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Auto Club Members OK Plan for Appointed Board

November 05, 2003|From Associated Press

The members of the Automobile Club of Southern California have overwhelmingly approved a plan to change the organization's board from elected to appointed, according to voting results released Tuesday.

The vote puts an end to what the club has viewed as costly and unnecessary contests but what dissidents have viewed as their only way to voice complaints about how the organization is run. Ballots were due Friday.

The club is the largest affiliate of the national AAA.

About 1.1 million of the club's 3.2 million voting members returned ballots. The proposal to make the board self-appointing and eliminate all future elections passed with 82% of the vote.

The club has staged contested elections in each of the last three years, with board- approved nominees winning by wide margins. The elections cost about $9 million, the club said.

"We believe the overwhelming support by members is reflective of their trust and confidence in the auto club and their belief that contested elections are an unnecessary expense and distraction," President and Chief Executive Thomas V. McKernan Jr. said in a statement.

Dissidents fought the plan but were unsurprised by the outcome.

"What encourages me is that 18% of the members will not be led like sheep," said Thomas Bourke, who has run unsuccessfully for the board. "There is substantial opposition here that the membership recognizes but the board could not care less about."

In past campaigns, some opposition candidates raised questions about a surplus in the club's insurance affiliate, challenged the executive director to reveal his annual salary and called on the club to campaign to eliminate the vehicle license fee.

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