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I was surprised to read that Council had rejected the option to hold a vote on the question of a single class of membership for chartered and incorporated engineers (NCE 14 September), particularly since previous reports in NCE had stated that ICE members would be balloted on the necessary bylaw changes (NCE 24 February and 16 March).

This is indeed a 'profound and exceptional' issue and it is one which Council should have had the courage to place before the membership.

The president argues that this decision 'demonstrates Council's determination to lead the membership.' There is, however, a fundamental distinction between leadership and oligarchic rule. I would therefore call on Council to suspend implementation of these changes until such time as they are approved by a ballot of the membership.

Neil S Ferguson (M), traffic and transportation department of civil engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G4 0NG

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