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Council Seeks Comments for Special Ballot Referendum

Council Recommends Reinstatement of Committee on Committees

As part of the 1998 reorganization of ASA governance, members approved the elimination of the Committee on Committees (COC) based on recommendation from Council. At the 1999 Annual Meeting, a number of members asked to revisit the decision. Concerns were expressed that there was inadequate time to discuss this decision prior to the vote and that COC, while ineffective in some ways, did provide a venue for democratic participation in the governance of the Association. (COC was elected by the membership to recommend nominees to Council for other committee service.) Based on these concerns, in August 1999, Council decided to establish a Task Force to Reexamine the Committee on Committees (COC) and the Committee on Nominations (CON).

The Task ForceŚcomposed of Richard Alba, Catherine White Berheide, Bette Dickerson, Paula England, Diana Kendall, Felice J. Levine (ex officio), Myra Marx Ferree (chair), and Hernan VeraŚcalled for member input in summer and fall 2000 and held an Open Forum at the 2000 Annual Meeting in August. The Task Force provided initial impressions to Council in August 2000 and submitted a formal report to Council in February 2001. While seeking to preserve some of the positive features of the 1998 restructuring, the Task Force recommended reestablishment of a modified Committee on Committees with a clearly defined scope and comprised of both at-large members and members from across the work sectors of sociology.

Council discussed this Task Force report regarding COC and approved the recommendation. Because the reinstatement of COC as a committee specified in the By-Laws requires member approval, Council further recommended that a special referendum be held in September to allow members sufficient time to discuss this recommended change. Council has placed this topic on the agenda of the open Business Meeting at the Annual Meeting, scheduled for August 21.

The proposal is as follows:

    The Committee on Committees shall be composed of eight members each serving two-year terms. Four are to be elected at-large and four in seats reserved for specific institutional constituencies (one seat each for members employed by PhD-granting institutions; by MA and 4-year institutions; by 2-year schools; and by non-teaching institutions and in self-employment) with two at-large and two reserved seats up for election each year.

    The Committee on Committees shall be responsible for making ranked recommendations to Council for appointments to all Award Selection Committees and Status Committees. Additionally, the Committee on Committees shall make ranked recommendation to Council for appointments to the Awards Committee, the Committee on Professional Ethics, and the at-large portion of the Committee on Sections. The Committee on Nominations will have the responsibility of nominating the candidates for the Committee on Committees. Carried unanimously.

In February, Council also approved of the Task Force taking another year to consider the issues presented by the restructuring of the Committee on Nominations. The Task Force will hold another Open Forum at the 2001 Annual Meeting and report further to Council in winter 2002.