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July/August 2010

Taking Care of Business

Regulations Provide Rules for Running Meetings

Committee and subcommittee meetings are an integral part of the ASTM International standards developing process. Rules for conducting business at meetings are outlined in Section 9 of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees. Understanding these rules makes life easier for ASTM members and helps the standards developing process to run smoothly.

Sections 9.1-9.4 cover the basics:

  • All meetings of committees and subcommittees are open to visitors when technical matters related to the development of standards are going to be discussed;
  • Closed meetings of executive committees are allowed when technical matters related to standards development are not going to be discussed;
  • Subcommittee and committee members must receive notification of meetings, copies of minutes and related committee material; and
  • Minutes of all subcommittee and committee meetings must be taken, with copies sent to ASTM headquarters.

Three topics are covered in more detail: proxies, task groups and election of officers.

Proxies — A voting member who wants to vote at a subcommittee or committee meeting via proxy must designate a member from the applicable subcommittee or main committee, or an individual from the voting member’s voting interest (as defined in 6.1.2 of the Regulations). Appendix VI of the Regulations is a proxy form to be filled out by hand by a voting member who wishes to assign a proxy to vote in his or her name. The solicitation of proxies from voting members is prohibited and solicited proxies will not be accepted. No voting interest shall hold or exercise proxies for more than one voting member in any subcommittee or main committee meeting.

Task groups — Task groups do the nuts-and-bolts work of developing a standard and can be established by a subcommittee at a meeting or by the subcommittee chairman between meetings, subject to the subcommittee’s approval.

In order to be established, a subcommittee must have a defined objective or scope of work, with a timetable for completion of a task established, if appropriate. Society or committee membership is not required to belong to a task group although a balance of interests on a task group is encouraged. Formal balloting is not required at the task group level.

A task group is discharged when its objective is completed or when cause to abandon an objective has been established.

Election of officers — Committee officers are elected by a ballot concluded before Dec. 31 of odd-numbered years. Individual committee bylaws are to prescribe specific eligibility criteria, procedures and time frame for the nomination and election of officers. The formation of a nominating committee and a request for submission of candidates is to be made at the meeting preceding the final report of the nominating committee and the presentation of a slate of officers, with nominations from the floor accepted after the presentation of the slate.

Once the final slate of nominees, including voting interests and classifications, has been sent to a ballot vote of the committee, ASTM headquarters conducts elections and reports results. The term of office is two years, beginning Jan. 1 of the first year and and running to Dec. 31 of the second, with officers eligible for election to not more than three consecutive terms in one office. No two committee officers are allowed to represent the same voting interest.