FSPA reaches affiliation agreement

FSPA reaches affiliation agreementAfter some protracted and at times contentious negotiations, the Florida Swimming Pool Association has renewed its affiliation agreement with APSP.

The former Region 7 first broke away and signed an affiliation agreement with APSP (then NSPI) in 2000. That allowed the Florida group to maintain enough independence to focus on its membership's local issues, while still benefitting from the national alliance. The organization has since signed two one-year extensions, in 2003 and 2004, while the national organization grappled with Chapter 11.

"We waited to see what would happen with bankruptcy and then the reorganization," said David Oxley, FSPA's Affiliation Task Force chairman. "We wanted to see if it would be to our advantage to continue the agreement."

With the reorganization nearly complete, the two groups began renewal discussions earlier this year. Membership dues revenue and how it was to be collected proved to be the stumbling blocks that nearly derailed the negotiations.

"There had been some sticking points on how to pay the dues," Oxley said. "We used to have a per-member fee. But we weren't willing to raise it the amount that [APSP] wanted."

The new agreement will call for a percentage system instead of charging a flat fee, according to Jack Cergol, APSP's chief staff executive. For example, Category 2 and 3 members pay FSPA $550 in annual dues. Twenty percent of that amount ($110) then would be passed on to APSP.

The state of Florida has strict licensing requirements and calls for contractors to update their accreditation periodically. As part of the new agreement, APSP would rebate back 5 percent of the amount paid to it to those who need continuing education. Cergol said he is unsure of the number of members who currently meet that criterion.

FSPA only collects from Category 2 and 3 members. APSP still directly collects Category 1 dues in Florida, mostly from manufacturers. Under past agreements, the national group would rebate back a portion of that money to FSPA. Under the current agreement, that practice would stop.

"That made a big difference [to our budget] and was part of the reason we wanted to redo [the dues allocation procedures]," Oxley said. "Now the budget will still take a hit, but it won't be as drastic."

The agreement had not been signed at press time, but officials said that was just a formality. The final wording is being completed and was to become official July 1.

By remaining part of APSP, the Florida group is still eligible for funding for its lobbying and government relations projects.

"They've had so much legislative activity down there lately, we wanted them to have this money," Cergol said. "It will come in handy."

He added that he's relieved FSPA is still part of the national trade group.

"Florida is a crucial member for us and is [important] to the industry," Cergol said.