After talking with many members at the POA’s Annual Congress last month, I realized that a number of our members – including some who are fairly involved – don’t completely understand the organizational structure of our association. So, for those who don’t know, here is a brief explanation.
Within the structure of the POA, we have 14 local societies throughout the state, with an additional local society for students at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University. Each is an independent entity with its own by-laws, officers, treasury, and policies. We also have several affiliated organizations, including the Pennsylvania Paraoptometric Association (PPA), the Vision Conservation Institute (VCI) and the Pennsylvania Optometric Political Action Committee (POPAC).
The POA is ultimately governed by its members via the House of Delegates (HOD). The HOD normally meets once per year at our Annual Congress in the spring. When a vote is called for in the HOD, each local society (except the student society) has a voting strength based on the number of members in good standing within the society. In addition, the student society has one vote, the PCO representative has one vote, and all past POA presidents in attendance collectively have one vote. The HOD elects the POA Board of Directors (BOD), approves the budget, sets policy, and approves all expenditures from the reserve fund. Any member in good standing is eligible to attend the House of Delegates meeting and sit with the delegation from their local society.
The POA Board of Directors consists of eight elected officers: immediate past president, president, president-elect, secretary-treasurer, and four trustees. Each of these offices is a one-year term. Once a member is elected as president-elect, he or she will serve one year in that office, one year as president, and one year as immediate past-president, without additional election – he or she automatically assumes each office. The trustees and secretary-treasurer are up for re-election each year. Most members of the Board will serve four years as a trustee and one year as secretary-treasurer before being nominated and serving as president-elect.
Each member of the BOD has responsibility for one of the eight divisions of the volunteer structure, which is comprised of: Budget and Finance, Communications, Professional Services, State and National Affairs, Administration and Planning, Clinical Care, President, and Health Care. Each BOD officer is an optometrist and member of the association. They are volunteers, and are not compensated for their Board service. They are reimbursed for certain travel expenses. (e.g. Board meetings and, in the case of the president and president-elect, Optometry’s Meeting and President’s Council). The Nominating and Evaluating Committee nominates a slate of officers each year, based on their evaluation of the current Board and interviews with prospective Board members. Members may also be nominated from the floor at the HOD meeting after they have served as local society leaders and/or on POA committees.
The POA volunteer structure is extensive. Some committees involve multiple in-person meetings throughout the year in addition to regular email communication and individual committee assignments to complete by formal deadlines. Others involve much less time commitment and conduct most, or all, of their business via email or phone with flexible deadlines. Volunteers are unpaid for their time and work, typically not reimbursed for travel, and are appointed by the president.
The POA staff work from the association’s office in Harrisburg. They are responsible for completing the day-to-day tasks of running the association as directed by the Board and the HOD. They also assist the committees with certain tasks. The Board hires the executive director; he or she is responsible for the staff. Our current staff consists of:
Charlie Stuckey, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Education and Conferences
Joanne Cope, Joyce Tesoriero
(and part-time data entry staff)
Electronic Claims Service
Joyce Reiner, CAE (retired)
The POA also uses various paid consultants for certain tasks. These are generally contracted professionals, such as legal counsel, lobbyists, and investment advisers. Our current consultants are:
Greg Knight, Esq.
Ted Mowatt, Mike Long, Amy Long
Fischer Financial Services
Hopefully this overview gives you a better understanding of the POA structure.
Richard Christoph, O.D.