Changes to Constitution and Bylaws Proposed by Board

A process is being initiated by the Board of Directors to change The Society's Constitution and Bylaws, with the goal of making The Society more cost effective (including provisions to allow the use of new technologies for decision-making and board operations) and more flexible to meet future challenges.  

The processes to change the Bylaws and the Constitution differ.   

Constitution:  The proposed amendments to the Constitution are made by the Board and will be distributed electronically to all members in their official form shortly.  At the Annual Business Meeting in Brisbane the amendments will be discussed. All members will receive final copies of the amendments in their final form not later than eight weeks after the Annual Business Meeting.  An electronic voting procedure will take place in early autumn. Adoption of each amendment requires not less than two-thirds of the Members voting.  Results will be announced electronically and also at the next Annual Business Meeting.

Bylaws:  Amendments to the Bylaws must be proposed by at least five members of the Society in good standing.  In this case, amendments to the Bylaws are proposed by the individual members of the Board of Directors and their official wording will be sent to members of the Society shortly. The amendments will be discussed at the Annual Business Meeting and voted on at an executive session of the meeting. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of Members present is required for passage.

At the last Board of Directors meeting in Lyon (February 2012), the Constitution and Bylaws were reviewed and the following proposed changes were discussed:

1.   Introduce web- or phone-based Board of Directors meetings to allow the Board to hold meetings more frequently and allow decision-making without face-to-face meetings.

This also would allow the Board to react more quickly to unforeseen challenges.
  The ability to hold Board meetings electronically needs to be stated explicitly in the bylaws.
  At present, decisions (motions and their approvals) can only be made during face-to-face meetings, i.e. at the two Board meetings before and after the Society's Annual Scientific Meeting and at the February Board meeting.  Some decisions can be made by the Society's officers in between these meetings, but many decisions must await the next Board meeting. With the use of new technologies the Board can become more effective and urgent decisions would not need to be postponed.

2.    Reduce the size of the Board from eighteen to in total twelve members including President, President-elect, Past President, Treasurer, Secretary and six Board members (Three for Biological/Medical Sciences and Engineering/Physical Sciences each).

The size of the Board of Directors is presently quite large compared to the size of The Society.  Reducing the numbers of Board members by six would reduce the costs to The Society for Board activities.  With the adjustment of Board size, the number of Board members would better match the number of committees the Society runs.  This means that all Board members would, by design, become more active and have more responsibility.
  To reduce the Board size, a transition phase would be implemented (i.e., the Board would not be reduced instantly).  Elected Board members would finish their terms but would not be replaced until the revised size is established. If approved, this would mean that

  • Elections in 2013 would comprise President-Elect, Secretary, 1 Bio/Med Science member, and 1 Eng/Phys Science member.
  • Elections in 2014 would comprise President-Elect, 1 Bio/Med Science member, 1 Eng/Phys Science member.
  • Elections in 2015 will comprise President-Elect, Secretary, 1 Bio/Med Science member, 1 Eng/Phys Science member.
  • From 2015 onwards the new Board size would be established.

3.    Introduce a broader and more flexible description of administrative support that can be appointed by the Board.
BEMS has moved more support functions to web based systems and the requirements for administrative support are changing.

The current wording of the Bylaws allows for an executive director post but no other form of permanent or contracted administrative support at a level of responsibility that matches the demands of the Society.
The proposed new phrasing would leave open the possibility of hiring an executive director as an administrator, and would also allow hiring a Society secretary or other administrator to support the Board.

4.    Remove automatic appointment of editors of Society affairs publications (e.g. Newsletter editor and website editor) as permanent ex officio members of the Board, leaving the flexibility to invite the Newsletter or future editors of other possible publications to specific Board meetings.

The present wording of the constitution on this matter is rather old-fashioned and inflexible, and mandates the membership of a newsletter editor to the Board while not considering the implications of multiple media formats. The proposed change reflects the possibility that the work description of the newsletter editor could become wider and more flexible and envisages also possible additional editor functions in the future, like web editor or news editor.  The goal of this change is that the Board could decide for each Board meeting whether the newsletter editor or other editors should be invited rather than this being an automatic process. This could reduce costs, and introduces flexibility to the system.
  At present, the newsletter editor is invited by default to Board meetings, and other invitations come from the Board on a meeting by meeting basis (e.g., technical program chair of the annual meeting or student liaison). This harmonizes the invitation system for non-Board members.

5.    Specify the length of the term for the Secretary to three years.

This information is currently missing from the Constitution.

6.    Transfer the tasks from the election committee to the Secretary.

The nomination process and the election voting process are done electronically, including the counting of votes, and this change would update the Bylaws to transfer this administrative function from the former Elections Committee, which was abolished in a change to the Constitution in 2008, to the Secretary.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Officers or Board members if you have questions or views on this process.

The Board of Directors of The Bioelectromagnetics Society
Joachim Schuz, President (2013)
David Black, Vice President/President-Elect (2014)
Jeff Carson, Past-President (2012)
James Lin, Editor-in-Chief (2012)
Jonna Wilén, Secretary (2013)
Philip Chadwick, Treasurer (2013)
Osamu Fujiwara (2012)
Joe Wiart (2014)
Dariusz Leszczynski (2013)
Meike Mevissen (2013)
Christine Pullar (2014)
Maria Scarfi (2012)
Vijayalaxmi (2014)
Thomas Vernier (2012)
Koichi Ito (2013)
Jeong-Ki Pack (2014)
Andrew Wood (2012)