In historic first, SVS holds online officer voting

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The first session of the 2020 SVS Annual Business Meeting

Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) members voted decisively to change bylaws and permit all eligible voting members to participate in Society business decision-making. The vote came Monday, June 15, during the first session of the SVS Annual Business Meeting. The meeting was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officer voting opened at 7 p.m. Central Daylight Time that same day and ends at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 20, CDT. Members may select from among two choices each for SVS vice president and treasurer for 2020-21.

Candidates for vice president are Michael C. Dalsing, MD, and Samuel R. Money, MD; for treasurer: Keith D. Calligaro, MD, and Cynthia K. Shortell, MD.

“Having a voice” in selecting the Society’s future leadership, said SVS President Kim Hodgson, MD, is one of his proudest moments as an SVS member.

Visit vsweb.org/vote2020 to vote. Only Active and Senior members in good standing may vote. Election results will be announced during the second Annual Business Meeting, being held from 2 to 3 p.m. CDT Saturday, June 20.

Candidate information, including photos and answers to strategic questions posed by the SVS Nominating Committee, is available by clicking the candidates’ names and on the SVS website.

“The committee asks all eligible members to vote in this historic election, now open to all voting members,” said Nominating Committee chair Ronald Fairman, MD. Previously, only those present at the Annual Business Meeting, held typically during the Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM), could vote.

Fairman called finalizing candidates “the hardest job in the SVS,” as it requires selecting carefully from “incredibly qualified” individuals.

He also asked members to “refrain from any organized electioneering. We anticipate members will talk among themselves and with one another … and this is appropriate,” he said. But, he added, all members should be “free of undue influence in making their voting decisions.”

The bylaw changes passed with 98.2% of voting members approving. They have been under consideration for approximately a year, with opening up the election process a key initiative of Hodgson.

During the meeting, SVS secretary Amy Reed, MD, outlined the proposals, which include changing officer elections to online voting, being able to submit write-in candidates and charging the Nominating Committee with presenting two qualified candidates for each open office position. Also, the changes provide electronic voting on all matters requiring membership approval, and changing terms of office for secretary and treasurer to single three-year terms—to provide continuity—from three separate, renewable one-year terms.

The amendments also provide a mechanism and criteria to add representatives to the Strategic Board of Directions, including options to include representatives from among nurses, physician assistants, technologists and others, and allow a process for the removal of an officer or member of the Strategic Board of Directors, with a two-thirds majority required. This is suitably “a high bar” for such an action, said Reed. The amendments also add an article of dissolution that outlines what would happen in the unlikely event the SVS would have to be dissolved.

Voting continues through 9 a.m. CDT Saturday at vsweb.org/vote2020.

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