ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI Proposes Governance Restructuring to Increase Member Participation

Changes to By-laws Submitted for Approval

New York, May 14, 2002

The culmination of a two-year effort to streamline governance processes to allow opportunities for greater member participation in ANSI policy-making and related activities was achieved recently with the submittal to members for vote of revised Institute by-laws.

ANSI president and chief executive officer, Dr. Mark Hurwitz, CAE, sent a letter to the Institute's members notifying them of proposed enhancements to the governance structure and enclosing a copy of the organization's revised by-laws, which members have been encouraged to support with an affirmative vote by June 14, 2002.

In his letter, Dr. Hurwitz indicated that the ANSI Board of Directors task force on governance re-examined the ways in which the Institute is organized to serve the needs of the standards and conformity assessment community. He noted, "…The goal was to see if ANSI could streamline its processes to do things more efficiently and more productively" while allowing members "to participate directly in the policy development processes that are so critical to fulfilling [the organization's] mission."

Key changes to the ANSI by-laws, which have been approved by the Board, include a new, more flexible method to allocate 33 "at large" seats on the Board of Directors, replacing the current set formula. This is intended to ensure that the composition of the Board is diverse and representative, and includes the breadth of expertise needed to set ANSI's strategic direction. Nominations for these "at large" seats will be based on guidelines developed and reviewed annually by the Executive Committee and approved by the Board.

In addition, broadened participation in ANSI's policy committees and councils responsible for recommending policies and positions on behalf of the Institute has been suggested, as well as renaming three of these groups and creating two new ones: one to address ISO policy issues and the other to focus on ANSI's new personnel certification accreditation program. Previously open only to Board Members, the revised by-laws allow broader membership in the Institute's renamed National Policy Committee, International Policy Committee and Conformity Assessment Policy Committee as well as the Patent Group, the USNC to IEC Council and the new ANSI ISO Council. The amended by-laws also provide a mechanism for a designated representative from any interested ANSI member organization to participate in the policy deliberations of theses groups. In addition, each of these groups will have a defined voting membership.

In order to avoid confusion with the policy committees and councils mentioned above, the Board recommends changing the names of the Membership Councils to Membership Forums as well as revising their functions in a number of important ways. The revised functions of the Company, Organization and Government Member Forums will include provisions for the groups to identify relevant trends and issues of primary interest to their members as well as broad-based issues to be addressed by a specific governance body, and assume an active role in ANSI membership recruitment and retention.

Dr. John V. Bergen, executive director of NCCLS (formerly the National Committee for Laboratory Standards) and chairman of the ANSI Board task force on governance, explained, "The task force's objective was to make the entire governance process more efficient while increasing the participation and influence of Institute members. One of our aims was to greatly reduce redundancy concerning the number of times the same issue is addressed by different ANSI groups within the governance structure. We also applied the 'one touch' principle to streamline communication and decision making processes, which dedicates one point of contact for each issue."

If approved, in the fall of 2002, ANSI will request its members to identify possible candidates to serve on its Board of Directors as well as candidates for membership or participation in the Institute Policy Committees.

Please direct all questions concerning the revised by-laws to James McCabe, ANSI director of consumer relations and member services, at jmccabe@ansi.org. For further details on the ANSI governance restructuring, please refer to the Summary in the left-hand side bar.

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