November , 1999

Executive Director’s Notes:
APEGGA’s Election Policy

By Neil Windsor, P.Eng.

The Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act of Alberta gives APEGGA the privilege of self-governance. This includes the ability to set standards, to register members based on qualification and experience, to maintain discipline and enforcement processes based on peer review, to maintain and enforce a strong code of ethics, to set standards for continued professional development and the privilege of electing members to APEGGA Council, and of managing our own affairs. These are important responsibilities that provide real value to Members. Belonging to a self-governing professional organization with such a broad range of privileges should not be understated.

Each year, the process of preparing for the election of qualified Members to accept the challenges of office begins early in the fall. A Nominating Committee is struck comprised of Members from various disciplines and from all parts of the province to identify qualified and suitable candidates who might be approached to offer themselves for election. The task is not a simple one, not because there is any shortage of Members from which to choose, but because there are so many qualified potential candidates available. The task of the committee is to identify a listing of top candidates who could be approached to enter the race. Inevitably, many Members have great interest in the challenge but their personal situation or busy employment schedules do not permit them to step forward. In the end, the committee identifies a minimum number of suitable candidates to propose for nomination. Any number of other candidates may be nominated at large by submitting the required form containing the supporting signatures of at least ten registered Members.

In doing so, the committee considers the requirement to have at least two geologists and one geophysicist on Council at all times. It also considers discipline, age, gender, employment, place of residence, personal achievements, experience and leadership abilities. In this way, the Nominating Committee hopes to offer candidates who will provide a well- balanced Council and as nearly representative of the entire membership as possible. This is important, because members of Council are not elected to represent either a discipline, a geographic area, a special interest group or particular issue. Rather, they are elected to represent the membership as a whole and to vote on the various issues placed before them in accordance with their own conscience and best judgment and in the best interests of the professions and the public we serve. Once elected, they are expected to come to the Council table with an open mind and prepared to weigh all the facts available to them before making a decision and voting.

It is for this reason, as well, that "election platforms" are not included with the information about candidates that is provided to Members. Naturally, candidates have personal views on many issues, but they are expected to remain open-minded rather than come to the table with preconceived opinions on various issues. Members are free to contact any candidate to determine his or her views on any subjects of interest to the voter, but the candidate should not be expected to take a firm and irreversible position prior to debating all the facts with Council colleagues.

Service of the professions on our elected Council is a privilege but it is also a large commitment of time and energy and, sometimes, money. Like any volunteer position, the return is the satisfaction of serving your profession and the public, and of making a real contribution to society. Members who have an interest in serving in this manner are encouraged to come forward and place their names on the ballot sheet so that APEGGA will continue to enjoy strong leadership as we challenge the interesting years ahead.

Neil Windsor, P.Eng., is APEGGA’s Executive Director and Registrar.





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