June 15, 2009

 

 Proposed Amendments to the AVMA Bylaws

posted June 1, 2009
 
In compliance with Bylaws Article XV, the following amendments are submitted. Type that has a continuous line through it is proposed for deletion. Proposed new wording is underlined. The 2007 AVMA Bylaws are published in the 2008-2009 AVMA Directory and Resource Manual on pages 27-40. The 2009 AVMA Bylaws are published online at www.avma.org/about_avma/governance/vla/avma_bylaws.pdf.

1 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE VIII—Committees/Councils/Task Forces, Section 1—Standing Committees of the Executive Board, subsection b—Other Standing Committees, paragraph 3--Policies and Procedures, to provide for resolutions referred by the House of Delegates to standing committees to be returned to the House of Delegates through the Executive Board for further review and/or action.

Present and Proposed Wording

Article VIII-Committees/Councils/Task Forces. 
    Section 1. Standing Committees of the Executive Board.  

    b. Other Standing Committees 

3. Policies and Procedures. The Executive Board shall develop and approve policies and procedures for the operating of all standing committees. All standing committees shall report to the Executive Board. Any report on resolutions which are pertinent to matters relating to veterinary medicine and which have been referred by the House of Delegates to a standing committee shall be submitted to the Executive Board. If requested by the House, the Executive Board will submit a new resolution to the House incorporating the findings of the standing committee.

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the House Advisory Committee. Standing committees report to the Executive Board, not the House of Delegates. However when the HOD refers a resolution to a standing committee for advice and requests a report, the HAC believes that the Executive Board in a spirit of cooperation on matters relating to veterinary medicine – matters that are in the scope of the HOD – should submit a resolution to the HOD that incorporates the recommendations of the standing committee.

2 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE VIII—Committees/Councils/Task Forces, Section 2—Advisory/Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces, subsection m—Policies and Procedures, to provide for resolutions referred by the House of Delegates to councils to be returned to the House of Delegates through the Executive Board for further review and/or action.

Present and Proposed Wording

Article VIII-Committees/Councils/Task Forces. 
    Section 2. Councils. 

m. Policies and Procedures. The Executive Board shall develop and approve policies and procedures for the operation of all councils, except for the manual titled Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA Council on Education that is established by that council. All councils shall report to the Executive Board. Any report on resolutions which are pertinent to matters relating to veterinary medicine and which have been referred by the HOD to a council shall be submitted to the Executive Board. If requested by the House, the Board will submit a new resolution to the House incorporating the findings of the council.

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the House Advisory Committee. Councils report to the Executive Board, not the House of Delegates. However when the HOD refers a resolution to a council for advice and requests a report, the HAC believes that the Executive Board in a spirit of cooperation on matters relating to veterinary medicine – matters that are in the scope of the HOD – should submit a resolution to the HOD that incorporates the recommendations of the council.

3 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE VIII—Committees/Councils/Task Forces, Section 3—Advisory/Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces, subsection c—Policies and Procedures, to provide for resolutions referred by the House of Delegates to advisory/ad hoc committees and task forces to be returned to the House of Delegates through the Executive Board for further review and/or action.

Present and Proposed Wording

Article VIII-Committees/Councils/Task Forces.
    Section 3. Advisory/Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces.

c. Policies and Procedures. The Executive Board shall develop and approve general policies and procedures for the operation of all committees and task forces. All committees and task forces shall report to the Executive Board. Any report on resolutions which are pertinent to matters relating to veterinary medicine and which have been referred by the HOD to a committee or task force shall be submitted to the Executive Board. If requested by the House, the Board will submit a new resolution to the House incorporating the findings of the committee or task force.

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the House Advisory Committee. Committees and task forces report to the Executive Board, not the House of Delegates. However when the HOD refers a resolution to a committee or task force for advice and requests a report, the HAC believes that the Executive Board in a spirit of cooperation on matters relating to veterinary medicine – matters that are in the scope of the HOD – should submit a resolution to the HOD that incorporates the recommendations of the committee or task force.

4 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE VIII—Committees/Councils/Task Forces, Section 1—Standing Committees of the Executive Board, subsection b—Other Standing Committees, paragraph 3--Policies and Procedures, to provide for resolutions referred by the House of Delegates to standing committees to be returned to the House of Delegates for further review and/or action.

Present and Proposed Wording

Article VIII-Committees/Councils/Task Forces. 
    Section 1. Standing Committees of the Executive Board.
    b. Other Standing Committees

3. Policies and Procedures. The Executive Board shall develop and approve policies and procedures for the operating of all standing committees. All standing committees shall report to the Executive Board, with the exception that reports on resolutions pertinent to matters relating to veterinary medicine that have been referred by the House of Delegates to a standing committee shall be submitted by the standing committee to the House of Delegates, unless instructed otherwise by the House of Delegates.

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, Association of Avian Veterinarians, and Virginia Veterinary Medical Association. The intent of this Bylaw amendment is to clarify in the Bylaws that when a resolution is submitted to the HOD for consideration, and the HOD decides that we want more information, study, and/or opinion from another entity within the structure of the AVMA (i.e., committee or council), that the report in response to the HOD request or referral be submitted back to the originating body, the HOD, for consideration, unless otherwise directed by the HOD.

5 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE VIII—Committees/Councils/Task Forces, Section 2—Advisory/Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces, subsection m—Policies and Procedures, to provide for resolutions referred by the House of Delegates to councils to be returned to the House of Delegates for further review and/or action.  

Present and Proposed Wording 

Article VIII-Committees/Councils/Task Forces.
    Section 2. Councils.  

m. Policies and Procedures. The Executive Board shall develop and approve policies and procedures for the operation of all councils, except for the manual titled Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA Council on Education that is established by that council. All councils shall report to the Executive Board, with the exception that reports on resolutions pertinent to matters relating to veterinary medicine that have been referred by the House of Delegates to a council shall be submitted by the council to the House of Delegates, unless instructed otherwise by the House of Delegates.

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, Association of Avian Veterinarians, and Virginia Veterinary Medical Association. The intent of this Bylaw amendment is to clarify in the Bylaws that when a resolution is submitted to the HOD for consideration, and the HOD decides that we want more information, study, and/or opinion from another entity within the structure of the AVMA (i.e., committee or council), that the report in response to the HOD request or referral be submitted back to the originating body, the HOD, for consideration, unless otherwise directed by the HOD.

6 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE VIII—Committees/Councils/Task Forces, Section 3—Advisory/Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces, subsection c—Policies and Procedures, to provide for resolutions referred by the House of Delegates to advisory/ad hoc committees and task forces to be returned to the House of Delegates for further review and/or action.  

Present and Proposed Wording

Article VIII-Committees/Councils/Task Forces.
    Section 3. Advisory/Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces.  

c. Policies and Procedures. The Executive Board shall develop and approve general policies and procedures for the operation of all committees and task forces. All committees and task forces shall report to the Executive Board, with the exception that reports on resolutions pertinent to matters relating to veterinary medicine that have been referred by the House of Delegates to a committee or task force shall be submitted by the committee or task force to the House of Delegates, unless instructed otherwise by the House of Delegates.

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, Association of Avian Veterinarians, and Virginia Veterinary Medical Association. The intent of this Bylaw amendment is to clarify in the Bylaws that when a resolution is submitted to the HOD for consideration, and the HOD decides to seek more information, study, and/or opinion from another entity within the structure of the AVMA (i.e., task force or committee), that the report in response to the HOD request or referral be submitted back to the originating body, the HOD, for consideration, unless otherwise directed by the HOD.

7 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE II--Membership, Section 5—Disciplinary Action/Termination of Membership, subsection b--Procedures, to delete reference in the Bylaws to the method of delivery for the statement of charges.

Present and Proposed Wording

Article II-Membership. 
    Section 5. Disciplinary Action/Termination of Membership.

    b. Procedures. Discipline may include, but not be limited to, censure, suspension, probation, and expulsion. Disciplinary action may be taken provided that a statement of the charges shall have been sent by certified mail to the last recorded address of the member at least fifteen (15) days before final action is to be taken. This statement shall be accompanied by a notice of the time and place of the meeting at which the charges shall be considered, and the member shall have the opportunity to appear in person and/or to be represented by counsel and to present any defense to such charges before action is taken by the Association. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event a member has been convicted of a felony and the fact of such conviction is not contested, such member may be expelled from the Association without a hearing. Such disciplinary actions shall be conducted in accordance with the Rules of Disciplinary Procedures of the Judicial Council, which shall be established by the Judicial Council and approved by the Executive Board. 

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the AVMA Executive Board. The AVMA Judicial Council recommended that the Executive Board initiate this Bylaws amendment and the Executive Board approved that recommendation.

The Judicial Council noted that the intent of including the words "by certified mail" was undoubtedly to ensure that transmittal of the statement of charges was traceable via signature. However, many other delivery services are available that will provide traceability regardless whether a signature is obtained. Specifying only one method is no longer appropriate. Therefore, the Council recommends deletion of this reference in the Bylaws.

To ensure due process the Council submitted a recommendation in June to the Executive Board to revise the Rules of Disciplinary Procedure of the Judicial Council to specify other acceptable delivery methods for statements of charges.

8 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE VIII—Committees/Councils/Task Forces, Section 2—Councils, subsection g—Council on Communications, to remove the Council on Communications from the list of councils.

Present and Proposed Wording

Article VIII-Committees/Councils/Task Forces.
    Section 2. Councils.

    g. Council on Communications
1. Composition. The Council on Communications shall consist of ten voting members of the Association representing the following areas of veterinary medical activity:

(i) Private practice, predominantly small animal (two individuals);

(ii) Private practice, predominantly food animal (one individual);

(iii) Private practice, predominantly equine (one individual);

(iv) Non-private practice (one individual);

(v) Public health or regulatory veterinary medicine (one individual); and

(vi) At-large (four individuals).

2. Responsibility. The Council on Communications shall:

(i) Envision and oversee internal and external communication programs that are strategic, focused, and timely;

(ii) Foster a positive public image of the AVMA, AVMA members, and veterinary medicine to AVMA's publics;

(iii) Maintain and enhance relationships between the AVMA and its publics;

(iv) Utilize marketing analysis to aid in the creation and refinement of communication programs; and

(v) Support and assist the Executive Board in developing resources to accomplish communication programs.

h. g.  Additional Councils.

i. h.   Qualifications.

j. i.    Term.

k. j.   Elections.

l. k.   Meetings.

m. l.  Policies and Procedures.

n. m. Quorum and Manner of Acting.

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the House Advisory Committee. In November 2008, the AVMA Governance Performance Review Committee (GPRC) recommended "That the Executive Board initiate a Bylaws amendment to sunset the Council on Communications, to become effective at the end of the Association year following approval by the House of Delegates." In keeping with its charge, the GPRC conducted an in-depth performance evaluation of the Council on Communications—the review included written evaluation forms and telephone call interviews with each member of the Council, the staff consultants, and the Executive Board liaison. After discussion of the feedback obtained, the GPRC agreed to recommend sunset of the Council for the following reasons—

* The AVMA Communications Division has assumed the majority of those responsibilities outlined in the Council's charge
* The Council does not fulfill its charge
* The Council does not perform effectively
* The Council is not integral to AVMA's objective

Further, feedback indicated frustration with the Council's lack of accomplishment and focus, with several respondents questioning the continuing need for the Council's existence.

The Executive Vice President commented to the Executive Board on the recommendation stating, "The EVP supports approval of this recommendation. However, this support is with recognition of the role the Council played in creating an environment that allowed for development and expansion of the AVMA Communications Division. The Council's past accomplishments have enabled AVMA communications to evolve into an operations function rather than a policy-making function, and this function is now managed by the Division. Many talented and highly competent individuals have and are currently serving on the Council and their contributions and efforts are to be commended."

At its fall 2008 meeting, the House Advisory Committee reviewed the recommendation from the GPRC. After discussion, the HAC agreed to support Executive Board approval of the recommendation with the proviso that if approved by the House of Delegates, the action becomes effective immediately.

At its November 2008 meeting, the Executive Board decided to submit the Bylaws amendment to the House of Delegates with a recommendation for approval.

While the recommended Bylaws amendment was disapproved by the House of Delegates, the House Advisory Committee is re-submitting the proposed amendment with a recommendation for approval because the HAC doesn't believe that all of the relevant information was known by the HOD when the decision was made in January.

Between 2004 and 2005, the Task Force on Communications performed a much needed service for AVMA by:

* Exploring and formulating a mission for the AVMA communications;
* Looking at the needs and expectations of its current and anticipated audiences;
* Focusing on how the Association could better perform issues management, including rapidly responding to crises; and,
* Examining AVMA's approach to message development.

Among its findings, the Task Force "found no successful communications model without an empowered communications executive trusted to independently function within the policy framework of an organization. The Director of the Communications Division is the logical position into which the role of speaking and directing resources on the Association's behalf is entrusted. Effective leadership requires that leaders identify objectives and provide the resources necessary to achieve them. By employing this approach, the Association will become an entity strategically driven by the entire membership, rather than simply an association managed by volunteer leaders." One of the Guiding Principles concepts developed by the Task Force is:

* "AVMA retains the services of and empowers executives with specific expertise in communications to direct the communications activities of the Association. The Director of Communications Division is therefore empowered to direct the resources assigned to the communications function and is empowered to choose appropriate spokespeople or may speak on behalf of the Association within the framework of approved positions."

Further, the Task Force developed an organizational framework for communications that included 49 staff members. While the present Communications Division is not that large, it has grown tremendously and been staffed by 25 communications professionals. The Division is an operational division that is empowered to operate within the policy framework of the AVMA.

The Division receives member input through the approximately 600 member volunteers who serve on the approximately 35 AVMA entities that develop and propose policies that are established by the Executive Board and House of Delegates. The professionals in the Communications Division then develop the communications strategies to implement AVMA policy.

Financial Impact: Savings of $9,000 in 2009, $11,000 in 2010, and up to $23,000 per year in subsequent years in direct travel costs. Additional savings in non-travel financial and personnel costs associated with logistical support of the Council.

9 Amend Bylaws ARTICLE VIII—Committees/Councils/Task Forces, Section 2—Councils, subsection j—Term, to change the term of service of council members (with the exception of the Council on Education) from a six year term to a three year term with an allowance to permit a member to serve two consecutive terms.

Present and Proposed Wording

Article VIII-Committees/Councils/Task Forces. 
    Section 2. Councils.

j. Term. All members of councils (with the exception of the Council on Education) shall serve a six (6) three (3) year term, or until such time as their successors are duly elected, qualified, and assume their duties, and may not serve two (2) consecutive terms on the same council. Fulfilling an unexpired term of two (2) three (3) years or less shall not be considered a full term, and shall not apply toward the term limit. Council members shall not be eligible to serve on any council for a period of one (1) year following the conclusion of their second term as a member of any the council.
All members of the Council on Education shall serve a six (6) year term, or until such time as their successors are duly elected, qualified, and assume their duties, and may not serve two (2) consecutive terms on the Council on Education. Fulfilling an unexpired term of three (3) years or less shall not be considered a full term, and shall not apply toward the term limit. Council on Education members shall not be eligible to serve on any council for a period of one (1) year following the conclusion of their term as a member of the Council on Education.

Statement about the Bylaws Amendment

The amendment was submitted by the House Advisory Committee. Discussions have identified the commitment for a six-year term as an impediment to attracting volunteers to serve on AVMA councils. It is believed that reduction to three years will attract more candidates because it would provide flexibility for the individual to decide whether to continue for a second term or to perform a graceful exit if they no longer desire to serve beyond three years. This would also provide the House of Delegates the opportunity to not re-elect a council member who is not furthering the charge and objectives of the council.

To lessen the difficulty, including financial, of candidates competing for first and second terms on a council, the House Advisory Committee will eliminate the requirement for council candidates to travel to the site of the HOD meeting to give a 2-minute speech. Instead, the Campaign Guide will be emphasized as the vehicle for campaigning and the council candidate's nomination form may be altered to provide improved information regarding the candidates qualifications and potential contributions specific to the council vacancy.

The Council on Education is exempted from this proposed change because of the critical accreditation function of that Council and the recognized period of time that is required before a new COE member becomes fully functional.

2008 AVMA House of Delegates
The 2008 AVMA House of Delegates held its regular annual session last July in New Orleans (above). In the foreground is the West Virginia VMA delegation--Dr. Thomas Isaac (left), alternate, and Dr. Gary S. Brown, then West Virginia's delegate, and now the AVMA's vice president. This year at its regular annual session in Seattle, the HOD will address an agenda that includes nine proposed amendments to the AVMA Bylaws and four resolutions.