Bylaws FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)?

Regarding 2011 Bylaws Compliance & Related Topics

Below are common questions posed by ASLTA membership regarding the Association’s leadership ensuring full compliance with its Bylaws. This document will be expanded on an ongoing basis. Members are invited to send questions or concerns to David Martin, Member-at-Large (email:

Why are the 2011 Bylaws being followed, rather than ones approved in 2013, 2015, or 2017?

The 2011 Bylaws stand because that is the most recent version of the Bylaws that followed the process for amending the Bylaws as outlined in Article X:

The Bylaws of the Association shall be amended or revised only by mail or email ballot to all voting members in good standing with a ⅔ affirmative vote and a majority of eligible votes cast.

The 2011 Bylaws are the most recent version of the Bylaws that has documentation showing this process was followed. Thus, ASLTA is obligated to be in compliance with this specific Bylaws. The Board does not have the authority to make amendments without following the proper procedures in place which require ⅔ affirmative vote either by email or mail.

The 2011 Bylaws have been posted on the ASLTA website for all to read. Here is a link:

What happens to the Bylaws changes approved by membership in 2013, 2015, and 2017?

Since Bylaws changes in 2013, 2015, and 2017 did not follow the process outlined in Article X, amendments and changes in those years since 2011 are null and void. Even though members reviewed proposed Bylaws amendments at ASLTA conferences, those changes are not allowed because the only way for Bylaws to be changed is by mail or email ballot, rather than by voting in person at a conference.

How did the Board learn that the 2011 Bylaws should be followed?

The Board hired a nationally certified Parliamentarian who reviewed all of ASLTA’s Bylaws since 2009, all changes since 2009, documents related to those Bylaws, correspondence from those years, and other documentation.

Documentation from 2011 was clear that the proper procedures were followed:

  1.  In 2011, members were sent a copy of the 2009 Bylaws;
  2.  Suggested Bylaws amendments were published in the ASLTA newsletter and sent to every ASLTA member;
  3. Members were invited to submit questions, comments, or modifications to the proposed Bylaws changes;
  4. Members voted via SurveyMonkey more than 30 days after the proposed Bylaws changes were published in the newsletter;
  5. Voting results were saved, showing a ⅔ majority approving the Bylaws changes;

Who was the Parliamentarian who reviewed the documents?

The Board hired Ms. Wanda Sims, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, certified by the National Association of Parliamentarians. Information about Wanda Sims, PRP:

Why did the Board hire a hearing Parliamentarian?

The Board felt it was important to secure the services of a certified Parliamentarian to address the many questions about Bylaws, the pilot infrastructure approved at the 2017 conference in Salt Lake City, and help determine the proper course of action for the Association. Working with an impartial, nationally certified Parliamentarian was a high priority, to avoid potential misunderstandings or misinterpretations of Parliamentary procedure. Unfortunately, as of March 18, 2018, there is not a single Deaf Parliamentarian with current certification through the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). Therefore, the Board decided to work with Ms. Wanda Sims, PRP.

Can ASLTA members read the transcript from the March 18, 2018 meeting between the Board and certified Parliamentarian?

Absolutely yes! Please click this link to read a copy of the transcript: Parliamentarian Transcript

Who is currently serving on the ASLTA Board of Directors?

  • President: Janice Smith-Warshaw
  • Vice President: vacant
  • Secretary: Jason E. Zinza
  • Treasurer: vacant
  • Professional Development Chair: vacant
  • Member-at-Large: David Martin
  • Chapter Affiliation Chair: Beatrice Pfaff

Standing Committees:

  • Evaluation Chair: Amy June Rowley
  • ASL Honor Society: Lisa Godfrey

If you are interested in serving in one of the vacant positions, please submit a letter of interest to President Smith-Warshaw (

Is the current Board legitimate, according to the Bylaws and Parliamentarian?

Yes. The Parliamentarian is very clear on this matter.

If the 2013, 2015, and 2017 Bylaws are null and void does that mean every decision made by the Board is also null and void?

Bylaws amendments made between 2013 and 2017 are null and void. If Board decisions were made in compliance with their obligation to serve the best interests of the Association, then that action stands.

Examples of actions that were not in compliance with 2011 Bylaws include:

  • Changing certification requirements for a position.
  • Adding a Board position rather than appointing a standing committee.

Examples of actions that were in compliance with 2011 Bylaws include:

  • Revisions to the certification system (since that is the responsibility of the Evaluation Committee).
  • Deciding to join the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) as an organizational member (to support ASLTA’s mission in serving the needs of those learning ASL as a heritage language).

Why are there two (2) non-certified Board members serving on the Board?

The Parliamentarian acknowledged that the non-certified Board members are not in compliance with the 2011 Bylaws. However, removing them immediately would seriously impair the ability for ASLTA to function. Keeping the Association functioning takes precedence in the short-term. The Parliamentarian recommended that the two non-certified Board members remain in the positions of Chapter Affiliation Chair and Member-at-Large for the time being.

The Board will invite applications from ASLTA members that are certified and have an interest in serving in those two positions as well as the three vacant positions in the near future. If the Board does not receive qualified nominations, then the existing Board members will stay in place. The current non-certified Board members will be allowed to submit their names for consideration if they become certified before the positions are filled.

How did ASLTA lose its way?

This is not clear. However, documents from Glenna Ashton and Larry Forestal’s presidencies show that Bylaws were being followed. After President Forestal passed away, the Board shake up led to very high turnover in leadership positions on the Board for several years and continued due to death or resignations. This has had an impact on the transfer of knowledge of proper procedures and the experience needed to ensure the Association follows its Bylaws correctly.

Many of the changes made between 2013 – 2017 were specific to making Board positions more friendly and accessible for non-certified and diverse members or strengthening the Association by adding new positions to meet evolving needs.

Why did three people of color Board members resign? What is ASLTA’s stance on issues of diversity?

In early March 2018, three Board members resigned from the Board. Each was a person of color who was highly valued by fellow Board members and the ASLTA membership. Given ASLTA’s weak diversity among membership and especially among those serving on the Board, having three people of color serving simultaneously was something all members could be proud of. Each person’s resignation was entirely their personal decision and may have been influenced by not being ASLTA certified and knowing the Bylaws require Board members to have proper ASLTA certification in order to serve. If the Board had followed the Bylaws amendment process in 2013, 2015, and 2017, then these three individuals would not have been put in the situation of having to resign. Each resignation letter reflected a variety of reasons for resigning, ranging from personal conflict of interests to Bylaws compliance issues.

The Board wants the Association and community members to be assured that ASLTA is committed to diversity and inclusion. ASLTA’s efforts to improve diversity within the Association has included hosting a panel of people of color sharing their perspectives to membership, hiring keynote speakers who are people of color, and awarding scholarship funds to encourage more people of color to attend the national conference. These efforts will continue into the future in order to develop the Association to reflect the diversity seen in the community.

Do Board members receive training on how to serve their position? What about training on ASLTA Bylaws?

Some positions receive more training than others. For instance, positions that were passed on to a successor tend to be trained by the departing Board member. Other positions that are vacant means the incoming Board member receives less direct training.

When a new position is developed, such as the Heritage Language position created at the 2017 conference, basic guidelines are established. It was expected that the position’s responsibility would be further developed over time and revised as needed to best serve membership.

It is unknown whether Board members received training on ASLTA Bylaws in the past. It is known though that there has been no formal training on ASLTA Bylaws for several years. There is a clear need for all Board members serving the Association to have training on Bylaws moving forward.

How can members help the current Board Team move forward? How can members be more involved with ASLTA?

Members can be involved and helpful by:

  • Maintain ASLTA membership in good standing.
  • Pursue ASLTA certification (either Certified or Master-level certification).
  • Get involved with the Board as an officer or serve on standing and/or ad hoc committees.
  • Ask for clarification or set up a meeting with Board members before posting rumors, accusations, or other allegations on social media.
  • Be positive and provide feedback to the current Board team.
  • Get involved in helping run your Association.
  • Become aware of the necessary processes governing Bylaws amendments and revisions.
  • Understand the processes governing how the vacant Board positions will be filled.
  • Attend and participate in local ASLTA chapters (or form a new chapter in your area).
  • Support and attend regional ASLTA conferences.
  • Share your expertise with Board members via email and personal contact.
  • Get involved at the local or regional level (see below for contact information).
  • Recognize that serving on the Board is voluntary, requires a tremendous amount of time and personal sacrifice, and can be overwhelming. Recognize that each Board member is doing their best for ASLTA.

The following individuals are serving as ASLTA’s regional representatives:

  • Region 1 (East) – Brenda Schertz (
  • Region 2 (Midwest) – Bryan Bowen & Maura Hencker (
  • Region 3 (South) – Bo Clements (
  • Region 4 (West) – Barbara Hayes (

While the current issue facing the Board is Bylaws compliance, there is a clear history of targeting people in positions of responsibility on the Board. Often, this targeting stems from personal issues against the Board member in question, rather than from professional objections related to that member’s performance serving the Association. When one or more Board members are personally targeted, it affects the Association by distracting the Board from fulfilling its obligations to serve all ASLTA members.

Is the 2019 National Professional Development Conference being held in San Diego, California, June 30 – July 3, 2019 still on?

YES. Conference Chair Kristine Hall and the conference planning committee are hard at work preparing for the 2019 National Professional Development Conference. They have the full support of the Board, and the Board is committed to ensuring a successful conference for members. The Board and conference planning committee both need to be able to focus energies on the conference by getting ASLTA back on track regarding Bylaws compliance.

To stay updated with 2019 conference news, visit:

What’s Next?

The certified Parliamentarian recommends that the Board assign two Board members to work closely with the Bylaws committee to make amendment proposals following the proper Bylaws amendment process. These changes will allow the Association to function and continue to work. Members will be invited to submit Bylaws amendments. Changes and proposals will be sent to members to vote on and decide whether each should be enacted. If ⅔ of all members who vote are in favor of the amendments, then the Bylaws changes would go into effect immediately.

The Bylaws committee will be reconvened to focus on Bylaws amendments and collecting Bylaws recommendations from the Board and ASLTA members, and will conduct an electronic vote about the proposed amendments, in compliance with the 2011 Bylaws procedures.