The CDA House of Delegates (HOD) is the policy-setting body of CDA, representing all members of the association. The HOD meets annually to set strategic direction on matters of dental policy and practice, act on recommended bylaws changes, elect officers of the association, and establish membership dues.
The Santa Clara County Dental Society (SCCDS) sends a delegation of 14 members to the CDA HOD each year about November. The number of delegates sent to the HOD from each component society is allotted by the total number of members in the respective society. SCCDS is the fourth largest component of 32 components in the CDA. This year, the HOD consisted of 209 voting members.
SCCDS also elects two Trustees to the CDA who represent us on the Board of Trustees. These trustees participate in the HOD, but do not vote. Delegates possess the right to vote, and they are charged to speak to policy issues that are presented to the HOD in the form of resolutions. Standard resolutions require a majority vote, and those resolutions pertaining to by-laws changes require a two-thirds vote.
These resolutions are like bills in a legislature or a house of Congress. Resolutions pertaining to association policy are adopted, defeated or referred to the appropriate staff department or CDA Council. Adopted policy involves a cost analysis as a change in association policy will affect the budgeting of the CDA. Reports from task forces can be delivered to the HOD in the form of a resolution, and if accepted, they are filed and sent to staff for further study.
Elections also take place at the HOD. The nominating committee for the CDA officers is the Trustees (excluding the executive committee). President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, and Speaker of the House are the officers elected by the HOD. The President ascends automatically from President-Elect. This year, the Speaker of the House nominee from the Trustees was contested by a member-candidate. The election took place on the floor of the HOD. Most often, the nominees from the Trustees are simply ratified by a majority vote of the HOD.
The SCCDS delegation is chaired by the President, and it was my privilege to do so this year! I appointed a Lead Delegate (Dr. Robert Shorey) and I also appointed an ad-hoc committee on HOD Development, chaired by Drs. Shorey and Tieu. Our delegation developed four resolutions for submission to the HOD, with one developed by our member Dr. Monica Wu.
After a reference committee accepts testimony on all of the resolutions from the delegates, members, staff and any outside experts, we have a scheduled caucus section where we meet as a delegation to review the reference committee recommendations. We discuss the resolutions and poll our delegates for their opinions. We have traditionally not voted as a “block” and we expect each delegate to make an educated vote based upon the facts.
Our resolutions were well received by the HOD and a resolution on nutrition education was adopted. We expect our other resolutions to be reintroduced at future HODs, or we hope the policy concepts will be reworked and presented again to the HOD in a similar form.
Our delegation has always used this experience to build camaraderie amongst our members, and we look forward to networking with the delegates from the other component societies, component executive directors, CDA staff, CDA officers, subsidiary officers, specialty organization leaders, and other VIPs.
Ned L. Nix, DDS, MA