TO:   Membership, American Society for Public Administration
FROM:  Janice Lachance, ASPA President and Judy England-Joseph, Chair, Governance Task Force
SUBJECT:  Bylaws Amendments
DATE:  October 2017

These suggested amendments were made by an independent governance task force and approved by the National Council at the mid-year meeting. They are now presented to the membership for their consideration. 

The Task Force represents a wide cross-section of ASPA’s constituencies and stakeholders. It has taken its responsibilities seriously, contributing an exceptional level of time, attention and creativity to its work. We convened five times via teleconference, for a total of 20 hours of substantive discussion. We reviewed and commented on five sets of redrafted bylaws, each one reworked to reflect our deliberations. We exchanged 150 emails, the vast majority of them substantive and content driven. We actively drafted—and redrafted—the language presented in this proposal. The members have served ASPA very well and I recognize all of them for their dedication and commitment: Michael Brintnall, Richard Callahan, Diane Disney, Rex Facer, Rick Grimm, Andrea Huston, Jim Nordin, Andrew Podger, Ken Weaver, Harvey White and Kaifeng Yang.


Our bylaws require a comprehensive review every five years; the last such effort took place more than a decade ago. Our work entailed a long overdue, desperately needed line-by-line review to ensure the bylaws accurately capture operating practice and are internally consistent—that is, provisions do not conflict with other ones (indeed, a number currently do). We also took seriously our charge to identify ways to strengthen governance processes so ASPA can focus leadership attention and limited staff resources squarely on our mission and members.

To this end, the task force categorized potential bylaws changes in three categories:
  1. changes to resolve internal inconsistencies within the current bylaws
  2. changes to ensure effective management and operational practices
  3. changes to improve organizational effectiveness

The Task Force dealt with the first and second categories efficiently yet methodically; we updated the bylaws and ensured they can help make our operations more effective. We then turned our attention to broader, more fundamental items where our recommendations are designed to make ASPA more strategic, mission oriented and competitive in an increasingly crowded community of public service organizations.

Critical Links

Please review the following:

You will be asked to vote on these changes as part of your November elections ballot. Please review these materials thoroughly and then vote as seems prudent to you. Voting will begin with ballot distribution on Nov. 7. All ballots are due to ASPA by Dec. 1, 2017.