By Lauren Doyle, APR
The Cincinnati chapter of the Public Relations Society of America recently underwent a comprehensive overhaul of its bylaws. Although the bylaws are the chapter’s primary vehicle for governing the chapter, they hadn’t been updated since 2006, and were long overdue for an update. You can find the revised bylaws here.
There were many, many changes to the bylaws, but the most important and comprehensive updates are provided in the overview below. If you’re interested in a full review of changes, download a copy of the full report issued to the bylaws review committee.
According to both the outdated and the new bylaws, a simple majority of affirmative votes is required to approve the amended bylaws. Two-thirds of chapter members must participate in the vote. Each chapter member will receive an email with a link to their unique, secure and private ballot to approve or reject the bylaws.
A note about process
Cincinnati PRSA did its due diligence when revising its bylaws. The revision committee, chaired by an APR, included a bylaws review of comparable chapters in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio; reviewed national and East Central District best practices; conferred with the national board (which ultimately approved the changes); and even reviewed the Ohio Revised Code to ensure full compliance with the laws governing non-profit organizations.
What didn’t change
The chapter’s commitment to its members, professional conduct and fiscal responsibility didn’t change. PR professionals can still enjoy all the eligibility and rights of membership. The geographic region the chapter serves remains the same. And term limits for elected officers remain the same, though the language was updated to more formally reflect current board composition.
What did change
As the bylaws hadn’t been updated in nearly a decade, there was a great deal of outdated information that no longer reflected the operation of the chapter or the board. In short:
Article IV: Officers and Board of Directors
The previous bylaws referred to outdated titles and terms for its Board of Directors. Officers of the chapter now include the president, president-elect, vice president of programming and immediate past president, each of whom serve the chapter for one year before proceeding to the next step. (Vice president of programming succeeds the president-elect, who succeeds the president, who succeeds the immediate past president.) Directors, who each serve the chapter for a duration of three years, include the finance director, membership director, ethics director, accreditation director, diversity director, community service director and director-at-large. In addition, the bylaws now call for two Leadership Assembly delegates to be elected from the general membership on a rotating schedule; each delegate will serve a three-year term.
Article V: Nominations and Elections
Members who are interested in serving the chapter in an elected position or as the chair of a committee have always been encouraged to pursue leadership positions. The revisions to this article streamline and structure the process, which will rely on a nominating committee to ensure balanced representation on the Board of Directors and Leadership Team. This fall, members can expect to see the new process at work in the call for nominations from an official nominating committee. It’s worth noting that candidates for officer positions – as noted above in Article IV – should have a history of participation in PRSA leadership as either a director or member of a committee: Media Day, Blacksmith Awards, programming, membership, New Professionals, diversity or community service.
If you have any questions about the proposed bylaws changes, do not hesitate to ask! Leave a comment below or contact Lauren Doyle, APR at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-271-7222 x17.