By Carla Hayes, Team Leader
As I mentioned in my previous article, “Deadlines to Keep In Mind,” which was published in the Spring, 2016 issue of The PCB Advocate, the former Bylaws Committee and Resolutions Committee have been combined into the new Parliamentary Team. Members of the team include, Team Leader Carla Hayes, Board Liaison Tom Burgunder, John Luttenberger and Fran Sine. I also reviewed the process for submitting proposed changes to the PCB Bylaws and stated that the deadline for submitting bylaw changes was April 30th and the final deadline for submitting resolutions will be August 15th. As promised, the subject of this article will be a detailed description of how resolutions should be written and submitted for consideration at the PCB Conference.
As with proposed changes to the PCB Bylaws, a resolution can be submitted by an individual, chapter, committee, or group within PCB. Resolutions can address a variety of topics. Subjects of a few past resolutions have included, Future Funding of the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund, (Resolution 2015-01); The Cogswell Macy Act, (Resolution 2012-01); PCB’s Commitment to Physical Accessibility, (Resolution 2013-01); and the Delaware Valley Council of Citizens With Low Vision’s resolution dealing with lighting and signage in Philadelphia’s public transportation facilities, (Resolution 2013-02). There are also resolutions which commend individuals and organizations. For example, Resolution 2012-02 commends Best Buy, Insignia and IAAIS for developing and marketing the Narrator Digital Talking radio. Of course, there are also the traditional courtesy resolutions in which we express our appreciation to conference planners and the staff and management of the hotels where our conferences take place.
A resolution consists of 2 types of clauses: (1) “Whereas …” clauses which state information to support the resolution, existing conditions which need to be changed, and/or problems to be solved and (2) “Resolve …” clauses which state proposed solutions, and actions to be taken. The first “Resolve” clause begins with the boiler plate which includes the Organization name and the date and place where the resolution was made. Here is an example of a typical boiler plate:
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind in convention assembled on October 18, 2015, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harrisburg, PA …”
Subsequent “Resolve” clauses begin with
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that …”.
The last “Resolve” clause(s) will often state where copies of the resolution should be sent, to whom letters should be written and where those letters should be sent. “Resolve” clauses should include strong verbs which point to specific actions that need to be taken rather than weak, passive verbs which can allow room for ambiguity and inactivity. Some examples of active verbs include analyze, apply, commend, condemn, condone, contact, develop, distribute, establish, examine, encourage, instruct, introduce, investigate, monitor, oppose, organize, prepare, promote, propose, reject, request, send, support, thank, utilize, and write. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of action verbs which you can use to bring your resolution to life. On the other hand, avoid vague expressions such as to consider doing something. The most effective resolutions include strong action verbs which have specific measurable results. In a resolution, each clause is written in its own paragraph. This makes the resolution much easier to read and revise. The most powerful and effective resolutions stick to the subject at hand and have clear and concise clauses that are easy to understand. It is also helpful to include the subject of the resolution at the beginning and the author’s name at the end.
If you submit a resolution, be prepared to participate in a conference call with the Parliamentary Team. During that consultation, you will read your resolution, offer any necessary explanations and answer any questions. We will help you to refine and revise your resolution if necessary, so that it will be polished and ready for presentation on the convention floor. Please note that the Parliamentary Team conference call usually takes place the fourth Tuesday of each month at 8:30 p.m. If necessary, the team will schedule additional conference calls to deal with resolutions. It is also helpful for you to be present at the conference when your resolution is being discussed. If this is not possible, you can designate someone to answer questions about your resolution should they arise.
As noted in my previous article, THE FINAL DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING RESOLUTIONS is AUGUST 15th. THIS DEADLINE WILL BE ENFORCED! Only emergency resolutions of an extremely time-sensitive nature will be considered after this date and very few resolutions would fall into this category! So, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO SUBMIT YOUR RESOLUTIONS! If you need assistance with writing resolutions, the Parliamentary Team will be glad to help. You can email resolutions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to me in any format (Braille preferred) at the following address:
230 Robinhood Lane
McMurray, PA 15317.
If you need help or have any questions about resolutions, please call me at 724-941-8184.