June 15, 2009


 Amendments affect HOD referrals, councils

Posted June 1, 2009

Three issues addressed by the AVMA House of Delegates at its regular winter session this past January in Chicago are again on the slate for the regular annual session in Seattle.

The HOD will act July 10 on nine proposed amendments to the AVMA Bylaws submitted by the May 8 deadline. The text of each proposed amendment follows here.

Six of the amendments propose procedures by which AVMA entities developing information on resolutions at the HOD's request would ensure that the information is provided back to the HOD. Another amendment would eliminate the Council on Communications. And another amendment would reduce the term of service on most councils. Earlier this year, delegates voted down similar or identical proposals at their regular winter session.

Proposed bylaws amendments 1, 2, and 3 were submitted by the House Advisory Committee and are similar to but different from proposed bylaws amendments that were defeated in January. They would require that AVMA entities submit to the Executive Board any report they develop on a veterinary medicine-related resolution referred to them by the HOD. The board would then submit a new resolution to the HOD, incorporating the findings. Amendment 1 applies this to standing committees of the Executive Board, amendment 2 to councils, and amendment 3 to advisory/ad hoc committees and task forces.

The New Jersey VMA, Association of Avian Veterinarians, and Virginia VMA propose a different approach in corresponding amendments 4, 5, and 6. The sponsors propose that unless instructed otherwise by the HOD, those same AVMA entities would submit directly to the HOD any report they develop on a veterinary medicine-related resolution referred to them for study by the HOD. That proposal is the same concept that was defeated in January.

The HAC, noting that AVMA entities report to the Executive Board, believes that in a spirit of cooperation, the board should submit a resolution to the HOD that incorporates the entity's recommendations.

On the other hand, the NJVMA, AAV, and VVMA believe the report should be submitted back to the originating body, the HOD.

In amendment 7, the Executive Board proposes a deletion in the bylaw about disciplinary action/termination of AVMA membership, striking information on how a statement of charges must be delivered to a member. In its statement about the amendment, the board noted that many other delivery services other than certified mail—the only method currently listed—are available that also provide traceability, regardless of whether a signature is obtained. In a related action, the Judicial Council recently submitted a recommendation to the board to revise the Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. The revisions include a list of acceptable delivery methods for statements of charges.

The HAC submitted proposed amendment 8, which would remove the Council on Communications from the list of councils authorized by the AVMA Bylaws. The same amendment, submitted at that time by the Executive Board, failed in January.

The effort to sunset the council began in November, when the Governance Performance Review Committee recommended that the Executive Board initiate a bylaws amendment to that effect, because the Communications Division has assumed most of the responsibilities outlined in the council's charge. The Executive Board submitted an amendment to eliminate the council to the HOD, with recommendations for approval from the HAC and the board.

In January, however, the HOD disapproved the amendment. Delegates who spoke against the measure commended the Communications Division for its work but said they consider the council a vital vehicle for member input on the Association's messages.

The HAC is resubmitting the amendment because it does not believe all relevant information was known by the HOD in January. The HAC noted that the Task Force on Communications in 2004-2005 "found no successful communications model without an empowered communications executive trusted to independently function within the policy framework of an organization." The HAC believes the director of the Communications Division is that person, and that the division receives member input through the 600 member volunteers who serve on AVMA entities.

Proposed amendment 9 was also submitted by the HAC. If approved, it would change the term of service for council members from six years to three, with the option of running for a second consecutive term. Reduction to a three-year term could attract more candidates while allowing the HOD to avoid re-electing a member who is not furthering the charge and objectives of the council.

A resolution with the same concept was disapproved by the HOD in January. Discussion indicated concerns regarding costs of campaigning again in three years. In consideration of those concerns, the HAC is reducing costs by deleting the need for travel to the regular annual session by candidates to give a campaign speech and by expanding use of the candidates' Campaign Guide instead of brochures produced by the candidates or the nominating organizations.

The Council on Education is exempted from this proposed change because of its critical accreditation function and the experience required of its members.