DEPARTMENTS
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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
Updated Bylaws Approved
BY CYNTHIA A. OSTROWSKI, AIHA PRESIDENT
Thanks to our members who voted in August to update our bylaws. Approximately 10 percent of the membership participated in this process. There were two ballots: one to update the language in the bylaws and one to change the membership categories.

UPDATES TO THE BYLAWS LANGUAGE When Larry Sloan, AIHA’s CEO, began his tenure in 2016, he reviewed our bylaws and identified verbiage that was out of date or inconsistent with the association’s direction. A task force consisting of representatives from AIHA’s Board of Directors and staff was created to carefully review and correct the bylaws’ language. After numerous revisions, the proposed bylaws were posted on the AIHA website. A thirty-day review period was announced through Catalyst and The Synergist Weekly, and members were encouraged to submit comments. I am pleased to report that 91 percent of voting members approved these bylaws changes. Changes included modifications recommended by AIHA’s legal counsel to reflect current Illinois nonprofit law (AIHA is an Illinois corporation) and relegating certain details to policies. A listing of all updated policies can be found on the AIHA website. UPDATES TO MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES A major change to the bylaws was the consolidation of membership categories, which was approved by 87 percent of voting members. The approved categories are Full (which now includes the former Associate and Affiliate), Student, Emeritus, Honorary, International, and Organizational. 
A more diverse membership will serve not only our members but the overall occupational health community as well as the workers and public we serve.
CYNTHIA A. OSTROWSKI, CIH, is AIHA president and owner of CAO Consulting near Detroit, Mich. She can be reached via email.

The main goal is to allow more individuals to participate in our organization. A more diverse membership will serve not only our members but the overall occupational health community as well as the workers and public we serve.  Because some members will move to a different category of membership—for example, those who joined at the Associate and Affiliate rates are now Full members—the Board decided to forego a scheduled dues increase. Dues for 2019 will remain the same as they were in 2018. FUTURE BYLAWS CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHANGE AIHA currently has contested elections for all open Board positions. Numerous sources, such as the American Society of Association Executives, indicate that many nonprofit organizations similar to AIHA have switched to an uncontested slate for their ballots. The most important reason for using an uncontested slate is the difficulty in finding experienced and qualified individuals to be placed on the ballot. In recent years, we have had to plead with people to stand for election, especially for vice president. Excellent candidates who were not elected in the past are reluctant to be on the ballot again. Some individuals are not comfortable competing against their friends or colleagues. The net result is that we lose valuable leaders.  This year, the Board considered proposing that AIHA change from a contested ballot for officers (treasurer, secretary, and vice president) to an uncontested slate. However, some members voiced concerns that the Board would have too much control and select candidates who may not act in the best interest of our association. In response, the Board decided not to pursue this bylaws change, but we did change the nominating process based on comments received from our members. Previously, the members of the Nominating Committee were chosen by the chair. Under the new process, AIHA has opened up the committee to more members at large. This process provides members an opportunity to participate in selecting candidates. Hopefully, a transparent process will eliminate concerns about inappropriate Board control. NOMINATIONS FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS We are currently accepting nominations for officers and directors for the 2019 AIHA elections. Please go to the AIHA website to nominate qualified, enthusiastic candidates for the ballot. Nominations must be submitted by November 1. In the meantime, we will continue to research changing from a contested ballot to an uncontested slate. You will be kept informed via Catalyst and The Synergist.