The proposal to make AAPG's Elected Editor position an appointed one failed to receive the two-thirds majority it needed to be put into effect.
The change was recommended by the Constitution and Bylaws Committee and was debated and voted upon at the annual AAPG House of Delegates meeting in Denver on Sunday, May 31, during the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition.
The proposed change would have empowered the Editorial Committee to recommend one or more nominees to the Advisory Council to pass on the Executive Committee, which could approve one or more candidates to be placed on the ballot.
Current Bylaws require at least two candidates stand for the office.
The editor has general supervision and final authority in soliciting, accepting and rejecting all material on technical subjects for publication, and has policy oversight and responsibility for editorial content of all technical and peer-reviewed publications.
"It is often difficult to find two editor candidates with the support of their employers to serve for three years," said David R. Cook, chair of AAPG’s Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
"The person who loses is often unwilling to stand again," he added, which further reduces the pool of future candidates.
Current AAPG Elected Editor Michael Sweet was among those who argued for the change.
"This gives us flexibility in fulfilling the role of editor," he said. "I can foresee the case when it’s impossible to find two candidates."
He said elections for editor would continue according to the current practice, with two or more candidates standing for office who would be chosen by popular vote by the membership, because the proposed option to select only one candidate wouldn’t be exercised every year – only in those instances when options for candidates are scarce.
Sweet characterized the proposed change as "housekeeping," "not anything radical" and "not anything other societies aren’t doing."
"I don't think this is housekeeping," rebutted AAPG and HOD member Richard Fritz. "We have established very well that if you're serving on the Executive Committee, you should be elected in a competitive election."
Fritz, among others, argued that the change would deny AAPG's general membership's right to exercise its democratic prerogative in selecting an editor, while AAPG Honorary member Barry Katz was among those who argued for the change, comparing the Executive Committee's selection of an editor to the House of Delegates selection of a chair.
"Small groups can also decide the editor position," he said. "We should trust our leadership."
The members of the House of Delegates voted 86 in favor of the change and 83 against it, which failed to meet the required two-thirds affirmative vote to make the change.
However, the body overwhelmingly approved a related bylaws change enabling the Executive Committee to appoint a new editor – nominated by the Advisory Council on the advice of the editorial board – in the event of a vacancy.