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2021 ASPET Bylaws Revisions

May 03, 2021

Important information about the proposed revisions to the ASPET Bylaws is included below.  Please read before entering the online voting site.

Who can vote: Only active Regular, Emeritus, Affiliate, Postdoctoral, and Graduate Student members are eligible to vote.

How to vote:  You will need your ASPET member number to access the ballot. Your voting credentials have been sent to you via email, but if you need assistance, please email membership@aspet.org.

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Please cast your vote by June 4, 2021.

As part of an ongoing governance review process initiated by ASPET Council, a comprehensive legal review of the ASPET Bylaws was recently conducted. This review was necessary to ensure the Society is compliant with applicable city, state, and federal laws which may have changed over time, as well as current guidelines for governance practices of non-profit organization bylaws.  

Two provisions were identified by ASPET legal counsel for immediate revision. The proposed revisions are described in detail below. 

The proposed revisions have been approved by ASPET Council and ASPET legal counsel. Members attending the 2021 ASPET Business Meeting approved forwarding both proposed revisions to the full membership for the final vote. 

Bylaws Revision #1 – Amendment Clause

Current ASPET amendment process:

The current process for making and approving amendments to the ASPET Bylaws is as follows:

  • The amendment is proposed and discussed at the Annual Business Meeting.
  • Eligible voting members in attendance vote to advance the amendment forward to the full membership.
  • After the business meeting there is a 30-day window when eligible voting members can vote on the proposed amendment.

Rationale for proposed revision:

The goal of the proposed revision to the bylaws is to accomplish the following:

  • Ensure the amendment clause language is clear, concise, and allows flexibility for the Society. 
  • Simplify the amendment process with a single membership vote.
  • Allow members to submit suggested revisions. Council felt strongly about giving members a greater voice in the Society and put forward this proposal to the membership to amend the Bylaws accordingly.

This proposed revision has been approved by ASPET Council and ASPET legal counsel.  Members attending the 2021 ASPET Business Meeting approved forwarding the vote to the full membership.

Current Bylaws state:

ARTICLE IX. Amendment of Bylaws
Adoption, alternation, or repeal of bylaws may be moved at any business session of the Society. Upon a favorable vote of two-thirds of the members present, the motion shall be submitted to the membership at large by ballot. Final passage shall require a three fifths majority vote of the members responding within 30 days after submission.

Proposed Bylaws revision:

ARTICLE IX. Amendment of Bylaws
Amendments to the Bylaws may be initiated by a member of Council or by no less than five percent (5%) of the voting membership. The Council must act upon amendments within six months of initiation.

Following approval by Council, proposed amendments will be publicized for thirty (30) days during which active voting members may submit their ballot. The amendment is adopted by a simple majority of votes cast by the voting members.

Please vote in favor, opposed, or abstain for this Bylaws revision at https://vote.associationvoting.com/aspet/

Bylaws Revision #2 – Publications Clauses

Rationale for proposed revision:

In a non-profit organization such as ASPET, the Council, as the elected governing body, is ultimately responsible for all actions of the organization. While Council can delegate some authority to a committee, such delegation should not be done in an unqualified and permanent manner, which is the case under our current bylaws. The current phrasing creates a serious risk for the Society and ASPET’s legal counsel and independent auditors have recommended immediate action to revise these clauses.

The proposed change will bring the Society in line with current best practices for governance of a non-profit organization. but does not modify the mission and responsibility of the now Publications Committee to manage the journals and nonserial publications.

The ASPET Council is committed to supporting the ASPET journals and fully expects the Publications Committee to continue to do what it has done so well for so long, manage the Society’s journals and nonserial publications.  However, this revision will appropriately adjust the relationship between the Publications Committee and Council to be consistent with best practices whereby the elected leadership of ASPET retains the ultimate decision-making authority on all matters related to the Society. This is currently the case for all other ASPET committees and allows Council to ensure fiduciary responsibility for the Society.

The change from Board of Publications Trustees to Publications Committee retains the spirit of the working relationship between the BPT and Council and reflects standard nomenclature for similar scientific societies.

These proposed revisions were approved by ASPET Council and ASPET legal counsel. Members attending the 2021 ASPET Business Meeting approved forwarding the vote to the full membership.

Current Bylaws state:

SECTION 1.  Board of Publications Trustees
ITEM 1.  Functions.  There shall be a Board of Publications Trustees with authority and responsibility delegated by the Council to control and manage, both editorially and financially, the Society's journals and nonserial publications.

SECTION 3.  Journal Fund
All publication funds shall be separately accounted for subject to the control of the Board of Publications Trustees.  Publication funds may be diverted for other than publication purposes upon affirmative vote of two-thirds of a combined meeting of the Board and Council with a quorum of each present.

Proposed Bylaws revision:

SECTION 1.  Publications Committee
ITEM 1.  Functions. There shall be a Publications Committee with such authority as delegated to it by the Council to manage the Society's journals and nonserial publications.

Section 3. Journal Fund – DELETED

All references for the Board of Publications will be revised to Publications Committee throughout the Bylaws.

Please vote in favor, opposed, or abstain for this Bylaws revision at https://vote.associationvoting.com/aspet/

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