I want to focus this month's column on the discussion of opening a Washington, D.C. office for AAPG through the DPA's Governmental Affairs Committee.
The AAPG Executive Committee has approached the DPA to be part of this endeavor. Plans are to open the office and, after 2 1/2 years, evaluate its effectiveness regarding cost as well as what the office has achieved and can achieve.
DPA conducted a survey in mid-October to gauge the membership opinion on this endeavor. We contacted an independent firm to help structure the questions and administer the survey and compile the results. The consulting firm feels that we obtained a statistically valid sampling of our membership. This information was then used to help shape the direction the DPA would take on this issue at our mid-year meeting held the first weekend in November of last year.
The survey results, coupled with the survey that was conducted earlier by the AAPG, led the AAPG and DPA leadership to conclude that our members have an interest in being more involved in the governmental affairs area. Survey results are posted on the DPA Web site.
At the mid-year meeting, the DPA leadership raised several questions concerning the opening of this office. A "blue ribbon" committee was formed to fully evaluate the practicality of the office as well as the financial aspects. This office is predicted to cost approximately $500,000 over this 2 1/2-year trial period, with the DPA contributing $125,000 of the total. This will expend about 20 percent of DPA cash reserves. Therefore it is the burden of the leadership to make certain this issue is thoroughly thought through and all aspects are considered.
The blue ribbon committee will address several major concerns, one of which is funding for the office. It is believed at this juncture that monies can be secured through grants as well as other avenues within the government. The committee will be looking into how readily these grants can be secured for AAPG and at what dollar amounts. Private donations from individuals and corporations also could be solicited to help fund the office. These donations are expected to be a source for approximately 25 percent of the cost.
The next big question is, "Can we make an impact in Washington, D.C. with this office?" The committee will be examining how business is conducted in our nation's capital, and how our Washington contact can be a player.
Several people on the committee have been involved within the Beltway and can bring some valuable knowledge to the discussion.
One additional aspect to be addressed is how the activity of the office will be conducted.
It is not the intent of this office to be a lobbying arm for AAPG. The purpose of the office will be to facilitate the AAPG in getting Position Papers before governmental agencies as they deliberate issues that will affect the membership of AAPG. We will present factual data that can be used to help shape policies.
All of these issues and more will be considered prior to a final vote within the DPA. The blue ribbon committee must determine that the office has a very high chance of success in helping AAPG members as well as obtaining funding.
The DPA will vote on this proposal in January, possibly before you have a chance to read this article. I assure you that all of the officers and the Advisory Council members understand our responsibility to you, the member.
Whatever the outcome of this issue is from the DPA, please be reassured that it was considered thoroughly, and that a great deal of effort went into gathering data so that an informed decision could be made.