Proposed Changes to the AJL Constitution and Bylaws, 2013
by Heidi Estrin, President
AJL's Constitution and Bylaws are documents that guide the operations of our organization. They were first adopted in 1973 and have been revised several times over the years. The general membership of AJL must approve changes to the Constitution and Bylaws, requiring a vote. In an upcoming vote, you will be asked to vote on three changes currently being proposed by the AJL Council.
The three issues in question are: 1) the make-up of AJL's Board and Council, 2) the terminology we use for our annual meetings, and 3) our standards for fiscal transparency.
1) THE MAKE-UP OF AJL'S BOARD AND COUNCIL
AJL’s Board and Council are large and unwieldy. We propose streamlining our Board and Council to maximize efficiency. The proposed changes to the text of the constitution can be found in Article V: Administration, and Article VI: Officers, as well as the Bylaws (found at the end of the Constitution). For details on the proposed changes, please see the description of AJL's Board and Council below.
2) TERMINOLOGY FOR ANNUAL MEETINGS
In order to reflect the professionalism of which AJL is so proud, the Board and Council would like to change the word “convention” to “conference” wherever it appears in the Constitution and Bylaws. There are seven instances of the word “convention” in the Constitution and Bylaws.
3) STANDARDS FOR FISCAL TRANSPARENCY
Article V of the Bylaws (Fiscal Policy) requires AJL to have an annual audit by a professional auditor. An audit is a major undertaking, costing thousands of dollars, and it is not an appropriate requirement for an organization of AJL's size and budget. After consulting with a professional accountant, the Council suggests that we instead require of ourselves a periodic "review," a higher level financial analysis in which AJL's financial statements and activities are examined by a professional accountant. Changing “audit” to “review” imposes a reasonable standard, while maintaining fiscal accountability.
All of the proposed changes to the AJL Constitution and Bylaws have been highlighted in red text, with the old text struck through and the new text following.
Email messages have been sent to all current members with a link to the online ballot. The link is unique to your email address and is only valid once. Please check your email for your ballot link. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Voting will be open through Dec. 1, 2013.
Please address any questions to Parliamentarian Joy Kingsolver at email@example.com.
Members will receive an email message with a link to a ballot. If your email address has changed, you may not receive this message. To update your email in AJL’s records, please log onto the AJL website at www.jewishlibraries.org to update your information (once logged on, click on Edit Profile, upper right corner). Your Hasafran subscription does NOT ensure that your email address is in our Membership records.
If you have difficulty logging on to the AJL website, please email Membership Chair Sheryl Stahl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance for participating – your vote matters!
AJL’s Board and Council
According to our Constitution, the Board is currently made up of our elected officers (president, vice-president/president-elect, vice-president for membership, vice-president for publications, corresponding secretary, recording secretary, and treasurer), plus the immediate past president of the Association and the president, vice-president and secretary of each division. The Parliamentarian is a non-voting ex officio member. This gives us a total of 15 people. The task of the Board is to approve and oversee the budget, and make recommendations to Council.
The AJL Council is made up of all Board members, plus the chairpersons of all committees, the webmaster, the editors of Judaica Librarianship and AJL News & Reviews, the coordinator of Hasafran, and three chapter representatives. Currently the Council membership totals 40. The Council is responsible for determining all matters of policy for the organization.
Our governing bodies are very large for an organization such as ours. Policy-making can be very unwieldy in such large groups. In an effort to streamline the governance of AJL, the Board and Council are proposing to reduce the number of members of each group.
On the Board, the corresponding and recording secretaries would be combined into one office. The vice-president for publications would become a committee chair serving on the Council but would no longer be a Board member. A new position on the Board would be a vice-president for development, to enable AJL to focus on fundraising, one of our major challenges today. The president and vice-president of SSC and RAS would sit on the Board, but the positions of division secretaries would be eliminated. Under the new rules, the Board would have 12 members including the non-voting Parliamentarian.
The Council would also be streamlined. Some current Council positions would be transformed into non-voting committee chairs reporting to Council. These are: Hasafran coordinator, conference stipends chair, ALA and ATLA liaisons, advertising chair, scholarships chair, cataloging chair, accreditation chair, and the Sydney Taylor Book and Manuscript Award chairs. The new make-up would give us 24 people on the Council, including two at-large members appointed by the president.
The Board and Council feel very strongly that this reorganization is necessary to enable AJL to operate efficiently and meet the challenges of the future. The proposed changes to the text of the constitution can be found in Article V: Administration, and Article VI: Officers, as well as the Bylaws (found at the end of the Constitution).