Member companies of the Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA) voted yesterday to end their chartered chapter relationship with the Electronic Security Association (ESA) by a vote of 38 to 7 in favor of the split. The impetus behind separating from the national association revolved around what the state chapter views as the best use of financial resources. The Illinois chapter for several years now has been battling against municipalities that enter the alarm monitoring business and authorize the taking over of Illinois alarm dealers’ subscriber accounts.
“The IESA board chose to have this vote because we believe it’s the correct action to protect our livelihoods. We plan to devote the financial resources in the state to political solutions and actions that will help end the municipal monitoring problem that we’re facing here in this state,” said Kevin Lehan, executive director of IESA.
“This seems to be an Illinois-exclusive issue. We thought that using our resources as far as dues to address this problem in the state was the best action that we could take. We know that as an association we cannot litigate ourselves out of this issue. Millions of dollars have been spent by private companies and we’re not making much progress. So now we will seek relief via the legislative branch,” he said.
The IESA board has been in discussions with several lobbyist groups and hopes by year end to choose “a top-tier lobbyist who has the ability to help create a political solution,” Lehan described.
The most recent development in the issue with the municipalities, taking place in Schaumburg, Ill., is that following a meeting between IESA representatives and village fire officials in November, the village sent a detailed set of questions to the IESA asking for more information about the various technological monitoring solutions that IESA demonstrated. Lehan said IESA demonstrated things that Schaumburg officials didn’t know were possible and he believes the village is considering those options. (See: http://www.sdmmag.com/articles/93072-illinois-esa-to-fight-new-schaumburg-law-lehan-says-government-is-confiscating-customers)
“They also have a concern about the massive failure of the AES network just a few communities away from them. We referred them to the AES statement that this situation was a result of a French weather satellite. But they are definitely concerned,” Lehan said. (See http://www.sdmmag.com/articles/93333-aes-signal-disruption-causes-ads-outages-not-likely-to-recur)
“The point is we have dialog going with them. We have been at the table with them, they’ve thought about what we’ve said. They’ve put effort and time and thought into our presentation away from our actual meetings. So we have them thinking — we are working with them. In the meantime, they’ve also used the IESA as a point of contacting alarm dealers to say, ‘Hey, we have an issue with this system; let’s get out there and fix it.’ When they communicate with us, we’re able to help solve their problems. It’s a good relationship; it’s the way that we should work together,” Lehan said.
In IESA there are a total of 70 member companies, of which 45 voted. “We would have liked to have had 100 percent of membership vote, but we were very pleased with the outcome,” Lehan said.
He explained that the “no” votes — the votes to stay with ESA — were, for the most part, companies that would identify themselves as national companies. “It would ultimately cost them a little bit more to remain active with the Illinois chapter. We understand that. To encourage their continued participation our board has decided to cap the dues for any company, whether they’re based here in Illinois or based elsewhere, at $2,500 annually for companies that have more than 151 employees in the state, so we just eliminated the national company category,” Lehan explained.
Several ESA representatives attended the IESA member appreciation dinner on November 9, including ESA President Angela White, and presented information about benefits of membership in ESA. Today, White told SDM, “We’re aware of the vote that was taken by IESA and will be working with IESA as to how best to terminate our Chapter Affiliation Agreement.”