Elucidation and Clarification of the Proposed Bylaws

by Lee Lawyer, Council Ad Hoc Committee Chair

This is a clarifying note, maybe. For those of you who have lived on Mars the last two years, there has been some activity in the SEG regarding "governance". I quote the word "governance" because trying to govern the geophysicists of my acquaintance is like the proverbial ‘cat herds'. Maybe cat herds are not proverbial but you get the idea.

We are on the brink of changing our Constitution and Bylaws. Two conventions ago, the proposed changes were defeated by one vote in the Council. The main issue was the Council itself. A number of local societies thought that the Council was a fundamental part of the governance of the SEG. Others thought that a body that meets only once a year for two hours was not worth saving. They both had cogent arguments. But the motion went down to defeat.

Both sides came together in the Council Ad Hoc Committee (CAHC). Led by our current SEG President, we hammered out a product that ensured we would get a favorable vote in the Council. And we did! The Council vote was unanimous. But that is not the end. The current C&B state that if a change is passed by the Council, the changes must be submitted to the total membership for a vote. That is where we are today.

If you want to read through the new Bylaws, have at it. They are published in TLE and online. Unless you are familiar with the current C&B, you will have trouble finding what has changed. I am here to help you. First, the Council is almost the same as it was in the past. Essentially It has the same function as always. The big difference is the newly established Chair of the Council. This Chair of the Council will be a full voting member of the Board of Directors with a three year term of office. The Council will elect him/her from Council members.

I sneaked a new term in the above paragraph, "Board of Directors." In the past, we had an Executive Committee (Excom). In the new Bylaws, there is an 18 member Board one of which is a non- voting member (The Executive Director of the SEG). The CAHC thought that 18 was a little excessive. We are going to start with a 14 member board plus the non-voting person. If in time there is a need for more Directors, the Board can add three more. Of course, they still have to be elected by the membership as does all of the Board except the Chair of the Council who is elected by the Council.

The composition of the Board is interesting. There will be a President, Past President, President-Elect, First Vice President, a Vice President and a Treasurer and the Editor. Those seven are the Excom of the Board of Directors. Stay with me on this. Seven minus 17 equals 10. The Chair of the Council plus nine directors and the Excom comprise the entire Board. As I said we are starting with six directors at large. The Directors at large and the Presidents will serve three years on the Board. The two Vice Presidents, Treasurer and the Editor have two year terms.

There you have it in a nut shell. Admittedly it is a large nut shell but that is the essence of the changes. You are now clarified and elucidated. I strongly recommend that you approve the proposed Bylaws. Now go out there and vote!