Around 8 o’clock last night Oconee Medical Center entered a new era, as dues-paying members of the hospital association voted to disband. The action allows OMC to become a non-membership, not-for-profit corporation. In place of votes by the association membership, the board of directors will choose its future members, with the help of a nominating committee. According to Dr. Bill Howiler, board chairman, the change was approved with two-thirds of the association members in attendance last night voting in favor. The numerical vote count was not announced, but it appeared that only four association members voted no. The majority voted in the spirit that, permitting the board to choose its own replacements, will enable OMC to add to its board community members who bring added skills and expertise. But Suzanne Earle, who opposed the resolution, questioned why the hospital hadn’t done a better job communicating with the existing membership. As an example, Earle said that, though she has been a member in good standing, she did not receive an official notice for last night’s meeting and knew about it only from having seen a story on the 96.3/WGOG website.