September 01, 2003


 Resolution 3: should board chair eligibility be limited?

Posted Aug. 15, 2003


Submitted by the Iowa VMA, Resolution 3 called for a bylaws amendment to require that the board chair be elected from among the 11 district representatives on the board. This would exclude the president, president-elect, and immediate past president, who also serve on the board. Currently, the AVMA Constitution and Bylaws have no such restrictions.

This issue takes on special importance because the board chair is one of the three members of the Board of Governors, along with the president and president-elect. Because the president-elect is elected by the HOD, and eventually becomes president, the Iowa VMA stated in the background to its resolution that it would give the Board of Governors wider diversity to have the Executive Board chair be one of the district representatives, because they were elected directly by AVMA members.

The HOD discussed it and disapproved the resolution. The Executive Board, House Advisory Committee, and Reference Committee on Administration (Reference Committee 1) all recommended disapproval as well.

During the discussion, Iowa delegate Dr. Michael Miller spoke in favor of the resolution, saying it would ensure that at least one person on the Board of Governors has a wealth of experience about the Executive Board.

But several delegates, such as Pennsylvania delegate Dr. Sherbyn Ostrich, commented on the improvement in relations between the board and HOD in recent years, reasoning that it was, therefore, unnecessary to approve the resolution and best to let the board decide on the best chair. Oklahoma delegate Dr. D. C. Smith said, "Now we have tremendous communication between the board and House." One delegate said the Informational Assembly held each January accounts for the improved relations. AABP alternate delegate Dr. James Jarrett also opposed the resolution, saying the House Advisory Committee feels the current system is more inclusive, and that the board is autonomous.

Dr. James Brandt, current AVMA immediate past president and board chair, spoke against the resolution. He observed that the immediate past president has just completed three years interacting with the membership and attending board meetings, so he or she has firsthand knowledge of member concerns and board workings. It also leaves all 11 district members to discuss the issues, Dr. Brandt said.

California delegate Dr. Michael Andrews countered, saying the [immediate] past presidents are very valuable and their expertise is not lost, because they serve their year as immediate past president as a member of the board. "But once you've reached the pinnacle, let someone else (ie, a district board member) try (to become Executive Board chair and a member of the Board of Governors)," he said, adding that continuity of expertise must not limit opportunity for others.