Here is my "unofficial" report on the actions taken at the Pacific Division Business meeting (April 5, 2007) regarding the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on By-Law Amendments (for Nomination and Election Procedures of the Pacific Division of the APA). The report and proposals can be found in the Proceedings and Addresses of the APA (January 2007) pp. 211-220, or on the APA webpage.
The members present agreed to discuss and vote on sections 1-3, 4, 5, and 6 separately. Sections 4, 5, and 6 were approved, whereas sections 1-3 were voted down, with 13 in favor and 7 against (a 2/3 majority was needed for approval).
Section 6 now requires that any proposed amendment to the by-laws "be submitted by mail ballot to all members of the Association....". Some of us present agreed that we would re-submit the Ad Hoc Committee's proposed sections 1-3 so they could be voted on by the membership. There was some confusion at the end of the business meeting about whether a general vote could be taken following this meeting or whether the proposal would need to be resubmitted before next year's business meeting, and then voted on by the membership.
Those who spoke against 1-3 argued primarily against 3a, which requires the nominating committee to nominate two names for the offices of vice president and president. Opponents of 3a argued that these offices are “honorary” and that the Pacific Division may have difficulty finding outstanding philosophers to serve in these positions if they had to run for office instead of being selected by a committee.
Proponents of 3a argued that the “honor” bestowed on APA officers is diminished when our officers are chosen in a back room by a small committee rather than by the general membership. Proponents also argued that the divisional Vice President and President serve on the APA Board of Officers, which is the highest governing and decision-making body of our organization, and these roles are not merely “honorary” but governing roles. Having elections for these offices would foster broad discussion in the division of matters before the organization and members could vote for their officers on the basis of both their philosophical credentials and where they stand on matters before the APA. Furthermore, proponents argued that the other two divisions require that nominating committees nominate at least two persons for each position in order to insure that the membership can participate in the election of officers, and they have not had difficulty getting outstanding philosophers to stand for office.
In short, either this year or next, there should be a general mail ballot (for PD members) to resolve the remaining disputed issues.