The APA Council meeting was held virtually on Zoom from Aug. 5-6, 2020, in conjunction with the APA virtual convention. During this meeting, council members could participate during discussion not, as in the usual mode, by standing at the microphone and waiting to be recognized, but by raising hands in the chat feature. Due to the large size of Council, individual members saw the presentations and faces of scheduled speakers. This was a very different experience, needless to say, but it was the most realistic approach to the need to get through Council business during the allocated hours.
Several key issues emerged that we would like to share with you. The first concerns the issue of graduate student voting. You may recall that in 2019, the Bylaws Amendment that would permit voting in APA-wide elections lost by a very small percentage. After making several changes in the wording of the item, a new motion was developed and, as in the previous year’s Council meeting, was approved and will be forwarded once again to the membership for a vote. You will therefore be asked to consider the issue once again, and an explanation will be provided along with the new amendment.
The second motion with implications for Bylaw amendments involves the representation on Council by five ethnic minority associations who currently sit in on Council meetings but do not have a vote. This motion is a revised version of previous Bylaw amendment motions that failed to be approved by membership. Council approved this motion as well, and so it will be coming to the membership for a vote.
The report to Council on the Association’s finances included the information that, as expected, income from several sources (e.g., conference registrations) was down. However, expenses were also lower than projected in the initial 2020 budget, and so there is an $11.6 million surplus as of the current year-to-date. Some of the major source of these reduced expenses included staff salaries/benefits, employee activities, publication costs, travel expense, advertising and marketing, honorariums/contributions, office and equipment expenses, and accreditation (including salaries). There was a total of $14 million reduction in outflow compared to the 2020 budget.
Council was also presented with the proposal for a “Modernization of APA Bylaws” that was then released for comment for 45 days following the August meeting. This is a broad set of proposals that would convert many of the organization’s functions that are governed by the Bylaws into Rules and would therefore not require a complete membership vote for adoption. Below is a summary of the document presented to Council:
What bylaws changes have been proposed by the bylaws work group?
The language regarding APA’s mission has been changed to modernize and better align with the mission of the organization and the Strategic Plan passed by Council.
- The majority of the changes make the Bylaws more concise and move many of the organizational process and procedures in the Association Rules. They also remove from the Bylaws many details that are already included in the Association Rules. Council retains the authority for amending the Association Rules.
- Recommendations for changes to current practices are detailed below.
Which parts of the bylaws are maintained in and/or moved to the association rules?
The majority of boards and committees currently in the Bylaws are removed from the Bylaws and maintained in the Rules. For legal reasons, the following boards and committees remain in the Bylaws: Election Committee, Ethics Committee, Finance Committee. The Policy and Planning Board (P&P) also remains in the Bylaws to retain an avenue to send Bylaw amendments directly to the Membership.
- The method for allocation and election of Council of Representatives seats is moved to Rules.
- The requirement for the specific number of candidates for the President-elect election as well as the length of the balloting period is moved to the Rules.
- The provisions for dues exemption are maintained in the Rules and removed from the Bylaws.
- The guidelines for pro and con statements that accompany proposed Bylaw amendments are maintained in the Rules and removed from the Bylaws.
As is clear, these changes would involve a rather significant reworking of APA’s governing documents and are intended to allow APA to become a “more nimble and effective organization.” Following the close of the comment period, we assume that there will be further revisions in this set of recommended changes and will keep you apprised of these as they become announced.
In closing, we would like to encourage you to contact either of us with questions, concerns, and suggestions about any issues involving APA governance as we move into this very uncharted territory for the association.