Actions and Status of the NJ Divison of AAMFT
AAMFT spends tens of thousands of dollars annually to support its divisions, and over the years, has spent millions of dollars to do so. Our desire is to have strong, active, vibrant divisions, with a collaborative relationship between and among all divisions and AAMFT. The goal is to have all our components working effectively toward the recognition and advancement of the MFT profession.
While the New Jersey Division has failed to follow directives of the AAMFT Board, demanding conditions for compliance with Association rules and policies, the NJAMFT is not de-chartered, and all support, including divisional dues, remains available to the NJAMFT.
The History and Context
- Until a relatively short time ago, the NJAMFT was a division experiencing difficulty. For many years it has been losing members. Programming lagged. Board members were in some conflict, or did not participate. In 2007, the division was disorganized to the extent that its corporate charter expired, and it lost its corporate status in the state.
- Thankfully, new leadership emerged with a goal of re-vitalizing the division. AAMFT and the division worked collaboratively, with AAMFT staff visiting and assisting the division in re-organizing and serving members.
- March, 2009
- In March, 2009, according to NJAMFT Board minutes, the NJAMFT conducted a strategic planning session to determine its future activity. At that time, it was determined that the NJAMFT needed a mass marketing and branding campaign for the profession.
- Two weeks later, at the Division Leadership Conference, a new President in the division asked why AAMFT had no mass marketing campaign. There was animated discussion, with give and take among leaders, staff, and Board about these matters.
- April, 2009
- In April, 2009, the NJAMFT distributed as widely as it was able a very long document outlining concerns of it leaders. While the document called for a marketing and branding campaign, it expressed the opinion that such things as AAMFT's advocacy for MFT inclusion in Medicare might be displaced. The entire document can be read here: Letter from NJAMFT April 15, 2009.
- The AAMFT Board had concerns about the tenor and content of the NJAMFT document. The Board drafted a response as follows: Board Response to NJAMFT Memorandum. Additionally, because the Board's conclusion was that the NJAMFT had not followed normative Association policies and protocols for communicating its concerns, it directed that a meeting occur between representatives of NJAMFT and AAMFT. NJAMFT refused the first directive to meet with AAMFT staff, and several times set conditions for meeting with AAMFT elected representatives.
- July, 2009
- When the AAMFT database was accessed and used without authorization, the AAMFT Board's investigation revealed that the emails using the database originated in New Jersey, and that a member in New Jersey was associated with the sending of that email.
- Because AAMFT could not determine the owner of the email address, who had possession of AAMFT's member database, and because of the similarities between the unsolicited bulk email sent to all AAMFT members, and the content sent out officially under the name of the NJAMFT earlier, the AAMFT Board was concerned that NJAMFT might be using division resources for activities inconsistent with its charter with AAMFT, or with the corporate purpose of serving AAMFT members.
- Acting in its fiduciary duty to AAMFT members in New Jersey, the Board voted to hold dues collected from AAMFT members in New Jersey until AAMFT was confident that NJAMFT resources were not being used in a manner that was harming AAMFT, and until a meeting occurred between NJAMFT and AAMFT representatives occurred.
- November, 2009
The AAMFT Board establishes a date for a meeting with the NJAMFT Board. NJAMFT leaders insist on a recording of the meeting, and a court reporter is contracted by the division.
- December, 2009
The AAMFT Board releases all funds to the NJAMFT.
The Board has discussed various options for how to respond to the structural and process issues raised in these events. One possibility was de-chartering the division--a possibility that the AAMFT Board does not prefer. At the same time, the Board will continue dialogues with NJAMFT leadership, as well as with AAMFT members in New Jersey, to ensure that the profession is advanced, members are served, and the Association's protocols are understood and followed.