IEEE and ComSoc Governance
The IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) Governance Standing Committee is responsible for all matters related to society governance, including but not limited to: reviewing any proposed amendment to society governance documents (i.e., Constitution, Bylaws, Policies and Procedures) prior to its discussion in the Board of Governors; crafting amendments to Society governance documents that result from actions of the Board of Governors; establishing Society-wide governance best practices and overseeing their application across all Councils, Boards, and Committees; upon request or when needed, proposing changes to existing Society governance documents with the goal of keeping them current and consistent; and serving as an interpretive committee on governance issues. In this issue of the President’s Page, I am pleased to introduce Roberto de Marca, the Chair of the Governance Standing Committee for 2022–2023, to share with you the details.
Roberto de Marca (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an IEEE Life Fellow and started his volunteer contributions to ComSoc in 1985. He was the 2000–2001 ComSoc President. He then served IEEE at the corporate level, where he held several leadership positions, serving as IEEE Division III Director, IEEE Secretary, and IEEE Vice President for Technical Activities. In 2014, he was IEEE President and CEO. He is a member of both the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He is also a Commander in Brazil´s National Order of Scientific Merit. He served in Brazil´s National Council for Science and Technology, chaired by the President of the country. Presently, he is a member of the Corporate Board of the CPqD Foundation and the Scientific Committee of Brazil´s National Laboratory for Scientific Computing.
IEEE is a multicultural transnational organization with over 380,000 members located in close to 160 countries. Thanks to a partnership between volunteers and paid staff, IEEE is recognized worldwide as a fair, inclusive, and ethical organization. These principles allow it to offer highly regarded publications, conferences, standards, and recognitions. Decisions by certain IEEE assemblies (e.g., the Awards Selection and Fellow Elevation Committees) may affect members’ professional standing and compensation. Therefore, IEEE’s organizational integrity is as crucial to its reputation as the products and services it provides. IEEE established and maintains its integrity via a governance structure that supports its operations and guides its members.
IEEE is incorporated in New York State, United States, and must follow New York’s non-profit law. ComSoc legislation and operations must be in compliance with both New York State law and IEEE’s governing documents. ComSoc follows the same principles by which IEEE and all its Organizational Units (including ComSoc) are governed.
Additionally, ComSoc has three primary governing documents (in order of authority): the Constitution, Bylaws, and Policies & Procedures, respectively. All governing documents are “living,” and amendments cannot be made without approval, as defined in the documents. Similar to the parent organization, revisions to the ComSoc Bylaws require approval by the Board of Governors by a 2/3 majority. Amendments to the ComSoc Constitution require approval by the Society membership and can only be initiated after a motion to the Board of Governors is approved, also by majority.
ComSoc leaders, particularly its highest-ranking assembly, the Board of Governors, must apply these governing documents to manage the Society. The assembly trusted, in the Bylaws, to facilitate the review and interpretation of these documents is ComSoc’s Governance Committee (GovCom). GovCom is a standing committee of the Society and reports to the Board of Governors. The roster, mission, and responsibilities of GovCom are specified in ComSoc’s governing documents, giving a broad and important mandate to the Committee: to ensure clarity, consistency, and legal compliance in all matters. For example, GovCom is required to review, in advance, the text of all the motions that are submitted to the Board of Governors proposing changes in governing documents.
GovCom ensures that ComSoc operates with governance best practices. Best practices include, but are not limited to, meeting protocols, record keeping, and succession planning. The Society’s governance must follow due process with confidentiality or transparency, as required.
Finally, good governance guarantees that ComSoc business is conducted with congeniality and professional behavior. As the GovCom Chair, Roberto de Marca leads the committee pursuing and implementing these principles. If you have any questions or comments regarding the Society governance, please feel free to contact him. Thank you.