Association Rules — 30. Procedures of Council

30-1. Parliamentary Procedures, Order of Business, and Executive Session

30-1.1 The rules contained in Keesey's Modern Parliamentary Procedure shall govern the Association in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the APA Bylaws, the Certificate of Incorporation, and any special rules of order Council shall adopt. The Association Rules is the body of rules of which this rule forms a part. Association Rules shall continue in force until they are amended, repealed, or suspended. A simple majority vote at any regular meeting of Council shall be sufficient to amend or repeal these rules. Amendment and repeal shall take effect at the close of the meeting at which the vote is taken. To suspend the order of business rule requires a two-thirds vote of all Council members present unless the item to be undertaken requires new financial expenditures, in which case suspension of the order of business rule shall require a three-quarters vote of all Council members present. Suspension shall take effect for no longer than needed during the Council meeting to permit a particular action to be undertaken.

30-1.2 The APA President shall appoint a Parliamentarian who may continue to serve at the pleasure of succeeding Presidents. A Parliamentarian who is a member of Council shall be replaced during his or her term as Parliamentarian by an alternate designated by the constituency from which the Parliamentarian comes.

30-1.3 The order of business for meetings of Council shall be determined by the Board of Directors in accordance with these rules, except that Council may, by a majority vote, take up any matter that is properly before it. Once the order of business is adopted, a two-thirds vote is required to change the order.

30-1.4 No matter may be properly placed before the Council for its votes that has not been disseminated to the members of Council, in its final form and with a response from the Board of Directors, at least 30 days prior to the meeting at which the matter is to be deliberated.

"Final form" shall mean that all sections of the agenda item are complete.  Agenda item sections that must be complete include (1) a description of the issue, (2) a description of the implementation plan, (3) the fiscal implications of passing the main motion or any amended or substitute motion, (4) the exact wording of the main motion and any amended or substitute motion, and (5) the recommendations of the Board of Directors and any other board or committee that has reviewed the issue.  

This rule shall not be interpreted to apply to supplemental materials such as exhibits, comments, and minutes that are not available at the time the agenda is printed and mailed.

30-1.5 The Council may, by a majority vote, go into executive session, participation in which is limited to the members of Council and such other persons that are requested by the APA President to attend. The proceedings of such sessions are considered confidential.

30-2. Votes and Minutes

30-2.1 An affirmative vote of 25% of the members attending a Council meeting is required to order a roll call vote on any issue and to require the publication in the APA Monitor on Psychology of the votes on any motion before Council.

30-2.2 The APA Recording Secretary shall be charged with preparing the minutes of each Council meeting for Council's review and subsequent adoption. Except when otherwise specified by a majority vote of Council, such minutes shall consist solely of a recording of (a) the exact wording of each motion to which Council has responded at a given meeting; (b) majority and minority sentiments, when directed by a 25% vote of Council; (c) an account of Council's actions in response to each motion; (d) the tally of votes when tallies have been requested and the response of individual members of Council to any roll calls; and (e) all reports and items of information that have been received by Council.

30-2.3 The chief staff officer shall be charged with the responsibility of insuring the maintenance of an accurate set of Council minutes. When Council amends unapproved draft minutes at a subsequent meeting, it shall be the responsibility of the chief staff officer to ensure that a corrected text is incorporated into the original draft minutes. The archive of Council's approved minutes for the preceding five years shall be brought to each meeting of Council.

30-3. Petitioned Mail Votes by Members

30-3.1 The following procedure shall be followed if a petition for a mail vote of members is submitted in accordance with Article IV, Section 5 of the APA Bylaws:

The APA Recording Secretary, upon receipt of a petition, shall acknowledge its receipt and shall determine if the signatures on the petition meet the requirements of the APA Bylaws. When this condition is met, the Recording Secretary shall transmit the petition to the Board of Directors, whereupon the presiding officer of the Board shall determine if the petition represents a proper motion under the APA Bylaws and Association Rules. If it is determined that the motion is proper, the Board shall proceed to fix the time and manner in which the vote is to be conducted and shall notify the Election Committee of its responsibility. The Board shall determine when and in what form the ballot is to be mailed; any material that is to accompany the ballot such as information and pro and con statements; and the closing date of the vote. In setting a time for mailing the ballot, the Board may consider other mailings that are planned. Action on a petition is not complete until the next annual meeting. Following closing of the poll, the Election Committee shall count the vote and prepare a report on the vote for Council. Council, in receiving the report of the Election Committee, shall make a minute of the action taken regarding the petitioned motion or of its defeat.

A petition, once submitted, is not subject to amendment. Minor editorial changes may be made by the Board of Directors with agreement of the sponsor of the petition, but such changes must not alter the sense of the petition. If substantial changes appear to be indicated, a reformulated petition should be submitted in proper form with new signatures.

30-4. New Business and Withdrawal

General procedures: New business shall ordinarily be referred to the appropriate boards or committees to make recommendations at the next session of Council.

The presiding officer, with consultation from the Parliamentarian, shall have the authority to decide whether a newly introduced resolution involves new business or can be considered in relation to old business.

New business shall be reviewed by the lead board or committee in a timely way that allows other referral groups to review it within one year of its submission. New business that has not been brought back to Council for action within 18 months of its submission shall be included in the Council agenda at the third Council meeting subsequent to its submission under a section titled, “Business Pending.” Council will be provided the opportunity to discuss the matter and act on the item if it so chooses by voting to suspend Association Rule 30-1.4. Action may include approval, rejection, referral, postponement or withdrawal.

30-4.2 (1) New business addressed to documents revised on a periodic basis shall be referred to the revising body and shall not be carried as new business; (2) Except for those items identified by the Agenda Planning Group as having potential technical difficulty, new business shall neither be amended nor language substituted by the mover or cosponsors after the close of the Council session at which it was introduced. New business that has been identified by the Agenda Planning Group as having potential difficulty may be amended or withdrawn by the mover or cosponsors within two weeks of the close of the Council session at which it was introduced; (3) New business submitted following the close of the February Council meeting shall be distributed to Council at their August meeting; new business submitted following the close of the August Council meeting shall be distributed to Council at their February meeting; (4 ) Referral of new business shall initially be only within APA; referees may, as appropriate, consult with outside groups; and (5) Any member or previous member of Council who originated a new business item may request withdrawal of that item at any time before it is voted on with concurrence of designated sponsors, if any. Withdrawal will be presented to Council in a consent agenda.

30-5. Form of Motions

30-5.1 Motions calling for action by Council may come from a board or committee, a division, a state/provincial/territorial association, or any Council representative(s). If the motion creates or reconstitutes a committee, it shall present the mission, including the purpose for which the committee is established; whether it is to be a continuing committee or an ad hoc committee (in the latter case for what specific term); through what board or committee it shall report; and the number of members and the term of their service; if the motion proposes an amendment of the APA Bylaws, modifies these rules or an APA document adopted originally by Council, it shall specify the purpose or nature of the change and provide a manuscript of the revised text in which old text that is to be deleted is bracketed and new text that is to be added is underlined; if the motion directs a limited or single action, it shall specify the person, agency, board, or committee that shall carry out the action and the action to be taken; if the motion calls for the expenditure of funds, it shall specify the purpose of the expenditure and the funding level to be included in the budget for the next year, unless covered by other rules on finances; and if the motion expresses an opinion or a hope, or states a general policy or position, it shall include separate additional motions specifying implementation from the resolution.

30-6. Motions/Reports to Council

30 6.1  A specific motion shall be transmitted in the following manner: (a) a motion introduced by a Council representative shall first be reviewed by the chair of CSFC, in consultation with appropriate APA staff and the Agenda Planning Group; (b) a motion forwarded by a committee shall be transmitted either to the board listed in Association Rule 50 5 or directly to the Board of Directors, if no other board is specified; (c) a motion forwarded by a board other than the Board of Directors shall be transmitted directly to the Board of Directors; and (d) the Board of Directors shall develop an agenda for Council.  In so doing, the Board of Directors shall transmit all motions from boards, committees, and Council representatives to Council, unless otherwise provided in the APA Bylaws or in the Association Rules.

The Board of Directors will provide a rationale whenever its recommendation to the Council of Representatives is to alter or oppose the main motion. 

30-6.2 Reports from a board or committee, task force, or any other component or affiliate of APA are intended to provide and summarize knowledge in order to inform and educate. Such reports commissioned and produced under the auspices of APA become the property of the Association. Each report should reference existing APA policies on the topic at hand. Task force reports and other reports, where appropriate, shall include an executive summary comprising a synopsis of the report. The executive summary shall include recommendations and suggested policy statements based on key findings, and, when indicated, appropriate scientific review, that can be developed into action items for Council to consider.

Reports never constitute APA policy, but rather serve as background material for future reference and use. Statements of policy and other recommendations emanating from reports must come before the Council as main motions, with the usual accompanying information on fiscal implications, scientific foundation (when indicated), and recommendations as to the appropriate entity that would have the responsibility to carry out the action(s) contemplated.

Council may vote to receive, refer, or reject a report. Council votes to receive a report when a majority of its members, present and voting, generally agree with the contents of the report. When Council receives a report, the contents do not become APA policy nor do the proposed recommendations become implemented without passage of separate main motions. Distribution of received reports may occur via posting on the APA Web site and/or in other formats. Received reports shall include the following statement presented with high visibility on one of the introductory pages:  “APA reports synthesize current psychological knowledge in a given area and may offer recommendations for future action. They do not constitute APA policy nor commit APA to the activities described therein. This particular report originated with the APA (insert the name of the governance body).”

The motion to refer a report may send the report back to the originator(s) of the document or to other APA entities to address Council’s questions, concerns, or for further study. The consideration of the report by Council may be postponed to a later date.

30-6.3 When indicated, motions/reports shall reflect the most appropriate and relevant scientific data and literature available.  Reviews of the scientific literature must be fact-checked.  The moving board or committee shall assume responsibility for conducting or obtaining the appropriate scientific review, including the identification of pros, cons, and limitations of the conclusions based on the science.  Independent scientific merit review shall be the responsibility of the moving board or committee.  The results of such review shall be made available as part of the supporting documentation.

30-6.4 Motions presented by the Board of Directors and standing boards and committees to Council shall be in one of the following forms (note that substitute motions are treated as amendments where relevant):

(1) If the board or committee recommends adoption or rejection of the original motion, or makes no recommendation, the question should be on adopting the motion.  That is, the question is on adopting the original motion, the recommendation of the board or committee notwithstanding.

(2) If the board or committee recommends that the original motion be amended, the question should first be on this amendment.  If the amendment passes, action is then taken on the amended motion. If the amendment fails, amendments by Council are in order.  Following any further amendment action, the original motion with any amendments is in order.

30-6.5 Annual reports of boards and committees shall be provided to the Board of Directors and Council.

30-7. Conflict of Interest and Duality Guidelines for Council

30-7.1 WHEREAS, The proper governance of the American Psychological Association depends on the APA Council of Representatives (hereafter "Council"); and

WHEREAS, The giving of this service, because of the varied interests and backgrounds of Council members, may result in situations involving a dual interest which might be interpreted as conflict of interest; and

WHEREAS, This service should not be rendered impossible solely by reason of duality of interest or possible conflict of interest; and

WHEREAS, This service nevertheless carries with it a requirement of loyalty and fidelity to the institution served, it being the responsibility of Council members to govern the institution's affairs honestly and economically, exercising their best care, skill, and judgment for the benefit of the institution; and

WHEREAS, The matter of duality of interest or possible conflict of interest can best be handled through full disclosure of any such interest, together with noninvolvement in any vote wherein the interest is involved;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the following policy of duality and conflict of interest is hereby adopted:

  1. All members of Council and all officers shall exercise the utmost good faith in all transactions touching upon their duties to the institution and its property. In their dealings with and on behalf of the institution, they shall be held to a strict rule of honest and fair dealing between themselves and the institution. They shall not use their position, or knowledge gained therefrom, so that a conflict might arise between the interests of the institution and that of the individual.

  2. All acts of such persons shall be for the best interest of the institution.

  3. Any duality of interest or possible conflict of interest on the part of any Council members should be disclosed to the APA Recording Secretary and made a matter of record when the interest becomes a matter of action by Council, by a committee of Council, or by an operating board of the association to which the Council member serves as liaison. Where, in the sole judgment of the individual Council member, the situation involves sensitive or confidential information, disclosure to the APA Recording Secretary should indicate that the information disclosed is confidential.

  4. Any Council member having a duality of interest or possible conflict of interest on any matter should not vote or use his or her personal influence on the matter, and he/she should not be counted in determining the quorum for the Council, board, or committee meeting, even where permitted by law. The minutes of that meeting should reflect that a disclosure was made, the abstention from voting, and the quorum situation.

  5. The foregoing requirements should not be construed as preventing the Council member from briefly stating his or her position in the matter, nor from answering pertinent questions of other Council, board, or committee members since his/her knowledge may be of great assistance.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That this policy be reviewed annually for the information and guidance of Council members, and that all new members be advised of the policy upon entering on the duties of their office.

30-8. Standards and Guidelines

30-8.1 This rule applies to all standards and guidelines, as well as resolutions, endorsements or other statements that have the effect of a standard or guideline, that are proposed by any board, committee, division or subunit of a division, task force, work group, or other APA entity. As these terms are used in APA policy, “standards” include any criteria, protocols, or specifications for conduct, performance, services, or products in psychology or related areas, including recommended standards. Standards are considered to be mandatory and may be accompanied by an enforcement mechanism. “Guidelines” include pronouncements, statements, or declarations that suggest or recommend specific professional behavior, endeavor, or conduct for psychologists or for individuals or organizations that work with psychologists. In contrast to standards, guidelines are aspirational in intent.

The review procedures in this rule, which are established to protect APA, its governance groups and its members, apply to statements or actions that have the effect of a standard or guideline regardless of the title used. This rule also applies to standards or guidelines developed outside of APA that are proposed for adoption, endorsement, or approval by APA. This rule does not apply to those APA standards or guidelines for which Council has adopted specific procedures for review and approval, such as accreditation. If there is uncertainty about whether a proposed statement or action would constitute a standard or guideline that is covered by this rule, the sponsoring APA entity should consult with the APA Office of General Counsel to determine if the provisions of this rule apply.

30-8.2 When APA or any board, committee, division or subunit of a division, task force, working group or other APA entity works jointly with another organization on developing standards, guidelines or other statements that have the effect of standards or guidelines, the provisions of this rule will apply. If the APA entity working with another organization believes that it is not required to follow these review procedures it should confer with APA Office of General Counsel as soon as possible to determine whether the rule applies or an alternative approach such as a disclaimer or written clarification of APA‘s role should be used to address any risks.

30-8.3 Proposed standards or guidelines or other documents that have the effect of a standard or guideline should be sent to the APA Office of General Counsel for initial legal review regarding risk to the association or its members. The proposing entity shall suggest a period, not to exceed 10 years, for which the standard or guideline will be effective if it is approved along with a rationale for the proposed timeframe. The maximum period of effectiveness is appropriate for areas in which the knowledge base, practice patterns, and relevant legal and regulatory climate are stable. In most areas, an earlier expiration date (e.g., 5 years, 7 years) will be more appropriate.

Following initial legal review, a proposed new standard or guideline or an amendment to an existing standard or guideline shall be introduced as a new business item at Council and circulated to APA boards and committees for comment. At the same time, the proposing entity shall invite expert commentary and consultation from other appropriate groups or individuals and from all divisions and state, provincial and territorial psychological associations. The proposing entity shall respond to all commentary, seek additional legal review if appropriate and forward a revised document to all divisions and state, provincial and territorial psychological associations and groups that provided commentary. The revised draft version of standards and guidelines shall be forwarded to the Office of General Counsel in order to disseminate to the membership notice of a sixty (60) day comment period and instructions for the receipt of comments. At the conclusion of the comment period, the proposing entity shall make any appropriate changes and respond to all comments received. The proposing entity shall provide the draft standards and guidelines along with copies of the comments and responses to comments to the Office of General Counsel for a second legal review and determination of whether further public comment is required.

After this legal review, the draft standard or guideline shall be forwarded to the Board of Directors with accompanying documentation regarding the comments received and response made to such comments. The Board of Directors shall review such documentation to determine if the standard or guideline is appropriate for the Association and if it poses risk to the Association or its members. If the Board of Directors determines that the proposed standard or guideline is not appropriate or that it poses undue risk to the Association or its members, it shall return the draft standard or guideline with commentary or with a request for additional revision and further expert or public comment.

When the Board of Directors determines that a standard or guideline is appropriate and does not present undue risk to the Association or its members, the Board shall recommend that the Council of Representatives approve the standard or guideline as APA policy.

In adopting an APA standard or guideline, Council shall establish the period during which the guideline will be in place as APA policy, which shall not exceed 10 years from the time of its approval.

30-8.4 The Policy and Planning Board shall provide notice no less than two years before a standard/ guidelines document will expire to the responsible reviewing body or entity. The reviewing body or entity responsible for review of the document shall recommend to Council that the document be extended, amended along with proposed revisions, nullified or placed in the APA archives. Should the responsible reviewing body or entity wish to extend or amend the document, the review process shall be done in accordance with Association Rule 30-8 as delineated for proposed new standards or guidelines, along with a new expiration date and the rationale for that date. If the responsible reviewing body or entity does not bring the standard/guidelines document to the Council of Representatives within this 2-year period, the standard/guidelines document will automatically sunset and the Policy and Planning Board shall notify the Council of such action.

30-8.5 When Council approves standards or guidelines, they will be adopted on behalf of the whole association. When an entity associated with APA wishes to sponsor and/or disseminate a published document that it does not intend to serve as standards or guidelines but which the public may reasonably construe as a set of standards or guidelines, the entity shall consult with APA legal counsel and any other interested boards, committees, divisions or groups to ensure that the language of the document does not imply a standard or guideline and to develop an appropriate statement to include in the document that will make it clear that the contents of the publication are not intended to set a standard or guideline for training, professional practice conduct or any other specialized form of the application of psychological knowledge and that the entity is not speaking on behalf of any other APA board, committee, division or group or on behalf of the APA.

30-9. Council Policy Manual

30-9.1 All motions, resolutions, standards and guidelines approved by Council and designated as policy shall be recorded in the Council Policy Manual.

30-9.2 Policies that are standards and guidelines shall be reviewed pursuant to Association Rule 30-8.4. With regards to all other policies, every five years the Policy and Planning Board will notify the responsible reviewing body or entity of its obligation to review all of the policies recorded in its section of the Council Policy Manual. All such policies shall remain active unless the responsible reviewing body recommends to amend (with proposed revisions), rescind or place the policy in the APA archives. Such recommendations must be approved by Council.

30-9.3 Rescinded policies shall be removed from the Council Policy Manual. Rescinded policies refer to those that have been previously passed and then rescinded by vote of Council.

30-9.4 All materials published in the active and archived sections of the Council Policy Manual shall be maintained on the website of the Association. Each archived policy shall indicate on each page of the document that it is no longer an active policy of the Association.