[esnr] Re: important query re Byelaws

  • From: Patricia Bellinghausen <belling@xxxxxxx>
  • To: esnr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 16:29:11 +0100

Dear Ann,

I will quickly intersperse some comments, if I may add some input to this thread.

At 07:20 08-07-2004, Ann Frick wrote:

I have been unable to check emails for the past week or so. As a result, I was surprised to read the posting by the Board a few hours ago containing the amendments to the byelaws and the rationale for their acceptance. Perhaps I missed a prior reference, but this appears to be new information. Please let me know as I do not believe that it is appropriate for us to be asked to vote on any document that we have not been specifically allowed to discuss first.

The webpage containing the proposed amendments and the rationale has been posted on June 6, and has been available for your perusal for one month now. The discussion on the list has also been conducted for about a month. The question whether there has been enough discussion or whether the period for discussion was long enough allows only subjective answers.

Unfortunately, you cannot please everyone. At the General Membership Meeting in Winterthur, one member commented that there had been too many announcements and too long a period preceding the voting for the board positions, so that when the time came for him to vote, he simply forgot.

I am concerned about the procedures in general, but, in addition, I am concerned about one matter in the proposed byelaws. I was previously told by several members of the Board that the section of the originally proposed 13 points relating to SAN as an international organisation would be deleted. Technically that is the case. There is no mention in the byelaws proper of anything international other than II.5 which reads, "Advancement of international integration, cooperation and sharing of knowledge with other societies." However, in the rationale in favour of Amendment 1, it is stated that "This will be an international society and not be restricted to Europe." I think this is a very, very important feature of this new organisation. I think it needs to be specifically voted on by the members of the organisation.

While I am ultimately in favour of an international organisation, I believe that it is irresponsible of us to expand to that level before we have worked out the most fundamental issues upon which this organisation will depend.

A board meeting was held last evening, July 7. Your motion regarding a European organization was specifically discussed. It has been also proposed to include the term "European" into the organization's name and this has been also voted upon. I will try to convey the board's position on this matter and request that the other board members correct me and add to it, if necessary. As you properly acknowledge, the proposed byelaws do not turn the European Chapter into an international society. The reference to "international integration" shall reflect our intention to remain affiliated with the ISNR itself.

The board proposes a European organization, albeit its name shall not explicitly include the term "European" (European Society for Applied Neuroscience). The reasons for that are mostly of practical nature.

I would like a procedure where I might suggest we keep 1.3 of the current byelaws and write it as "The area served by the Society covers the following European countries?,"

1. The region currently served by the Chapter is not strictly European either, since it includes Turkey and Israel. As a regional chapter of a larger international society, it made not only sense, but it was also a (commercial) requirement to limit the region served by the organization, and that is why that provision was introduced in the E-iSNR byelaws. On the other hand, would it be reasonable that that SAN membership be denied to any applicant who is not resident in a European country? On what basis?

2. Edwin Verstraeten reminded us that most European societies with "European" in their designations will accept non-European membership, although their primarily served community is European, and the non-Europeans members are usually a minority.

When we have successfully dealt with the major issues that we face, then the procedures are simple to introduce an amendment to our byelaws and change ourselves to an international organisation in a very straightforward manner.

3. Annie, amending the byelaws is not simple at all. Every minor change to the articles of incorporation of an organization require, regardless of its significance, major administrative procedures. First, it requires a referendum, with all the steps and discussion necessary to conduct it. Secondly, a deed of amendments must be made before a notary public, which implies not only work but also costs.

We hope that it is clear that we don't aim to emulate ISNR or compete with it for membership, be it international or European. Hence, no steps were taken to counteract their recent marketing campaign.

While I am ultimately in favour of an international organisation, I believe that it is irresponsible of us to expand to that level before we have worked out the most fundamental issues upon which this organisation will depend. Some of the issues that we have not yet grappled with include:
1. What will constitute our version of evidence-based applied neuroscience?
2. What will be the standards of "best practice" to which we will hold our members?
3. How we will train and certify our clinical practitioners?
4. How will assess those who have attended our training programs to be as sure as possible that they will not practice in any manner that will cause risk to our organisation?
5. How we will be sure that those that practice with our sanction do not stray from these standards?

Byelaws are meant to clearly set out the fundamental principles and rules by which a organization is governed. The proposers of these amendments believe that the interests of the current membership will be better served, if the organization amends its byelaws and mission statement. Please note that the questions you pose go beyond the scope of the byelaws. Furthermore, the current byelaws as they are wouldn't even allow us to try and develop on these matters, because training and certification do not belong to the ISNR mission statement (in its disclaimer, the society distances itself from any certifying body). For us Europeans however, training and certification is an essential issue.


Patricia Bellinghausen

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