Membership Application

A. The Organization shall have only one (1) representative for each product, service or profession in which the member is primarily engaged on a full-time basis.

1 Primarily engaged is defined as the product, service or profession from which the member receives the majority of income, focuses the majority of time or effort, or is commonly associated with the business based on name, advertising, reputation or other reasonable factors.

2. Full-time basis is defined as twenty (20) hours per week or more. Though membership for part-time businesses is not discouraged, one Chapter goal should be to foster professionalism. Being engaged in an enterprise on a full-time basis is one of many indicators that the member is seriously and genuinely committed to fostering business growth and development.

3. Conflicts of interest are possible when a prospective member offers ancillary products or services in which another member may be primarily engaged. For example, a potential member primarily engaged in selling and installing new carpeting may also offer carpet cleaning services. A current member may already be engaged in carpet cleaning services. In such situations:

a. Contact the current member primarily engaged in the product or service to determine if he or she feels a conflict of interest exists. The current member may feel there is no conflict of interest because the ancillary product or service is such a small percentage of the prospective member’s business, differences in the product or service (Example: commercial verses residential), etc.

b. If a current member feels that a conflict of interest with a prospective member would exist, the prospective member must agree not to promote, discuss, or offer the ancillary product or service to the membership.

c. If either party is not satisfied that the conflict of interest has been satisfactorily resolved, it is the responsibility of the aggrieved party to submit it in writing to the ethics committee.

d. No conflict of interest exists when a prospective member is primarily engaged in a product or service which a current member offers as an ancillary product or service as it is not the product or service in which they are primarily engaged.

4. Multi-level Marketing (MLM) is a concept usually associated with earning income by recruiting or soliciting customers to sell the products they have purchased rather than relying on direct individual effort or enterprise. Rarely does someone engage in MLM on a full-time basis and granting membership may be questionable on this basis alone. Should the Chapter choose to allow a MLM business to be a member, the focus of the member shall be the promotion of the product or service, not the recruitment of others.

5. The primary member shall not be a member of any other group which is designed to pass exchanges to another because can reduce their commitment to this organization.

B. The common welfare of the membership should come first. Members are encouraged to make every effort to do business with other members.

C. Election to Membership – A prospective applicant must attend at least one as a guest. Guest attendance is limited to a maximum of two times during a one year period of time. This does not include anyone substituting for a member. All applicants must be accompanied by annual prorated dues. Each applicant must agree to abide by the by-laws and rules and regulations of the Ashtabula County Business Exchange. The application shall be sponsored by at least one organization member in good standing. Once the application is submitted, it will be forwarded to the Ethics Committee for preliminary review. The application will be read at the next regular AcBE meeting. Any member that objects to the prospective member joining the organization must contact a member of the Ethics Committee and state their reasons. After at least one week, allowing for comments, the Ethics Committee will review applications and with a majority vote will be approved or rejected. The prospective applicant will be notified of the results. Applicants for membership who have been rejected by the Organization may not re-apply within six (6) months such rejection.

D. Guests are by invitation. Responsibility for “category non-conflict'; lies with the inviting member.

E. For a successful organization attendance is mandatory. The primary member must attend at least 50% of the meetings. Attendance by the alternate member is not considered a substitution. Three absences and three substitutions per six months are allowed. If a health issue arises with the member or a member of is immediate family, the Ethics Committee can review the circumstances and can make an allowance. After the three absences and three substitutions, to remain in good standing a member must pay a fine of $20.00 for his return. This must be paid at the next meeting he attends. These monies will go directly into the scholarship fund.