Feature

At its meeting during APA's 2001 Annual Convention, APA's Council of Representatives voted to ensure state and provincial psychological associations' and APA divisions' voting representation in the council.

Under this new plan, known to organization leaders as the "Modified Wildcard Plan," there will be a total of 162 seats. Those seats will be divided between the divisions and state and provincial psychological associations based on the percentage of votes each group receives from the apportionment ballot. Basically, the votes from the apportionment ballot are divided into two pools--one for state and provincial associations and one for divisions. Every constituency is given a seat from the respective pools, then what's left is allocated based on the percentage of votes within the pool in multiple stages.

"The modified plan is kind of like a U.S. congressional model," Ron Levant, EdD, APA recording secretary and co-chair of the Board of Directors task force that worked on the plan. "Every APA state or provincial association and division gets a representative. Then the rest of the seats are based on the number of people who voted for that particular association or division," says APA sent the bylaws amendments to the membership in November. If approved, Article V, Section 6 of the APA Bylaws would change, thus effecting the elections in April 2002 for the 2003 legislative year.

In another measure to increase ethnic-minority representation in APA governance, the council approved an initiative that would reimburse any division or state/provincial association for the expenses incurred by representatives who are ethnic minorities for their attendance at council meetings in 2003­07. The stipend would cover transportation, hotel and meals, thereby saving the representative's division or state association money.

To be eligible for this program, people must identify themselves as one of the following four U.S. ethnic minority groups: African American/black, American Indian/Alaska native, Asian American/Pacific Islander or Hispanic/Latino(a).

Other decisions

In other action during its meeting, the council:

  • Passed a motion which calls for each jurisdiction in the United States that imposes capital punishment to cease death sentences until the jurisdiction implements policies and procedures that can be shown through psychological and social science research to "ameliorate certain deficiencies." Some of the deficiencies cited in the policy resolution include the execution of people under 18 or those with serious mental illness or retardation who may not be competent to stand trial; the fact that many people sentenced to death have been found innocent through DNA technology; and the research that shows that race and ethnicity seem to affect the likelihood of being charged with a capital crime and therefore being sentenced to death.

  • Confirmed the recognition of two specialties in professional psychology--forensic psychology and psychopharmacology--and one proficiency--the psychological treatment of alcohol and other psychoactive substance disorders.

  • Approved criteria for practice guideline development and evaluation, as developed by the Board of Professional Affairs' Committee on Professional Practice and Standards. Practice guidelines--distinct from treatment guidelines--are recommendations to professionals concerning their conduct and the issues to be considered in particular areas of clinical practice, such as, for example, the "Guidelines for psychotherapy with lesbian, gay and bisexual clients" that APA published last year.

  • Approved a preliminary budget for 2002, which includes a spending plan of $91.3 million and an adjusted net deficit of $502,400. The budget includes an annual dues increase--$7 based on the consumer price index.

Further Reading

The minutes of the council meeting can be found on APA's Web Site: www.apa.org/governance.