Want to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at PORAC? We’re turning the spotlight on each of the specialized committees that are working hard to serve our members. This month, we focus on the Bylaw Committee.
As PORAC constantly evolves and strives to fulfill the needs of its members and affiliates, so must its Bylaws and Standing Rules, which serve as the fundamental governing documents of the organization. Thus, the Bylaw Committee serves a crucial role within the organization, from assessing and recommending over a dozen proposed amendments each year to drafting analysis of the potential impact of each proposed modification.
“As law enforcement officers representing law enforcement officers, the members of the Bylaw Committee feel a sense of duty to PORAC and all its members,” says Corporate Counsel Bob Bonsall, who advises the Bylaw Committee. “As the backbone of the organization, the Bylaws and Standing Rules provide PORAC with strength based on shared and accepted principles, rules and procedures. At the same time, these are living documents that must serve the current needs of PORAC and its affiliates. This delicate balance, of preserving stability while enabling change through the democratic wishes of the PORAC members, is protected by the Bylaw Committee.”
The committee includes PORAC Secretary Randy Beintema, who serves as chairman, and four representatives, one from each region. The group is tasked with reviewing the draft language of each of the proposed amendments and assessing the correct placement and integration of the amendments to make sure they fit within the current Bylaws and Standing Rules. As PORAC’s attorney, Bonsall works closely with the committee to ensure not only the internal consistency of the organization’s guiding documents but also the external legality of any proposed amendments.
The committee is also heavily involved in one of the biggest PORAC events of the year — the annual Conference of Members in November. At the conclusion of each event, the Bylaws Committee begins incorporating recently approved amendments to the existing Bylaws and Standing Rules. If needed, the group will also suggest provisions that would fit into the new member-approved documents.
The committee’s impact can also be felt within each of the 15 distinct chapters that make up PORAC. Bonsall draws an analogy between the framework of PORAC and how the U.S. government system operates. “The United States Constitution is the fundamental law of the land — however, each state has significant autonomy to establish its own set of laws that meet the needs of its citizens, provided that those laws do not conflict with the Constitution,” he says. “The structure of PORAC is quite similar. While there are numerous similarities between these chapters, undeniably there are also some differences. These differences are sometimes reflected in the differences in the bylaws of these chapters. The PORAC Bylaw Committee is tasked with reviewing each of the chapter bylaws to ensure they do not conflict or violate the PORAC Bylaws, Standing Rules and the fundamental principles of the organization.”
When it comes to measuring the success of the committee, Bonsall points to the stability and steady growth PORAC has seen throughout the years as key reasons why the committee has done such a great job. “The successes of the Bylaw Committee have primarily been driven by the integrity which each of its appointees have brought to their task,” he says. “By fulfilling the critical duties of the Bylaw Committee, members quietly protect and serve PORAC, its affiliated law enforcement associations and their members. The commitment and integrity of those serving in this capacity has always been a constant. PORAC and all its members have been the beneficiaries of their hard work and dedication.”
BYLAW COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Randy Beintema (chairman) – PORAC Secretary
Sean McKrell, Marin Co DSA – Region I
Tim Davis, Sacramento POA – Region II
Neil Gowing, Santa Barbara Co DSA – Region III
Edgar Hampton, Anaheim POA – Region IV