Upcoming ASPA Fall Elections Includes Voting on Bylaws Amendments
Each fall, ASPA conducts annual elections for those individuals who will serve on our National Council for upcoming three-year terms. Slates of candidates include nominations for vice president, district representatives, student representative and other positions as needed. This fall's election, launching on Nov. 7, will also include an opportunity for ASPA members to vote on very important and much-needed bylaws amendments.
ASPA's bylaws are required to be reviewed and amended as necessary every five years. This year's effort is the first that has been undertaken in more than 10. After a very thorough process on the part of ASPA's Governance Task Force, and vigorous debating and voting on the part of the National Council, a comprehensive slate of amendments will be put in front of ASPA members for their vote.
We sat down with Governance Task Force Chair Judy England-Joseph to talk to her about the process the Task Force undertook and what it means for ASPA members, so that you—our voting population—will have a better understanding about these amendments before you are asked to vote on them.
Why now? Why did the National Council take on this task this year as opposed to another?
First and foremost, the bylaws require it. As written, they call for a comprehensive review to take place every five years, but that has not taken place in more than 10. ASPA is now at a point where it needs operational efficiencies to help it execute with limited resources as it operates in an increasingly competitive environment. Without a well-written set of bylaws, questions can always be asked about whether an organization is conducting business as stipulated by its members and Articles of Incorporation, and whether it is operating in an efficient and effective way that keeps members at the forefront.
Second, ASPA President Janice Lachance made governance a priority of her presidential tenure this year, which meant reviewing the bylaws. Her goals were to streamline operations, eliminate unnecessary processes, institute best nonprofit practices and redeploy staff time and energy to programs and services that benefit the Society's members.
Finally, and perhaps equally as important, since becoming our Executive Director, Bill Shields (and the national office staff) have looked for ways to increase operational efficiency. In doing so, they have identified confusing bylaws language, internal inconsistencies, typos and errors, and provisions that are costly to implement, all of which need to be corrected. The confusing language and internal inconsistencies come about largely through amendments that have been made that introduce language modifications that then affect other sections. If you are not intimately familiar with the bylaws, it may not be obvious where other changes are needed to ensure full consistency throughout.
How widespread are the changes we will be considering and voting on?
Guiding the Governance Task Force efforts were some shared concerns. How do we ensure maximum involvement by members in our Society? How do we help members get engaged versus just paying dues and receiving publications? How can we become "best of class" as a nonprofit? We teach public administration. We support public service. We are trying to build the future of our government institutions in terms of public responsibility. We should make sure we are governed in a way that makes us "best of class." To that end: Are we strategic? How can we take a longer view? We need to be thinking about where we want to be five to seven years from now.
The Task Force approached its task with three objectives in mind:
Increasing the Society's visibility on issues that affect public service, working on achieving important strategic priorities such as the long term financial viability of the organization and regularly holding ourselves accountable for meeting those priorities are essential to the Society's survivability.
- The first objective was a housekeeping matter. Parts of the bylaws are confusing, so we set about cleaning up the language, typos and errors. We looked for ways to make some of the sentences less confusing, and made the wording of the bylaws, as well as required actions, internally consistent throughout.
- The second objective was to identify opportunities for increased operational economy and efficiency to enable more effective management. The national office staff is small and does not have the resources today to grow. They are intimately familiar with ways operations can be improved and their time better spent. Freeing up resources spent calling, emailing and otherwise cajoling enough people to vote so that we can have a legitimate election, for example, are resources that can be used to better support membership activities that strengthen the Society and bring better value to members.
- The third objective was to take the long view and bring greater strategic focus to the growth and sustainability of ASPA.
You will see that we focused on measurement and reporting. Goals and objectives are established but little is known about what we are accomplishing toward those goals. We asked ourselves: "How can the National Council be more accountable to our membership?" and "How can it demonstrate that it is more than just a body that meets several times a year?"
The Task Force was seeking to increase transparency so members would know that not only was a goal set but that the Council was able to accomplish it. This transparency is critical for the membership to appreciate what the National Council does and can do for the Society.
Some of the changes, if approved by the membership, can be implemented right away; some will not take place for several years. The later changes will not affect anyone in top leadership positions on the Council today unless they are running for a leadership position in 2020. The fact that some changes cannot realistically happen until 2020 makes approving the bylaws now that much more urgent since changes today can take a few years to come to fruition.
How will these changes impact my experience as an ASPA member?
Four changes may affect a member the most:
What will I notice the most going forward?
- Today, there is a requirement that 50 percent of our committees' members must be National Council members. We propose eliminating that requirement because we feel it unduly restricts members from getting involved in the Society's governance activities.
- If a member was to petition to be considered for the Vice President position today, he/she must get two percent of the membership to sign their petition. We lowered the threshold to 50 signatures, making it easier for members to add their names to the slate of nominees.
- Today, someone who is interested in being President of ASPA makes a four-year commitment: first as Vice President, then as President-Elect, third as President and the fourth as Immediate Past President. Despite the four-year commitment, the President has only one year to set priorities and accomplish them, which means there is little incentive to tackle longer term issues. The bylaws are also limited in stating what the roles and responsibilities are for all but the President's position.
We propose combining the four jobs and making two positions, each with a two-year term: the President-Elect and the President. We also make clear that the President-Elect is responsible for managing the strategic plan development, monitoring performance and reporting progress to the membership. The Task Force members believe this change will enable a more sustained effort on the key challenges the Society faces.
- Currently, 10 percent of the membership constitutes a quorum for conducting a transaction by the membership, including elections and changes to the bylaws. We propose reducing that requirement to five percent. The biggest reason for the change is that normally only about five percent of the membership votes without costly additional prodding by the national office staff. This situation makes the current process unwieldly and puts the validity of the election in jeopardy. The impact to you, we hope, will be enjoying a national office staff that is able to focus on activities that bring greater value to your membership.
The most visible change will be merging the current four top leadership positions into two, which will take place after the 2020 election.
That said, what you should notice because of this structural change will be a more strategic and broadly minded leadership, providing for a more strategic and broadly focused Society. Going forward, your President-Elect and President will be able to set longer term agendas, giving them space to focus on more than just the Annual Conference and a couple other priorities. Instead, they will have space and time to craft more nationally based priorities that will appeal to a larger base of our members—and gain ASPA more space in the broader discipline, and make a difference in public administration because of it.
What is the most important thing I should be thinking about as I review the proposed changes?
Change is not often easy. Some may feel the Task Force did not take big enough steps to ready us for 2020-2025. As you study the proposed bylaws, ask yourself:
"Does this move us in the right direction?"
"Does it touch on some of the things I have been concerned about as a member?"
"Does it give me more opportunities to get involved in the Society's governance?"
I hope you will answer yes to these questions and vote in support of the changes.
What if I decide I do not approve?
Over a three-month period, 12 of your fellow ASPA members—representing a diversity of geographic areas, tenure with the Society, age, sex, ethnicity, positions held within and outside the organization, practitioners and academics—took their responsibilities seriously, contributing an exceptional level of time, attention and creativity to the work asked of the group. The Task Force convened five times via teleconference, for a total of 20 hours of substantive discussion.
Everyone had an opportunity to review and comment on five sets of redrafted bylaws, each one reworked to reflect group deliberations.
More than 150 emails were exchanged, the vast majority of them substantive and content driven.
All task force members' opinions were considered and vigorously discussed. We made sure there was a clear majority opinion for all of the proposed changes, if not full consensus.
It is important for you to know how carefully we worked together as a group to make sure we represented the various facets of our membership.
After the Task Force completed its work, we learned of a BoardSource report, Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, which served as a strong confirmation that what this Task Force is presenting to you is consistent with best practices of other nonprofits. It is a worthy read as you review our proposed changes.
All ASPA members are encouraged to vote their conscience, but it is important that you know that the utmost care and consideration was given to this process and to these suggested changes so that we, as a Task Force, can present you with a solid amendment proposal.
When will we see the bylaws changes for consideration?
You can find the necessary resources online here, including a synopsis of the biggest changes and a side-by-side of the current and proposed bylaws so you can track the suggested changes.
Voting begins on Nov. 7; you will have until Dec. 1 to review the materials and cast your vote—both for the slate of candidates for this year's elections as well as to approve the bylaws changes. We will also be posting a recorded webinar featuring several members of the Task Force shortly. We will include that resource online as soon as it is available.
You will need your ASPA login information to cast your vote next month. If you need ASPA staff to send you those details, please contact them now so you have them on hand.
As Chair of the Task Force, I welcome any questions or comments you may have. Please reach out to me if I can answer any further questions for you.
Back to Top
2016 Annual Report Released
ASPA recently released its 2016 Annual Report; did you get your copy? 2016 was a year of many great accomplishments for our Society! We substantially increased our engagement and outreach to our entire ASPA membership. With a newly launched, sleek and user-friendly website, we have dramatically increased our ability to connect with members domestically and abroad through our highly valued webinars, BookTalks and PA TIMES.
As you browse through our 2016 Annual Report, you will quickly see our tangible, real-time results. As the premier leader of public administration, we are dedicated to our bold and noble profession, serving as the critical bridge between academia and practitioners, between theory and practice, between ASPA and our field.
Since 1939, our ASPA leaders and members have worked ceaselessly to serve as a trusted resource of expertise and knowledge on traditional and contemporary topics in our field. We value our strong roots while continuing to stretch and expand to meet the diverse needs of our profession and our members. Most important, we thank you—our dedicated ASPA members—for the essential role you play in making ASPA a critical voice for effective, efficient and equitable public service.
We invite you to read ASPA's 2016 Annual Report and learn about all the significant accomplishments you helped the Society achieve last year.
Contact ASPA chief of communications and marketing Karen Garrett with any questions.
Back to Top
Webinars, BookTalks and Student Series on the Horizon
ASPA's professional development webinars are ongoing throughout the year. Averaging 75 attendees per webinar and free to ASPA members, these e-learning opportunities provide you with valuable insights and information at your fingertips. Visit our website to stay in the loop about all upcoming webinars, BookTalks and Student Series.
Student Webinar: Research to Practice
Nov. 2 | 1 p.m. ET
Derek Hyra, American University
John M. Kamensky, IBM Center for The Business of Government
Del Bharath, Moderator, University of Nebraska Omaha
Andrea Headley, Moderator, ASPA Student Representative Florida International University
This webinar will focus on making research accessible outside of academia and conducting research that matters for those practicing in the field. Some of the discipline's thought leaders will discuss this topic and help students and new professionals figure out how best they can use the research being produced.
Symposium Edition of Public Integrity: Ethical Questions Regarding PTSD, Unwanted Sexual Behavior, Gender Issues and Ethical Leadership in the Military
Nov. 9 | 1 p.m. ET
Hugo Asencio, California State University—Dominguez Hills
Theodore Byrne, California State University—Dominguez Hills
Thomas Dunn, Troy University
Maria Carolina Gonzalez-Prats, Portland State University
Steven Koven, University of Louisville
Edin Mujkic, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Manfred Meine, Moderator, Troy University
This webinar will focus on internal ethical questions and problems related to the military services and those serving or having served. Public Integrity Symposium Edition on Military Ethics editor Manfred F. Meine will moderate a discussion with authors of many of the articles from the issue.
BookTalk: Policymaking for Citizen Behavior Change: A Social Marketing Approach
Nov. 29 | 1 p.m. ET
Nancy Lee, International Academy of Interfaith Studies
Social marketing is a discipline unfamiliar to many policymakers, often confused with the more frequently applied and studied fields of social media, behavioral economics or social change. It is a growing field and methodology, however, that has been successfully applied to improve public health, prevent injuries, protect the environment, engage communities and improve financial well-being. Policymaking for Citizen Behavior Change is designed to demonstrate the ways in which social marketing can be an effective and efficient tool to change citizens' behavior and how to advocate for and support its appropriate application.
Back to Top
Focus on Membership: Who Are You?
Have you ever wondered who ASPA members are? A quick snapshot of the data we collected this summer about our members can tell us our members might be:
- Multiple ethnicities
- Discipline consultants
- Disabled American veterans
- Long-time members of ASPA—and proud of it!
- Job seekers
- State and local government employees
- Experienced civil servants
- Interested in being more engaged in ASPA
For that last one, we hope all of our members feel this way!
For the rest, this glimpse shows us that ASPA continues to carry out its mission of advancing excellence in public administration. ASPA membership represents the American citizenry—students, retirees, job-seekers, vets, civil servants . . . especially as it relates to diverse demographic backgrounds.
While our recently created word cloud (shown with this article) illustrates the swath of public administration titles associated with ASPA members, this list of self-descriptors tells us much more about the robust representation our organization holds—a representation of which we should be proud.
So, tell us: Who are you?
Comments, questions or other feedback? Send us a note!
Back to Top
Down to the Wire: Awards and Registration Deadlines Loom
There are only two days left for you to do two things:
- Register for the 2018 Annual Conference at the lowest rate available: $399 (full conference, member rate) for five days!
- Nominate a peer or colleague for national recognition through ASPA's annual awards program!
The deadline for both of these activities is Friday, Oct. 27 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Make sure you plan accordingly.
If you know you are headed to Denver this March, now is the time to register so you can take advantage of our current discounted early-bird registration rate. This registration gets you access to five days of content, a Welcome Reception at the Denver Aquarium, Chapter and Section events and much more.
It also gains you access to our awards ceremonies, where more than 30 people will be honored with more than 20 awards during plenary panels, lunches and receptions—but only if they're nominated first! ASPA's awards program enables you to honor those public administrators in your world who are truly advancing excellence in the discipline and deserve national recognition for their efforts.
You can find more information about our awards program online here and a registration form for the 2018 Annual Conference online here.
Remember: time is almost up! Submit your registration and awards nominations by Oct. 27 at 11:59 p.m. We look forward to seeing you in Denver!
Those individuals waiting to hear whether their conference proposal was accepted will not be alerted before the discounted early-bird registration deadline. Proposal notifications will be sent out in mid-November.
Contact ASPA events director Asmait Tewelde with any questions.
Back to Top
A New Member Resource: Memos to State and Local Leaders
ASPA recently announced the release of the first two memos in its Memos to State and Local Leaders series. Initiated in 2016, ASPA Chapters across the United States were invited to develop topical papers on critical policy and management issues that our states and localities face, along with recommendations to address—and even overcome—them.
Nearly one dozen Chapters participated in this effort. Through meetings, surveys and locally based conferences, they engaged their members actively and repeatedly. This series is the result of their efforts. Also making this project possible were 2015-2016 President Maria Aristigueta, National Council Member Galia Cohen and Joseph Wholey, professor emeritus at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC, all of whom played a key role in the review process.
Produced by ASPA's Central Pennsylvania Chapter, the first two memos cover fiscal policy and program management at the state, regional and local levels. Click on the following links to access these memos:
Additional memos from other Chapters will be released on an at-least monthly basis over the next eight months. We look forward to an ongoing dialogue building on the memos and applying locally based challenges and promising practices to a broader scale.
A webinar related to this project took place today, in partnership with the Central Pennsylvania Chapter, as Nolan Ritchie discussed their memos. We will post a recording of this webinar to our webinar archives and on our Memos to State and Local Leaders project page as soon as it is available.
Back to Top
Virtual Mid-Year Meetings for Chapter and Section Leaders Planned
Chapter and Section leaders: Save the Dates!
ASPA is happy to announce we will be holding virtual Chapter and Section Mid-Year Meetings on Nov. 8 (Chapter leaders) and Nov. 9 (Section leaders) to connect with YOU about how we can help you support your members and advance your mission.
Register for the Chapter Mid-Year Meeting (Wed., Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. EST) here!
Register for the Section Mid-Year Meeting (Thurs., Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. EST) here!
Also, keep your eyes on your inbox for a survey we will be sending in the coming days to help focus these discussions. We value your feedback and are excited to connect and collaborate—and help you strengthen, promote and grow your Chapter or Section!
Back to Top
2018 Presidential Management Fellows Program Now Open
The Presidential Management Fellows program is a prestigious and widely respected program, both inside and outside the public sector. The Office of Personnel Management has announced that the application process is now open, closing next Wednesday, Nov. 1. If you are considering applying, review this resource to guide you through this very tight window of opportunity: Your Guide to Managing the 2018 PMF Application Process. More information can also be found here, through GovLoop.
Back to Top
2017 Transylvanian Conference Takes Place Next Week
The Department of Public Administration and Management, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Studies at Babes-Bolyai University, Romania, reminds you that its 2017 annual international conference will take place Nov. 2-4 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. A workshop for practitioners and a Ph.D. seminar are scheduled to take place before the main conference on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Registration is open. Click here for more information.
Back to Top
NECoPA Kicks Off Next Weekend
The 2017 Northeast Conference on Public Administration (NECoPA), will take place Nov. 3-5 in Burlington, Vt. Focusing on its theme, Public Administration, Policy and Community Development: Managing a Changing Landscape, the conference will look at local communities' ability to thrive amidst political, social, economic and environmental change. Click here for more information.
Back to Top
AAPAM 38th Annual Roundtable Conference Takes Place Nov. 6-10
The African Association for Public Administration and Management's (AAPAM) 38th Roundtable Conference will be hosted by the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, in partnership with the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa and its Academy, and the African Training and Research Centre in Administration for Development. The conference will be held Nov. 6-10, 2017 in El Jadida, Kingdom of Morocco. The theme of the conference is: A Transformed Leadership: Managing Natural Resources to Achieve the Objectives of African Union Agenda 2063 within the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals. Click here for more information.
Back to Top
GSU Announces New, Lower Prices for Government Finance Classes
The Center for State and Local Finance (CSLF) at Georgia State University has lowered its fees for its remaining 2017-18 public finance courses:
- 2-day classes are now $350—previously $665
- 3-day classes are now $500—previously $985
- 4-day classes are now $700—previously $1,315
CSLF took this action to ensure more government leaders—and aspiring leaders—have access to in-depth instruction and vital networking opportunities, as part of its executive education program. Upcoming winter courses include: Government Financial Statements and Accounting (deadline Nov. 13), Debt Management (deadline Jan. 9) and Treasury and Investment Management (deadline Feb. 21). For details and registration information, visit cslf.gsu.edu/training.
Back to Top
Public Administration Review Symposium Call for Papers
Public Administration Review announces a call for papers: Behavioral Approaches to Bureaucratic Red Tape and Administrative Burden. Potential paper proposals that would be welcomed include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following themes:
- Behavioral consequences of red tape and administrative burden
- Behavioral justifications for regulatory action
- Group decisionmaking biases in bureaucratic settings
- Behavioral dimensions of government responses to crises
- Nudge strategies
- Citizen-state interactions
- Emotional responses to bureaucracy
- Cognitive biases in decisionmaking
- Choice architecture of government rules and services
- Relevant theoretical syntheses and conceptual analyses
The symposium will be edited by Christopher Carrigan, Sanjay Pandey and Gregg Van Ryzin. All paper proposals are due Nov. 15, 2017. For more information, please click here.
Back to Top
PSPA International Conference Nov. 16-18
The Philippine Society for Public Administration announces its 2017 international conference will take place Nov. 16-18 in Mandaluyong, Philippines. Discussions will center around this year's theme, Innovations in Public Administration Reforms in ASEAN and in Asian Communities. Registration is open now. Click here for more information.
Back to Top
SENRA Student Paper Competition Ongoing
ASPA's Section on Environment and Natural Resource Administration (SENRA) invites students in graduate programs to submit their papers on any environmental topic for consideration in the Section's 2017 student paper competition. Faculty members can also nominate student paper(s) for submission. The best written paper will be awarded a prize of $200 and the author will receive a certificate of recognition from SENRA at ASPA's 2018 Annual Conference. The deadline for receiving papers is Dec. 31, 2017. Click here for more information.
Back to Top