AVMA House of Delegates to consider governance changes at annual meeting

During its annual meeting on July 24-25 in Denver, Colorado, the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) will consider several proposals that potentially will reform how the policy-making body will be elected and govern in the future. The Executive Board has approved and submitted these recommendations, which are the product of two years of intensive study and feedback-gathering by two entities, the Governance Engagement Team and Task Force on Governance and Member Participation.

The proposed bylaws amendments would provide AVMA members the opportunity to elect about one half of the delegates while the rest of the delegates would still be designated by state and allied VMAs. Specifically, the amendments would accomplish the following:

  • The HOD will be composed of two delegates from each state and allied VMA. Except for SAVMA and the Uniformed Services, one delegate will be elected by AVMA members in the respective state or allied organization in an election conducted by AVMA. The other delegate will be designated by the VMA through a method of its choice and under its own process. The “weighted vote” for each state/entity will be divided equally between the two delegates.
  • Delegates will be eligible to serve no more than two consecutive four-year terms. They could serve more than two terms in their lifetime, as long as there are not more than two consecutive terms. The HOD term limit will not apply to executive directors of allied constituent organizations, but those individuals will still be required to be veterinarian AVMA members.

Some of the proposed changes would affect the governance of the Executive Board. These amendments call for changing the term of District Directors to a four-year term rather than the current six-year term, making the length of Executive Board terms consistent with those recommended for the HOD. The current provision that Executive Board members may not serve two consecutive terms would be retained.

The shorter term for Executive Board members is designed to increase opportunities for members to serve in key leadership roles. 

The bylaws amendments also would change the name of the “Executive Board” to “Board of Directors,” to make it consistent with the terminology used in the Illinois General Not For Profit Corporation Act, which governs the operation of the AVMA.

The bylaws amendments considered at the annual meeting in July do not address other governance issues, such as election of officers, new positions on the Executive Board/Board of Directors, restructuring of committees and councils, or creation of an AVMA nominating entity. The AVMA leadership continue to discuss these items, which may generate additional bylaws amendments in the future.