Issue Date: August 17, 2009
ACS Petition Process
I am really concerned about the move to totally change the petition process regarding ACS elections (C&EN, July 20, page 51). We have come a long way since we elected Alan Nixon as ACS president by the petition process in 1973.
Alan was the first man to be elected ACS president by the petition process; 33 years passed before I became the first woman to be elected president by the petition process. The petition process opens the way for members to nominate and elect ACS Board members, and now it appears that a movement is being organized to take that right away from the members.
During my 10-year tenure on the board, a total of seven board members were elected by the petition process, and I believe we had a very strong board. I am sorry to see this attempt to change this process. One has to read very carefully the ACS Comment on the proposal to alter the election timelines and procedures to find out the real goal: limit petition candidacy.
The author claims that the candidates selected by council find it unfair that the candidates nominated by petition are not scrutinized by the council. Should the council be the Supreme Ayatollah to overrule the members? As a councilor of many years, I do not claim that I know better than the members who vote.
They are the supreme authority, and we should not take away their right to elect whomever they please to represent them either as a board member or as their president. I did not acquire infallibility by being elected. The petition process was already made more strict by raising the required number of signatures.
If the Council Committee on Nominations & Elections wants to amend the bylaws for requirement of various demographic characteristics (degree, gender, affiliation, etc.) in various time schedules, they can do so. But if the members nominate someone with appropriate characteristics, I believe no elected body should have veto power over those candidates who are nominated by the petition route.
I believe the present election process works. After all, didn't we elect two women in a row to the ACS presidency (2006 and 2007)? And in 2007, nine of the 15 elected board members were women. Recently, we elected our first Asian American to the board by petition, and in the last election we elected an African American as our president. Let us think carefully before we change a system that works.
2006 ACS President
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