States drop NBFAA status while one joins

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Saturday, January 1, 2005

BALTIMORE, Md. - Although the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association reports 38 state members, its membership has fluctuated in recent years. Several state chapters have abandoned chartered memberships, while the last state under an Affiliated Alarm Association status has until the end of the year to transfer membership status to a full-fledge membership.

Merlin Guilbeau, executive director of the NBFAA, said states changed its affiliation with the NBFAA because of the shift of leadership.

“Maybe they (states) didn’t like a decision made by the NBFAA,” Guilbeau said, “but the association is a democracy. If they don’t take advantage of member benefits, such as training, if they don’t read the e-mails, they don’t see the value.”

The NBFAA wants states that want to belong and are willing to work hard to make this association better, he said.

AAA was created for states that didn’t have chapters to springboard and eventually gain chartered status, but several states began to use the program to downgrade its status because membership was allowed for either state or national association. While a chartered membership requires membership of both state and national association.

Arizona, Massachusetts and New Hampshire all were members of the NBFAA under AAA status, until the NBFAA board of executive directors dissolved that membership option.

New Hampshire changed to a chartered membership in early October.

Guilbeau said New Hampshire joined the CSA because the state saw value in the educational benefits offered, being on the board of directors and networking with other state chapters. It wanted to be involved with industry issues dealing with Voice over IP, alarm response management and department of labor enterprises.

Arizona’s Burglar & Fire Alarm Association dropped its AAA membership at the end of the year, according to Karrie Richardson former president of the ABFAA.

“Our board feels there’s not a big benefit to being a chartered state,” said Richardson. The ABFAA spends money at a state level to fight local causes important to its security industry community, added Richardson.

Massachusetts will make its decision on whether or not to upgrade to chartered membership after the NBFAA committee reports possible revisions of the CSA program.

At press time Susan Cavicchi, executive director of the Massachusetts System Contractors Association, could not say if they would continue membership to the NBFAA.

“We are waiting for further information from the national organization,” Cavicchi said.

Ultimately, the decision will be based on what is financially best for its members, added Cavicchi.

Although each state chapter has its own goals in mind, many do overlap with a focus on education, seminars and legislature. Some former chartered state associations have made the switch and no longer belong to the NBFAA, like Maryland and Virginia.

Brad Shipp, executive director of Virginia Burglar & Fire Alarm Association, said individual state members can join directly to NBFAA, but it is no longer advantageous for Virginia to be part of the chartered program.

“It’s not an appropriate choice for the entire state to belong,” Shipp said. “It doesn’t put Virginia in a position to having defend what it (NBFAA) does or doesn’t do.”

The Maryland Burglar & Fire Alarm Association terminated NBFAA membership during a state membership meeting last November, Howard Simons, president of the MBFAA said.

The meeting revealed dialogue on how Maryland members felt, which provoked it to break away from the NBFAA.

“We don’t use national for all the things that they (NBFAA) say they do,” Simons said.

Maryland was one of the first chartered state members of the NBFAA, according to Simons.

“If you’re an organization and don’t believe that your leadership is listening to you, you really have two choices. One is to change the leadership or stop getting aggravated and move on,” he said.