Letters sent to AICP Commission Opposing Bylaws Imposing Certification Maintenance

Commission Members,

Please REPEAL the Certification Maintenance requirements.

As witnessed in my office as Principal Planner in private practice for seventeen years, with a staff of fifteen, and during my duties as Community Development Director and Zoning Administrator, with a staff of eleven, I can assure you that a person’s presence in a class or seminar WILL NOT certify competency, just attendance. It is impossible to force learning on those who will not open their minds. 

Certification Maintenance requirements do not better the planning profession but do give the appearance of competency to many mediocre practitioners. It may in fact cause a weakening of the credibility of the Planning profession as there will be no real way to determine proficiency when the so-so practitioners are grouped, by payments to seminar presenters, with competent professionals.

I would like to see the entire program receive full and thorough review by all AICP members including options to the proposal and a test period with published results to validate the argument that this requirement will raise competency and professionalism industry-wide.


Jesse Drake, AICP


I am generally in favor of a Certification Maintenance Program as a service to members. It should be inexpensive because the goal should not be to make money but to keep practitioners aware. It should also allow members to maintain certification through local chapters so that members do not have to attend a national conference to maintain certification (I am semi-retired and cannot afford it). However the current proposal is substantially lacking in goodwill and service and appears to be more oriented toward money. Therefore I believe the Proposed Certification Maintenance Program should be rejected and that future commissions not be handicapped by a super majority to approve necessary changes - it is not a constitution! It is a member service to demonstrate appropriate knowledge and contemporary currents in planning.

Thank you for your consideration. If it cannot be changed I may well have to give up my membership.

Alan Howard Kundinger, PCP, AICP


To the Honorable Commissioners of the AICP;

I am dismayed to learn that you are considering amendments to the AICP bylaws that would have the effect of protecting the recently-adopted mandatory Certification Maintenance program from repeal by a simple majority of the AICP Commission.  These proposed bylaw amendments would seem to indicate some apprehension on the Commission’s part that the mandatory CM program will be unable to withstand a de facto referendum in the next AICP election cycle.  The AICP Commission picked this fight, but now appears to be unwilling to face the consequences of their actions at the hands of the membership they claim to represent.  I strongly urge you to table or defeat the proposed bylaw amendments and allow the democratic process to take its course. 

Mark Edelman, AICP

Land Entitlement Project Manager
DR Horton - Continental Series
Scottsdale, Arizona



I understand that the bylaws are proposed to be amended re: certification maintenance.  It also is my understanding that changes to the bylaws require a 2/3 vote of the AICP Commission rather than a simple majority vote.  I respectfully suggest that the bylaws not be changed at this time
for two reasons.

First, the best of intentions have unintended consequences.  There exists much controversy and internal conflict among the AICP membership over the certification maintenance program.  In my mind, it is important that the AICP Commission be in a position to quickly and easily respond to unintended consequences that arise during the program's implementation. Such responsiveness, especially in the early years of the certification maintenance program, may be critical to retaining AICP membership. Requiring a 2/3 vote to support any amendments is an unnecessary and self-imposed hurdle for the AICP Commission that, in my mind, gains little and further aggravates the schism that now exists among the AICP membership.

Second, I have been hearing that the motivation for amending the bylaws is so that it will be harder for future AICP Commissions to undo what this particular AICP Commission has done regarding certification maintenance.  I do not know whether or not such attribution is fair to make.  Regardless, I suggest that by not amending the bylaws, the AICP Commission will be making a gesture of good will.  In short, it would be a needed first step to begin the healing process necessary as a result of this heartfelt and contentious debate over certification maintenance.  Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Enjoy your day!
Froda Greenberg, AICP


To whom it may concern:
I can see that, as a result of these new requirements for certification membership, I will be withdrawing from AICP and perhaps membership in APA as well when my next annual dues payment comes up.

There are many ways to keep up with a field, and you don't seem to be willing to recognize mine. As an example, I was a major participant in the creation of the Alameda County EveryOne Home Plan, which combines creation of a 10 year plan to end chronic homelessness with housing planning for people with mental disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS, resulting in a unified plan for supportive housing for homeless and special needs populations. As part of that planning process we brought in experts from other parts of the U.S. and held conference calls with others. According to your criteria, however, I need to take an APA approved course before you will admit I am up to date in my knowledge of supportive housing programs. I taught an internal staff development seminar on housing policy last year but obviously it was not APA sponsored and again counts for nothing.

I am particularly unhappy to see that paid teaching is not considered a way to meet continuing education requirements. I think it is reasonable to take a modest payment for putting the additional time in to teach along with carrying on a professional career and the payment has no bearing on the value of preparing and teaching a course. And why do only faculty get credit for publications? I received a APA-JAPA national planning award for one of my publications, but if I did the same today apparently it would count for nothing in terms of certification maintenance. However, since my teaching and publishing is sporadic, even that would not have always met the new every two year requirements had they been in effect for the previous 10 years.

I guess I will have to drop the AICP from my title, and simply settle for my Ph.D., my National Planning Award (1997 -- clearly to old to be meaningful), my affordable housing leadership award from the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (2006, not an APA approved organization) and my role as Director of Housing for a progressive City that constantly undertakes innovative programs and plans. I'm certainly not willing to invest 32 hours plus travel times and conference or course costs for no particular benefit other than keeping up a sentimental connection.

Stephen Barton, Ph.D. AICP
Housing Director
City of Berkeley
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, CA 94704


I have been an AICP member for several decades.  I still practice planning although on a part time basis and mostly probono.  I keep aware of current practice by reading APA and other publications. 

If I am required to invest time or additional monies to maintain my AICP certification I will absolutely drop my membership.

If your bylaw changes are an attempt to lock in this new education rule, your message to me is clear.  My type of professional practice is not desired by AICP.

Myles Schachter, AICP
Lawrence, KS


I am a charter member of AICP and have practiced in both the public and private sectors for over 30 years. The concept presented for the continuing education requirements appears to be an attempt at “me too”; to have planning join the ranks of several other professions. This jump will not improve the profession.

It ignores is the opportunity to improve a planner’s skills, and keep up with trends in the planning and development fields, through many other avenues than those specified. It ignores a person’s ability to learn through multiple opportunities as well as the ability to “tune out” at educational sessions.

The continuing education requirement should be regarded as a test, a trial. At most it should be used for a few years and evaluated to determine whether it fulfills the stated objective. And the assessment should identify problems with the program and alternatives that weren’t considered when originally proposed. 

Placing this requirement as part of the by-laws is unwise and counterproductive.

Stephen M. Park, AICP
Sr. Vice President
The Alter Group


To Whom it May Concern:
I have been a member of APA since the 1970's and a member of AICP since 1983.  I concur with Daniel Lauber's sentiment that the Certification Maintenance requirements need to be fully tested before organizational bylaws are modified in anticipation of them becoming organizational policy.   I also strongly disagree with any attempt to create organizational policy that in any way would reduce flexibility to modify policy that is as yet not fully tested and which has not been certified to be functioning in the manner designed. 
 Randall L. Johnson
MetroGIS Staff Coordinator

Please reject the proposal that will prevent a future board from eliminating the proposed Certification Maintenance Bylaws. Thank you. Neno J. Spagna

AICP Commissioners:
DO NOT AMEND THE BYLAWS to protect a bad decision.  Doing so, without truly involving the membership in such an important decision is despicable.  Why didn't I receive  a notice that such a radical move was being considered?  Could it be that the decision is made regardless of how the majority of the members feel about the proposed action?
I have been an APA member since it's inception, a practicing planner for 38 years and am a charter member of AICP.  I have many questions, but here are a few:
Why do you hide behind the curtain of secrecy to take your actions?
How is it that Daniel Lauber can find me to present this issue, but AICP cannot?
What possible benefit can come from your actions and especially your methods?
How do you plan to make up the financial support from lost memberships?
Why do you insist on tearing the organization apart over this issue? 
Come to your senses!  DO NOT AMEND THE BYLAWS.
Jim Boerke, EDFP, AICP


 I am in favor of the concept of the Certification Maintenance Program; however the way it is being implemented is completely irresponsible. The requirement may work for AICP members who live near Chicago or DC where certified training is accessible at low cost, but not for those of us in small states who do not have access to such training without incurring large travel expenses. If you are going to require Certified Maintenance, you have to make it available to all AICP members at an affordable cost. Please do not place the Certified Maintenance requirement in the Bylaws without fixing this fundamental problem. That is an ill-conceived attempt to stifle democracy within the AICP membership and may cause irreparable harm to the organization. I, for one, am ready to drop my AICP membership over the way this issue is being mishandled.

 Thomas Purkey, AICP


I am an AICP member. I practiced as a professional planner for 25 years and have practiced for the past 16 years as a land use attorney licensed to practice in the State of California.

As a California attorney I am required to take a specified number of hours of legal courses including certain mandated courses every three years. My experience with this Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) has taught me that the courses do not improve my professional capabilities as an attorney. I continue to improve those capabilities on my own because I am a professional who continues to be interested in the law and advancing my knowledge and skills.

I am opposed to the proposed Certificate Maintenance Program, because such mandatory programs are a waste of time and money for professionals. My experience has been that professional planners will continue to expand their planning-related knowledge and skills because they remain interested in planning issues. Making them jump through mandatory hoops is a disservice to their commitment to the profession.

Ann T. Fathy, AICP


To the Commission:
Please reject the bylaw amendments so democracy can work in AICP. There's no good reason to amend the bylaws when Certification Maintenance hasn't even been tested. This would be like amending the U.S. Constitution when only a statute need be adopted. Amending the bylaws now would undermine the electoral process in AICP and deny members their democratic voice.
David J. Abrams, AICP


Please reject the proposed Certification Maintenance bylaws.

What ain’t broke doesn’t need fixin.

If this passes it will diminish democracy in the AICP.

Lewis Lubka, AICP