December 15, 2008


 Communications council may sunset

Posted Dec. 1, 2008

The Executive Board initiated an AVMA Bylaws amendment to sunset the Council on Communications but first acted on four recommendations from the council.

Fostering a diverse culture within the AVMA staff and leadership was the intent of two recommendations. One calls for all the Association's communication vehicles to be developed and reviewed so as to project an inclusive, open, and welcoming environment to the membership and the public. The council wants these materials to reflect the AVMA's encouragement of diversity in its leadership roles.

Approving another recommendation, the board directed the Association to explore and implement a process that would enhance the ability of all members to participate in AVMA volunteer entities. The council wants it known that these positions are open to any motivated member.

The board referred to the Veterinary Leadership Conference Planning Committee a council recommendation to invite the 2008 Veterinary Diversity Symposium speaker, Steve L. Robbins, PhD, to lead the board and other AVMA leaders and staff in exploring how the Association's societal and professional actions may lead to unintended consequences. Dr. Robbins' symposium presentation focused on unintentional intolerance.

The board did not approve a council recommendation that the AVMA endorse Pfizer's Frank Veterinarian-Client Communication Initiative.

The recommendation to sunset the Council on Communications originated with the Governance Performance Review Committee, which called for the Executive Board to initiate an enabling AVMA Bylaws amendment. The GPRC recommended sunset after conducting an in-depth performance evaluation.

The board voted to forward the proposed bylaws amendment to the House of Delegates with a recommendation for approval (for text, see page). The House Advisory Committee also supports it. If the HOD approves the amendment in January, it would take effect immediately. The projected savings are $18,000 a year in travel expenses.

The Executive Board chair, Dr. David McCrystle, said, "We've built an awesome (communications) division, and that awesome division is functioning very well."

The Office of the Executive Vice President supports sunset, with a caveat. AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven told the board, "Without some of the past activities and actions of the council, we might not have created the environment to have the well-functioning division that we have.

"We'd like to end on a positive note and congratulate them for their accomplishment, part of which was to establish a framework for a communications division, which was essential if we are going to be effective as an Association."