Constitutional Changes in a Nutshell

From: Jim Isaak, 2003-2004 Member IEEE Board of Directors, 2010 Computer Society President, 2015 Society on Social Implications of Technology Vice President, 2014/15 NH Section Treasurer; (also active in IEEE-USA, and IEEE Standards)

  1. Moves definition of Board of Directors – Size, Terms, election, qualifications to the Bylaws
    This is really bad — Currently the IEEE Bylaws can be changed with minimal notice to the Board, and no notice to members. In short, moving this critical aspect of IEEE from a transparent, member managed model to a “behind closed doors”, executive decision model allows for serious abuse in the future.  The rules (bylaws) can be changed with 30 days notice to the Board to apply any criteria that a sitting Board might be lobbied into accepting (consider the 2015 constitutional amendments as an example of this) resulting in the loss of all international, diverse technical, or even volunteer experienced members from the Board of Directors.
  2.  Makes the ED a Board member (exOfficio w/o vote)
    This one is really Bad – I’ve been on the Board of Directors when we needed to initiate a change of the Executive Director (it happens regularly, for many reasons) — that would be much more difficult to discuss and execute if the ED had a constitutionally established right to be in the room.

  1. Eliminates the requirement for the Board of Directors to to reflect the technical or the international diversity of IEEE.
    The Constitution currently protects these matters of principle — that IEEE is managed at the top (Board of Directors) by IEEE members who understand and reflect the diversity of IEEE’s activities and operations.
  2. Assures Assembly (and the Board) are aware of all By-Law change proposals.
    On the surface, this makes Bylaw changes more palatable, but this does not really provide any transparency – the Assembly may still only be given minimal notice, and have no viable way to intervene. And, there is no assurance other affected volunteers, leaders or members of IEEE have any visibility to proposed changes.
  3. separates Assembly Delegates from Board of Directors
    Only needed because the plan is obviously reduce the involvement of the delegates of the members (the assembly) who actually do represent the technical and international diversity of IEEE from the real power which is held by the Board of Directors.
  4. Eliminates Directors elected by Assembly (MGA VP, Sec, Treas)
    Done under the guise of “membership elected directors” — even though the number of directors, diversity of directors and even membership/volunteer experience of the directors are all subject to being eliminated by “Back Room” revisions to the bylaws.

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