Council Responds to Tone, Length of Letters


APEGGA President

Have you noticed?

The Readers’ Forum section of The PEGG has been overflowing lately with thoughtful comment on a wide variety of issues. We have many more letters than we have space, so some of your letters haven’t made it to print.

You may also have noticed that some of the letters have been much longer than the 300-word limit suggested in the masthead on the Readers’ Forum page. This is partly the result of a Council decision.

When we first started receiving long and heated letters on inclusivity, we decided that the letters should be printed regardless of length, because we wanted to encourage comment and discussion. We wanted to ensure that all viewpoints were heard.

In addition, perhaps because we all care so much about our professions, some of the discussion in the Readers’ Forum has been less civil than usual, and this is an increasing cause for concern.

I have contributed to this situation, and I apologize for doing so. When some letters appeared that contained misinformation, I asked our executive director to respond directly and ensure that the facts were fairly presented. Some of his responses had to deal with personal attacks on him and his staff, and tensions and invectives escalated.

This was certainly not the intended result. The PEGG is a professional publication, and everyone – members, letter writers, volunteers and staff members – deserves to be to be treated with dignity and respect. I should not have put the executive director in that position.

Council has met and discussed the issue at length. We have agreed that it was inappropriate to involve the executive director in responses to the Readers’ Forum, and that will cease. We have asked The PEGG editor to be more diligent in applying the editorial policy that is summarized in the masthead of the Readers’ Forum. We have also asked that our independent editorial board become more involved in advising the editor on the appropriate treatment of controversial matters.

We intend this to distance Council and staff from moderation of the Readers’ Forum, and so continue to encourage open and frank discussion of issues.

Online Forum Kicks Off
We have established and will soon launch an online members’ forum to provide another vehicle for open discussion, and we hope that you will take the time to be involved in that as well. Part of that forum will be the Question of the Month, which should provide the opportunity for valuable dialogue and insight for Council on the views of members.

One continuing issue that has been underlying many of the comments in Readers’ Forum is the question of the roles of Council, staff and the executive director. It is clearly Council’s role to govern the Association. That is established in legislation, and is what we are elected by our members to do.

Some time ago (at least 10 years past) Council established a task force to examine APEGGA’s governance model. Council of the day agreed to adopt a modified Carver governance model, and that model continues to be in force today.

Council acts as a governing board, not a management board. Council restricts itself to policy issues, and delegates implementation to staff. Policy issues will normally include strategic planning, defining expected results and priorities, and placing limitations on the means to be used to achieve those results.

Council is accountable to our members and to the Alberta Government for APEGGA’s overall performance.

The executive director is Council’s single link to APEGGA staff. With the support of his staff, he is responsible for the implementation of policies and for the ongoing operation of the Association. He is authorized to establish subsidiary policies, make decisions, take actions and develop activities within the limits set by Council.

As the most senior employee of our Association, he is often called upon to represent APEGGA and speak on APEGGA’s behalf, and he does so with the support of Council.

Inclusivity Update
Before I conclude, I want to provide a bit of an update on inclusivity. Council has established two working groups to deal with revisiting the concept. One group is working with some members of the Board of Examiners to address potential implementation issues. The second group is reviewing and clarifying the case for change, and will be bringing the matter to the membership for consultation later this year.

Please take the time to comment either directly to me, or through one of our forums. You can e-mail me at, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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