On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Jenna Kantor guest hosts and interviews Phil Tygiel on bylaws within the APTA Private Practice Section. Phil Tygiel, PT, MTC, is the PPS Bylaws Committee Chair. The Bylaws Committee reviews, maintains, and updates the Section bylaws to meet the needs of the membership and the requirements specified in the guidelines set forth by APTA.
In this episode, we discuss:
-What information is contained within the bylaws
-The process for changing a bylaw
-The multiple avenues you can enact change within your professional associations
-And so much more!
For more information on Phil:
Phil Tygiel, PT, MTC, is the PPS Bylaws Committee Chair. The Bylaws Committee reviews, maintains, and updates the Section bylaws to meet the needs of the membership and the requirements specified in the guidelines set forth by APTA.
For more information on Jenna:
Jenna Kantor (co-founder) is a bubbly and energetic girl who was born and raised in Petaluma, California. Growing up, she trained and performed ballet throughout the United States. After earning a BA in Dance and Drama at the University of California, Irvine, she worked professionally in musical theatre for 15+ years with tours, regional theatres, & overseas (www.jennakantor.com) until she found herself ready to move onto a new chapter in her life – a career in Physical Therapy. Jenna is currently in her 3rd year at Columbia University’s Physical Therapy Program. She is also a co-founder of the podcast, “Physiotherapy Performance Perspectives,” has an evidence-based monthly youtube series titled “Injury Prevention for Dancers,” is a NY SSIG Co-Founder, NYPTA Student Conclave 2017 Development Team, works with the NYPTA Greater New York Legislative Task Force and is the NYPTA Public Policy Committee Student Liaison. Jenna aspires to be a physical therapist for amateur and professional performers to help ensure long, healthy careers. To learn more, please check out her website: www.jennafkantor.wixsite.com/jkpt
Read the full transcript below:
Jenna Kantor: 00:00 Hello, this is Jenna Kantor. I am here with Phil Tygiel who is the head of the bylaws committee for the APTA private practice section. So first of all, thank you so much for coming on to healthy, wealthy and smart to be interviewed. So I just wanted to do this podcast for people to get a better understanding of bylaws and their value and why it can be a long process for some, for change. You were actually, before we even started, you started to talk about how there is this rule where it's like this five year rule and I would love for you to go into that. Why there's a five year rule for change.
Phil Tygiel: We're actually, that's for APTA, not for the private practice section.
Jenna Kantor: Oh, okay. Okay. Oh, thank you. So there we go. It's something you already clarified. Thank you. So for the private practice section, is there some sort of rule like that?
Phil Tygiel: 00:51 No, you can bring up bylaw changes anytime you want to. I always discourage it. I always say my job as chair of the bylaws committee is to put the bylaws in an envelope, seal the envelope and keep it sealed for the duration of the president's term. Bylaws are great. They outline rights, privileges and responsibilities, and they are not to be taken lightly or changed lightly. And very often people will come to me and say, we need this change in the bylaw. And when I look at what they want to do, they don't have to change the bylaws to do that. Bylaws, as you mentioned, are somewhat rigid and they're supposed to be, they're not easy to change. It requires prior notice to all of the members that you intend to change the bylaws. And the reason for that is you're changing their rights and privileges.
Phil Tygiel: 01:41 They have a right to know that you're changing the rights and privileges. You have to have prior notice of at least 30 days prior to the meeting. And then there's debate and it takes a two thirds majority to change any bylaw. As I said many times, the board will come to me and say, I want to change this bylaw. And I usually try to discourage it and figure if there's ways to do what they want to do without changing them is all too often people run to the bylaws and we have to change this when actually the bylaws are pretty good. They don't need change. For instance, there was one year the board, I think it was the membership committee wanted to have lowered starter dues for new members and they wanted to change the bylaws. Biggest dues are outlined. The dues structure is outlined in the bylaws. But I looked at the bylaws though the board had the right to lower the fee but not raise it. So they didn't need a bylaw change to get that starter dues change in that case and discouraged it. And we didn't go in there and change the bylaws.
Jenna Kantor: 02:47 So you were saying that you guy’s meet and they have to submit it 30 days prior. So I'm wondering for the 30 days prior, like how often do you guys meet in general, so how many times would there be that opportunity for it to be heard and voted upon if it would get that far?
Phil Tygiel: 03:07 Technically we have two meetings a year, one at the private practice section annual conference and I think they have one at CSM this year. I'm not even sure about that. So those are the only two times that you can change the bylaws. You do need a quorum at a meeting, which was a certain number of people have to be there. And usually the CSM of business meeting you don't have one. So pretty much the only time we tried to change the bylaws if needed is at the annual conference. As I said, the 30 days notice goes out and all of the discussion occurs at the business meeting when we vote yes.
Jenna Kantor: 03:46 How long have you been in this position, first of all. And then from your experience and all the years that you've been in this position, how many bylaws have you actually changed?
Phil Tygiel: 04:00 Yeah, I think I've been doing it about 20 years now. Nobody else wants it. So I keep on getting recycled and in those years I think we've probably changed, made minor changes to the bylaws about five times. Don't ask me what those changes were. I put the envelope away.
Jenna Kantor: 04:23 So for you it doesn't sound like it makes much of a difference when these bylaws are changed that much because it really is set up pretty well already.
Phil Tygiel: 04:33 I think they're pretty good. I mean they let members know what they're entitled to do, what the dues are going to be. If they have concerns how to raise those concerns. It tells them how often we have meetings. What prior notice we have for those meetings. It lays out the fiscal responsibilities of the board and all the board positions. So most of that doesn't have to be changed. It can stay where it is. Sometimes I've been in situations where one of the positions on the board has certain responsibilities that are assigned, like they're in charge of three committees and sometimes people want to put that in the bylaws that the vice president will be in charge of these committees. And that's usually a mistake because you'll change committee liaisonships based on the new personnel you have, you know, you're going to let new people every three years and you might have one person who's vice president who was very good on programming. So they will be liaison to the program committee. The next vice president might be much better off from communication. So they'd be the liaison to publications committee though, that type of thing. So you don't want certain things you don't want etched in stone and the bylaws, remember, if you make a mistake with the bylaws, it also takes a two thirds majority to correct that mistake. So sometimes bylaws mistakes stay in place for years and years. So again, you want to tread very lightly on changing them.
Jenna Kantor: 06:11 Well, I mean you were already saying that you're only meeting two times a year, so that already is a limitation on getting that two thirds majority vote. So I can definitely see how that could be impeding on change. No, I definitely have to be honest. From my perspective, this seems like a definite area where there might be room for change and my mindset, because I'm a new Grad, so I'm thinking, oh my gosh, this sounds so stagnant. Like there is not a set way to really make big, big changes. I would love for you to speak on where my brain is going and educate me.
Phil Tygiel: 06:47 Oh, actually there's a way, there's lots of ways to make big, big changes that don't require bylaws changes. For instance, let's say there was direction that you wanted the private practice section to take, you wanted them to lobby congress to do something and you wanted to make that a priority. That's not a bylaws issue. You would show up at a business meeting and say, I move that the private practice section endorse this position. Okay. Now, first of all, it does not require prior notice. It only requires a majority vote, not a two thirds vote. And those are the more important things that most of us are concerned about. Which way we're going, what do we want to accomplish? Those things are not in the bylaws. What is in the bylaws is how you can do those things. The fact that you have to have these meetings, that you have the right to speak, that you have the right to vote, that you have the right to make motions. So that's a very, very fluid process. Also remember sometimes if you have a really good idea that nobody else thought about, you can go to the board and say to the board, hey, why doesn't the section do this? Same with your state association and all that. So you can just say, let's make this happen. And that can be done with the snap of a finger. So not being able to change the bylaws does not restrict what you want to accomplish. Does that make sense to you?
Jenna Kantor: 08:10 And then what you do as somebody is saying it's not in the bylaws, it doesn't allow it in the bylaws and then you can't find that it's in the bylaws. What is the professional way to handle that kind of communication with that individual that you're trying to work with?
Phil Tygiel: 08:28 The first thing I usually do is ask what is it you are trying to accomplish? And I want to see if there's a way they can accomplish that without having to change the bylaws. If we find that they do need to change the bylaw to accomplish what they want to accomplish. Let's say they want to add two new people to the board of directors, that would require a bylaws change. We would then draft a motion and to change the bylaws by changing this section on the board of directors by adding two positions. The executive board would look at it and see if they approved it, which they don't have to do. Membership has priority over leadership. We should always keep in mind that the pyramid is inverted. Membership is on top president is way at the bottom.
Phil Tygiel: 09:22 So the membership has the right to do what they want to. So anyway, then we would draft the bylaw in the case of APTA sections, chapters, any bylaws change that the section has, has to be in keeping with the bylaws of APTA. So we'd run it by APTA to make sure it's not in violation of anything that APTA wants to do or says you have to do. For instance, let's say we wanted a bylaw change that would prevent life members from being members of the section. I don't know why anybody would want to do that, but the APTA would look at that and say, you can't do that. That's a violation of the APTA bylaws. So we do have that higher authority anyway. If the bylaws are keeping with what the APTA will allow we would publish it to the membership and probably in Impact or maybe online saying we will be voting on this bylaw at the next meeting.
Phil Tygiel: 10:31 Next meeting comes and the bylaw is moved. And someone has to say it and then there's debate and then they call for a vote. Since you need a two thirds majority with a standing vote, it's carried if it's not clear with standing vote, but it could be close, you do a roll call vote where everybody stands up and counts off. And if you don't get your two thirds, you don't get the bylaws. And it's important to remember what I said originally. The bylaw protects your rights and privileges as do Robert's rules of order. So even if there’s a fairly hefty majority that feels that their rights and privileges of being violated, they have a right to say we're not going to let you pass this.
Jenna Kantor: 11:21 I like how you connected it back to the APTA because they are the Higher umbrella organization if you will, of the private practice section. And this actually can segway into what I was mixing up at the beginning of this interview. So if you wanted to make a change but it didn't go in accordance with the APTA bylaws, now this is where they have the time limit on how often?
Phil Tygiel: 11:47 Yes. It got to be a nuisance of people would come in with requiring bylaws changes every year and many of them were really not necessary, but they are very time consuming to debate. So many years ago, and don't ask me how long ago it was moved and seconded and passed that it's in the bylaws that you can only have bylaws amendments every five years I think it is with the APTA and that goes through the house of delegates which is a completely different process membership doesn't vote, your delegates do. That can be bypassed. It requires a two thirds vote just to hear the bylaws if you want to do it in an off bylaw year. So it got rid of some of that cumbersome activity that really wasn't necessary.
Jenna Kantor: 12:38 No, it's good. It's really good to hear your perspective and just gain a better understanding of how well put together everything already is and why it may not be the fastest for the change, but there's a big reason for that. So thank you so much Phil, for coming on to just share your knowledge. So people who are looking for change, they may not necessarily, well now they know they may not necessarily need to go to you to find out about how to change the bylaws. They are actually still a lot of opportunities to get it done elsewhere. So thank you so much.
Phil Tygiel: 13:10 My pleasure. I think the main messages that the association, whether it's private practice section, or any other section, belongs to the membership and they have rights and privileges. They can make change and sometimes the change comes from a single person with a new idea and sometimes that new ideas violently objected to by people in leadership, people who have been there forever. But there is a mechanism to be heard. There is a mechanism to make change and advance and we do very well with it. Sometimes, a good idea, it takes three or four years to pass. But that's not because of the system. It's just cause it took you that long to get people to understand what you were trying to do. That's not necessarily bad.
Jenna Kantor: 13:50 That's good. And I love that. I like how it really does revolve around membership because we are all in this together. And for us to just come forward with an idea, thinking, oh, I'm right, I'm right, I'm right. That's not how it works in a community at all. So thank you. Thank you so much.
Phil Tygiel: 14:04 Thank you.
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