have just received copies of the AGO's undated Code of Ethics
of Professional Standards and new Procedures for Dealing with
Complaints about Termination. These items are included in the
March 2000, issue of The American Organist on page 70. I urge
you to look them over and familiarize yourself with their contents.
we haven't had any complaints locally for some time, apparently
there has been an upsurge of complaints nationally about wrongful
employment termination of members. The new procedures attempt
to put more "teeth" into our proceedings.
number of things for individual membes to consider very seriously
are in these new codes. For one thing, an AGO member is now
specifically prohibited form seeking or accepting regular employment
at an institution under investigation or one found to have terminated
a member wronguflly. Don't worry, we have no such institutions
locally at this time, and we will letyou know if any surface
in the future. (Good reason to keep reading your newsletter!)
You will also be asked to sign a Code of Ethics every time you
renew your membership. In addition to rules about how we treat
each other in professional situations, it includes a paragraph
about respecting property rights of composers, authors, and
publishers by complying with Copyright Law. (January 2000 and
excellent resource about employment matters is our Professional
Concerns Booklet. This book was prepared by our chapter a few
years ago and includes local salary guidelines and sample contracts.
Copies will be available at the annual meeting. We plan to have
this information available on the Internet soon. I have referred
many pastors and music committee members to the book when they
call requesting information about fair salaries for musicians.
AGO is a serious organization. It is not a union, but for those
of you who are church musicians, it remains the best advocate
for our interests. I urge you to participate in the local chapter
by returning your ballot and by attending the annual meeting
at St. Christopher's-by-the-River Church. We will have a wonderful,
inspirational Evensong, followed by a delicious dinner and a
brief annual meeting. I look foward to seeing you there.
and peace to you,