The Natural Products Association announced on Thursday that it would move quickly to fill an advocacy gap created by the cessation of operation by two of its regions, NPA West and NPA Rocky Mountains.
"We have already begun interviewing candidates to fill a newly created state government relations position," said John Gay, NPA executive director and CEO.
The NPA board of directors had moved earlier in the week to revoke the charters of the two regional organizations.
"I think at this point the action the board took was widely expected," Gay said.
The agreement between the regional organizations and the national NPA spells out the responsibilities of the regions, which include things like having a functioning web site, common bylaws and procedures and the like.
"There is a total list of 19 of those items and the regions submit to us annually whether they have complied," said Adam Finney, NPA vice president of member services. "These two regions told us they would not be able to comply with these criteria."
The issues affecting both of these regional organizations had been brewing for a number of years, Gay said. The Rocky Mountain regional organization suffered from a paucity of potential members in its vast but thinly populated membership area.
"It was a geographically unsustainable region," Finney said. "It was not highly enough populated by stores and manufacturers and there weren't enough advocacy issues happening in those states."
The issue was different in the West, especially in California, Gay said. "There has been trouble in California for at least five years," he said. The state had a history of a lack of continuity in the regional organization, with separate groups at one time for southern and northern California.
The search for a new state government specialist is a key part of moving forward at this juncture, Gay said.
"The national has an obligation to keep an eye on state capitols," Gay said. "Ideas can start in California and spread pretty quickly. NPA national has been providing a lot of support for state government relations. "
Intelligence gathering is an important part of keeping track of what's happening in the states. NPA subscribes to a national bill tracking service and uses keyword filters to raise red flags when issues need attention. Without that, "it's impossible for one person or even 10 people to cover the waterfront," Gay said.
Gay acknowledged there may have been some disappointment among some of those who were active in the regional organizations. "But for the good of the industry we have to move forward," he said. "Hopefully we'll give them an even higher level of service."