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At its November 6, 2009 meeting, the Executive Board, acting on the recommendations of a report from the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA), asked the Constitution & Bylaws Committee to draft modifications to the Constitution and Bylaws, as appropriate, to ensure that international perspectives are effectively represented in the Council. One manifestation of the increasing internationalization of physics is the fact that nearly 25% of APS members (excluding students) live outside the U.S. However, the membership of the APS Council, the governing body of the society, is overwhelmingly domestic.
Currently, the Council is comprised of the Presidential line (the President, President Elect, Vice President, and the most recent Past President), the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee, the Chairperson of the Panel on Public Affairs, the Operating Officers (Executive Officer, Treasurer/Publisher, Editor-in-Chief), Councillors representing the Divisions, Forums and Sections, eight General Councillors, and one International Councillor, whose primary residence is outside the United States. The total membership is 41. With the exception of the current International Councillor, Councillors are elected to 4 year terms. The International Councillor serves a 2 year term, and thus is not eligible to serve on the Executive Board (composed of the Presidential line, the Operating officers, and 8 Councillors elected to serve during the third and fourth year of their 4 year terms.)
The proposed changes to the Constitution will replace 4 of the 8 General Councillors with International Councillors, who will serve 4 year terms. The current position for an International Councillor serving a 2 year term will be eliminated. Thus each year the society will elect one general councillor and one international councillor, following the procedures described in the Constitution. The Nominating Committee will have the responsibility for recruiting candidates for the International Councillor position, and for ensuring that those Councillors represent a diversity of international regions and perspectives. These proposed changes to the Constitution will ensure that there will be international members of the Council who will be eligible for election to the Executive Board with the composition of the Executive Board left up to the Council.
The Constitutional Amendment was recommended by the APS Constitution and Bylaws Committee and unanimously approved as presented by the APS Council at its April 18, 2010 meeting for a membership vote.
AFFECTED SECTIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY
Composition. The Council shall consist of the President, the President Elect, the Vice President, the most recent Past President, the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee, the Chairperson of the Panel on Public Affairs, who is elected by Council according to procedures specified in the Bylaws, the Operating Officers (Executive Officer, Treasurer/Publisher, Editor-in-Chief), and Councillors: four General Councillors, four International Councillors, whose primary residence is outside the United States, and Councillors representing the Divisions, Forums and Sections. The value of the percentage X which appears in other Articles and affects the composition of Council, shall be determined by Council and specified in the Bylaws. There may sit with the Council as advisors such persons as Council deems desirable.
ARTICLE VI–EXECUTIVE BOARD AND COMMITTEES
Nominating Committee. The membership of the Nominating Committee shall consist of a Chairperson, a Chairperson Elect, the most recent Past Chairperson, the most recent Past President, and an additional six members elected by Council to staggered three-year terms, not more than two of whom may be Councillors. The Chairperson Elect shall be elected annually by ballots cast electronically or by mail as described in Article VII.5. The Chairperson Elect shall serve a one year term, a second one year term as Chairperson, and a third one year term as most recent past Chairperson. The Chairperson shall serve concomitantly as a voting member of the Council. The Committee shall prepare a slate of at least two candidates for each of the positions of Vice President, Chairperson Elect of the Nominating Committee, and for the vacant positions of General Councillor and International Councillor for election by the membership. It shall also prepare a slate of at least two candidates for each of those positions for election to constitutional and standing committees for which this is required by the Constitution and Bylaws. The Committee shall meet at least once a year to determine the slates for election.
ARTICLE VII–ELECTION AND TENURE OF COUNCILLORS, OFFICERS, AND ELECTED COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Request for Nominations. No later than the first of February each year, the Executive Officer shall request nominations for the offices of Vice President, Chairperson Elect of the Nominating Committee, General Councillor, and International Councillor.
Nominating Procedures. Each year the Nominating Committee shall prepare a slate of nominations for the positions of Vice President, Chairperson Elect of the Nominating Committee, General Councillor, International Councillor, and other positions as required by the Constitution or the Bylaws no later than the 31st of May. The Nominating Committee shall submit to the Executive Officer the names of at least two candidates for each of the posts to be filled. The election ballot shall contain these names and those of other candidates nominated by petition of the Society numbering at least one percent of the total number of members given in the latest membership list and submitted to the Executive Officer no later than the 30th of April. Nominations by this latter procedure shall not preclude nominations of the same candidates by the Nominating Committee.
The Divisions and Forums will nominate and elect their respective Councillors according to the Bylaws.
Election Ballot. The election ballot shall contain the names of at least two candidates for each vacancy to be filled, clearly separated according to category: Vice President, Chairperson Elect of the Nominating Committee, General Councillor, International Councillor, and other positions as required by the Constitution or Bylaws. Copies of the election ballot shall be provided to all members of the Society by mail or electronically at least five weeks prior to the Elections Meeting of Council. No ballot shall be counted unless unambiguously filled out by a qualified voter, cast electronically or sent in a sealed envelope bearing the voter’s name, and received at a specified location not later than the specified deadline date. The positions in each category shall be filled in order of rank, starting with the candidate receiving the highest number of votes in each category. In the event of a tie, the Council shall decide the election, with the President voting only in the case of a tie among the other Council members. The counting of the ballots shall be entrusted to Tellers appointed by the President. They shall report the election results at the next meeting of Council. As soon as possible thereafter, the names of winning candidates shall be announced in a publication of the Society.
Term of Councillors. General Councillors, International Councillors and Councillors representing the Divisions, Forums, and Sections shall serve for a term of four years and may not serve more than two consecutive terms. The Council shall fix the terms of the first Councillors to be elected from a Division, Forum, or the sections so that approximately equal numbers of Councillors shall have terms ending each year. When a Councillor resigns or is incapacitated sixteen months or more before the normal expiration of his or her term, a new Councillor shall be chosen to fill the vacant post at the next election, and the Council shall fix the term of this new Councillor so that approximately equal numbers of Councillors shall have terms ending each year. The tenure of a Councillor shall terminate in the event of his or her assumption of a post as officer of the Society and the unexpired portion of the term shall be filled as above for a vacancy in elected office.
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Editor: Alan Chodos