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BIAW Policy Review: Coming to a Committee Near You!

February 11, 2020

Over the last several months, staff and members have been discussing ways to streamline BIAW’s policies as a part of a three-year review process mandated by BIAW’s Bylaws and Nominations Committee. Good policies make for good organizations. Here’s an update on the process:

Important Definitions:

  • “Bylaws” are the foundational rules that govern the association similar to a constitution. They are harder to change, but they address the fundamental structure of the organization.
  • “Policies” provide general guidelines and criteria that assist the organization in dealing with particular items of the business or affairs of the organization. They usually require some formal adoption by the organization but are more easily changed than bylaws.
  • “Procedures” deal with the implementation of the general policies and should be easily changed and updated to reflect operations.

Policy and Bylaw Process:

Last summer, staff began a review of all BIAW policies working with the Legal team and answering several questions:

  • Do we need a change or is the policy working as currently written?
  • Does the policy just repeat a bylaw?
  • Are there technical changes that will make the policy reflect actual practices?
  • Does the committee, position, or council still exist that the policy was designed to address?
  • Would this policy be better categorized as a procedure?

In conducting the review, staff came up with recommended changes of the policies. A major change from past practice is to turn policies into procedures, which can be amended and updated by the Executive Vice President. For example, forms for awards should fall under a procedure that would allow staff to make minor changes such as to update the year.

Second, red-lined versions of the policy changes were presented to the appropriate committees at the 2019 fall board meeting for review. At the 2020 winter board meeting, committees will take a vote to refer the policy changes to Bylaws if they approve the recommendations or choose to modify them.

Finally, at the 2020 summer board meeting the Bylaws and Nominations Committee will conduct a final review of the suggested changes, and if approved, will forward them for approval at the 2020 fall board meeting as a package. In addition, because of a bylaw change, another comprehensive review won’t be due for five years. At the end of all this, the goal is for BIAW to have a better set of policies and procedures to help it manage the organization’s affairs.

If you have any questions, please contact General Counsel Jackson Maynard at 360-352-7800 ext. 108.

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