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Results of October 29 membership votes

Thank you to the 700 members who took the time to participate in the recent votes on the NASW bylaws, whether by proxy or in person. This turnout represents 31.7% of NASW’s 2,211 eligible members. The final vote, shown below, is that the general housekeeping updates to the bylaws overwhelmingly passed. The proposed Article IV amendment, which would have allowed any NASW member to be an officer, did not pass. The most important takeaway, however, is not which option prevailed, but how close the margin was.

Article IV Amendment

  • Yay: 316
  • Nay: 354
  • Abstain: 27
  • Unclear/Not marked: 3

General Bylaw Updates

  • Yay: 605
  • Nay: 9
  • Abstain: 77
  • Unclear/Not marked: 9

The narrow margin on the Article IV Amendment, combined with the Ad Hoc Committee’s report illuminating the variety of member occupations, underscores that much work lies ahead as a community to honor our professional diversity. We are continuing a time of deep reflection about the way forward. To this end, board members will be rolling up their sleeves and seeking help from the newly forming Governance Committee and other newly formed ad-hoc committees, as needed, to determine the best way for NASW to move ahead. Our goal is to develop solutions that will emphasize our collective strengths.

These committees will be exploring a number of issues facing our organization, with a focus on examining new paths to inclusiveness for all professionals at all levels of NASW. The board will also discuss approaches to implementing a stepwise, structured process to make it easier for members to advance ideas for organizational change.

The Ad Hoc Committee that convened last fall to gather and interpret information regarding the proposed amendment spent hundreds of volunteer hours conducting a detailed member survey, analyzing data, engaging discussions with NASW members and others, soliciting opinions, and drawing conclusions. Through that process we learned much about the makeup of our community; the work our members do; and the ideals, needs, and talents that different members bring to NASW. We have more to learn, including from the data we collected in last spring’s survey. In the coming weeks, the board will communicate with members about its plans for studying the challenges in front of us and finding ways forward. Members will be invited to participate in this process and to help shape NASW’s next moves. Please stay tuned.