Young Professionals

Voting to Begin November 26th on Bylaws Amendments to Change Board Structure

  • 1.  Voting to Begin November 26th on Bylaws Amendments to Change Board Structure

    Posted 11-09-2018 08:34 AM
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    Voting opens November 26th on bylaws changes that will implement an International Board proposal to modernize and improve SWANA's governance processes. 

    After two years of work to develop the approach, which will shrink the size of SWANA's governing body but significantly expand chapter representation at the highest decision-making level, the International Board in August approved draft bylaws amendments to be sent to SWANA's full membership for vote.  You can find them linked here:  SWANA News: Bylaws Amendments or attached to this post.   

    An electronic ballot will be sent to all SWANA members on November 26th

    If you can't receive a SWANA email because you have unsubscribed, or because of local system firewalls or similar constraints, call Deputy Executive Director Sara Bixby at 240-494-2236 or send her an email to to be sent a paper ballot. 

    All voting will close at 5 p.m. EST December 14th.


    Research by an International Board subcommittee showed that most organizations, including similar professional associations, are governed by boards significantly smaller than SWANA's current 70-member International Board.  The large size of the International Board had led to problems achieving quorum in calls and meetings and to slow, unwieldly decision-making processes.

    The subcommittee worked for 16 months and through 16 revisions to develop the current restructuring plan, which combines SWANA's two existing governing bodies – a 15-member Executive Committee and 70-member International Board – into a single 21-member Board of Directors.  Many of the duties that will be handled by the new Board of Directors were delegated to the Executive Committee in 1994.  

    The new Board of Directors will consist of five elected officers and representatives of 13 regions representing SWANA chapters, as well as a director each elected to represent private sectors, technical divisions, and young professionals.   The changes will also lead to all at-large members becoming members of chapters, so they also retain access to SWANA governance. 

    The Board of Directors will meet three times a year, replicating the current Executive Committee schedule.

    SWANA's 45 chapters, plus the new provisional Pacific Basin chapter (Guam, Hawaii, and other islands within EPA Region 9), have been divided into 13 regions, each of which will elect a regional director to sit on the Board of Directors.  In the current structure, the 45 chapters were divided into five regions with five seats on the Executive Committee. 

    Chapter representatives have been working through the summer and fall within the new regions to determine how the regional directors will be elected and supported in their participation to the Board of Directors and how the regional directors will represent and communicate with the chapters. Regional directors will serve two-year terms and be limited to no more than three terms. Many of the regions are also discussing methods to ensure the regional director seat moves among the chapters. 

    Representatives of the chapters, technical divisions, and private sector branches that do not have a seat on the Board of Directors at any given time will meet as an Advisory Board that continues to provide advice and input to the Board.  The Advisory Board will meet in person at least once each year prior to WASTECON but can also be called to meet for special purposes such as to provide input into SWANA's strategic plan.  Advisory Board members will continue to participate on standing committees and ad hoc committees formed to propose and recommend actions to the Board.


    Sara Bixby
    Solid Waste Association of North America
    Silver Spring, MD
    Phone: 240-494-2236