As of this date, the USS Independence has officially left STARFLEET, The International Star Trek Fan Association, Inc. (SFI). In an open meeting, haven given 30-days notice to the crew, with 31 of the ship's 44 active SFI members in attendance constituting a quorum, the ship voted UNANIMOUSLY in favor of the motion.
We, the officers and crew, feel that the administration of SFI and its 4th region are poor and inconsistent with the values and policies of the Independence, the Federation, and Star Trek's vision. They fail to make necessary changes in order to survive in the long term by capturing and retaining the younger fan base. There is a general resistance to embrace the digital era we now live in with newsletters, voting, and communication all in debate within not only the membership but in the leadership as well. Their processes take an unnecessarily long amount of time for an organization of this size. Issues are not resolved in an efficient manner and can take months to even be looked into. The boundaries of North Carolina law (SFI is incorporated in that state) are a major hindrance to the administrative process and were not written for a club, but for business.
Regional leadership is held to no almost accountability for their actions; when they intentionally retaliate against a chapter that opposes them or deliberately stop representing the interests of one of their chapters, that chapter is told "Don't vote for him/her next time." There is no other recourse, according to SFI by-laws, unless you have the majority of the region's captains on your side to vote no confidence in the leadership. Without that, the regional leadership is free to continue treating the chapter in this manner.
New chapters that find great success in a short amount of time are viewed as a threat to the older chapters which have been around a long time. Instead of embracing new chapters that find themselves blessed with rapid growth and an active member base, they are ignored and viewed as pretentious or simply lucky and it is expected that it will eventually wear off - even after they have sustained that level of success for several years. The leaders of these chapters, who should be consulted to determine what methods they are using and how that can help the fleet, are generally ignored and passed over for promotions because they haven't been in charge of a chapter long enough (which is NOT a listed qualifying factor for promotion - only time in their current rank is). SFI seems to be a "good 'ol boys club" where only those who have been around a long time and done a sufficient amount of elbow rubbing with higher level members gain advancement and favor. This is not the attitude to have if you are looking at long term survival of your organization in an era where the younger fans have shorter attention spans, are hooked into digital media, and only associate Captain Kirk with Chris Pine.
We can not endorse an organization which refuses to focus on the next generation of fans and fails to change fast enough to keep up with the fan base. It is no secret that SFI is bleeding members year over year (it was one of the issues during the last election for Commander, STARFLEET). Yet, very little action is being taken to correct this and retention continues to be an issue. ALL of the Independence crew members who have been in SFI since before the Indy was launched three years ago (most of them have been around since the 80's and all of which are Admirals) have stated that this attitude has remained unchanged in all of the years they have been members.
The Independence will move forward as an independent organization serving the greater Sacramento Metropolitan Area. While the long term survival of SFI is in serious question, the Indy is running strong and growing more every day.