Members, Stakeholders, and friends: The WAR board members sat down and met several times over the past few weeks to create a proposal to update and revise our bylaws.
Bylaws are a “big thing”. They, along with policy documents, determine how an organization is governed. It spells out how the organization is to operate. It’s important enough that it requires a larger majority and two separate votes to make a change. Yes, it’s that big.
And it was time to change them.
The bylaws were created many, many years ago and amended several times. Much of the language was convoluted and old. There were things that weren’t very clear. We wanted to clean that up.
At the same time, we felt it was a good time to look at how our organization is structured. We looked at several similar organizations to see what they were doing. We took that information and compared it to what we were doing, and saw some problems.
First off, the “board” was just a few officers, elected every year. It was possible that the entire group of leaders would change every year, or that we’d get a nomination for one position, but not another. That makes it pretty hard to keep any kind of momentum or consistency going. We decided to fix that by moving to staggered two-year terms, meaning that only half the board changes every year. Second, there should be more and better representation on the board. To that end, we proposed not only expanding the number of board members but also adding representatives to the board from each geographical area. Let’s face it, we’re a big spread-out state. Naturally, the odds favor more people being able to get involved from the more populous parts of the state, which “stacks the deck” a bit. On
the same token, if we “forced” the board to consist of members from certain regions, it could result in open positions if nobody was willing to volunteer from an area, or perhaps someone is elected who isn’t an ideal candidate just to fill the position. Doing it this way allows for anyone who wants to
participate to be able, and we’ll have representation from around the state.
The second major change is how the officers are elected. Right now, the membership votes for the Chairman, Vice Chair, etc. We propose to have the membership vote for the Directors of the board, then let the board appoint the officers (positions of President, Vice President, etc) from within the
board members. This allows for the board to fill vacancies (if the President or Vice President step down for example) or allows for an officer to perhaps step down from an officer position but remain on the board. All of our neighboring associations operate this way, and we feel that it offers quite a bit of flexibility.
Another proposed change is with voting. We want everyone who is entitled to vote to do so. We updated the language to allow for proxy voting via representative, postal mail, or even electronic means. We also opened the door for the possibility of holding meetings via the internet so that you
won’t need to travel to participate.
The goal here is to allow as many people to participate in as many ways as possible. I feel that this gets us much closer to that.
The changes will have to happen in two steps: First, the members need to approve the changes with a simple majority at the upcoming annual meeting. We then need to publish the changes (which we’re doing now) and have a second meeting later in the year where 2/3rd’s of the members present need to approve them.
Please take the time to read the proposed changes. They are important. If there is something that you don’t understand, please feel free to contact me for clarification. We spent a lot of time debating these changes, so I am intimately familiar with them.
And please, participate. This is your organization, and it’s important to everyone that it remains healthy and vibrant. It’s my hope that the proposed bylaw and policy changes help facilitate that in future.
And, as always, contact me anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
73 and Happy Holidays!