Description and Justification of Proposed Amendments to the By-laws
of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association
(amendments submitted November 2007)
On April 2007, at the annual business meeting, amendments to the by-laws proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee on By-law Amendments for Nomination and Election Procedures were passed that now require that nominations for all offices be published in the JanuaryProceedings, that nominations by petition (as distinct from the nominating committee) be submitted by a certain time, that election of officers occur by mail ballot instead of at the annual business meeting, and that amendments to the by-laws, though presented at the annual business meeting for discussion, are voted on by mail ballot.
Other changes proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee concerning the nominating committee, its duties, and the terms and term limits of the offices for which it makes nominations narrowly failed to pass. It is these changes that are now being proposed again. This time, given the amendments that were passed in April 2007, changes would be voted on my mail ballot in April 2008 after their discussion at the March 2008 annual business meeting.
The proposed amendments are in two segments: (1) The “primary amendments” focus on the nominating committee’s membership and selection, officers’ terms and term limits, and the duties of the nominating committee. (2) A “supplementary amendment” then addresses one very specific matter only: the number of candidates for division vice-president that the nominating committee has a duty to nominate. Here the “one or more” nominees language of the primary amendments is altered to a mandatory “two.”
Detailed Description of the Primary Amendments
In the proposed primary set of amendments, a key element is the Nominating Committee. The composition of the committee is addressed in a new section, 1-c. The committee, were it to be revised as proposed, would be like the nominating committee in the Eastern and Central divisions currently: comprised of five persons, four of whom would be elected and one of whom (the immediate past president of the division) would serve ex officio and as the committee’s chair.
The term limits of all offices and positions are addressed in the new section 1-d. Most are kept as stipulated in the current by-laws, but a change is that the Secretary-Treasurer would also be governed by term limit. Unlike most of the other officers and committee members, however, this office would not be limited to two consecutive terms, but to three consecutive terms.
The work and selection of the nominating committee are detailed in a new section 3 (with the current by-law sections 3, 4, and 5 then becoming 4, 5, and 6 respectively). Sub-section a of this section stipulates that the nominating committee nominate one or more persons for Vice-President. It also stipulates that the committee nominate two persons for each at-large position on the executive committee and for the representative to the national Board of Officers, and that the committee nominate one or more person(s) to be Secretary-Treasurer.
Sub-sections b, c, d, and e of the new section 3 treat other aspects of the nomination process, continuing. The current manner of nomination by petition is continued, and timelines and publication requirements are clarified.
Justification of the Primary Amendments
The changes involved in these amendments are significant. They would position the Pacific Division much closer to the Central and Eastern divisions in its approach to organizational governance, making office holding the outcome of elections (usually among multiple candidates) and moving the division much more in the direction of expressly democratic governance.
Election of four of the five members of the nominating committee instead of having the executive committee appoint a three-member committee reflects this basic shift toward more explicit democracy.
Term limits would become explicit and similar to the other divisions, generally two terms. The term limit proposed for secretary-treasurer is longer. This office is different than others. For a President and Executive Committee to best execute the work of the division, continuity in the Secretary-Treasurer’s office has distinct advantages. Only rarely has a Secretary-Treasurer served more than nine years in either of the other divisions, however. A limit of three elected three-year terms has the merit of combining considerable continuity with opportunity for choice by the division’s membership.
One of the most important changes included in these amendments is the requirement to nominate two candidates for the executive committee and the representative to the national Board of Officers. This would make the Pacific division similar to the current Eastern and Central divisions. Competitive candidacy, as compared to more honorific election by default because only one candidate is nominated, is appropriate because the positions being filled are governing positions. Officers lead the organization, and their interest in and positions on various issues facing the APA as an organization are fully germane to their selection.
It is proposed, however, that the nomination of “one or more persons” be allowed for the position of secretary-treasurer. This reflects the belief that secretary-treasurer carries out more administrative work for the division and its executive committee than any of the other offices do. The proposal on this score in these amendments is similar but not identical to the Central division, where “one” (though not “one or more”) nominee is stipulated, and it is unlike the Eastern division where the Secretary-Treasurer is not elected but appointed by the Executive Committee. Although there are advantages in both of the other divisions’ models, the proposed amendment for the Pacific division follows more the Central than the Eastern Division model in having the Secretary-Treasurer be elected. It is also proposed, however, that while the nominating committee should have the option of submitting more than one nominee, it should not be required to nominate more than one.
Justification of the Supplementary Amendment
Both the Eastern and the Central divisions elect their vice president (who of course becomes the president in the following year). The current bylaws of the Pacific Division do not preclude an election, nor would the by-laws as amended by the previous (“primary”) amendments. They implicitly discourage it, however, inasmuch as the default option is the unelected appointment of a vice president by the nominating committee. Consequently, the Pacific Division has never held an election for the vice presidency.
Although no one could complain about the actual candidates selected by this procedure -- the list of past Pacific APA presidents is as distinguished as one could wish for -- the process itself is unfortunate. The motivation behind the proposed change to the bylaws is that both the symbolic and real importance of the APA presidency would be better served by a democratic election. The change in language ensures such an election by requiring the nominating committee to propose two candidates, which would then trigger a general election by mail ballot. Once an election becomes the norm, it is the hope that other members would be encouraged to nominate further candidates, yielding the sort of fully open, democratic process that the other divisions enjoy every year.
The election of a president is an opportunity for reflection on the intellectual and professional values of our community. Simply to be nominated is an honor, and there can be no embarrassment in losing such an election, in view of the lofty competition for the position. To win such an election is to know not just that one is favored by the deliberations of a committee, but that one has the highest possible standing in the minds of one's peers at large for the role of leading the governance of the organization. The proposed bylaw change would therefore have all the usual advantages of democracy, making the offices of vice-president and president a public expression of the membership's vision of the profession.
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By-Laws of the Pacific Division, American Philosophical Association
Proposed primary amendments submitted November 2007
(additions denoted by bold, deletions by strike-through)
a. The officers of the Division shall be a president, a vice-president, a secretary-treasurer, and Pacific Division representative to the National Board of Officers. The terms of office of the president and vice-president shall be one year. Each year the presidency shall be assumed without further election by the vice-president of the year preceding, and a new vice-president shall be elected. The terms of office of the secretary-treasurer and of the representative to the Board of Officers shall be three years. All officers assume office on July 1 following their election. All terms end on the appropriate June 30.
b. There shall be an executive committee consisting of nine members, as follows: (a) the officers of the Division, ex officio, (b) the immediate past president of the Division, (c) three members elected at large, for three-year staggered terms, and (d) the chair of the program committee, ex officio (see 2c). The chair of the executive committee shall be chosen by the Committee from among the members elected at large. All members of the Executive Committee must be members of the Association, affiliated with the Pacific Division. A majority of its members shall constitute a quorum of the executive committee.
c. There shall be a nominating committee of five to nominate officers for the Division. The committee shall consist of the immediate past president, who shall act as chair, and four other members, two of whom shall be elected each year for two-year terms.
d. The terms of president and vice-president shall be one year; no one may serve more than one term in these offices. The terms of the at-large executive committee members shall be three years, and those of the elected nominating committee members shall be two years; elected members may serve two consecutive terms on either of these committees, after which they are not eligible for re-election to that committee for a period equivalent to one term. The representative to the National Board of Officers may serve up to two three-year terms. The secretary-treasurer may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms.
2. Duties of the Executive Committee
a. Arrangements for the regular annual Pacific meeting of the Association shall be the responsibility of the executive committee.
b. The agenda of the annual business meeting to be held during the regular Pacific meeting of the Association shall be the responsibility of the executive committee.
c. The executive committee shall establish such committees as it deems necessary to aid it in efficiently attending to the business of the division, retaining in every case full responsibility for the action of such committees. Among these committees shall be
: (1) a program committee of three of more members, serving staggered three-year terms, the chair to serve ex officio on the executive committee. The program committee shall be responsible for the program of the annual Divisional meeting. (2) A nominating committee of three members. The nominating committee shall be responsible for making nominations to all offices of the Division. At the discretion of the executive committee, t The secretary-treasurer may shall serve ex officio on any committee s appointed by the executive committee.
d. The executive committee shall fill vacancies to any office of the Division in cases in which the elected officer leaves office before the completion of his or her term.
3. Duties of the Nominating Committee
a. The nominating committee shall nominate a slate of candidates for election to consist of: one or more names for the office of vice-president, two names for a member of the executive committee, and in appropriate years, one or more names for the office of secretary-treasurer and two names for the office of representative to the national Board of Officers. It shall also nominate two candidates for each of two positions on the next year's nominating committee; each nominee shall be a candidate for a specific position on the committee.
b. The nominating committee is free to consult with any officer of the Division in order to assist it in fulfilling these responsibilities.
c. The Nominating Committee shall publish its report in the issue of the APA Proceedings that contains the program of the Pacific Division annual meeting (normally the January issue). Before the name of a nominee is published, the individual nominated shall have expressed to the Nominating Committee explicit written consent to stand for election.
d. Upon publication of the report of the Nominating Committee, members of the Pacific Division may by petition make additional nominations for the next year's Nominating Committee, for officers, and for members of the Executive Committee. Such petitions must be signed by five members of the Association affiliated with the Pacific Division, must bear the written consent of the nominee, and must be received by the Nominating Committee no later than seven days before the start of the annual divisional meeting.
e. The Nominating Committee will make the final slate of candidates available in print at the beginning of the divisional meeting, for discussion at the annual business meeting.
a. Nominations made by the nominating committee for all elections to office in the Division shall be published in the issue of the APA Proceedings that contains the program of the Pacific Division annual meeting (normally the January issue).
b. Any five members of the Division can submit nominations for offices of the Division after the nominations of the nominating committee have been published, up until seven days before the start of the annual divisional meeting. Such nominations shall bear the signatures of the five members and the consent, in writing, of the nominee.
c. (a) and (b) specify the sole methods of nomination.
d. All elections to office shall be by mail ballot to all members of the Association who are certified by the executive director as affiliated with the Pacific Division, mailed within 30 days after the end of the annual meeting by the secretary-treasurer. Ballots shall be counted six weeks after they are sent out. When there are two candidates for a single office, election will be by majority of those voting. When there are more than two persons nominated for a single office, voting shall be the method of transferable vote described in the section on preferential voting in Section 44 ofRobert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
a. A quorum for the annual business meeting shall consist of those who attend the meeting.
b. Resolutions which purport to represent the sense of the Pacific Division on matters of public policy may be voted on only by mail ballot authorized by the annual business meeting. Such mail ballots will include relevant minutes of the meeting and a summary of the arguments presented.
c. In the business meeting, questions of order shall be covered by Robert's Rules of Order.
a. Amendments or additions to these by-laws may be proposed only by the executive committee, by the national Board of Officers, or by a petition signed by at least twenty members of the Association with voting affiliations with the Pacific Division.
b. Proposals to amend or add to these by-laws must be announced to the members of the Association who have voting affiliations with the Pacific division at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which the proposed amendments are presented for discussion.
c. Any proposed amendment of or addition to these by-laws must be presented for discussion at a regular business meeting and shall then be submitted by mail ballot to all members of the Association who are certified by the executive director as affiliated with the Pacific Division, with passage dependent upon acceptance by two-thirds of those casting votes.
By-Laws of the Pacific Division, American Philosophical Association
Proposed supplementary amendment submitted November 2007
(additions denoted by bold, deletions by strike-through)
If and only if the primary amendments proposed to the by-laws and submitted November 2007 pass, the new Section 3, sub-section a, shall be amended as follows:
3. Duties of the Nominating Committee
a. The nominating committee shall nominate a slate of candidates for election to consist of: two
one or morenames for the office of vice-president, two names for a member of the executive committee, and in appropriate years, one or more names for the office of secretary-treasurer and two names for the office of representative to the national Board of Officers. It shall also nominate two candidates for each of two positions on the next year's nominating committee; each nominee shall be a candidate for a specific position on the committee.
We, the undersigned Pacific Division APA members, propose that the By-Laws of the Pacific Division be amended to revise the nominating committee, its selection, and its duties, per the attached specific amendment language. The amendments are segregated into a two-part sequence: first (the “primary amendments”), to revise the nominating committee, the selection of its members, and many of its duties, and second (the “supplementary amendment”), to stipulate that the nominating committee shall nominate two candidates for the office of vice-president (instead of “one or more”). The second amendment is phrased so that, if passed, it would take effect only if the first amendment passes.