The IFA Executive Board: Nan Bernstein Ratner (IFA President), Kurt Eggers (IFA President-Elect), Elaine Kelman (IFA Past-President and Secretary), Shelly Jo Kraft (IFA Treasurer), Shelley Brundage (Membership Chair, ex-officio), Courtney Byrd (IFA member-at-large) and Pascal van Lieshout (Editor, JFD, ex-officio).
Background: The IFA has been a registered entity since 1990. As is appropriate to the founding and subsequent administration of an international, non-profit organization, it operates under a series of governing by-laws that have functioned reasonably well over the past 30 years, but which are starting to show their age in rather obvious ways.
Past-President David Shapiro and his executive board (EB) recognized this and began the revision process, which was continued by his successors Elaine Kelman, and Nan Ratner. Most importantly, the financial world has evolved, with the original IFA bank of record, based in Alabama thanks to then-President Larry Molt, having been absorbed by a long series of acquisitions and mergers, to the point that IFA financial business was being seriously hampered in its day-to-day operations. We also now have internet banking (e.g., both via our bank and Paypal), we have started receiving American National Institutes of Health grant funding for students to attend our meetings, and we recently received a small endowment from a long-time and valued member. None of these facts could have been anticipated when the by-laws were written, or even when more recently amended. Certainly, our founding “parents” didn’t anticipate either joint world congresses or social media.
Recently, the IFA Executive Board was actually required to gather in person, with our financial institution, in order to make our banking identity functional and compliant with our current needs and initiatives. We took advantage of that requirement to meet, in order to review, in depth and detail, what our by-laws said, and compare them to what we actually do, as well as what we hope to do in the next thirty years. We discussed and reviewed the by-laws line-by-line to ensure that we covered the document in its entirety, making necessary changes to parse apart the operating procedures from the by-laws (in good organizational practice, these should be two separate documents) and to modify necessary content to support the positive directions we aspire the IFA to move. The full EB spent more than two full working days in retreat creating new governing documents that meet the spirit of the original “framers” in ways compliant with the world going forward from 2020.
Even our mission statement lacked the clarity and brevity currently encouraged in constructing such statements. We had also, frankly, received feedback that our mission was being badly misunderstood by some in the stuttering community. To guide the revision of the by-laws, we have tried to “streamline” the IFA mission into a more concise summary of its historical mission (as articulated in a much wordier fashion in the current by-laws), and then used that briefer statement to more clearly lay out the principles by which the IFA hopes to achieve this mission. As do most of the comparable organizations for which we sought example by-laws, and in most current advisement to groups in setting up by-laws, we have also divided what was one document, historically, into two: the actual by-laws that provide over-arching guidance to the IFA’s governance, and an operating manual that contains more easily updatable information on how we do what we do, day to day.
An email ballot to ratify these proposed and major changes to the IFA’s major governing documents will be distributed to all IFA members in early January. We urge all members who might have put off renewing to do so soon! [While you are doing it, perhaps remove this one area of concern from your to-do list by selecting the auto-renew function for payment of your membership dues for 2020]. The deadline for voting will be January 15, 2020.
Proposed IFA mission statement (2020 - )
“The International Fluency Association is a global community dedicated to the advancement of science, education, practice and advocacy in stuttering and cluttering”
We aim to:
• Foster interdisciplinary science on nature, treatment and impacts of stuttering and cluttering on individuals and families
• Disseminate and support professional education about stuttering and cluttering • Promote application of research to practice in stuttering and cluttering
• Support advocacy of “choices and voices” in stuttering and cluttering
We do this by:
Creating a community of researchers, clinicians and consumers working in stuttering and cluttering;
Facilitating dialogue through our triennial Congresses, our peer-reviewed Journal of Fluency
Disorders and Global Workshops;
Recognizing excellence through our awards for research, practice and service,
Creating opportunities and collaborations through our scholarships and bursaries
Providing professional expertise to inform the public about issues that impact our
International Fluency Association Bylaws October 2019
Article I: Name, Mission, and Official Language
Section 1: Name
The Name of the organization shall be the International Fluency Association, hereafter the Association or IFA. It is a non-profit organization recognized by the United States of America under TaxID/EIN 63-1128766.
Section 2: Mission
The IFA’s mission is to be a global community dedicated to the advancement of science, education, practice and advocacy in stuttering and cluttering.
Section 3: Official Language: The official language of the Association is English. Article II: Membership and Dues
Section 1: Membership eligibility and rights
Individuals engaged in research, diagnosis, or treatment pertaining to stuttering or cluttering, or in any activity consistent with the mission of the Association, are eligible for membership. All members of the Association are eligible to vote/participate in Association elections, nominations, and surveys. Members receive access to the Journal of Fluency Disorders.
Section 2: Membership Dues
Membership dues are set by the Executive Board. Members must renew their membership annually in order to remain in good standing. Membership follows the calendar year (January 1 through December 31).
Article III: Governance
Section 1: Executive Board
Only IFA members who are professionals in stuttering and cluttering are eligible to serve on IFA’s Executive Board. All Executive Board members must be IFA members.
The voting members of he Executive Board are: President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Member at Large. The ex-officio members are Past-President, Treasurer-Elect, the editor of JFD, and the Chair of the Membership Committee.
The maximum number of voting members of the board is 5. A minimum number of voting Executive Board members required for a quorum is 3.
Voting members of the Executive Board serve three-year terms. Terms shall be staggered so that the President Elect and Secretary will be elected one year and the Treasurer Elect and Member-at-Large will be elected the following year. No election will be held in the third year. Terms run from July through June. Members may stand for election again at the end of their term. The President, President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Treasurer-elect, and Member at Large are elected to these positions by a vote of the membership.
The Past-President serves a one-year term.
Executive board members may be removed from the Board by a majority vote of the Executive Board at a scheduled meeting where the item was on a written agenda distributed two weeks in advance.
The Executive Board shall convene a minimum of four board meetings per year. Additional meetings may be called by any voting Executive Board member. Meetings and votes may occur via telecommunication.
All Executive Board members must comply with the IFA’s Code of Practice (see www.theifa.org) statement.
Section 2: Indemnification: If the assets of the Association are insufficient to meet its outstanding legal debts, the members of the Executive Board have no liability to contribute to its assets and no personal responsibility for settling its debts and liabilities.
Section 3: IFA Physical Address: For financial purposes, the physical address of the IFA shall be that of the current Treasurer/Treasurer-Elect.
Section 4: Committees: The Executive Board can create or dissolve committees, appoint committee Directors and members, and charge the committees with tasks and roles consistent with fulfilling the IFA’s mission. All Directors and committee members must comply with the IFA’s Code of Practice statement.
Article IV: General Membership Meeting
There shall be at least one meeting annually of the IFA membership and the Executive Board. All meetings may be held through the use of telecommunications. During the years when IFA congresses are held, these meetings may be conducted face-to-face at the respective congress locations.
Article V: JFD
The Journal of Fluency Disorders shall be the official journal of the Association.
Article VI: Amendments
The Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of those Association members voting.
Article VII: Dissolution
The Association may be dissolved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the group consisting of the Executive Board members and the Directors. Such dissolution shall become effective only after notice of such action has been transmitted to the members and a majority of the membership do not object in writing within ninety (90) days following transmittals of the notice to dissolve. If the Association is dissolved by appropriate resolution, liquidation of the Association’s assets will be determined by the Executive Board and Directors, and approved by the majority of those Association members voting.
Nan Bernstein Ratner
International Fluency Association President, 2018–2021
Addendum to Revision, November 2013: These Bylaws represent a revision of the original IFA Bylaws that were adopted in 1994, following establishment of IFA’s Founding Articles in 1990, which were subsequently revised 1992, 1994, 2013, 2015, and 2017. Prior versions of Bylaws can be found at the IFA web site here Current IFA By-Laws