An important message from your board president
October 5, 2009
Statement “FOR” the Proposed Bylaw Amendment
The proposed bylaw amendment reinforces the WorldMark, The Club Board of Director’s commitment to keeping owners’ private information confidential. This proposal aligns the WorldMark bylaws with California Corporation Code § 8330, which allows an organization to offer a “reasonable alternative” in lieu of providing any owner with a copy of the Club’s membership register upon request.
Under the existing bylaw, an owner can be given the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all WorldMark members upon request. If an owner wants the member list to communicate with other WorldMark owners for Club-related business, he or she is responsible for costs associated with mailing any correspondence to other WorldMark owners. The bylaw proposal does not create any additional expense for an owner wishing to communicate with other owners. Instead, it provides a mechanism by which the personal contact information of WorldMark owners is protected from disclosure or inappropriate use because it is not directly released to an owner requesting it. The proposal authorizes the release of owner information to a secure mail house, which facilitates any mailing requested by another owner. In this way, owners can continue to correspond with other owners as in the past, but the security of personal contact information is protected.
The Board has long been concerned about protecting owners’ personal contact information to prevent the possibility of identity theft or improper use or distribution of this information. Once this information is released, it is impossible to control what becomes of it. If you share the Board’s concern and do not want your name, address, and telephone number provided to any of the 265,000 owners who might request it, and if you support the “reasonable alternative” approach, the WorldMark Board of Directors strongly encourages you to vote FOR this amendment.
Statement “AGAINST” the Proposed Bylaw Amendment
Some concerned WorldMark owners are not in favor of the amendment and want to urge all WorldMark owners to vote AGAINST the proposed bylaw amendment. These owners are sensitive to privacy and identity theft concerns expressed by the Board, but believe the current bylaw provides ample protections. An owner who requests the membership roster may be required to state that he or she is seeking it for proper Club business and not for improper purposes. Owners should be trusted on their word. This is the bylaw that was put in place 20 years ago, and the Board has no reason to believe that access to the membership roster will be abused by other members. Owners opposed to the amendment believe it is less about protecting the privacy and identities of other owners, but more about preventing WorldMark owners from communicating directly with one another about our Club. If you believe the current bylaw should not be amended, and that each owner has a right to the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all other members to effectively communicate with them, you should vote AGAINST this amendment.
As your Board President, I feel I have a responsibility to share with you some thoughts on the proposed bylaw amendment. While WorldMark bylaw 7.1(a) now provides that an individual owner must sign a document stating that he or she will use the owner list only for purposes related to Club business, it is virtually impossible to guarantee what will become of the owner list once it is released. Accordingly, the Board has long resisted its direct disclosure. For example, in litigation now pending in the California Court of Appeals, the Board has opposed an owner who is seeking access to all owners’ email addresses, an issue that is not specifically addressed in the bylaw amendment and will be resolved by the courts. The Board understands that the WorldMark owner list not only includes personal contact information, but also has commercial value. If the list were to be circulated among all owners, some of whom market WorldMark vacation credits for personal profit, or if the list was acquired from an owner by any number of marketing companies, it would be impossible to identify which owner violated a promise to use the owner list only for proper purposes. As a victim of identity theft myself, I am particularly sensitive to the problems that can be created by personal information falling into the wrong hands. Once your personal contact information is released, WorldMark cannot protect against its further dissemination.
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