The Society's Constitution & ByLaws: Recent Revision
Following a Referendum of members the Society's President declared on December 1st 2015 a Revised Constitution to be effective. This revised Constitution was unanimously recommended for approval by the Society's Council (at a Conference Call held on 16th/17th July 2015) and in a Referendum of Members that closed on 30th November 2015, 346 of 709 (49.3%) members voted, all in favor of approving the Revised Constitution. At the same time a revised set of Bylaws were approved by all save two of the members who voted.
The Revised Constitution and Bylaws are shown on the following page.
The Original Constitution and Bylaws are shown for record on the subsequent page.
The need to revise the Constitution arose because the original ISRS Constitution and Bylaws were written 35 years ago, in 1980, long before modern digital means of communication had been conceived of, let alone become common place. At the same time, given increasing costs of postage and travel, many of the existing provisions, as currently worded, have become impracticable. In consequence, last year, the ISRS Council asked a sub-committee (John Ware and Donald Potts) to review and recommend revisions to both documents to make them more appropriate to the modern age, and more consistent with current practice. The rationale behind the revisions is explained in more detail below. After detailed consideration by the Council and officers of a series of drafts, a final revised version was agreed and put to a vote of the entire Membership as described above. To become effective the new constitution needed (under the previous Constitution) to be approved by a two-thirds majority of at least 40% of the existing membership. Accordingly a referendum of members was launched on 10th September when emails were sent to all members inviting them to vote.
The Society's Bylaws were revised at the same time. Unlike the Constitution, any revision of the Bylaws is required to be approved by only a simple majority of the members voting.
The main goals of the revisions to the Constitution were to:
1. Remove unnecessary qualifications, redundancies, unclear phrasing, and undefined requirements or restrictions.
2. Remove redundancies between the Constitution and Bylaws.
3. Simplify the language by using plain English and avoid “legalese.”
4. Replace requirements that specify written or printed communications with mechanism-neutral terms, so that the Council has the flexibility to use the most appropriate medium, including current and future electronic means, for communications, elections, ballots, etc.
5. Use consistent time units, by changing all specified periods to multiples of 15 or 30 days.
6. Shorten some specified time intervals that are unnecessarily long in an era of electronic communication.
7. Bring both the Constitution and Bylaws into conformity with our actual practices.
Numbering of Sections and Clauses
On comparison of the two sets of documents, please note that the order and numbering of sections and clauses in the revised versions often differ from those of the current documents. This is because the revision process included:
1. Deleting a few clauses, adding a few others, and dividing some complex clauses into several items dealing with single topics;
2. Changing the order of some sections and clauses to improve the logical sequence;
3. Grouping and renumbering the Bylaws under general topic headings.
4. Changing the Roman numerals to an all Arabic numerals convention.
The Ratification Process
Under the existing Constitution, constitutional changes must be proposed by 15 financially current members of the Society, and bylaw changes by 10 such members. These numbers were exceeded at the Council meetings. Following this the proposals should be made available to all members for at least 30 days, after which a vote of the entire membership takes place.
Approval of constitutional changes requires a two-thirds majority of the members who vote, provided at least 40% of all eligible members vote. Bylaw changes require only a simple majority of those members who vote.
As mentioned above, an invitation to vote in this referendum was sent to all members by email on 10th September (2015) when voting opened. Voting will continue until 15th October or until 40% of members have voted - whichever date is the later. To vote please go to the Referendum Voting Page on the membership services site run by SG. To vote you need your email address as held by membership services, and your membership identification number, as quoted on the email.