Larry Wickstrom, Chair 2013-14, House of Delegates
By all accounts, the Annual Convention and Exhibition in
Houston in April was a huge success! There were 9,385
total attendees – the largest since 1990 (Houston), a great
technical program, a fantastic exhibition hall and pretty darn
nice weather! The annual meeting of the House of Delegates
(HoD) on April 6 also was a big success. We had 207
delegates present (out of a total of 226) and moved through
a packed agenda, including a rather contentious issue that
will start a new course for AAPG. We also introduced some
modernization issues for the HoD to position us for proper
use of technology as we move forward.
As all are aware by now, this year the HoD entertained
a motion to amend the AAPG Bylaws eliminating the
sponsorship requirement for full membership in the
Association. This proposed amendment came to the HoD
via the Advisory Council and the Executive Committee (EC).
Prior to the annual meeting there was much debate of the
issue among the membership at many levels. Some of the
pre-meeting debate became fairly heated, and in some cases
personal, with accusations of conspiracies and blatant
misrepresentation of the facts. This behavior is uncalled for
in a professional association. We do not need to emulate the
dirty politics of Washington, D.C., or any other group.
From the very start of my chairmanship I made it clear to
all that I and the rest of the HoD leadership are committed
to a totally open/transparent administration of the House
and following of Roberts Rule of Order to the letter. The end
result in this instance is a compromise position: Full AAPG
membership will now require only one sponsor – which I
think is the best outcome for our great Association. I wanted
to give everyone time to air their opinions during the floor
debate, rather than limiting the overall time. As a result, the
meeting time was extended well past noon for the first time in
several years, but most seem to agree
it was the proper course. The process
works and I hope we all will remember
this in the future.
The House worked through a few
other actions during the meeting in
Houston. The Resolutions Committee
brought forward requests for affiliated society status for the
Geological Society of Brunei Darussalam and the Sociedad
Colombiana de Geologia (Colombian Geological Society).
Both societies were voted in as affiliates and we all extend
them a warm welcome to AAPG!
Some housekeeping changes to the HoD Rules and
Procedures were brought forward and easily voted in place:
- Where the term “Active member” was used the word
“Active” has now been dropped because that category of
membership no longer exists.
- The deadline when the affiliated societies and Regions
must report the names of their elected delegates,
alternates and unsuccessful candidates for the coming
year was changed to June 30 from April 1.
This year our new firm, A Great Meeting Inc., assisted with
parliamentarian procedures before and during the annual
meeting. Colette Collier Trohan worked with us to create a
new scripting procedure to walk through the HoD meeting
following Roberts Rule of Order. She did a marvelous job
working alongside your officers and staff to understand
our traditions and guiding us through a fairly complicated
process. I think the work we’ve done this year will position us
well for years to come.
Also this year the HoD officers and chairs discussed
a number of changes as to how the HoD conducts its
business. We have developed the following list of items to
work through in the coming year.
- I think many of us now agree that the agenda of the
HoD meetings has become a bit too massive. Many
think the agenda should be re-arranged to allow more
time for HoD business. This became very apparent at
this year’s meeting.
- We can make better use of our time during the
meetings if we employ an electronic Audience
Response System (ARS) to record our votes. This
system will provide instantaneous results and can
even be used to better control the order of speakers
during floor debates.
- We may want to investigate setting up procedures and
technology to allow for electronic voting during the
year. Such procedures and technology could allow us
to vote on minor issues (such as Rules and Procedures
housekeeping changes) during the year rather than
taking additional floor time.
- Finally, the HoD should investigate the issues,
technology and cost of setting up the means to allow
for limited remote attendance and voting at our annual
House of Delegates reception at the House of Blues, Houston.
For the Houston HoD reception, I wanted to get away
from the usual hotel ballroom scene, and so we held the
reception on Saturday evening at the Houston House
of Blues – and even had musical entertainment. Most
everyone I have talked to thoroughly enjoyed the venue,
food, music and camaraderie at the event. And, for those
wondering, there was no real cost difference. I hope we’ll
get out of the ballrooms more in the future.
Finally, I want to thank all those serving on the HoD
committees and congratulate all the HoD committee
chairs for a job well done. What a GREAT bunch of officers
and chairs we had this year! David Dolph has been a pure
pleasure to work with as chair-elect, and I know he will do a
great job for us this coming year!
Lastly, it has been a gigantic honor to serve in the HoD and
as HoD chair. I have made many great friends here and
learned a lot. This will be my last year as a delegate. I will
not run for re-election as a delegate, but instead I will step
aside and let someone else (I hope younger) have this great
Thank you ALL!