2021 Conference Turns Down Three Proposed Amendments

By Parliamentary Team


During the business meeting at this year’s PCB Conference, three amendments to the PCB Bylaws were proposed. After lively discussion, all three went down to defeat. Here is a quick summary of the discussion preceding each vote.


Proposed Amendment #1 dealt with how peers and delegates voted at annual conventions. The main point of the proposed amendment would change delegates voting on every issue to having delegates vote only if the popular vote ended in a tie.


There were two main objections to this proposed amendment. First, peers were concerned that only holding delegate votes when there was a tie in the popular vote diminished the importance of the delegates and, in turn, disincentivized chapters and affiliates from choosing and sending delegates to the convention. Second, peers were concerned that removing delegate votes from popular votes that did not end in a tie gave inordinate voting power to chapters or affiliates with many peers attending the annual business meeting, i.e., that delegates from smaller chapters and affiliates could not act as a counter-balance to disparate chapter and affiliate rosters.


The second proposed amendment to the PCB Bylaws dealt with the notion of “Unforeseen Circumstances.” Currently, pursuant to PCB Bylaws, the Board “shall make no policy decisions and take no official action in conflict with existing decisions or actions of the Convention.” The proposed amendment attempted to envision and codify a very narrowly-circumscribed situation in which the Board could make policy decisions and take official actions in conflict with existing decisions or actions of the Convention. Hence, Unforeseen Circumstances.


The proposed amendment set forth a robust general definition of “Unforeseen Circumstance” and then proposed stringent attendance and voting requirements, i.e., 100% of the Board must be present, 100% of the Board must agree that an Unforeseen Circumstance exists, and 100% of the Board must agree on the policy decisions and official actions in conflict with prior conventions.


Discussion focused on the slipperiness of the definition of “unforeseen circumstances,” posited the extreme unlikelihood that the entire Board could meet during such an unforeseen circumstance, and evinced a preference that the Board be bound by decisions made at prior conventions.


The third and final proposed amendment would have replaced “member” with “peer” and “membership with peership” throughout all PCB documents and platforms.


Discussion focused on a perceived etymological and functional difference between “member” and “peer” (i.e., “peer” connotes equality, while “member” connotes belonging), evinced a preference to keep PCB a “network of peers” but count and name its constituents as “members,” and evinced a decided aversion to the word “peership,” arguing that it is not a real English word.


As a result of these votes, PCB’s Bylaws shall remain unchanged until such time as a convention votes to amend them.

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