Council unanimously approves proposed Bylaws

By Jenny Kucera, associate editor TLE

With one amendment, the SEG Council approved proposed Bylaws at its 18 September meeting during the Annual Meeting in San Antonio, thus sending the matter of adoption to the membership. The proposed Bylaws would replace SEG's current Constitution and Bylaws, providing the Society with a modern governance structure.

The Council nearly approved the Bylaws last year at the Annual Meeting in Denver, but what was proposed at the time fell just short of the two-thirds majority endorsement required to send the question to Active Members.

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During Sunday's meeting, a motion from the floor amended a section of the Bylaws regarding representation on the Council. Article VII Section 3b was amended and approved to say:  "In the event a Representative is unable to attend a Council Meeting, a Representative the Section may nominate an alternate, who is an Active Member in good standing, who will be seated with voting privileges, if the Secretary of the SEG has been notified in writing."

The Board of Directors described in the proposed Bylaws would have 14 voting members and a nonvoting executive director. All voting members would have multiyear terms. Under the current structure, SEG's Executive Committee has seven members, with four serving only for one year.

Adoption of the proposed Bylaws would remove an inconsistency in current governance documents regarding which body bears legal and fiduciary responsibilities for the Society. SEG's Articles of Incorporation state that the Executive Committee is SEG's governing body and that the Society is governed by its Constitution and Bylaws. However, the Constitution and Bylaws state that the Council is the governing body and that governing authority is delegated to the Executive Committee between Council meetings. Under the proposed Bylaws and through amended Articles of Incorporation, the Board of Directors would be recognized as SEG's governing body.

Because the Council has approved the new SEG Bylaws, the next step is to submit the Bylaws to a vote of the Active Members. Ballots will be mailed to the Active Members on 18 October 2011. Voting through paper ballot and online ballot will begin 18 October and conclude 16 December. If more than 50% of voting Active Members vote in favor, these proposed Bylaws will become SEG's primary governance document.

Also at the Council meeting, outgoing President Klaas Koster gave his last Presidential Address, highlighting SEG priorities in 2011. Society membership is 31,600 members strong, representing 51 sections and associated societies in 136 countries. He reminded attendees of SEG's principles and values:  We are geophysicists to the core. The Society is border-free and member-driven. SEG levels the playing field and supports technology and students through sound business practices.

Koster passed the gavel to incoming President Bob Hardage as a symbolic transfer of leadership. Newly elected officers of the 2011–2012 SEG Executive Committee begin their terms of service at the conclusion of the 2011 Annual Meeting.

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