Letter from the Chair
The mid-year meeting of the House of Delegates officers and committees was held December 3-6, 2009 in Breckenridge, Colorado. Reports were given by the Constitution and Bylaws, Credentials, Nomination and Election, Newsletter, Minutes Approval, Honors and Awards, Rules and Procedures, and Resolutions committees. In addition, reports were given by AAPG President, John Lorenz; AAPG Executive Director, Rick Fritz; Membership Committee Manager, David Hawk (also HoD chair-elect); and HoD representative to the Advisory Council George Bole (past HoD chair). George Bole acted as the parliamentarian for the meeting. The meeting was well attended and many excellent discussions on various AAPG topics took place. I want to thank Regina Gill, AAPG Administration Manager, for all the logistical planning she did for the mid-year meeting.
Action items from the mid-year meeting include sending the proposed bylaw changes out to HoD members, the Executive Committee, and Advisory Council; checking on the status of societies wanting to affiliate with AAPG (two so far); and asking all HoD members to consider nominating themselves or their colleagues for AAPG office. The last item is important in that the House of Delegates has many great leaders, many of which should consider running for higher office.
In my role as HoD chairman this Fall, I have attended three section meetings (Evansville, Shreveport, and Tulsa) and the International Conference in Rio. We held breakfast meetings at each of the conferences for HoD members. At the mid-year meeting, I reviewed the various discussion topics brought up by House members: getting younger people involved, what constitutes work experience for active membership (specifically do internships count), affiliated society representation at HoD meetings, and Global Corporate Structure (to name a few).
During my report at the mid-year meeting I also brought up the subject of whether the current election system that AAPG uses needs to be revised. As a past president, I know the current system firsthand. The current election process takes about one year. Candidates are encouraged to attend section and international conferences so they can be introduced and give brief presentations about their goals and objectives. The benefits of candidates attending the various section and region meetings include candidates being able to share their vision or agenda for AAPG with the membership, getting acquainted with members’ concerns and issues, and learning how the various sections or regions operate.
The downside of our current election system includes high travel costs (budget concern), the long election time period (the one year time period may discourage some members from running for office), not always being invited to give a three-minute talk (sometimes the sections or regions do not allow time for presentations or they are left off the program in error), many candidates attend only one day of the meeting (the day they give their three-minute talk), and few candidates are questioned by members about their vision or agenda while attending the conferences. The current system is excessive in time and travel expense and often only allows brief access for candidates to become better known among the membership. The election process is not broken, but can be improved – both for AAPG candidates and for the benefit of global AAPG members.
My suggestions for election reform includes: shortening the election process to four months (this would probably result in minor bylaw changes) and placing videos of candidate presentations (four minutes each) on the AAPG Web site. The candidate presentations could also be shown at the section or region meetings. This proposal does not limit the candidates from attending meetings. This proposal provides candidates equal time to state their goals and objectives and also raises candidacy to a higher level of professionalism and opens access to global candidates from distant time zones who may be unable to travel.
AAPG staff could coordinate, direct and prepare the videos at the Annual Leadership Conference with a one-half day session dedicated to preparing and recording the videos in a professional manner, including an introduction with AAPG goals or mission statement along with an introduction by the current AAPG President or Rick Fritz. The video equipment could be set up at headquarters and used for other purposes which serve the society and foundation. The AAPG section and region coordinator would be responsible for distributing videos in usable computer format to upcoming sectional and regional meetings. AAPG promotes new technology and we should use new technology in the election process.
Let’s improve AAPG and allow the best candidates to lead AAPG into the future.
I look forward to visiting with you at upcoming section meetings and the ACE Meeting in New Orleans!