In Brief

One hundred and seventy-four psychologists from across the United States and Canada, representing divisions and state/provincial/territorial associations, convened in Washington, D.C., Feb. 20-22 to hammer out new APA policy, review past decisions and lay the groundwork for APA to respond to the issues of tomorrow.

Among other actions, the council:

  • Endorsed a code defining fair-testing practices in education. The code provides guidance to educational professionals in providing tests, including admissions tests and student placement evaluations, "that are fair to all test-takers regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, linguistic background or other personal characteristics." After final approval by the Joint Committee on Testing Practices, the guidelines will be added to the APA Policy Manual.

  • Approved guidelines for the Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) to use when evaluating psychological education and training guidelines or standards submitted to APA for approval. The "guidelines for guidelines" will help APA divisions and outside groups develop standards for training and education that adhere to BEA expectations, and they are expected to speed the approval process.

  • Resolved that APA support and promote needle exchange programs as a way of stemming the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. According to studies cited in the resolution, such programs do not lead to increased substance abuse and can encourage drug users to seek further treatment. In voting to adopt this policy, APA joins the American Medical Association and the American Pharmaceutical Association in calling for a reduction of legal barriers to needle exchange programs.

  • Adopted recommendations from the APA Task Force on Advertising and Children that call for restrictions on advertising targeted to children under 8 years old. According to the task force, young children lack the cognitive development to understand the persuasive intent of television advertising and are uniquely susceptible to advertising's influence.

  • Received a report from the Early Mental Health Interventions Working Group outlining the importance of promoting mental health in young children and dedicating resources to the early identification of problems in their social and emotional functioning.

  • Moved to create a six- to eight-person working group to develop policy recommendations regarding same-sex families and relationships. This new business item was introduced by council members seeking for APA to be on the cutting edge of increasingly salient issues, such as same-sex marriages.

  • Discussed in-depth the retirement package that former APA CEO Raymond D. Fowler, PhD, received when he retired in December 2002. This discussion was spurred by reporting in the Washington Post that incorrectly labeled Dr. Fowler's retirement package as a single year's compensation. Dr. Fowler's actual 2002 compensation (salary and benefits) was $364,172. In addition to his 2002 salary and benefits, Dr. Fowler was paid for the remaining time on his employment contract and an additional 10 months of pay as part of a retirement package and to recognize his 13 years of outstanding service to the association.

Also reported to the Internal Revenue Service in 2002 was compensation earned by Dr. Fowler and accounted for by APA in previous years but deferred for tax-reporting purposes until his separation from the association. Dr. Fowler's total retirement package--his 2002 salary, the remaining time on his contract plus an additional 10 months, his reportable deferred compensation and payment for unused annual leave--totaled slightly more than $2.2 million. After a thorough discussion of the retirement package and the process by which it was determined, council adopted a resolution in support of the amount of the package and of the Board of Directors' handling of the retirement package negotiations.

--S. DINGFELDER