Sunday, September 27, 2009

September Council meeting

On Saturday morning last we had our September Council meeting.

Council is now using basecamp to help organise our meetings,  including posting of documents and papers in advance of the meetings.   I encourage you to consider using basecamp for the organisation of any meetings with which you many be involved for our organisation.

Brian Kavanagh,  as head of the Finance Committee,  reported that finances remain extremely tight,  but we are currently still on course to break even for the full year.  Our main source of income is our subscriptions from members.

The Executive recommended to Council,  and Council agreed,  our membership subscription rates for the forthcoming year.  There are no changes to the rates,  including no change to the 35euro rate for unemployed members,  except for existing associate members who are now entitled to be full members of the organisation as a result of our rule changes over the summer.   Subscription rates for this category of existing members will be gradually increased to bring them in line with the normal membership rates,  since they now have the benefits of full membership.

Our registrar,  Denis McGrath,  gave a lucid presentation on the routes to Chartered Engineer,  in light of the membership rule changes over the summer,  including for those members whose primary academic degree was cognate and thus not an accredited engineering degree.   Denis also has a webex presentation on our Engineers TV web site on the topic.

Jim Gannon is the chair of the Energy-Environment Division,  and gave a presentation on the work of the Division on behalf of Engineers Ireland in collaboration with some our peer organisations worldwide,  in the run up to the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.   It is likely that we will host a half day seminar on the topic.

As part of process of continuous improvement of Council, over a period of Council meeting we are inviting each Division and Society to present their current work and status to Council.

John Power,  our DG,  presented on the work to date of the Regulation taskforce,  who are lobbying Government on changes in Irish legislation so as to regulate the profession to the highest world class norms.  A number of media interviews have also taken place.  A register of incidents which cause concern for health and safety is also being accumulated.

Engineers Ireland does not normally take positions on referenda nor elections.  However the Executive unanimously recommended to Council, and Council unanimously agreed,  to request all our of members to vote "yes" to the Lisbon Referendum next friday in the light of the benefits to the economy if the Referendum is passed.

John Power updated us on the activities to support unemployed members.   Representatives from the Civil Division in particular suggested that he inform not just Council as he did,  but also members of activities and lobbying undertaken by the Institution to try and protect jobs in the construction sector.

Damien Owens reported on the status of the management information systems project,  which is now live and working well with the new systems.  A number of specific business benefits were identified,  including the numbers of online membership renewals and new applications,  and online shop purchases.

Three members of Council volunteered to join the Officers in searching for a new incoming Junior Vice-President,  whose term as President will be 2012-13.

A decision was adopted on an on-going ethics case.  In addition,  some revisions and updates to our Code of Ethics were discussed:  the new Code will be published in a few weeks,  subject to email approval by Council.

John Power reported on the campaign to advise stakeholders and the public at large about the changes to our membership rules,  in particular for cognate degree holders.

Planning for the annual conference in 2010 is proceeding well,  and it will have a theme of leadership.

Conor Hoey,  of our Electrical Division urged that we formally engage with the National Standards Authority to ensure that every new standard,  or revision,  has input from Engineers Ireland,  particularly when health and safety are potentially involved.  John Power agreed to follow up.

Our next meeting is in November.

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