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APA Council of Representatives Report

Deirdre Knapp, Stephen Stark, Gary Latham, and Deborah Whetzel

The APA Council of Representatives (COR) meets twice per year, with the most recent meeting being held on February 24-25, 2017 in Washington DC. Deborah Whetzel substituted for Georgia Chao who was unable to attend. This brief article highlights some aspects of the meeting agenda. A fuller set of meeting minutes will be available on the APA website and the entire Council agenda book is located at http://www.apa.org/about/governance/bdcmte/secure/agenda-books/index.aspx

Dr. Antonio Puente, APA President, chaired the meeting with humor and a clear sense of moving APA forward. Dr. Cynthia Belar, the interim APA CEO, also gave remarks that were helpful for framing the mission and goals of APA, as well as providing perspective on the challenges APA has been facing in recent years. Her remarks can be found here.

Last year, Council established several work groups to recommend improvements to how APA functions as an organization.  These work groups are in various stages of completing their work, with proposed policy and procedural changes coming before Council in both the February and August 2017 meetings. In February, Council voted to adopt a new set of Conflict of Interest Principles that will apply to any person serving on an APA task force, work group, board, committee, or the Council of Representatives. Council also approved recommendations related to selecting members for ad hoc groups (e.g., task forces) and steps to help ensure civility in discourse among Council members. Recommendations from work groups on organizational policies and procedures, ethics processes, and diversity will be considered at the August meeting.

Financially, APA has had some significant challenges. A projected $8M operating deficit in 2016 was halved through serious budget cutbacks, as well as greater than expected income from publications sales and a large insurance settlement. A $4M deficit projected for 2017 notwithstanding, APA’s financial condition is still strong, owing in part to lucrative real estate and investment holdings.

Council approved forwarding to the membership two sets of bylaws amendments. One set of amendments that Council voted on would ensure at least one seat on Council for each division and state, provincial and territorial psychological association. The other set of amendments updates descriptions of the Board of Directors leadership roles and responsibilities to comply with current IRS requirements. Another provision of this section of the bylaws requires that the CEO be an APA member. This requirement arguably unduly limits the pool of suitable candidates for this demanding role. Although the timing was not right to suggest another bylaws change at this meeting, we are planning to introduce the idea as a new business item at a later date.

Dr. Kate Brown briefed the COR on the APA Practice Organization (APAPO). Whereas APA represents the interests of psychology, APAPO represents the interests of psychologists. Any APA member can join APAPO by paying additional dues, but their agenda is devoted entirely to the needs of mental health care providers. Deirdre spoke with Dr. Brown following her presentation and remarked on the exclusive focus on clinician needs. Dr. Brown indicated that APAPO is interested in broadening the lens with which they represent the practice of psychology and they plan to reach out to divisions like ours in the future. That would be a welcome change, particularly given that APAPO is such a large and public face of psychology to legislators and the public. 

Finally, APA Council members are being asked to generate sweeping topics that could form the basis of APA’s agenda over the next 3–5 years. Your Council representatives are proactively working to ensure I-O has visibility in this agenda. We welcome your questions and suggestions related to APA at any time.

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