May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


The Impact of AAPD Governance Changes Approved at the General Assembly

July 2013 Volume XLVIX Number 4

This years AAPD General Assembly at the Annual Session in Orlando considered several Bylaw amendments related to governance. These were recommended by the board of trustees based on the report of the Task Force on Governance chaired by Dr. Scott Cashion. This summary explains the impact and next steps.




The General Assembly approved the proposal to combine Districts I and II in order to more evenly distribute the number of members in each district. This change reduces the number of trustees by one, resulting in 14 voting members and five non-voting members. The change will be fully implemented in 2014. District II Trustee Dr. Shari Kohn will not be replaced when her term expires in 2014, and incoming District I Trustee Dr. David Tesini will serve a three-year term. Next year he will begin representing the combined District. Also note that the Districts will now be referred to with geographic names rather than numbers, specifically: Northeastern, Southeastern, NorthCentral, Southwestern, and Western.


The AAPD Headquarters staff will work with the Northeastern district to complete the necessary legal paperwork to effect this change. The board will also approve changes in the Administrative Policy and Procedure manual to reflect that councils will now have representatives from five districts rather than six. This will be fully implemented when rosters are established for the 2014-15 cycle. Please note that if the District I and II representatives are both interested in remaining actively involved with a council, one of them may be appointed as consultant while the other can represent the combined district. Also per this change, federal services and foreign countries (other than Canada) are removed from District II and District V and referenced under the duties of at-large trustees. At its ad interim meeting this Fall, the board of trustees will be appointing an at-large trustee as liaison to members in the uniformed federal services and another at-large trustee as liaison to international members.



The General Assembly approved the proposal that the AAPD should offer collection of district and state dues at no cost to the district or state. For the past four years, the AAPD has offered this service to state unit organizations at a sliding fee scale depending on number of members. Twelve states (Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Florida, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) currently participate in this service for the 2013-14 dues cycle. States that have participated to date have seen an increase in their membership; this is likely due to the convenience of members being able to pay their AAPD and state dues at the same time. Due to the tight deadline for mailing of 2013-14 dues notices, additional states or districts desiring this service will be added starting in 2014-15. Please note this service is optional, but any interested state or district wishing to utilize this service for the 2014-15 dues cycle should contact Membership and Marketing Director Suzanne Wester at no later than March 31, 2014.




The General Assembly rejected the proposal that the requirement for mandatory AAPD tripartite membership be deleted. The Board of Trustees believed it was not working, and has not been strictly enforced as doing so would have resulted in a loss of membership in AAPD, districts, and state unit organizations. The proposal would have "strongly encouraged" membership but not require it. Members heard at both the Open Forum, Reference Committee hearing, and General Assembly that the AAPD is placed at legal risk by having a Bylaws provision that is not followed or enforced. Based on advice from outside legal counsel at the firm of Barnes and Thornburg in Chicago, this calls into question any efforts to enforce or apply other sections of the AAPD Bylaws. It is never a good idea for an association to have Bylaws inconsistent with actual practices. Hence, the AAPD is now compelled to move forward with confirming lists of AAPD members that are not members of their respective state and/or district organizations who joined after June 30, 1999, and contacting these members directly to remind them of this obligation. Based on the size of  the list, the board of  trustees will also be able to make an estimate of  potential lost dues revenue if  such individuals were to have their AAPD membership terminated. This information will be shared with state and district leaders, who will also be asked to co-sign with the AAPD president any correspondence sent to such members.



The General Assembly approved the proposal that the AAPD should require membership in the American Dental Association (ADA) only at the time of applying for membership to the AAPD. Currently, prospective AAPD members must provide their ADA membership number in their AAPD application. However, the AAPD has not monitored or enforced ongoing ADA membership. This change conforms the AAPD Bylaws to actual practices, which is important legally for the reasons noted above. This approach to ADA membership is also consistent with that of the other three dental specialty associations that require ADA membership (AAE, AAO, and AAP). The ADA Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel stated in writing that they understood and supported the AAPDs need for this Bylaws’ clean-up. However, given the AAPDs close and strong working relationship with the ADA, the General Assembly approved language that the AAPD should "strongly encourage" maintenance of ADA membership. To implement this directive, the AAPD will explore mechanisms such as joint correspondence from the ADA and AAPD presidents urging such maintenance of ADA membership by AAPD Active, Life, or Affiliate members. The board of trustees was pleased that all of these matters had an informed and comprehensive discussion in Orlando, and thanks all those members who participated at the Member Open Forum, Reference Committee hearings, and General Assembly. For further information on any of these governance matters please contact CEO Dr. John Rutkauskas at (312) 337-2169, ext. 28, or