WHEREAS, the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians desires to increase membership participation in the business activities of the chapter; and
WHEREAS, the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians has used a Congress of Delegates with elected representatives from geographic areas to serve as the body that administers the control of the chapter; and
WHEREAS, the concept of electing delegates is laborious and carries with it negative perceptions among members resulting in fewer members electing to be delegates and participating in the Kentucky Academy of Family Physician’s Congress of Delegates; and
WHEREAS, the majority of state chapters have moved from a Congress of Delegates to an All Member Business Meeting to accommodate an open administrative and business process to all members; and
WHEREAS, the All Members Business Meeting is open to all paid members of the chapter to vote and participate in the administrative process of the meeting similar to the activates and duties once performed by elected geographic delegates; and
WHEREAS, these chapters that have an All Member Business Meeting find that it increases participation among all members; and
RESOLVED, that the Kentucky Academy of Family Physician replace the Congress of Delegates with an All Members Business Meeting; and
RESOLVED, that the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians direct its Board of Directors to revise the existing bylaws to accommodate the change to an All Members Business Meeting.
At every board meeting, at least a few items come to the agenda that do not need any discussion or debate either because they are routine procedures or are already unanimous consent. A consent agenda (Roberts Rules of Order calls it a consent calendar) allows the board to approve all these items together without discussion or individual motions. Depending upon the organization, this can free up anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour for more substantial discussion.
What belongs on the consent agenda?
Typical consent agenda items are routine, procedural decisions, and decisions that are likely to be noncontroversial. Examples include:
Approval of the minutes;
Final approval of proposals or reports that the board has been dealing with for some time and all members are familiar with the implications;
Routine matters such as appointments to committees;
Staff appointments requiring board confirmation;
Reports provided for information only;
Correspondence requiring no action.
How are items on a consent agenda handled?
A consent agenda can only work if the reports and other matters for the meeting agenda are known in advance and distributed with agenda package in sufficient time to be read by all members prior to the meeting. A typical procedure is as follows:
1. When preparing the meeting agenda, the president or chairperson determines whether an item belongs on the consent agenda.
2. The president prepares a numbered list of the consent items as part of, or as an attachment to the meeting agenda.
3. The list and supporting documents are included in the board’s agenda package in sufficient time to be read by all members prior to the meeting.
4. At the beginning of the meeting, the chair asks members what items they wish to be removed from the consent agenda and discussed individually.
5. If any member requests that an item be removed from the consent agenda, it must be removed. Members may request that an item be removed for any reason. They may wish, for example, to discuss the item, to query the item, or to register a vote against the item.
6. Once it has been removed, the chair can decide whether to take up the matter immediately or place it on the regular meeting agenda.
7. When there are no more items to be removed, the chair or secretary reads out the numbers of the remaining consent items. Then the chair states: “If there is no objection, these items will be adopted.” After pausing for any objections, the chair states “As there are no objections, these items are adopted.” It is not necessary to ask for a show of hands.
8. When preparing the minutes, the Secretary includes the full text of the resolutions, reports or recommendations that were adopted as part of the consent agenda.
How to start using a consent agenda?
In order to start using a consent agenda, the board should first adopt a rule of order allowing for the consent agenda process. A sample rule is:
“A consent agenda may be presented by the president at the beginning of a meeting. Items may be removed from the consent agenda on the request of any one member. Items not removed may be adopted by general consent without debate. Removed items may be taken up either immediately after the consent agenda or placed later on the agenda at the discretion of the assembly.
It is important to make sure that all directors know what items belong on the agenda and how to move items to and from the consent agenda. For this reason, instruction on using the consent agenda should be part of the board orientation program.
What are the basic rules for writing a resolution?
Every resolution must have a title, “whereas” clause(s) and “resolved” clause(s) and carry the author’s name(s). The title should be clear and concise and convey the general idea of the topic of the resolution.
The “whereas” clauses should explain the rationale for the resolution — identify a problem or need for action, address its timeliness or urgency, its effects on residents, medical students, AAFP and/or the public at large and indicate whether the proposed policy or action will alter current AAFP policy.
The “resolved” clause(s) are the meat of the resolution. These clauses should be clear and concise and positively state the action or policy called for by the resolution.
Give special attention to the following: 1) Limit the number of “whereas” clauses to the minimum required to provide reasonable support for the “resolved” clause(s). 2) Carefully check the facts and verify the data used. 3) Limit the use of adjectives or qualifying adverbs which are considered “editorial opinion” and focus on the essentials.
If a resolution is adopted, the only part that remains is the “resolved” clause(s). Consequently, the “resolved” clause(s) must stand alone. This means that you should be able to read these statements separately and have them make sense. Avoid using acronyms. There should be no pronouns used (e.g., it, they, we, etc.) that refer to other resolved statements or the “whereas” clause(s). Each “resolved” clause should be perfectly clear without the rest of the document present.
Less is more – if “resolved” clauses become too long or involved, the intent may be lost. It is better to split an idea into two “resolved” statements than to create a single clause that leaves everyone confused.
ONLY ONE ISSUE SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN EACH RESOLUTION. If multiple “resolved”
clauses are included in a resolution, each “resolved” clause should be related to the central subject of the resolution.
Before submitting a resolution, carefully weigh the merits of your proposal by considering the following questions: 1) Is this issue/topic of special interest to many, some, or a few members, family physicians, others? 2) Is the recommendation within the scope or authority of the AAFP? 3) Is the recommendation relevant to the Academy’s strategic priorities? 4) Does the recommendation have cost implications for the Academy (in terms of research, meeting costs, production charges, travel expenses, staff time, etc.)? 5) Is the Academy currently addressing this issue/topic?
Research is the first step in developing a resolution. Solid data must be presented that support
the requested action. In addition, it is imperative to cast the resolution in light of the overall historical development of the issue. The history of an issue can be approached both with respect to current AAFP actions and past AAFP policies, as well as the positions and actions of other organizations.
Click HERE for AAFP document “Resolution Guidelines” developed for the 2009 National Conference of Special Constituencies. This 5-page PDF explains the merits and objectives of resolutions, as well as includes sample resolutions with explanations of how they meet the various criteria.
Click HERE for a sample blank resolution format that can be downloaded or printed for you to use when putting together your resolution(s).