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PDGA Board Approves Updated Bylaws

Friday, May 17, 2024 - 20:27

On May 16, 2024, the Global Board of Directors of the Professional Disc Golf Association voted to approve a full re-write and modernization of the Bylaws of the Professional Disc Golf Association, the largest such change since the bylaws were initially approved two decades ago. The bylaws are a crucial governing document that explains the organization's purposes and structure. What must and what may or may not be contained in a nonprofit's bylaws is a matter of state law: in this case, the state of Colorado, where the PDGA is incorporated. The revised bylaws are part of a larger project by PDGA staff to ensure the documents and procedures of the organization are up-to-date and fit for purpose.

Probably the most immediately noticeable change is that the bylaws are easier to read. Archaic or legalistic language and needlessly complex sentences have been simplified, and long paragraphs have been broken out into outline format. "The bylaws are a legal document, but that doesn't mean they need to be written in legalese," said Director of Policy & Compliance Mike Sullivan. "Making them easier to read, cite, and understand benefits everyone."

Once members delve into the content, they'll notice a much bigger change: directors and officers are no longer the same people. The PDGA used to be small enough that the people who were elected to the Board performed day-to-day tasks that now are handled by the staff. With the growth of disc golf and the resulting growth of the PDGA, the officer roles are now more properly performed by paid professional staff. The two officer positions are now the Executive Director, currently Doug Bjerkaas, and the Deputy Executive Director, currently Mike Downes. Officers are hired by and report to the Board of Directors. The Board still chooses a President and Vice-President of the Board (currently Nate Heinold and Wilbur Wallis), but they are no longer officers in the legal sense.

The modernized document also makes the structure of the PDGA clearer. The Board of Directors' mission is now described as "strategic planning; oversight of the Corporation’s budget and operations; and hiring and evaluating of the Corporation’s Executive Director." For the first time, the duties of the Executive Director are enshrined in the bylaws so that members can better understand that role. "Put simply, the Board does high-level strategy - where do we want to be in five years? - and the Executive Director manages the staff, who do the day-to-day work to get us there," explained Executive Director Doug Bjerkaas. "The staff report to the Executive Director, the Executive Director reports to the Board, and the Board reports to the membership."

The revised bylaws went into effect immediately.