Bylaws of the ABA Recording Standards and Ethics Committee

A. Mission Statement and Purpose of the Committee

The Recording Standards and Ethics Committee (RSEC) shall establish and amend the rules and procedures for the submission to, and publication by, the American Birding Association (ABA), of bird life lists, Big Year Reports, Big Day Reports, and defined listing regions, and shall be responsible for the dissemination, utility, and respect of the ABA Code of Birding Ethics, and will address policy concerns regarding issues of birding ethics as they apply to the ABA.

B. Membership

The RSEC will consist of no fewer than five members. The ABA President shall be an ex-officio member of the RSEC but shall not have voting privileges. Committee members must be ABA members to be members of the RSEC. The RSEC may invite individuals to advise and participate in setting policies or executing duties. These individuals will not have voting privileges and may include members of the ABA staff. All committee members shall be knowledgeable birders, possessing diverse experience with other birders, listing and listers, the spectrum of birding situations, bird conservation, bird behavior, and shall be well-versed in the ethics necessary for proper observation of wildlife.

C. Nomination

  1. Potential members may be recommended for nomination to the committee by the ABA membership, by members of the committee, and/or by the Board.
  2. Nominees must be approved by a majority vote of the current voting members of the committee. If approved, a nomination will be forwarded to the ABA Chairperson for official appointment to the committee.
  3. Advisers to the RSEC will be selected by the Committee in consultation with the ABA Chairperson.

D. Terms

  1. Term lengths for members will be three years. Member terms will be staggered.
  2. Each member can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms, after which the member will be required to step down from the committee for at least two years before being a candidate for re-nomination to the committee. If for any reason a member starts serving on the committee during a partial term, that partial term will not count as a full term, and that person may serve two full three-year terms subsequent to the partial term.

E. Voting

RSEC decisions will be reached through the voting of all voting members. After an issue is presented to the RSEC Secretary (hereafter, “the Secretary”) and after the Secretary and the RSEC Chairperson together deem it sufficiently significant to the ABA membership that it requires a decision by the RSEC, a vote shall be called by the Secretary, typically following preliminary discussion by the Committee. The Secretary shall circulate the question or proposal to be voted upon, asking for votes of approval or denial. Amendments to the construct or wording of a voting issue may be suggested by any Committee member and are subject to the unanimous approval of both the RSEC Chairperson and the Secretary. An issue not deemed sufficiently significant for a vote shall be archived after the Secretary notifies the Committee that the issue will be archived.

The RSEC Chairperson and the Secretary may consult with advisory members and/or the voting members in deciding whether a presented issue requires an RSEC decision. Issues may be presented by anyone to the Secretary for consideration.

A decision will be after one to three rounds of voting. Votes shall be sent confidentially to the Secretary, who shall distribute them to the Committee after all votes have been submitted. If after the preliminary round of voting all voting members are unanimous in favor or against, then no more voting will be required, and an official decision will have been reached. If the voting is not unanimous in the first round, a second round of voting shall occur during which members may consider the varying opinions and then vote again. If unanimity is still not achieved in the second round, then a third round of voting shall be called for, after which a simple majority will decide the issue, and an official decision will have been reached.

Each round’s vote requires a voting member to state their position and their reasoning in succinct fashion. If their position is unchanged from a previous round, they may simply say as much.

F. Meeting and Reporting to the Membership

  1. The RSEC shall meet via teleconference call or via on-site meetings at any time determined by the RSEC Chairperson and the Secretary.
  2. All voting on any ABA recording standard or ethical principle will be summarized in detail and presented to the membership via an on-line communication through the ABA website. This communication will require approval by simple majority of the committee and must be presented no more than 60 days after a vote transpires. Approval of membership communications may take place electronically.
  3. Any voting on committee nominees will remain confidential to the members of the committee and to the ABA Chairperson.
  4. The RSEC will provide an annual summary report to the ABA Board due at the meeting of the ABA Board that precedes the Annual Meeting. The RSEC Chairperson or a Committee member selected by the RSEC Chairperson will be present at the annual meeting.

G. RSEC Chairperson

  1. The ABA Chairperson will appoint a Chairperson for the RSEC. This appointment will be done annually.
  2. At the end of the RSEC Chairperson’s term, the other RSEC members have the option of re-nominating the RSEC Chairperson for a consecutive term or nominating a new RSEC Chairperson. Prior to the RSEC Chairperson’s term ending, he/she will pass the committee’s recommendation to the ABA Chairperson for final approval.
  3. Duties of the RSEC Chairperson will include organizing and running the bi-monthly meetings, appointing the Secretary, insuring the timely presentation of RSEC summary decisions (as per F.2), writing or appointing a committee member to write the RSEC annual report that will be provided to the ABA Board due at the meeting of the ABA Board that precedes the Annual Meeting, and assisting the Secretary with his/her duties.

H. RSEC Secretary

  1. The RSEC Chairperson shall appoint the Secretary The Secretary must be a member of the ABA and must be a voting member of the RSEC.
  2. Duties of the Secretary will include taking and distributing minutes of the meetings, acting as the “point person” for communication from the membership to the RSEC, and assisting the RSEC Chairperson with his/her duties.

I. Member Removal

  1. If any member of the RSEC chooses to resign from the committee prior to the end of a term, they will be recommended to give a 30-day courtesy notice to the RSEC Chairperson.
  2. Members of the RSEC may be removed in accordance with the current bylaws of the ABA.