A great deal has happened since my last blog article to the membership. Our spring board of directors meeting took place several weeks ago. What was reported there and the direction we have taken since show great promise. Some of the issues members have shared with me over the past few years are being addressed. As your president, it has taken over a year for me to get some of these items addressed properly. No president of this organization can take credit for all the accomplishments and failures of the organization during his or her tenure. It is a learning and humbling experience to say the least. Some do it better than others, but we all make mistakes and have our triumphs. The take-home lesson is that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. New blood coming into the organization or newly elected leadership will do so in their own right.
An area that I promised myself that I would address when I started as president was an overhaul of the committee system. Much to my disappointment that task was delayed by other priorities (national workshop, membership status, and other issues). We are now tackling the committees. Here are the activities of several in preparation for our next annual meeting in August.
Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws Committee
One of the important items voted on at the national workshop last September in Harrisburg, was to move ahead with a revision of the bylaws to accommodate changes in the membership status policy. The committee consists of members that represent the issue at hand - both on a regional and affiliation basis. This includes full and associate members.
The membership structure is a topic that has been discussed among the AAPSE board and the overall membership for quite some time. The timeline is as follows:
- Aug 2011 - Discussions began at NC regional workshop in East Lansing, Michigan.
- Aug 2013 - Andrew Thostenson, AAPSE president, at the St. Paul PACT meeting charged the membership committee, co-chaired by Dean Herzfeld and Drew Martin, to assess the membership issue and come up with information to guide a discussion on the topic for the AAPSE Board of Directors. The charge was to complete this task by the end of the year.
- Jan 2014 - Mike Weaver, AAPSE president, invited Dean and Drew to present their report to the EC and BOD meetings to help the leadership address the outcome of the assessment.
- Mar 2014 - Regional representatives were asked to poll their members in a series of phone calls and meetings and report back with feedback by June.
- Jul 2014 - Mike Weaver called for a formal survey of the membership to gauge their interest in supporting changes to the membership policy.
- Aug 2014 - Survey results indicated that 77% of voting members (representing 85% of AAPSE) supported moving ahead with an all-inclusive change in the membership structure.
- Sept 2014 - AAPSE BOD (at the AAPSE national workshop in Harrisburg) voted to support the findings of the survey and move ahead with asking the by-laws committee to take on the task of changing the by-laws to alter the structure.
- Nov 2014 - AAPSE Executive Council met to approve an expansion of the by-laws committee and strategize how the process would work.
- Nov 2014 - Mike Weaver organized an expanded by-laws committee with Clyde Ogg as chair. Weaver also organized a secured website for the committee to use to manage the process.
- Clyde Ogg - University of Nebraska PSEP - Chair
- Kaci Buhl - Oregon State University PSEP
- Jennifer Weber - Arizona Dept. of Agriculture
- Faye Golden - Cook's Pest Control, Decatur, AL
- Ed Crow - Penn State University PSEP
- Phil Nixon - University of Illinois PSEP
- Tana Brown-Haugen - University of Minnesota PSEP
- Leo Reed - Office of the Indiana State Chemist
- Robert Wolf, Wolf Consulting
- Rebecca Maguire, Washington State University PSEP
- Roger Flashinski, University of Wisconsin
Meeting: April 3 - The committee met to organize priorities and direction. It was their consensus that bylaws would be drafted (for a vote by the organization) to alter the current membership policy. The categories might remain the same. But instead of new members joining and being segregated to either full or associate membership status, they would be given a choice. The outcome would be full membership for everyone - with full privileges. If members chose instead to pay lower dues and seek associate membership status they would be members with limited privileges as their choice, not policy. The other discussion item was altering the association dues to correspond to these categories. This could include a dues increase. AAPSE has limited funds to support members who volunteer to serve in leadership roles. A bump in dues would enable us to support liaison and board member travel on AAPSE's behalf where necessary. More to come...
Nominations and Elections Committee
The N&E committee has started the electoral process in time for the PACT 2015 meeting in Philadelphia. Two offices are up for election. These are president-Elect and secretary.
Members of this committee include:
- Thia Walker - Colorado State University PSEP - Co-Chair
- Andrew Thostenson - North Dakota State University PSEP; AAPSE IPP - Co-Chair*
- Sharon Gripp - Penn State University PSEP
- Doug Jones - EPA Region 7
- Randy Rivera - Texas Dept. of Agriculture
- John Stone - Michigan State University PSEP
*The IPP (immediate past-president) is assigned as co-chair of this committee for two years).
Awards, Fellows, and Honorary Membership Committee
The awards committee is soliciting nominations for awards to be presented at our August national meeting in Philadelphia. They are seeking nominations for the Distinguished Achievement Award in Certification, Distinguished Achievement Award in Pesticide Safety Education, and AAPSE Fellow. Details can be found on the awards page on this website.
Members of the committee include:
- Carol Black, Washington State University PSEP - Co-Chair
- Dean Herzfeld, University of Minnesota PSEP - Co-Chair
- Kim Pope, Louisiana State University PSEP
- Gary Fish, Maine Board of Pesticides Control
- Fred Fishel, University of Florida PSEP
At the recent board meeting, I asked the board to approve the policy that a standing co-chair be appointed to the committee to maintain institutional memory of the awards process. That co-chair would automatically be the immediate past (past) president of the association to serve for a two-year term. The reason for this request is that the awards committee is one committee that should have turnover. Turnover is necessary to avoid bias from one year to the next in the awards selection process. Not that bias has occurred, but several policies have been established to maintain the integrity of the awards process. Among these is the policy that no member of the executive council (officers) can be nominated, nominate someone else, or write a recommendation letter for a nominee involved in the awards process. With this new policy approved, although the AAPSE president is free to appoint anyone he or she wants to a committee, next year Dean Herzfeld would remain on the committee (as co-chair) along with a new co-chair, Andrew Thostenson. I had earlier appointed Dean as co-chair to accompany Carol Black from the previous year's committee. The AAPSE president or the committee co-chairs at that point would be free to appoint the rest of the committee.
Issues and Evaluations Committee
The I&E committee, under the leadership of the president-elect, Don Renchie, has been very busy. I should say Dr. Renchie has been busy, because the committee is pretty much a majority of one and an all-consuming task. At our last board meeting I suggested that we populate the committee with additional members knowledgeable and interested in the various issues that drive our discipline. Not that Don hasn't been doing well with the task, but it is too much to ask of one person to take on all the issues we see pending. Dr. Renchie is in the process of doing this. If you are interested in serving, please let him know. As part of the committee tasks, the president-elect serves on SFIREG (which meets in Arlington, Virginia twice a year), represents AAPSE at the spring AAPCO meeting, and communicates with different groups on laws, regulations, and other policy issues that affect pesticide safety education. Some of the highlights of Don's activities include the pending C&T regulation changes, WPS changes, SLA and EPA policy issues, 25b, and AAPSE liaison to AAPCO.
I met with AAPCO President Chuck Moses recently to discuss issues of mutual interest between the two organizations. We came away with an agreement to appoint a single liaison between the two organizations rather than each organization appoint its own liaison. This saves resources and reduces confusion over who is the liaison between the two groups. Chuck agreed to bring the name of one of our members to the AAPCO board to serve in this capacity. We recently appointed Ryan Williams, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, as our liaison. Ryan's name is now in front of the AAPCO board for consideration as its liaison to AAPSE.
I also discussed AAPSE's pending request to AAPCO regarding our desire to gain an endorsement of a letter requesting that EPA rescind the 25b regulation. The letter was to be delivered to the EPA administrator several years ago and got hung up in process within AAPCO. AAPCO officially responded to our request recently. They indicated that the AAPCO board could not endorse the letter in its current form. Their concern centered around the tone of the letter and its potential to generate resistance within EPA in bringing the 25b issue to the table for discussion. Last year Tim Drake, immediate past president of AAPCO, and I, discussed the possibility of opening up a dialogue with EPA administrators to alter the 25b regulations. At the time I agreed that we would not interfere with AAPCO in doing so. My hope then and now is that AAPSE would be involved in meetings with EPA. I stated to Tim that we wanted to support AAPCO and meet with them and EPA in these discussions so we could state our concerns directly to the administrators. In my recent discussion with Chuck, he agreed to once again seek this opportunity. He has agreed to request that the 25b issue be added to the June SFIREG agenda and that a meeting be organized with EPA after the SFIREG meeting between AAPCO, AAPSE, and EPA to discuss 25b.
This is exactly where we want to position ourselves with this situation. The letter in itself might have accomplished this or it might have complicated this opportunity. But as it is now, our discussions and patience have produced an opportunity to affect change. Dr. Renchie and I are moving ahead to work with SFIREG, AAPCO, and EPA to reach this desired outcome. The letter will be sent in a toned-down manner to document our interest in working with the groups to change the rule. The primary issue that will be brought to the table on behalf of AAPSE is our concern over misleading labeling on 25b products that threaten human health and safety with applicators and the environment. I do believe that concern is also a priority of our AAPCO colleagues.
Strategic Planning (Ad-Hoc) Committee (Working Group)
This ad-hoc committee has been charged by the leadership to revise the AAPSE strategic plan. Formed in December 2014, the group will revise the existing plan (2002) and bring it to a form compatible with present-day AAPSE. The timeline for this effort is to have a completed plan to present to the membership at the AAPSE national meeting (at PACT) in Philadelphia in August 2015.
- Linda Johns - Program Manager, Montana Dept. of Agriculture - Co-Chair
- Kim Pope - PSEP Coordinator, Louisiana State University - Co-Chair
- Damisi Bailey - Graduate Student, Virginia Tech Entomology
- Richard Beard - PSEP Coordinator, Utah State University
- Carol Black - PSEP Coordinator, Washington State University
- Tom Delaney - Director, Govt. Affairs, Professional Landcare Network, Inc.
- Gary Fish - C&T Specialist, Maine Board of Pesticides Control
- George Hamilton - PSEP Coordinator, Rutgers University
- Kerry Richards - PSEP Coordinator, Penn State University
- Ples Spradley- PSEP Coordinator, University of Arkansas
The makeup of this committee came from volunteers who voiced an interest in serving after I solicited names at the 2014 AAPSE national workshop in September and later via the AAPSE listserv.
The group has met, and they are moving ahead with revision. In addition, Candace Bartholomew (CT) and Rachel Marcini (NH) asked me if they could conduct a member survey to gauge (customer) satisfaction. I agreed and the board approved this approach. I asked them to work with both the strategic planning group and the bylaws committee to avoid duplication of effort and to seek input into those activities. Candace and Rachel agreed, and they are now working with the committees to coordinate their efforts.
Professional Development Committee
The AAPSE Professional Development Committee is designed to provide AAPSE members with useful tools and resources to enhance their professional careers. The committee works closely with the board of directors to identify needs and focus resources to serve AAPSE members.
One project that continues after being introduced several years ago is a mini-grant program for members who offer their creativity and services to develop pesticide safety education professional development opportunities for members. The latest is the upcoming National Manual Development Workshop being held on May 12-14 in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Erin Bauer (NE) helped develop this workshop with funds from the AAPSE Professional Development fund and PSEP-IMI. This is another example of how AAPSE is making an effort to provide members benefits for their annual investment in our organization.
Committee members include:
- Michael Helms, Cornell University PSEP - Chair
- Andrew Thostenson, North Dakota State University PSEP
- Rebecca Maquire, Washington State University PSEP
- Ples Spradley, University of Arkansas PSEP
- Fred Whitford, Purdue University PSEP
- Bob Wolf, Wolf Consulting
Committee on Committees
The main role of this committee is to serve as a liaison between the president and the chairs of all AAPSE committees, both standing and ad hoc, regarding routine business. This communication may be to relay requests for (and reminders regarding) reports, with schedules and deadlines. Contact may also be needed to request other information. For example, each committee is asked to produce (and maintain) a "job description" -- a short summary describing its mission and functions. A clear description of the committee roles and responsibilities will serve to remind existing chairs and members of their duties. It will also provide guidance for future committee chairs and members. Coordination and communication should help to ensure that plans are carried out and deadlines are met.
Betsy Buffington has volunteered to reenergize this committee. The committee is key to energizing all the AAPSE committees.
AAPSE at PACT 2015
AAPSE will host an exhibitor booth at PACT 2015 in Philadelphia. We need volunteers to man the booth during breaks and during the Tuesday night reception. If you can help, please contact Betsy Buffington. AAPSE will also hold its board meeting on Sunday, August 2 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. The AAPSE general business meeting will be held after the BOD meeting from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Both meetings will be held in the Aria Room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City.
As a result of regional elections and appointments our governance leadership is as follows:
Thank you for listening. Please feel free to contact me, other officers, your regional representatives, and committee chairs/liaisons with any suggestions or concerns as we move forward.
With kindest regards,
Mike Weaver, AAPSE President