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Thread: The OAA and Our Future

  1. #76
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    Hey Chip ....

    Don't guess I rightly know what a legislative vote costs in my state - don't rightly care.

    Obviously when I said something about storming the capital steps I was talkin' ina metaphor. Now I'll give you another one.

    Remember the Hebrew story about David and Goliath? Now this is not an exact quote or translation but my take on the story.

    David said, why are you guys afraid of this big guy? Just go out and fight him, you have a promise of help.

    So David decides to go and fight the big guy but the establishment said you can't go out there without the proper defensive and offensive accoutrements. David tried them on and said, this does not fit. This ain't me. This is not what I do.

    So he went out "naked" with what he did know and do and what he had practiced and won the day.

    Buying votes is what the Big Guys do. We gotta have a different way. You are right, we will never win if we try to do battle with their kind of tools.

    Something more homey, more natural for us, more "what we do" would be in order - nevertheless it most likely will involve some money; something which opticianry in general has been unwilling to give for any cause.

  2. #77
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Time Out

    OK folks before we start traveling down a one-way street let's take a time out here.

    I am not currently a member of the OAA. I belong to a state with a large organization wants to be a member of the OAA again but has run into some obstacles along the way. There hasn't been any point in pushing that subject here because of the topic I chose. There is a new administration at the helm of the OAA and it deserves a chance. We will probably hear about what changes are in the works after the Leadership Meeting. Members of the OAA have admitted that the Organization hasn't been at its best the last few years but promises a change. I think it was a good thing to hear them state that here on a public community forum. It is the start of that open exchange some of us are looking for.

    I first asked "Can the OAA lead Opticianry into the future?" I now believe they need to. I am looking for constructive comments and suggestions for what we are looking for from the OAA in order for us to want to take a more active role in the OAA and in order for them to serve us best. Hopefully, they will be listening. We need a national organization with members behind it. It is the only way to balance the scales in our profession. The OAA is an established organization involved mostly with legislation but it does support other areas that will help opticians advance in their field. It is our best bet for creating a strong national presence because it is established. The new board of directors has some work to do if it wishes to achieve this type of strength. On the other hand, we cannot sit back and watch the show. We have to support the OAA and play an active roll in what comes next. If we get the membership numbers, we will have a voice. We are the OAA's constituants and must count for something.

    If you don't think the OAA is currently capable of leading us into the future then what does it need to do in order to make it happen?

  3. #78
    OptiBoard Professional Dannyboy's Avatar
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    OAA

    I think the reputation of OAA clouds a new beginning. I would like to believe that changes will be coming. Start by requiring uniform training for opticians by demanding that the ABO requires an associates degree. That is the only change that needs to be made. An organization of poor payed, undertrained will reflect the grandeur of their future achievements. Elevate the requirements now! Get together with the appointing organization of the ABO and require a degree. It is a change they can made without hiring lobbyist or forming commitees. This change will show us followers that our leaders mean business. This type of change will attract membership as grandfathering the current certification will elevate it value.

    Dannyboy

    ;)

  4. #79
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    For the OAA to survive and your state associations to survive your membership is crucial. If not we are flogging dead horses. It is time to make a commitment by all. No excuses!

    Opticianry has changed dramatically and organizations must change and they know that. And they need volunteerism. A huge metamorphosis is in its stages but it cannot emerge with pessimism. We must see the forrest through the trees. Let us all step outside the box and contribute positively at the state leadership meeting and in suggestions for bylaw changes. To make it happen we must be at the OAA meeting to vote as a state delegate, Honored Fellow or as a firm or guild member. No other way at present.

    What business are we all in? Retail! Your responsibility as an owner, tech, optician, assistant, secretary, or doctor is to sell no matter what setting you say you are in. That is how we pay the bills and place food on our tables.

    PS. to get through the House alone in this state in 1995-96 the cost was $110,000.
    Last edited by Bev Heishman; 08-18-2001 at 09:56 PM.

  5. #80
    Bad address email on file Jackie L's Avatar
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    The cost of grass roots

    Now Homer...To quote you..."Don't guess I rightly know what a legislative vote costs in my state - don't rightly care."

    Maine recently attempted to legislate mandatory 2 year education requirements with ABO and licensure and failed. We tried the grass roots approach and most likely failed due to the back room financial discussions held between the ODs and Legislatures during break. Not to pick on you, pal, but I guess we should care.


    One of the comforts of stepping into that State Committee room during our public hearing was knowing that the OAA was with us, financially and they even sent the IPP to speak out on behalf of our legislative attempt.

    Anybody else out there...don't play a wait and see. Join in. Can you not see the reason to? Strength in numbers.

  6. #81
    since 1964 Homer's Avatar
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    The real cost of votes ....

    Jackie, just had a very interesting talk with a speaker who made a presentation to our local Rotary Club.

    He is a lobbiest for NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) They are the 5th largest /strogest lobbing group in the US. AARP is first, American Israeli Alliance is second, the AFLCIO is third, the trial-lawyers are 4th. He work exclusively here in Colorado.

    As I was sharing with him some ideas, he mentioned the strength of the local Optometric Association which has fought us on licensing attempts. He said, "I was suprised at their strength!"

    While money IS involved (the cost of a vote), their strength is much more than that. The local Optometric Association has as it's executive director a former legislator. She insisted that individual optometrists get involved in local campagine committees. She also suggested that they offer themselves for positions on the health-care advisory committees of specific legislators.

    The speaker said that in their last legislative action, they had committed votes BEFORE the legislation had actually been written in it's final form.

    I think that we often forget that legislators are real people with personal concerns and ethics. We do them a great dis-service to think of them as simply votes that can be bought.

    Just as good, professional, successful dispensing (opticianry) is about relationships with our customers, so is good, professional, successful legislation.

    So if we need money, I go back to my "beer-can" economics of a few months ago. If we need political power that will come from powerful relationships.

    By and large (this is a very general statement) we do not have the opticians with the self-confidence to develope a good relationship with legislators. In years past when many opticianry licenses were established, the business-owner-optician was a golfing buddy of his local legislator and contributed to his campagin. This is where optometry is camped out and that is a power quite hard to oppose.

    Does this make any sense, Jackie?

  7. #82
    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Question Where does OAA fit

    I have read a lot of rhetoric on joining and being a member of OAA but still am unclear what this organization is doing to help individual states trying to get licensure or states trying to get formal education laws passed. I realize OAA deals with national issues but what are national issues? Aren't they a culmination of state issues? If our national leadership would set an agenda and focus on individual state assistance we might move mountains with small steps. So far our state organization struggles with budget problems yet it pays $24,000 a year in OAA dues. We don't want to see OAA fall but we need leadership that is sensitive to it's membership.

    Jerry Sherman:idea:

  8. #83
    sub specie aeternitatis Pete Hanlin's Avatar
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    A couple years ago, I heeded Judy's call to "just join" the OAA. So, I've paid my dues and worn my OAA pin when I work or speak...

    I still don't really understand the organization or what it is trying to accomplish, but I at least get the benefit of having my name up on their online database of optical speakers- which has gotten me a few calls.

    I personally think the ultimate "report card" on the OAA should be the number of states making progress on licensure. Let's see, when was the last time a new state was added to the "licensed" column? I know this isn't fair, because there are lots of states and blah, blah, blah... I just think on a national level the biggest issue should be gaining licensure for EVERY state. THEN, we can start going back and trying to get national education standards and perhaps refraction legislation (ugh) in some states!

    I spoke at the national OAA conference a couple years ago in New Orleans. I suppose Homer is right- if you don't put in the time, you really haven't "earned" a voice. However, I can't honestly say that I saw anyone encouraging anyone to "join in and put in their time." Seems like there are a few people who run and enjoy the organization, and they are quite content with being with theirselves (I did have a pleasant conversation Joyce Otto, however- she was able to give me at least a little background on the OAA).

    The OAA is a good idea... I think the organization just needs to communicate with us mere "members" a little better and let us know how we CAN contribute time!

    As to state associations and their relationship with the OAA... I know Florida is no longer associated with OAA- why is that?
    Pete Hanlin, ABOM
    Sr. Director Professional Solutions
    Essilor of America

    http://linkedin.com/in/pete-hanlin-72a3a74

  9. #84
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Pete,
    OAA has, as a part of its goals, everything you talked about...50 licensed states, mandatory education at the college level, and an increase in our scope of practice to include refractions. But, it's become at "Catch-22" situation...can't accomplish the goals without money, can't get the money without members, can't get members until we accomplish the goals. ( I have a sneakin' suspicion, that once the goals are acheived, Opticians won't support their national organization because we've accomplished everything they wanted. )
    While POF isn't affiliated with OAA, Mark Miller is deeply involved with the Leadership Conference to be held at the end of this month in Charleston, SC. I expect we'll see a new and improved OAA following the Conference. Stay tuned and keep the faith!

  10. #85
    sub specie aeternitatis Pete Hanlin's Avatar
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    Judy,
    I'm sure anything that Mark is involved with will go well! I didn't mean to be "sniping" with the comment about state licensure... I just think we should take all the legislative money and dump it into one state at a time until we start acheiving licensure in each state!

    As you know, we had a little scare here in Florida concerning our licensure status last year. One of the things I noticed on the administration's "reasons to suspend licensure" list was that Opticians are licensed in less than half of the 50 states...

    I'll keep the faith and wish you guys the best of luck at the upcoming conference!
    Pete Hanlin, ABOM
    Sr. Director Professional Solutions
    Essilor of America

    http://linkedin.com/in/pete-hanlin-72a3a74

  11. #86
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    I knew you weren't snipping...I just took advantage of the opportunity to talk a little...

  12. #87
    Master OptiBoarder Joann Raytar's Avatar
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    Judy,

    Does anyone have an idea why the Connecticut Opticians Association isn't being accepted as a State Society Member? I am just looking to hear the other side of the story on this one. Any comments you would be able to offer would help me understand the actual situation a little better.

  13. #88
    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Confused Connecticut

    I was on a list of state leaders and I had information that there was a dues problem or dispute between OAA and the Connecticut association. I heard OAA helped establish another association in Connecticut to replace the old organization. You can get more info on this from Skip Revard.



    Jerry Sherman

  14. #89
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Jo,
    I haven't been privy to all sides of the story about the dues issue, so I'm hesitant to say much.
    My suggestion would be that you come to Charleston as one of the representatives from CT. You're just the kind of enthusiastic member we need!

  15. #90
    OptiBoard Novice OptiBoard Silver Supporter
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    Dear Optiboard Professionals,

    We originally posted this reponse in reply to a statement made by ts on a different thread General Discussion Form/Are You A Joiner? The "quote" appears in that thread.

    Reviewing this discussion, we feel it is appropriate to repeat it here.

    Respectfully,
    The Connecticut Opticians Association

    Whats Going On in CT?

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    the national org did not refuse to accept COA as a state member the COA chose not to join the national org. They were offered membership and had many conversations concerning membership long before the other org in CT paid dues. we are talking about the national meeting in ca. as the last attempt to get coa to join and they chose not to join at that time. I do not Know what is going on in Ct but it is time to put the ego's away and get back to one org. no one gains when there is more than onr association
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The Board of Directors of the Connecticut Opticians Association, Inc. (COA) has been monitoring the Optiboard threads regarding our Association and the OAA with great interest. Our Association has declined comment until this recent post. Continued unsubstantiated comments originating from hearsay will only create additional rumors, apathy and animosity among professional opticians. Our profession cannot tolerate additional splintering of its leadership.

    We now recognize our responsibility to respond accordingly

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    . . . the COA chose not to join the national org. They were offered membership and had many conversations concerning membership long before the other org in CT paid dues.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Founded and incorporated in 1934, the Connecticut Opticians Association, Inc. was a charter member of the OAA. The COA DID NOT refuse to pay its OAA dues. Current with a previous arrearage, we continued to make monthly payments against an expected dues billing. For a period of 10 months, we paid a monthly assessment, without benefit of a dues statement. We stopped payment only when a former OAA staff member questioned where to apply our monthly checks. (She had no invoice to apply our payments against) Repeated requests for an accounting of monies already paid to the OAA went unanswered for more than year. Any responsible business would NOT pay fees 1) without proper invoicing and 2) when accountability questions went unanswered.

    When a simple accounting was finally rendered, we disputed the application and amount of our payments. A request for explanation still remains unanswered. It appears that we paid more than was accounted by OAA. We now consider that a moot issue and are no longer concerned with it. Too much time has passed.

    We have several unanswered letters and emails to the OAA stating our belief in its mission and objectives. Before we would pay a significant amount of money to reaffiliate, we asked for an indication that the OAA would have the financial stability and sufficient staff to fulfill its mission.

    During this period, the only correspondence ever received from the OAA was a letter to disassociate us for non-payment of dues.

    While we were still attempting to communicate with the OAA, it voted in May 2001, to recognize a newly organized splinter group in CT as its State affililiated member. That group of 6 – 7 independent owners had no By-laws, officers or members. The organization was a private club of owners that is not incorporated in the State of Connecticut.

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    . . . we are talking about the national meeting in ca. as the last attempt to get coa to join and they chose not to join at that time.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The COA Board of Directors sent its Executive Director to the OAA meeting in Anaheim. He had a blank check authorizing payment of dues, providing the COA be singularly recognized. Personality conflicts prevented that from happening. He was informed by an Executive officer of the OAA, as witnessed by several people, that the COA was not wanted by the OAA.

    We asked for a mutually agreed upon, authorized mediator to resolve those conflicts, investigate the OAA By-laws and provide answers of accountability. The requested mediator was never provided.

    Through email, personal and conference telephone calls, the Connecticut Opticians Association, continued to seek and received informal advice from an OAA Vice-president. Recognizing the cash flow problems of the OAA, we understood that our dues payment, representing more than 200 CT opticians, would be beneficial to the planned restructuring of the OAA.

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    . . . They were offered membership and had many conversations concerning membership long before the other org in CT paid dues
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Although accepted as an affiliate in May, as of late October, the splinter group had not paid any dues to the OAA. Perhaps its dues assessment was unclear, as it had no recognized membership. Acting on the advice of the OAA Vice-president, the COA sent an Express letter and a check for affiliation addressed to OAA Acting Executive Manger, Mike Robey. Our advice indicated that sending a dues payment would force the OAA Board to vote on whether to accept or decline COA State member affiliation. It would finally resolve the situation one-way or the other. The Express Mail was returned to our office unopened and marked REFUSED. By telephone, Mr. Robey acknowledged that the letter was never delivered to him. The OAA VP informed us that an Executive officer of the OAA instructed the OAA office staff to return that letter.

    The OAA VP told us that the splinter group in CT finally made dues payment just days before our Express mail was received and refused.

    The Connecticut Opticians Association represents by its membership, opticians in all aspects of our profession, not just independent owners. Our motto, No matter who you are, or where you work, we represent you is meant to include opticians who work in a corporate environment, for optometry or with ophthalmology.

    As the OAA claims to be looking to restructuring in the immediate future, it will be imperative to decide if they will represent the interests of all optical personnel or to represent just a select few.

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    . . . I do not Know what is going on in Ct but it is time to put the ego's away and get back to one org. no one gains when there is more than onr association
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    We agree with this statement. If you cannot document facts pertaining to the COA, you should refrain from making unsubstantiated comments. It has been the position of the COA that only ONE State association be recognized by the OAA as a state-affiliated association. While a splinter group of some 50 members is recognized in Connecticut, the COA will be hard pressed to provide any financial support to the OAA.

    In the meantime, the rumors concerning the Connecticut Opticians Association refusal to join the OAA must stop! We are a viable, well managed organization that recognizes its fiduciary responsibility to its membership.

    With sincerity,
    Jannie B. Shapiro, M.Ed, LO
    1st Vice-president
    Connecticut Opticians Association
    www.CTOpticians.com

  16. #91
    Master OptiBoarder MVEYES's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Great forum

    There is a lot of good information coming to this forum. Don't let it stop.

    Jerry

  17. #92
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    Wave Sam Johnson - Texas

    This is my first time to even look at the Optiboard. It is interesting to me that this subject is being discussed here and it has also been discussed here in Texas for the last two or three years.

    I too believe that a strong national organization, that is willing to fight at a national level for our needs as Opticians, would be a good thing. I have been told that there have been opportunities to support state level legislative efforts to expand the scope of practice of Opticians. That these legislative efforts were passed over by the leadership of the OAA because the legislation did not fit the view of the leadership at that time. True or not, even the perception of a self serving leadership, creates serious problems for all Opticians. Unfortunately, our diversity as opticians has always been a serious problem. The needs of a mandatory licensed state Optician is very different from states that have voluntary licenses such as Texas, and the Opticians serving the public in states where opticians do not have any legal status at all.

    The "good old boy" current system at the OAA is real. From the "in group" point of view, it is the only way that they can protect themselves from radical changes that might negatively effect their licensed states. Unfortunately, the world is changing faster than anyone ever thought would be possible. Even the licensed states are facing problems in proving that the public is better served by licenced opticians vs. non-licenced opticians. This means that the tight grip on the OAA that is currently held by the current leadership probably needs to be loosened. Our current leaders will find this very difficult to do. They have worked very hard to keep the OAA in existance and deserve many praises for their efforts during the last few years. The heavy debt that was created by the obvious lack fiscal responsibility in the past has been resolved.

    I will continue to keep my firm membership active even though the executive board of my professional association in Texas has decided not to renew our affiliate membership during this current year. This does not mean that we will not support the OAA financially in the future. Just not at this time.

    When the concerns of Opticians in non-mandatory licensed states are herd and addressed appropriately, I feel that our Texas association will be ready to participate again. Until then, I plan to participate on a firm basis.

    We have developed many great programs and we will continue to concentrate on implementing our five year plan of action.

    Proud to be a Registered Optician in Texas!

  18. #93
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Sam, that's a crying shame. I know that OAA worked diligently for several years to bring Texas back into the fold. But having just returned from a very disappointing spring convention in Virginia, I can understand your frustration. When an organization loses touch with its constituency, it's future is cloudy at best. I will renew my OAA membership this week and I will continue to support my state association, if for no other reason than to retain the ability to remind our leaders that associations are responsible to their members.

  19. #94
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    Wave

    Hi Judy,

    Thank you for your comments. As an officer with our state asociation, I am most interested in serving our association members. We have a very busy schedule of activities each year that include trying to pass opticianry bills in the Texas legislature, community service projects, 100 hour refraction training courses, "Registered Optician" promotion program, and our annual meeting/educational seminar. We have a very full plate. I guess our Executive Board felt we had enough going on at this time. Our membership has nearly doubled every year because we keep making progress in the above areas. I hope this trend continues.

  20. #95
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    Why does anyone think thier future is tied to some organisation, or legislation? Make your own future.

    Sam Johnson: Are you perchance related to the late Samuel B. Johnson, M.D. from West Texas and formerly the head of The University of Mississippi Ophthalmology Dept?

  21. #96
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    Wave

    Hi Chip,

    You are correct. We should all make our own future.

    Unfortunately, as an Optician, the playing field and rules are weighted against us because the other "O's" did organize and pass legislation that provided a better future for all of their fellow professionals. Anyone who thinks that politics is to distasteful or a waist of time and energy or that they do not want to participate in the legislative process is in effect letting someone else control their future through legislation.

    If you really believe that Opticians should make their own future, than get involved where the action is through your state society organization's legislative action committee. If they are not active enough for you, than help them fight the good fight. As long as the other "Os" believe that we will not fight for our own future, they will never respect us or our profession.

    Oh, I am not related to the Ophthalmologist that you mentioned.

  22. #97
    Paper Shuffler GOS_Queen's Avatar
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    Sam -



    I am quite impressed with what Texas is in the process of doing and what it already has done. :cheers:

    That's just awesome~I wish all the states (I guess I mean MY STATE :o especially) had the enthusiasm, organization and drive that Texas does. :idea:

    Welcome to Optiboard
    "I just love the smell of Optidirt in the morning.

    Smells like------Victory." -- Uncle Fester :p


  23. #98
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    Wave Raising the level of education offered

    Thank you.

    We have a very broad activity base that keeps us busy at building a better future for opticians that consider themselves professional enough to continuously improve their skills in Ophthalmic Optics.

    Too often, the only goal of opticians is to be a better sales person. The result is most opticians are considered to be glorified sales people that can not make professional judgement calls with out a doctor to help them. At this time there is no big financial gain in learning skills that truely make an optician an equal partner of the other two "Os". That comes when opticians truely are the experts in Ophthalmic Optics. The other "Os" have left the Art and Science of Opticianry for other areas of expertise. There is a void and we need to fill it.

    I call for professional opticians everywhere to raise the standards of what is considered acceptable continuing education and start teaching optics and the skills that better serve the public when ever possible. I know that it is easier and less expensive to let the manufacturers provide CECs, but it is usually not in the best interest of our profession to continuously learn from entry level courses. ABO/NCLE has three levels of course approval. Level two and three are considered the more advanced training and I believe that they are more interesting also.

    Does any one else agree or disagree?

    Sam Johnson, ABOM, NCLE-AC
    Texas Department of Health - Registered Optician
    www.ROATx.org (your invited to check out our web site)
    Last edited by Sam Johnson; 04-15-2006 at 07:38 AM. Reason: gramer correction

  24. #99
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    Good Post

    It is imperative that Opticians advance educationally. Your efforts are very much appreciated and I wish you the best in your efforts. I will be in your state in June and look forward to seeing first hand what you and your colleagues are doing there.

    Best regards,
    Warren

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