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romneyI joined the National Auctioneers Association in 1986.

Subsequently, I joined the Ohio Auctioneers Association, the Indiana Auctioneers Association and the Michigan State Auctioneers Association.

I joined and thus I am able to take advantage of seminars, conferences, classes, social events and other networking and educational opportunities. Too, as a member, I can provide material, opinions, and other benefits to the other members.

In regard to our topic today, Mitt Romney was somewhat famous for saying, “Corporations are people too, my friend!” citing the First Amendment and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010.)

The National Auctioneers Association notes on their membership application that, “Membership in NAA is open to individuals, not companies,” and state associations vary in regard to whether or not corporations, partnerships, LLC’s and the like can join their association.

It is my view (and the view of many others) that membership in any type of auctioneer association should be limited to individuals (people) and not business entities.

For example, a corporation claims (or is?) a member of the National Auctioneers Association. So, does that mean that the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer are all members? Are all the employees then members? What about shareholders?

Who does the association contact with a question or comment? Is everyone within the corporation thus a member and enjoy the benefits of such? Further, how does the corporation provide opinions, feedback and/or otherwise interact with the association?

How does a corporation member benefit any of the other individual members? It seems clear that membership in auctioneer associations is about both giving and receiving.

Certainly, a membership in theory provides the association income in excess of the cost to maintain that member. Therefore, might an association argue, “Such business entity members provides us net income so that benefits the entire membership …”

Yet, with that thinking, an auctioneer association could argue that there be no criteria for membership, as anyone (or anything) is welcome as a member — so long as they pay the dues.

If a corporation portrays membership status, but actually the president is the member, and not the corporation, possibly a clarification is prudent? And, for those auctioneer associations who do accept corporations and other business entities as members … is that prudent?

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.