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Revised ADA Bylaws ready for House of Delegates

September 05, 2017

By David Burger

Atlanta — The ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs has completed a three-year project to revise the ADA Bylaws and the amendments will be submitted to the House of Delegates at ADA 2017 – America’s Dental Meeting for approval.

The council revised the Bylaws and Constitution because the House of Delegates, through Resolution 118H-2014 in 2014, directed it to perform a comprehensive review and rewrite of those documents. Revisions to the Constitution were submitted to the 2016 House of Delegates and were referred for consideration at the 2017 House of Delegates.
Photo of Dr. Halasz
Dr. Halasz

The amended documents, which are included in Resolution 7, mark the first time they have been revised since the early 1940s.

“The Constitution and Bylaws are the backbone of the ADA,” said Dr. Michael H. Halasz, chair of the Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs. “Those documents provide for the governance structure, philosophies, policies and to a certain extent, the day-to-day operations.”

A task force was formed in 2014 to review and revise the Constitution and Bylaws. A major component of the process was opening up the process in May so that any member dentists could give feedback on the revisions. About 200 “substantive” responses resulted, said Dr. Linda Himmelberger, co-chair of the Bylaws Rewrite Task Force.
Photo of Dr. Himmelberger
Dr. Himmelberger

Opening up the process was crucial, Dr. Himmelberger said. “We really did want this to be transparent and collaborative,” she said. “We wanted input from the widest possible audience, trusting in the wisdom of the many.”

“Each and every comment was reviewed and many led to further revision,” said Dr. Halasz.

Dr. Halasz added, “The vast majority of the changes were simply moving things around. We removed the operational and procedural aspects of the Bylaws and placed them into a newly created Governance Manual and the existing House of Delegates Manual. It allows for the goal of making the ADA more nimble. This is achieved because most of the items in the Governance Manual are amendable by a simple majority as opposed to a two-thirds majority required to amend the Bylaws.”

In the end, the task force identified for removal about 64 pages — nearly 80 percent of the then-existing ADA Bylaws.

A town hall presentation on the amended Bylaws is scheduled in Atlanta during the annual meeting on Oct. 19 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Atrium Ballroom B on the Atrium level of the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Anyone who wishes to receive a link to the resolution, supporting documentation or has any questions about the revised bylaws can email ADA Deputy General Counsel and director of the Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs Tom Elliott at