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Thread: Does your agency pay for your APA/AICP dues?

  1. #1

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    Does your agency pay for your APA/AICP dues?

    I've just been tasked with drafting a departmental policy regarding the payment of professional organization dues for the professional planning staff in my juriusdiction. The City itself has a "no-policy" policy that allows each department director the discretion they want--some do, some don't.

    The recently-retired former planning director didn't see the value in belonging to APA...and certainly not in belonging to AICP...and only grudgingly (and without a policy) paid for APA dues alone (no AICP, no ASLA, etc.)

    Does anyone know of a planning agency that offers the financial support for the establishment and maintenance of professional organization membership, and that has some (any) sort of written guidelines to outline it?

    I'd like to provide our new director some written justification that he can use to answer the question of WHY he should pay our dues (and for the AICP exam, etc.), when he inevitably gets asked.

    Thanks, and I'm looking forward to any responses.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Not here. I pay for APA/AICP out my own pocket, thank you.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yowzers....

    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Not here. I pay for APA/AICP out my own pocket, thank you.
    Good grief....that coupled with mid-western pay REALLY SUCKS I am officially angry on behalf of JNA

    Note: I have no idea what JNA gets paid, but judging from his high quality posts, it can't be enough

    I had my AICP exam paid for by a Colorado County and dues paid by all govt. offices I've worked for in the past. Nothing was paid by the homebuilder I worked for....

    Someone remind me.....is there a rule that says we AICP members MUST use our credential while active?? (maybe I'll loose my AICP for asking such a stupid question eh?) If not.... If I'm paying for my dues, then why advertise them for the employer on their letter head???
    Skilled Adoxographer

  4. #4
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Every gov't agency where I've worked has paid for my APA and AICP memberships.

  5. #5
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    Partially...

    My city pays $200 that covers the majority of it..

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    JNA said "Not here. I pay for APA/AICP out my own pocket, thank you."

    I concur. They used to, but it was either that or opening up health insurance.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    I've worked for four government agencies, and all have paid for my APA/AICP dues. Now my employer pays for APA/AICP and CIP. It's a small price to pay for employee morale.

  8. #8
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    They pay for APA, AWWA, OAWU, and a couple others. Or... I do. I set my budgets, and they barely glance at the dues and subscriptions line item. I also have to keep cetain things current and make sure my guys get enough CEUs for their certifications.

    My City is willing to pay me to take the AICP, too.

    But if you want to set a "policy" I'd make two suggestions. If they are already APA, keep paying it. If they want to get the AICP cert, then have them re-up for a year or something... In other words, if the cost is $400 total for the AICP exam, then you pay them back for it over the next year. Like $100 every three months... that way you aren't paying for them to become more qualified and move on. That concerns some folks...
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  9. #9
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I negotiated as part of this job - they paid for it at my last 2 towns too

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I am in a very fortunate position. My firm pays for almost everything (APA membership, including membership into 2 APA divisions (which cost extra), AICP exam prep, the ability to attend conferences, take classes, etc, even to buy books for our huge library!. My firm has a form for attending conferences that the CFO and managing prinicpals have to approve ahead of time, and includes the who, what, when, why,where, and how much aspects (this form is also used for taking classes, attending brownbag lunches, etc.). There is a catch though when it comes to conferences: I might have to juggle attending workshops while manning our vendor exhibit, setting up and taking down the exhibit as well, not to mention networking throughout the conference.

    I think there are several reasons why my firm is more supportive of membership than some other groups:

    1. Several prinicpals and senior staff are current/past presidents of the state APA and ASLA chapters.

    2. There are a few co-workers who teach/have taught graphics/design at the local community college in the evenings.

    3. Professional participation is a very important way to network and to procure work, and additional classes/certification sets us apart from competing firms.


    Thumb through the APA salary survey (as well as ASLA's salary survey, since you mentioned that area) and find some salary tables to back you up (contact California APA and see if they can help, I am in the midwest and don't know how it works though). The tables will give you some support in your arguments. Tables which indicate the percentage of people in planning with AICP certifcation vs. people without AICP certification would be a start. Since you are in the public sector, I am not sure if a table indicating salary vs. AICP is a good or a bad idea (it might suggest that you want AICP certification to earn a higher salary and you would leave if a better job came along).

    I am sure people online here will be able to indicate a few communities who have policies regarding APA membership, AICP exam prep (I might know of one or two) but these are specific examples which are probably not chisled in stone and fall under the larger, more ambiguous title of career advancement on papr.

    Personally, I would be careful bringing up examples of communities that have policies regarding career advancement. This is for three reasons:

    (1) Spending this money for your professional advancement is coming from the public coffers, so your new supervisor has to be very sure that he is going to get a good return on investment.

    (2) Not all communities are the same. If you work within a small community with a limited budget, and you are presenting written policies for career advancement that come from large, growing communities with hugh budgets, it might be harder to make a case.

    (3) Your new boss might even have a more negative view towards career advancement than your former boss.

    Fortunately, your career advancement is in the hands of your supervisor, which is not subject to scrutiny by financial committees of elected/appointed officials. I would hold off notifing your new supervisor until you have developed a strong professional relationship with him (at least 3-6 months).

    If your supervisor is still unsupportive of your goals, you might want to start looking for a new job (and emphasize the importance of career advancement in your interviews).

    Good luck

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    my town pays for APA membership. and though AICP testing is still 1.5 years off they said they'll pay for that too.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    All three of my jobs have paid my APA (and now AICP,too), and my last job paid for my AICP exam but I think they were too ignorant to realize there was a chance I could fail. I think they thought it was just a procedural thing. I have been told a few times at my current job that they may drop paying for AICP, but for now they'll pay it. There was never any formal policy at any of my jobs.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cch View post
    All three of my jobs have paid my APA (and now AICP,too), and my last job paid for my AICP exam but I think they were too ignorant to realize there was a chance I could fail. I think they thought it was just a procedural thing. I have been told a few times at my current job that they may drop paying for AICP, but for now they'll pay it. There was never any formal policy at any of my jobs.
    Yes, I got the town to pay the exam fee and even the prep class at MIT to boot -

    It never hurts to ask for something that helps your job, the worst thing that happens is they say no

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    I'm in my first job where the DON'T pay my membership dues, for either APA or AICP. I've asked for an official answer as to why not:

    1) They pay AIA and ASLA
    2) They pay for EIT and PE testing
    3) They pay for memberships for the arch. & eng. crowd

    So far, I haven't heard back. Good thing I have until March to pay my dues!!
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    My APA and my AICP are 50% covered. I pay them and then get an expense check.
    Maintaining enthusiasm in the face of crushing apathy.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    My last two jobs have not paid for it at all. My new one that I wil be starting in one week does.

  17. #17
         
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    The 3 governments I have worked for all paid the APA dues. My current employer pays the AICP dues too. They would not pay for the test without an agreement of repayment if I left before a certain date. They also budget about $500.00 a year per planner for training and conferences; enough for a local conference but not a national one.

  18. #18
    planning_chick's avatar
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    After my first year in my current position, and paying my APA/AICP through that year, I made sure that I put that in the budget. My manager was more than fine with that, in fact he was upset I had paid the previous year out of pocket!

  19. #19

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    Thanks so much for all your responses; I've been in jurisdictions (public and private) that have paid or not paid, valued or not valued APA and/or AICP dues...

    Perhaps not so coincidentally, the employer who valued professional development the most in my 16-year planning career--and pretty much badgered those planners who would have rather coasted--paid for everything, and encouraged people to get a lot out of it. The morale was high, and we had the feeling that what we did made sense and had value to the community.

    Where I am currently employed (a large, very sophisticated municipality where the motto is supposedly "excellence is the standard," the perception amongst most staff is that the planners are perceived as non-rechargeable batteries...use them until they run out, then toss. APA dues are paid, as I said, grudgingly; and only after a quasi-revolt. Morale, of course, is extremely low.

    "Nrschmid" has added (along with all of you) some very perceptive and critical comments that are well-taken and would be well advised to many of us... Of course, being tasked with drafting the policy, I'm going to go ahead and shoot myself in the foot and write what I want:

    1. Pay all APA/AICP annual dues, including one division...but any other extras (JAPA, etc., not included;
    2. Pay for one AICP Exam fee (but probably not the prep materials) but with a stipulation that it must be paid back if the employee leaves within a full calendar year of taking the test (somehow I have to figure out how to enforce that).


    Anybody out there see a big red flag with that?

  20. #20
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Senior Jefe View post
    The 3 governments I have worked for all paid the APA dues. My current employer pays the AICP dues too. They would not pay for the test without an agreement of repayment if I left before a certain date. They also budget about $500.00 a year per planner for training and conferences; enough for a local conference but not a national one.
    Would they let you save up? If you see that a national conference will be close in say, '08, they might let you have nothing in 2007 and get $1000 in 2008. It's worth asking. I really enjoyed SF, and meeting people from Cyburbia... except NHPlanner, who made me wear an ugly hat.

    Quote Originally posted by GB1 View post

    2. Pay for one AICP Exam fee (but probably not the prep materials) but with a stipulation that it must be paid back if the employee leaves within a full calendar year of taking the test (somehow I have to figure out how to enforce that).
    Pay it upfront and have the city reimburse 1/4 of the fee every three months.
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  21. #21
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by GB1 View post
    1. Pay all APA/AICP annual dues, including one division...but any other extras (JAPA, etc., not included;
    2. Pay for one AICP Exam fee (but probably not the prep materials) but with a stipulation that it must be paid back if the employee leaves within a full calendar year of taking the test (somehow I have to figure out how to enforce that).
    Seems reasonable. As for the test, what I would suggest is the employee pay the exam fee and then get reimbursed upon passing. That's what I'm doing for my MCIP exam up here. It takes the pressure off of the exam because I won't be wasting City funds if I don't pass, but I'm still getting my money back if I do. Just a thought.

    Edit: Looks like Mastiff beat me to it. Oh well!

  22. #22

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    That's a great amendment!

  23. #23
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I will also add that if the minimum qualifications for the position have a "required" or "preferred" AICP requirement, the jurisdiction should pay the memberships.

  24. #24

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    Thanks, Jake. That's what it has always been wherever else I've worked, but not where I work now. There are no "AICP preferred" or "required" qualifications, which is one reason that the department has suffered for the last 20 years at least. Oh, well...baby steps.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    The County I work for pays my AICP and APA dues. In addition, the City I used to work for payed for me to sit for the AICP exam.
    Satellite City Enabler

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