Who gets things done in the PLD and how do elections work?

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Naomi Sutcliffe de Moraes*

There are three pillars of an ATA division:
• Administrator
• Assistant administrator
• Leadership council

The division administrator is the principal representative of the division and liaisons with the ATA board of directors and headquarters. She delegates duties to members of the division leadership council, the assistant administrator and other volunteers.

The division assistant administrator undertakes any duties delegated to her and assumes the duties of the administrator in her absence.

The administrator and assistant administrator cannot serve for more than two consecutive terms in each position. (A term is two years.).

The leadership council consists of 3 to 10 division members, and its purpose is to ensure continuity in division activities. Basically, council members are volunteers who run the website, blog, discussion list, and conference events. Ideally, administrators and assistant administrators are leadership council members before being nominated to a leadership position.

The nominating committee does not consist of members of the leadership council, and is often made up of past admins and former volunteers. It is designed to be independent of the current leadership team.

There can also be non-leadership council division volunteers. New ATA members are welcome to pitch in!

How division elections work

Division elections are held every two years, with the newly elected administrators taking office at ATA’s Annual Conference in October/November. This year, 2015, is an election year for the PLD.

The nominating committee is charged with finding at least one candidate for each of the two positions ATA recommends that leadership council members be nominated, to ensure continuity. ATA prefers uncontested elections, so as to not waste resources. Contested elections may result in hurt feelings, and the loser sometimes withdraws from the volunteer pool for a while. It is so difficult to find volunteers willing to take on a leadership role that the ATA Board of Directors decided that it is better to have members agree to offer to take leadership roles consecutively rather than compete against each other and then get discouraged. I was on the Board when this decision was made, and we discussed it and the leadership council for many hours.

After ATA headquarters broadcasts the name and candidate statement of each nominated candidate (that was done earlier this year), additional candidates can be added to the ballot up to 45 days after the broadcast. A candidate must be a divsion member and an ATA voting member (passed an ATA certification exam or the ATA Membership Review process). This year PLD has a contested election because the broadcast message generated some response and an additional candidate was added. Even though two candidates have withdrawn their candidacies, this election is still contested. I know, this seems a bit bizarre, but bear with me.

When there is an uncontested election, officers will be declared by acclamation at the division’s annual meeting…

When there is a contested election, PLD members are given the opportunity to vote. ATA emails the ballot link to division members before ATA’s Annual Conference. Because PLD has a contested election this year, with just one candidate for each position, the ballot will contain both names plus a write-in field for each position, and members can enter other names into the ballot. Election results are announced at the annual meeting.

For more details, refer to the official rules in the ATA Governing Policy for Divisions and in the ATA Divisions Handbook.


NaomiSutcliffedeMoraesNAOMI SUTCLIFFE DE MORAES has a PhD in linguistics (University of São Paulo), a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (University of California, Los Angeles), a LLB in law (University of London), and a master’s degree in physics (University of California, Los Angeles). She translates Portuguese and Italian into English and is a former ATA board member and former officer of the PLD and the LTD.

One Comment

  1. Well done, Naomi! I was surprised to receive a ballot with only two names for a contested election, but your article explained it very well. I just hope that no one will write in “Cacareco” as a candidate! (sorry, but that joke is only for Brazilians over 55…or political junkies!)

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