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Presidents Message January 2009

Robert W. Bruce

A historic change for STLE
Next month you’ll be asked to vote on a new Constitution and Bylaws that will affect the way the society operates in the 21st Century.
STLE’s Board of Directors is currently composed of nine directors and nine regional vice presidents, plus a six-member Executive Committee. From time to time it has been very difficult to fill the seat of a departing regional vice president, as they are chosen from relatively small geographic areas. Without a full compliment of RVPs, the board is not allowed to function.

So I am very excited about an STLE Constitution and Bylaws proposal, initiated years ago, that promotes the RVPs to directors and gives them equal voting rights and terms. Now the regional representation can be distributed over 18 directors, and all members get to vote for all directors. Many dedicated volunteers have worked on this, with outstanding legal advice, and the board voted unanimously in favor of the proposal.

The second concern we aim to address with the proposed Constitution and Bylaws is changing the membership eligibility requirements to help boost our membership numbers and reflect the realities of today’s work environment. It just is not realistic to expect people to work in the tribology area for 10 years before they can become a member, as STLE currently requires, so we are now proposing a change to six years.

The rest of the changes are matters of legal advice or cost reduction, removing some contradictory passages, providing stricter financial oversight and simplifying some of our processes.

Membership approval of the new Constitution and Bylaws will help the board delegate responsibility and provide flexibility to address issues more rapidly and with more manpower. Additionally, the membership requirement change will allow people to join as full members at an earlier stage of their careers and maintain their memberships for a longer period.

We have benchmarked the proposed STLE Constitution and Bylaws against those of a number of organizations close to ours and with which we share a significant number of members, including ACS, AIST, ASME, ASM International, ASTM and SAE International. Most of these technical societies are much larger than STLE but have shorter Constitutions and Bylaws and more liberal voting procedures. After long deliberations and a number of revisions, STLE’s board unanimously voted for the proposed STLE Constitution and Bylaws and would like you to also vote in favor.

A document called STLE Policies and Procedures is ready to replace the current Bylaws, a set of operating principals and rules. This document also was approved unanimously by the board but does not require member approval.

It took several years, a lot of discussion and much legal advice to get to this point, but we now have a very solid proposal backed by the unanimous vote of the STLE Board of Directors.         
The February issue of TLT will include the new Constitution and Bylaws and a ballot that you can fax or mail. Sorry, but we cannot accept electronic votes on this issue.

If you have any questions about the change that you would like to have clarified, please e-mail me at president @stle.org. I want to do everything I can to give future STLE boards the tools and flexibility provided by the newly proposed Constitution and Bylaws.

Please vote for the Constitution and Bylaws, by fax or by mail, before mid-March.
Bob Bruce is principal engineer, tribology, at GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati.

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