copyright 2000
Cleveland Chapter
American Guild of Organists

Dean's Message April 2000

I 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.

While 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.

A 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 February 2000)

An 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.

The 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.

Blessings and peace to you,

Fern Jennings

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