A. Changes in Bylaws
Generally, making changes in SIG Bylaws is a serious undertaking that can
take substantial time. Once a SIG Executive Committee (or Executive Board)
decides on changes and exact language for the revised Bylaws, these changes
require initial review and approval by the ACM Constitution and Bylaws
Committee, the ACM COO, the SGB EC and the SGB. At that point, the proposed
Bylaws changes are submitted to the full SIG membership for a vote. It takes a
number of months to complete this process.
It makes sense for the SIG leaders to do a thorough review of the Bylaws for
consistency and clarity if significant bylaws changes are being considered.
Sometimes bylaws language becomes obsolete because of changes in accounting
practice, changes in ACM procedures, or other reasons. Some of these changes can
be handled administratively. The SGB Chair should be consulted in these
B. Major revision in SIG bylaws
Major revisions in SIG bylaws may be occasioned by the merger of two SIGs, or
because a number of major changes in SIG governance are contemplated, or because
a major revision of the SIG bylaws has not occurred in many years. The formation
of a new SIG also means developing bylaws for the SIG; there is a template for
SIG bylaws. Please see Starting a New
Distinctions have been made in recent years in handling different types of
bylaw changes, For example, restructuring of the responsibilities and titles of
the top leaders of the SIG may provide the occasion for a major revision.
However, splitting the position of Secretary-Treasurer into positions of
Secretary and Treasurer (or joining two positions into one) is not considered a
major revision, and can be handled through the Streamlined Procedures (see
SIG leaders wishing to submit major revisions in SIG bylaws need to follow
the following procedures:
For major revisions to SIG bylaws:
1. SIG submits to the SGB EC the following material:
- List of changes being requested
- Rationale for changes
- Copy of former bylaws with changes clearly indicated, both deletions and
- Copy of proposed bylaws.
- Additional editorial changes can be noted generally, such as changes in ACM
procedures, moving to inclusive language, etc.
The proposed bylaws are reviewed by the ACM COO, Chair of the Constitution
and Bylaws Committee, the SGB EC, and the SGB prior to being sent out for vote
by the SIG membership. The former bylaws will contain details about the total
vote needed by the membership to revise bylaws as well as the percentage that
must approve the changes.
If the bylaws revision does not receive a sufficient percentage of votes from
the membership of the SIG, the proposed new bylaws can be approved by a majority
vote of the ACM Executive Committee. (Bylaw 6 of the Bylaws of the ACM.)
C. Streamlined procedure for some
changes in bylaws
In its meeting of February 2007, the SGB voted to put in place a streamlined
procedure for approving certain specific changes in SIG bylaws, listed below.
These specific changes are pre-authorized by the SGB, so can be approved by
action of the SGB EC.
The proposed changes to the SIG bylaws must be requested by a majority of a
SIG's elected officers.
After the initial approvals following the procedures below, the changes must
be announced to the SIG membership, and a procedure and deadline set for
receiving objections. The bylaw changes will be adopted unless 3% of the SIG
members object within the allotted timeframe. The final step is forwarding the
revised bylaws to the ACM EC for approval.
There are two groups of changes that may be requested through this
Group 1: The following revisions can be requested to take effect with the
next scheduled SIG election.
- Changes between 2-year terms and 3-year terms;
- Restrictions on term extensions, including disallowing extension of terms
for the SIG, reducing the length of the extension to one year, or allowing an
extension of one full term;
- Election of some or all SIG officers at large, without designation of roles.
(A mechanism for designating officers must be specified AND there must be n+1
candidates for the n positions at large.)
- Election of some or all SIG officers by specified role. (There must be 2
candidates for any specified role.)
Group 2: The following revisions can be requested to take effect on final
approval of the ACM Executive Committee.
- Addition or removal of ex officio non-voting members of a SIG executive
committee. (This provision includes not only newsletter editors, webmasters, and
information directors, but also advisory boards, conference chairs, and other
- Addition of past chairs as officers of a SIG and/or as voting members of the
SIG executive committee.
- Title changes, for example, chair to president.
- Separation or consolidation of roles, for example, changing
secretary/treasurer to separate officers of secretary and treasurer, or vice
- Addition of new elected officers
- Change of election schedule, but schedule cannot be later than set out in
the ACM guidelines
Procedures for Requesting Streamlined By-Law Changes
In order for streamlined by-law changes to be considered, approved and
implemented expeditiously please act in accordance with the following
- Review the list above to determine whether the desired by-law change falls
within the realm of this new stream-lined process.
- Note the submission calendar below, along with deadlines.
- Create a word-processing document that includes both old and new language,
using the TrackChanges feature in MS Word (or similar software).
- Email form and modified bylaws to the appropriate SIG Services Staff Liaison
who will initiate the review process.
If you have questions about whether proposed changes fit within the scope of
the streamlined process, please contact the Director of SIG Services in advance to discuss
Submissions will be reviewed by SGB EC/ACM Governance three times each year,
at the end of March, September and December. Deadlines for consideration:
||Submit by February 28th (leap year, Feb. 29th)
||Submit by August 31st
||Submit by November 30th
After your request is reviewed and initially approved by ACM governance, the
proposed streamlined by-law change will be publicized to the SIG membership,
either via postcard or printed in the SIG newsletter. The membership will have a
30 day response period to lodge objections to the changes. Unless 3% of
membership objects, new by-laws will be forwarded to the ACM EC for adoption.
*** If the proposed changes are beyond the scope of the streamlined
by-law change resolution, the SGB EC will return the changes to the SIG to
consider the option of proceeding with the usual change process, including a
vote of the membership.
Services Liaison will keep you updated on the status of your request at each
stage of the