Citing demographic shifts and the need for balanced representation, the Executive Board approved a recommendation to introduce a Bylaws amendment that would restructure Executive Board districts to better reflect the distribution of the veterinary population.
The approved plan, submitted by Dr. Leonard F. Seda, immediate past president of the AVMA, proposes dividing District III to create a new district, and reorganizing districts VI, VII, and IX into two districts of six states each. The restructuring would being in July 2002, and would be completed in July 2006.
In his speech to the AVMA House of Delegates this past July, AVMA President Dr. James E. Nave said the Executive Board districts had become unbalanced in the numbers of members in each district.
Although the districts began with nearly equal membership, population growth has shifted the balance. The result has caused greater demands on those board members representing districts with high numbers of veterinarians, and created a perception of less opportunity for AVMA members from more populous districts to serve on the Executive Board.
Dr. Nave had submitted a restructuring proposal, but the board finally approved Dr. Seda's plan. Dr. Nave later said he was pleased with the board's willingness to address the politically charged issue, regardless of which recommendation was approved.
The board was well aware of the difficulties involved with such an overhaul. The approach to determining whether a district should be restructured is guided by the following criteria: the current number of AVMA members, the number of states, the number of veterinary schools, the expected future growth of AVMA members, a minimum amount of disruption, and geographic considerations.
"This is not going to be easy," Dr. Nave warned. "But it we want to be leaders, it's what we have to do. Otherwise, there will be a bigger problem five to seven years from now."
Dr. Bud Hertzog was concerned about those states that would be restructured into a new district in which they had not elected that Executive Board representative.
The approved recommendation would divide District III into two districts, effective in July 2002. Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and members in the West Indies, and South America will compromise one new district, and Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee comprise the second.
Dr. Jan Bartel's successor will be elected in 2001 and represent the present District III for one year and continue to represent the new district in which he or she resides through the full term ending in 2007. In 2002, an Executive Board member will be elected to represent the other newly defined district and serve through 2008.
In July 2002, when Dr. Dietl's term on the Executive Board ends, Districts VI and VII will be combined into one district comprising Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Dr. Hertzog will represent the combined district.
Effective in July 2006, when Dr. Hertzog's and Dr. Rhodes' terms expire, the present Districts VI, VII, and IX will be further reorganized to form two districts of six states each. The new District VII will then comprise Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The new District IX will comprise Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah. At the same time as Arizona is transferred from District X to the new District IX, Wyoming will be transferred to District XI. Executive Board members will be elected in 2006 to represent the two new districts.
Districts will also be renumbered to reflect the changes. They are:
District I: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont; District II: District of Colombia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia; District III: Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee ; District IV: Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, West Indies, South America; District V: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia; District VI: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin; District VII: Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota; District VIII: Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas; District IX: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah; District X: California, Hawaii, Nevada; District XI: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming