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Presidents Message December 2008
STLE needs your vote!
Our proposed constitution and bylaws promote membership growth and make the society more flexible and streamlined.

TLE traces its roots back to 1944 when the organization was founded in Chicago as the American Society of Lubrication Engineers. Over the ensuing decades the society has remained strong and relevant thanks to a philosophy that has always accepted the need for change and modernization.

The late P.M. Ku, who served as the society’s 1969-70 president, once wrote in Lubrication Engineering (TLT’s predecessor), “We can indeed be proud of our past and present, but more importantly we must aim toward the future. Let us then examine what we have done and are doing and at the same time ask how we can do better.”

Several years ago STLE’s board of directors recognized a need to seek changes to our existing Constitution, STLE’s primary governance document, to help solve some recurring problems. The board charged a blue-ribbon STLE Governance Committee with formulating those changes.

The committee’s task seemed simple enough initially, but the society’s legal counsel advised us that our existing Constitution was outdated and that we really needed to create a new one from scratch. So the board asked the Governance Committee to rewrite the Constitution based on a modern template supplied by our legal advisor. The result is the new STLE Constitution and Bylaws, which has since gone through several iterations with input from our legal counsel, the board and STLE’s Governance and Rules Committees.

STLE members will receive a copy of the new Constitution and Bylaws to be published in the February TLT, along with a ballot. All eligible STLE members are asked to vote for its approval.

Please review this document closely. The areas that define how STLE operates include:
·        Governance of the organization
·        Classes of memberships, requirements and rights
·        Meeting requirements
·        Officers, their qualifications, election procedure and terms
·        Standing committee requirements
·        Local section requirements
·        Method to amend the constitution and bylaws.                    

Compared to the documents for similar societies, the new STLE Constitution and Bylaws is just to the detailed and conservative side of center. It meets all legal requirements but does not repeat those laid down in Illinois state law. The changes give the board the flexibility it needs to operate in a changing business environment but keeps the membership in control of the Constitution and Bylaws, a responsibility several other successful organizations delegate to their boards.
Specifics proposed by the new Constitution and Bylaws include:
·        The nine regional vice presidents on the board are given the same title, status, terms and voting rights as the nine directors. Now all members get to vote for all nominees, improving member control of the board.
·        STLE’s Audit Committee is added to the list of standing committees to provide stronger financial oversight in compliance with modern legal requirements.
·        STLE’s membership-eligibility requirements are relaxed to promote organizational growth and reflect the realities of today’s work environment.
·        Standing committees are reduced to those legally required, providing legal compliance and flexibility to address the critical issues with ad-hoc committees.
·        Use of electronic communications and electronic voting provide faster and easier decision-making and a big cost reduction.

STLE’s board of directors voted unanimously for the proposed change and would like you to also vote in favor. To be valid, 10% of the membership must vote, and of that we need two-thirds approval to enact the new document. So you can see how very important your vote is.

The new document will be printed in the February TLT. We’ll also include your ballot, which must be mailed or faxed. If you have any questions about the change that you would like to have clarified before you vote, please e-mail me at president@stle.org

Bob Bruce is principal engineer, tribology, at GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati. 
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