Georgia association breaks with NBFAA, renames

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

SAVANNAH, Ga.--The state's alarm association took on more than just a new name in late December--it also decided to operate independent of the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association.
Once known as the Georgia Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, the state organization is now called the Georgia Low Voltage Contractors Association. Members made the decision to change the association name and leave the NBFAA as a Charter State Association during their final 2005 meeting.
"We wanted to try to attract more members by offering an association that was not just restricted to burglar and fire," said Greg Lamb, president of the GLVA. "There are so many things that fall under the umbrella of our licensing: whole house audio, theater and surround sound."
Georgia is just one of several state association to take on new names to better reflect the type of work done by their members. In 2003, the Massachusetts Burglar & Fire Alarm Association became the Massachusetts Systems Contractors Association. A year later, the Connecticut Burglar & Fire Alarm Association took the same route. Today it calls itself the Connecticut Alarm & Systems Integrators Association.
Lamb said the Georgia association began talking about ending its relationship with the NBFAA about a year ago. Last fall it took a straw poll of members to decide whether it should pursue becoming independent and members said they favored the idea, he said.
Merlin Guilbeau, executive director of the NBFAA, was disappointed with the timing of Georgia's decision. He said the state association decided to leave after the NBFAA approved its annual budget, a process in which the Georgia association took part. Georgia was expected to collect $53,000 from its members for the NBFAA.
It also comes one month before the NBFAA holds a strategic summit to talk about its state chapter program and how it will handle membership in the future. The summit was scheduled for Jan. 24-26 in Irving, Texas, after Security Systems News went to press.
Guilbeau said most state associations give a 90-day notice on plans to the leave the national organization and it usually takes effect one year later.
"The timing and the financial burden that they've placed on national in doing this is uncalled for," said Guilbeau.