I received an email from Bryan Bledsoe last night in reference to his resignation from the National Association of EMS Educators Board of Directors. The email, reprinted with the permission of Dr. Bledsoe, is as follows:
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
I have resigned my position as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of EMS Educators. I have served less than a year, yet I cannot, in good faith, continue. In the short time I have been on the Board we have effected a few changes. Working with a few other Board members, we have forced the organization to be honest and open about membership numbers. Actual membership numbers are closer to 2,000 or less. This is considerably less than the 4,000 plus often reported. We have had a self-study completed that pointed to some of the problems with the organization and the Board. Whether any of the recommendations of this self-study will be enacted remains to be seen. We have planted the seed of increased organizational transparency and I hope that grows.
I do not see any significant chances for organizational improvement or change for at least five years. I have been a thorn in the side of the Board and the Executive Director. But, based upon recent elections, either my concerns are not shared by the membership as a whole or the “system” is again responsible for stopping change either through obfuscation or simple ineptness. Being on this Board is quite an exercise in tenacity. As an emergency physician, I am impatient and expect results. This trait grates against the culture of NAEMSE.
I have concerns about the organizational finances and the conference. Approximately 60% of the budget goes to fund the office in Pittsburgh. The previous Boards of Directors have entered into a 10-year lease for the office space in Pittsburgh than costs in excess of $5,000 a month. In Pennsylvania, real estate leases also incur other expenses. Approximately 10% of the projected budget for next year will be to fund the Executive Director’s salary and benefits package. I have been repeatedly told by members of the organization that the symposium is not attractive to members, yet the membership survey and feedback provided by the Executive Director would indicate a high level of satisfaction with the seminar and the “Instructor Courses” offered by the organization. I have been told by several corporate representatives that they are displeased with the conference and the organization. Yet, the sponsor and vendor survey provided by the Executive Director would indicate a high level of satisfaction. Regardless, for whatever reason, corporate memberships and sponsorships are down.
I am 52-years-old and have many great things going on in my life. This organization is just one thing that I do not have the personality for. Politics, obviously, are not in my future. If you voted for me last year, thank you. I apologize for letting you down by resigning before my term is up. I am a person of action and integrity and want to live my life in a way that I am comfortable. I obviously made a mistake running for this Board. This organization is a mess—but the membership appears satisfied. Either I was wrong or the “system” has successfully run off another Board member.
I am sorry if I have seemed to take a tone of judgment. I truly wish NAEMSE well. I am just not sure how they will get there.
Bryan E. Bledsoe, DO, FACEP
(Since this post is long, I'll comment in a subsequent post.)