voting in any election. Right now, residents need only be members to vote.
Years ago, the bylaws had a clause requiring that residents be members for at least three months before an election, but said nothing about attending meetings, said GBIA President Muriel G. Carter. The three-month membership requirement was later dropped, but Carter said she's not sure when or why.
If passed, the proposed attendance clause would mark the first time members are required to attend meetingsto vote.
But at least one officer said he doubted it would pass.
"It's a fair and just proposal," said Joseph Corcoran, 2nd vice president. "But I think it's going to be defeated. A lot of people don't like being told what to do."
Corcoran said he thought the proposal was made as a way to enhance attendance at GBIA meetings. Typically, 50 to 100 people attend the regular membership meetings, held the second Tuesday of every month. The GBIA has more than 1,000 members, Carter said.
Originally founded in 1908, the GBIA is a residents' association working to improve the quality of life in Glen Burnie, aswell as to provide activities for its residents.
At tonight's meeting, members also will vote on a number of minor changes to the bylaws, Carter said. With the exception of the attendance clause, however, most are intended to clarify potentially confusing language rather than to change content.
The GBIA has been fine-tuning its seven-page bylaws for the past two years, Carter said. The bylaws are typically reviewed every few years, she said, and received an overhaul in 1990. At that time, several minor changes remained to be done, she said, and the bylaws committee continued working on the wording of several articles.
During the March meeting, officers accepted suggestions from members for any additional changes or additions, at which timesix residents, as a group, introduced the attendance requirement.
Carter said the amendment was not proposed to avoid a situation suchas a controversial Odenton Improvement Association election last fall.
On election night, a local developer -- who hoped to gain control of the organization -- encouraged his supporters to pay the $3 dues, become members and vote for a slate of officers he backed. Many ofthe brand new members voting that night did not even live in Odenton. The developer was successful in getting three members of his slate elected, shocking many long-term members of the association.
The association later changed its bylaws to prevent this from happening again.
In Glen Burnie, however, residents must be proposed for membership one month and have been voted into the organization at the nextmeeting. Potential members must also reside within given boundaries,as laid out in the bylaws.
"It's not like the Odenton situation where you can sign up and immediately be eligible to vote," said Corcoran.
Glen Burnie Improvement Association officers are elected to two-year terms in even-numbered years, and the board of directors to two-year terms during odd-numbered years. The organization also holds special elections periodically.