Summary of Committee Discussion
The Constitution and Bylaws Committee have discussed several possible amendments this term. The following article summarizes that discussion.
First discussed was a suggestion received by the Committee that the Graduated Dues provision of the Bylaws (Article XIII, Section 3), which was enacted at the 2007 Annual Meeting, be amended to provide an additional subdivision of the current levels of annual dues with the intent of allowing all members who are employed in academia to pay lower dues. Members acknowledged a desire to encourage more faculty members in our universities to join, with the belief that strengthening AAPG’s presence on our college campuses is one of the best ways to reach newly educated geologists. However, particularly in light of the fact that the Graduated Dues structure had not been in place for even one year, all agreed that other means of encouraging faculty to join could be simpler and more effective.
The Committee next considered a proposal to add to the present AAPG organizational structure a five-member Board of Directors with staggered five-year terms. This suggestion was intended as a means of assuring continuity of programs. But within the Committee a consensus emerged almost immediately that the present organization provided adequately for management of AAPG’s programs. Further, any shortcomings in the continuity of any AAPG initiatives or programs should be corrected by greater attention by the leadership (both officers and committee chairs) at any given time.
Two initiatives were considered having to do with notices regarding potential amendments to the AAPG Constitution and Bylaws. The first was a suggestion to require a date 15 days earlier than the presently required ninety (90) days prior to the Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates, for publication of proposed amendments “in the Bulletin or by other suitable means”. The Committee felt that based on their recollection of the consideration of many prior proposed amendments, that the period of ninety (90) days now provided in Article XIV, Section 3 is adequate.
The second such initiative involved altering Article XIV, Section 2.c. to require a date fifteen (15) days earlier than the presently required thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates, by which time the Executive Committee may submit comments regarding proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Once again, the Committee expressed confidence that such a change was not needed.
The Committee next considered a proposal to require the appointment of co-chairs in AAPG committees. Article VIII, Section 2 presently provides “Except as provided in Article XI of these Bylaws, the President shall appoint all committee chairmen, vice chairmen and other committee members …” All agreed that this provision fully and effectively provided for the structuring of AAPG committees with adequate leadership. All agreed that to provide additionally for co-chairs was unnecessary.
The Committee discussed an initiative offered by the Membership Planning Committee. The primary goal of this initiative was to eliminate instances in which individuals who are fully qualified for Active Membership, or who will in the course of no more than three years of ordinary career experience become fully qualified for Active Membership, are accepted into AAPG as Associates. A very large number of Associates are believed to be fully qualified for Active Membership, and for these professionals to remain as Associates rather than to advance to Active, as they are entitled to do, likely deprives both them and the Association as a whole of potential benefit through the possibility of greater member involvement. A consensus emerged among the Committee in favor of tabling action on this matter for the present time to seek input as to potential remedies other than by amendment of the Bylaws. The Membership Planning Committee will be meeting with AAPG HQ staff in the New Year to have ongoing dialogue on this issue.
The Committee discussed three specific ideas pertaining to petition candidacy. One issue was whether the process for obtaining the “written petition of fifty (50) or more members” should be modified, or perhaps codified in the Bylaws. A second issue was whether a change was warranted in the deadline (currently October 15th) by which a member may file as a candidate by written petition. The third issue was whether a member seeking to become a candidate for office should be required to declare formally that intent, with a deadline for such declaration. These issues were thoroughly discussed and debated. A motion was made that petition candidates should adhere to a deadline for filing that was no different than the date on which candidates nominated by the Advisory Council are announced; however, the motion died for lack of second. As discussion of these issues concluded, a clear Committee consensus was apparent that favored no change in the provisions governing petition candidacy. Among the reasons given for preserving the existing provisions included the importance of maintaining access to the ballot through direct grass roots democratic action and the fact that most of these issues had been thoroughly considered by the previous C&BL Committee.
Another initiative presented to the C&BL Committee for consideration was a suggestion to change the language governing degree requirements for Active membership from “geological science” to “geosciences and geological engineering”. The consensus of the Committee was that it has been common practice in delegate screening of applications to regard the term “geological science” in a somewhat general sense, and that geological engineering has been routinely accepted for the degree requirement. The Committee felt that if this provision has been applied inconsistently, better communication to the delegates could remedy the situation.
Regarding grievance procedures, a concern was expressed that with less stringent standards for admittance of Associates than for Active members, requiring grievance procedures equally onerous for all categories of membership was overly burdensome in some cases on the Ethics Committee and the Executive Committee. A proposal was discussed recommending simplification of the grievance procedures as they would apply to Associates. The Committee felt unanimously that the process should not vary by category of membership, and no amendment was supported. The Committee is recommending a streamlining the grievance procedures in instances where an application is later learned to contain falsification of any qualifications for acceptance, irrespective of category of membership. See proposed amendment in a separate article.
It was brought to the attention of the Committee that some Regions refer to themselves by a name other than the name by which they were initially identified, and by which they are referred in the Bylaws. This Committee supports modification where needed to achieve consistency. Region Leaderships are being canvassed to determine any instances for which amendment of the Bylaws might be appropriate.