In This Issue
Bylaws changes approved by executive committee
By Michael L Hendricks, PhD, ABPP
At its mid-winter meeting in Houston, on January 19–20, 2013, the Executive Committee (EC) of Div. 44 approved changes to the division’s bylaws and also revised and updated its "Policy and Procedures Manual." These changes were approved as part of an ongoing effort to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the governance of the division.
Members should note that amendments to the bylaws approved by the executive committee do not go into effect unless and until they are ratified by a vote of the membership. The full bylaws document, with proposed additions and deletions, will be sent to the membership this spring, along with a method for voting on either accepting or rejecting these amendments.
The "Policy and Procedures Manual" is a document that guides the actions of the executive committee. This document may be changed at any time (as long as the changes are not inconsistent with the prevailing mission and bylaws of the division), and these changes become effective immediately.
One important difference between the two documents is that the bylaws sets out what the executive committee must do and cannot do. It essentially sets the rules of governance that must be followed. The "Policy and Procedure Manual" belongs to the executive committee and is its own way of providing more specificity to how it will follow the rules set by the bylaws. As such, it may be changed at the will of the executive committee and is a practical operating manual for the division.
Changes to the Bylaws
Some of the changes to the bylaws were merely housekeeping changes, made simply to make the document clearer and more accurate. For example, there are a few places in which the EC inserted the phrase, “hereinafter referred to as . . .” to clarify distinctions between references to the Division and references to APA. Another example is an insertion that clarifies that the president presides over meetings of the EC ; and that terms of officers and members-at-large commence at convention following their election, while terms of representatives to council commence in accordance with APA procedures (currently January 1).
In a couple of instances, names were changed to reflect generally used terms throughout APA. Examples of this include changing the formal name of the “Fellowship Committee” to the “Fellows Committee” and changing the “Elections Committee” to the “Nominations Committee.”
A couple of changes were made to update membership of the EC and the roles of EC members. For example, an insertion now includes the editor of the division’s journal as a non-voting member of the EC (on par with committee co-chairs, the newsletter editor and the book series editor). Language that described the initial election of the three members-at-large (who were initially elected to staggered terms) has been deleted as it is no longer relevant.
One addition to the Bylaws clarifies what has been standard procedure for many years, which the EC deemed should be codified in the Bylaws. This addition states that the EC shall conduct three face-to-face meetings per year: an in-coming meeting in conjunction with the APA Annual Convention, a mid-winter meeting, and an out-going meeting held in conjunction with the following year’s convention.
Finally, the EC adopted a parliamentary procedure by which meetings will be governed and defined quorum. While these may seem very basic parts of any set of bylaws, they had never been incorporated into Div. 44 Bylaws. Quorum for EC meetings was defined as the presence of one half of all voting members, while quorum for committees is defined as consisting of the members present or participating in a given meeting. For its parliamentary authority, the EC adopted Modern Parliamentary Procedure, written by Ray E. Keesey. The Keesey procedure has been adopted by the APA Council of Representatives and by several other divisions of APA.
Changes to the "Policy and Procedures Manual"
In addition to the changes that were made to the Bylaws, which were also reflected in the "Policy and Procedures Manual (PPM)", the largest change involved restructuring the PPM to make it more coherent and easier to follow. Previously the PPM had been amended periodically by simply adding sections onto the end. Over time, this resulted in a jumbled and confusing document. The PPM has now been reorganized, such that it begins with items that are pertinent to the functioning of the EC and flows to the division’s committees and task forces, and publications, and ends with items that pertain to the general membership of the Division.
The first section addresses the roles and responsibilities of the division’s officials (elected and appointed individuals who serve the division in some official manner). Where many clarifications of roles were made, the most significant changes reflect the addition of a secretary to the EC—which was ratified by the membership last year. Specifically, responsibilities for the roles of secretary, treasurer (who no longer serves simultaneously as secretary), and members-at-large (who had borne many of the duties of secretary) were rewritten. The roles of the members-at-large now involve coordination of domain-specific areas of policy and function. In this way, members-at-large will now be assigned to clusters of committees and task forces, so that these groups now have a direct line of communication into the voting body of the EC.
Since the presidency of the esteemed Ruth Fassinger, the week-to-week management of the division has been facilitated by regular teleconference meetings of the “presidential trio,” which consists of the president, president-elect, and past president. In order to formalize this arrangement (which has served the division quite well) and in recognition that a formal record of these meetings needs to be maintained and that many of the management decisions that are made have financial implications, the EC adopted a policy of expanding the meetings of the presidential trio to include both the secretary and treasurer. Additionally, the new PPM sets a goal of the frequency of these meetings.
The final significant change with regard to the governance of the division is the inclusion of the adoption of a parliamentary authority and the definition of quorum that are described above in the description of bylaws amendments. It is worth noting that while bylaws amendments do not officially take effect until they are ratified by the membership, by incorporating these two changes in the PPM, the EC signaled its intent to adopt these changes immediately (albeit informally until the Bylaws amendments have been ratified).
The only other significant change was with regard to the annual appointment of the suite coordinator for convention, which the executive committee voted shall be made by joint decision of the president and the president-elect. The primary reason for this is that the suite coordinator functions as the coordinator for activities in the hospitality suite at convention for one year and then goes on in the second year to become the program chair, coordinating the division’s convention programming. This two-year appointment means that the president’s suite coordinator then goes on to become the president-elect’s program chair, thus serving under two presidents.
Please stay tuned for the ratification vote on the bylaws amendments, which should be forwarded to all members and fellows of Div. 44 this spring.