Our Union is not a stagnant organization. Membership needs, political realities and changes to membership services must be developed and redefined on an ongoing basis to allow our union to remain viable, effective and responsive to membership needs.
The Convention is the medium which enables members to examine the organization thoroughly. It is the time to seek an accounting from the elected officers and to elect or re-elect officers and establish guidelines and policies that will apply between conventions. It is a time to scrutinize, discuss, debate, decide and propose changes, where warranted.
To achieve its designated objectives our Union must remain accountable and responsive to its members. Obviously, provision must be made for day-to-day operations to proceed uninterrupted and this is done at convention. It is the regularly-scheduled convention that provides the forum for the representatives (delegates) of the union members to determine policies and procedures and establish budgetary controls. A convention is democracy at work.
Union of Taxation Employees By-Laws direct for a convention to be held every three years. This convention is the supreme governing body of the Union. Our By-Laws also state that the Executive Council shall be vested with the authority to deal with all matters affecting the business of the Union between conventions.
Conventions are conducted in a parliamentary-like manner, with business being dealt with in the sequence outlined in the convention agenda. The PSAC Rules of Order are used to orderly and efficiently deal with the conduct of business and the debate of resolutions presented to the convention.
The convention agenda not only sets the hours of sittings, but also specifies when certain matters must be attended to (i.e., the election of officers or submission of specific committee reports). A convention day usually consists of two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Evening sessions, although rare, may be added to the agenda, depending on the business before the convention assembly. The budget must be established at convention and must be adopted at convention. Otherwise, the Union will not be able to operate without the financial means to do so. Other matters are presented to the convention body usually by way of priorities with which the convention dispatches the business placed before it.
Prior to the commencement of each session, the Credentials Committee selected by the National President, reports on the number of registered delegates, observers and guests in attendance. These numbers are important to the planning and organization of the convention. The number of registered delegates is especially important as it determines the number of eligible voters and to determine the majority of votes required for the passage of resolutions and other matters voted on.
It is possible that there may be guest speakers on various subjects interspersed throughout the general sessions; if so, the agenda will so state.
Once the gavel descends and convention Call-to-Order is announced, the first order of business consists of the report of the Credentials Committee and, after its adoption, the Rules of Order are placed before the convention for consideration and adoption. Other administrative matters are also dealt with that at this time.
This is followed by the address of the National President who, incidentally, is also the convention Chairperson. This address is usually in the nature of a report on the stewardship of his/her office and the governing body (the Executive Council) between conventions. Once this has been completed, the convention settles down to the task of considering all the resolutions and other matters submitted to it.
The convention continues in this matter and regional elections are held at a specified period during the week. Elections for the National President and two National Vice-Presidents are usually held on the last day of convention.
The convention ends upon the pre-set hour of adjournment or upon a motion to adjourn, duly seconded and passed by the majority of delegates who vote.