Monday, March 1, 2010

Convention Outlines Changes to Governance Documents

by David W. Small
Director of Communications

In his first editorial as Executive Director, MG David R. Bockel highlighted the need for ROA to cease its inward focus and called for members at all levels to look at ROA’s external mission.

“ROA can get mired by internal debates that have no ramifications to our national security mission,” said General Bockel.

To address this problem, RADM Paul T. Kayye, ROA’s national president, charged the convention attendees to review a newly proposed set of governance documents that would alleviate many of the internal debates. To get there, the association has embarked on one final year of intense internal focus to analyze the proposal, which will be considered for approval at the National Convention in 2011.

The documents were drafted through considerable research by the Presidential Working Group established by then ROA President Mike Smith and chartered by President Paul Groskreutz in 2007. This ad hoc group was directed to look at all aspects of the association and make recommendations for any changes necessary in its structure, governance and finances that would enable it to better carry out its Congressional charter in the 21st Century.

Col Jim Rebholz, a past national president, was the chairman of this working group whose members reflected a very diverse and experienced cross section of the Association. PWG-21, as it was known, worked by consensus and developed recommendations based on thorough research, member comments, and national committee consultations, he said.

PWG-21 was directed to prepare and propose governing documents that would reflect their recommendations and bring ROA back to compliance with its Congressional Charter.

“We need to alleviate association paralysis,” he said. “Our governance needs to reflect the current realities of the association environment in the 21st century and create the ability for flexible, timely responses to current situations facing the Reserve Components and the Association.”

Revising ROA’s governance documents will maximize opportunities for growth, minimize self-imposed financial duress and streamline the management and operation of the association.

Over the years, with numerous amendments added, certain ambiguities and contradictions now exist in the current document. To continue that practice could perpetuate this problem and cause confusion moving forward.

“To individually consider the number of amendments to the existing document that are required to bring it into conformance with current laws and realities, would be most confusing,” he said. “Flexibility within legal parameters is necessary to survive.”

He then presented the newly drafted set of governance documents including a new constitution and new set of bylaws. The association’s charter is a matter of public law and was updated by Congress this year. The proposal highlighted the necessity to establish policy documents for the implementation of ROA’s governance.

Colonel Rebholz explained the elements of the governance documents each have a role to play. ROA’s charter authorizes the association to exist. The constitution empowers the association to operate. Bylaws enable that empowerment and a policy document will implement the way we do business.

This presentation of the proposed governing documents allow for a one-year period of review to create and maximize opportunities for in-depth department analysis in the context of the entire set of governance documents at once. The 2011 National Convention will be essentially a “constitutional convention,” whereby the completely vetted document will be voted on for adoption

The newly proposed Constitution and Bylaws, which are now available online at , are open for questions from all members, however only departments can submit proposed changes, as they would with any amendment. Such changes would need to be be submitted prior to the convention for consideration at the Convention. A PowerPoint presentation is also posted explaining PWG-21’s work.

“The proposed constitution adds fidelity to the charter, contains minimalist language and proscriptions, contains broad legal parameters and is more responsive versus restrictive,” said Colonel Rebholz.

Some of the highlights of the proposed new constitution include broad empowerment and simplified language, and the restoration of democracy and participation in ROA by all members. It defines elected officers and structure and allows for a staff model in the appointment of other officers. It recommends a uniform term limit of 2 years for officers and contains no procedural items or formulas. It also codifies and defines the national council, removing the EXCOM from its membership and establishes the national council as a departmental representative forum.

The bylaws include enablers to the articles of the constitution, descriptions and definitions, outlines to the structure of the organization, parameters with latitude for policy development -- tactical governance frameworks.

Highlights of the proposed bylaws include the ability for situational adjustments, simpler language and the ability for service sections, departments and chapters to have greater self-governance. It clarifies the roles of officers, adds a level of financial accountability to the association, while also giving it financial flexibility and responsiveness to deal with various situations.

The proposed bylaws also streamline the national committee structure, eliminating duplication of efforts, and envision an expanded role for the national council that includes legislative, department and chapter development and audit responsibilities.

While not yet written, the Executive Committee is in the process of drafting policy documents to cover operational, procedural and responsive implementation guidelines that are current and realistic. These documents will also be posted for review to facilitate a greater understanding of how the governance of the Association would be implemented before we vote on an amended Constitution and Bylaws.

PWG-21 has made regular reports and recommendations throughout their term of operation including membership and dues policies, composition and duties of the national staff, financial considerations, the viability and impact of departments and chapters, national meetings, education development, communication, and the culture of ROA. Several of these recommendations have already been adopted, some are under further study and some have been rejected after further consideration.

The members of PWG-21 included: COL Jim Rebholz, USAFR, Chair, MajGen Richard Anderegg, USAFR, MG Roger Sandler, USAR, MG Donna Barbisch, USAR, COL Barton Campbell, USAR, CAPT Donald Grant, USCG, CAPT David Epstein, USNR, CAPT George Williams, USNR, Col Gene Hebert, USAFR, Col Robin Pfeil, USAFR, CAPT Ron White, USCGR, COL Judi Davenport, USAR, MAJ Kelly Lelito, USAR, LCDR John Rothrock, USNR, and LtCol Susan Lukas.