Constitutional Amendment 2 Awaiting Notification
To change the frequency of the Representative Assembly from every year to every other year beginning in 2022.
Article III. Representative Assembly
Section 5. Meetings
The Representative Assembly shall meet at least annually. Effective 2022, the Representative Assembly shall meet in even-numbered years. This stipulation shall apply except in cases of emergency.
The NEA Board of Directors shall develop and submit for Representative Assembly approval any necessary amendments to the NEA Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules required to bring them into compliance with this provision.
Article III, Section 5 of the NEA Constitution provides for a meeting of the Representative Assembly (“RA”) “at least annually” except in cases of emergency. Article III, Section 9 further provides the procedure by which the RA may be postponed in the event of an emergency.
If adopted, the amendment would change the frequency of the RA from annually to every other year, meeting in even-numbered years beginning 2022. The amendment also directs the NEA Board of Directors to consider and submit for RA approval any changes to NEA governing documents required to bring them into compliance with the new schedule. Because the NEA Constitution supersedes conflicting provisions in the NEA Bylaws and Standing Rules, the Board’s task would be to determine if there are governing document provisions the RA should consider amending to make other regularly scheduled business, such as officer election and adoption of the budget, consistent with a two-year cycle.
The amendment addresses only the conduct of the NEA Representative Assembly itself. Its passage would require decisions by the appropriate organizations or bodies about the frequency of other meetings, conferences and events held in conjunction with the Representative Assembly. Passage of the amendment could also impact activities conducted at the Representative Assembly, such as PAC fundraising and charitable community events, and would again necessitate decisions by appropriate bodies as to if and how to conduct such activities in the off years.
In terms of the financial impact of this amendment, the NEA Strategic Plan and Budget for 2016-18 includes approximately six million dollars for some, but not all, administrative expenses associated with conducting the Annual Meeting. These include items related to facilities and services, staff, and other expenses associated with running the Annual Meeting. There are other expenses not included in this total, such as those related to pre-conferences and events. The impact on such expenses would depend on whether organizers continue to hold these events in the off years.
In 2016, RA-related costs (including expenses within and outside the RA line item in the Strategic Plan and Budget) included pre-conference expenses of over $900,000 (Joint Conference, Retired Annual Meeting, and Student Conference); the Human and Civil Rights dinner ($382,156); staff attendance at the RA and related events ($132,812 – lower in 2016 than in prior years because of the RA location in Washington, DC); transportation such as buses and metro cards ($735,425); and convention center facilities such as, food, hall labor, audio visual, stage construction, signage, child care, and registration ($3 million).
Passage of this amendment would impact affiliate costs such as for delegate election and expenses. The total cost of the annual Representative Assembly for state and local affiliates is not available.
NEA has agreements in place for RAs through 2024. Cities generally require five years notice to change convention dates. If adopted, because of the effective date, this amendment should not result in NEA incurring any penalties for cancellation of a planned RA, as NEA could notify the impacted city (Orlando, Florida for 2023) five years in advance and re-book the convention there in a later year.
Sue Cahill, IA
Relevant Strategic Goal (G) or Core Function (CF)