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Re: OT: NEEDS Breathing New Life Into An Old Club


On Jan 23, 2005, at 7:31 AM, Oneofcultivars@aol.com wrote:


Here again, it is unwise to use the AIS as a model. Those in power
appoint (rather than have the membership elect) a nominating committee. The size
of the committee so appointed is kept artificially small. It isn't capable of
selecting "candidates" that represent the broad interests the organization
purports to service.
Certainly it is. (see below)

Of course that begs the question of who can accurately know what the broad interests of the organization really are. Or infact there is ever a a set of broad interests that every member would agree with.


If memory serves, it also requires those so appointed to be
"in tune" or "of a like mind" with continuing what's been done in the past
when filling expiring terms.
Nonsense. There is no written document that specifies that, and no recent experience to justify that conclusion. It is in fact the antithesis of what has happened through the 3 recent presidential terms-including the current one.

Lets look at the way things are actually done (at least done now, I can't speak to the way things were done 10 years ago, nor is that important now)

The board appoints 5 members to the nominating committee. Two currently serving directors (not officers), two RVPs and one section representative. Generally one of the RVPs serves as chairperson.

That committee goes out to all the regions and sections asking for nomination candidates. The intent is to get as wide a variety and geographical dispersion as possible.

(Taking a moment to comment about having the general membership elect the boardaside from the low turnout for voting we would see, the members that would be elected would come from the most populous regions (14, 4, 15) and not truly represent the diversity of the AIS membership. Yes we could do something like one member from each region or something, but then that is not exactly an election by the membership.) The process we use works pretty well.

Back to the nominating committee: The committee selects a slate of 8 individuals to be voted on by the board. At the spring meeting this slate is presented to the board. At that time nominations will be accepted from the floor, and the person nominating the individual may present their reasons for making the nomination along with the nominees qualifications.

The board then votes on the slate and selects 4 individuals.

In the July issue of the AIS Bulletin, in the President's letter, the candidates are listed. That letter also states that additional candidates may be nominated by any 40 members no more than 15 of whom may be from any one region. These nominations must be made by Aug 31st of that year. IF any additional nominations are made a ballot listing all nominations will be mailed to all members by Sep 30th for voting. The ballots must be received by the AIS Secretary on the Election committee (if one is appointed) by Oct 29th. If there are no additional nominations, the ballot shall be omitted and the original nominees considered elected.

During the following year (Oct to Oct) if a member of the board of directors resigns, the President of the AIS appoints a replacement from the pool of the remaining 4 nominees. In fact, that is how I became a member of the board-and I can assure you that I was not "in tune" or "of a like mind" with the person I was replacing nor with a significant part of the board on many issues.

In my experience over the past 5 years, the appointments that have been made have been to diversify the representation on the board as well as providing the expertise the board needed to accomplish the goals of the society.


Nor is it possible for all regions to be represented
in the selection or election of the "candidates."
Perhaps not in a particular years candidate group, but directors terms of service are staggered and each year a different set of candidates are nominated. Yes at times the same person is nominated on consecutive years, but nominees come from all parts of the membership.

Reading between the lines,
positions of influence must be filled by those having special interests
consistent with the special interests of those in power.
I guess you can fill in the "inbetween lines" with what ever you want to see there, but your particular interpretation is not supported by reality - at least in the six years I have been on the board. The past beyond that is a different issue. I don't know from first hand experience but from what I gather prior times were far worse than even described by Bill. Today the board tries, pretty successfully, to get as wide a representation as possible.

In fact the board goes to great lengths to get a broad spectrum of experience and geographical distribution.


Ultimately, one region
and/or special interest group becomes over represented, gains power and directs
efforts in directions that satisfy that regions and/or groups interests. Secret
meetings are pretty common.
A totally unsuported claim. When I appointed to the Board it was to finish out a term of someone that resigned. I can guarantee that I was not of a like mind of the person I was replacing, nor of that of the rest of the board members. At the time there was an "executive committee" consisting of the officers. It was before the time of most of the board having email, and there were times that the board had to make decisions inbetween regular meetings and this committee made them.

The results of these (essentially) phone conference meetings were always made public at the next scheduled meeting. None the less, that kind of action was not permitted according to the AIS constitution and bylaws. When the majority of board members finally had email (about 2000) I complained (loudly) that everyone should be included in that process. After a bit of a fight, the executive committee was abandoned, and all members were included in the "electronic" decisions that were necessary inbetween meetings.

Once again the decisions made by email were confirmed at the next regular meeting because, among other things, deliberations and decisions of the AIS Board are required to be public.

To further keeping the Board actions as public as possible, at this last meeting the board ratified the proposal I made to have the email lists, to make it possible for anyone to comment to the board on a topic (just as is possible at the regular meetings) and to view all the messages sent to the list (by accessing the public archives of the messages).


The membership is rarely, if ever informed of
pending issues until after the fact.
It is no different for general members than for board members. Issues are brought up at the meetings and we take action. If there is an issue you are particularly interested contact he AIS Secretary and submit a request for an item to be on the agenda. If you want to know what issues are scheduled for a meeting I am sure you can get an agenda from the AIS Secretary. It is not feasible to publish the agenda in the bulletin, it would be far out of date by the time of the meeting.

AIS membership is kept secret. If source and
application of funds statements are produced they too are kept secret and the
financial statements (balance sheets) that are published are minimal: done is
such broad detail they might as well be kept secret.
Nonsense, AIS is a not-for-profit organization and is required to publish their finances.

The AIS appears to seek
aloofness and formality in the channels of communication it does acknowledge,
having input directed through RVPs (In my region this position is largely
ceremonial in nature). The net result is leadership facing rapid changes, adapting
at a snails pace to events if at all, pursuing its own agenda, spending where
it wants, for pet projects if it chooses, rather than those espoused by
members.
So much blather. I don't know of a single board member that would not willingly and openly discuss any issue with a member, and if it has merit, bring it before the board. Additionally you can always come to a meeting yourself and present an issue.

The net result is empowerment and continuation of leaders that are
insulated from the membership and for practical purposes cannot be changed.
I can tell you from personal experience that I have great success in some specific changes in the direction of the board, and I have had a lot of support of much of the membership. If you don't those directions are where the membership wants to go, I hope you can get those members to contact me.

Don't you feel empathy for that Tom Gormley guy, AIS membership
chairman? His compatriot's actions are as if membership is his job alone, not their
responsibility at all. And they should be asking him, how will this affect
membership if we do it? How might it be changed to improve or aid efforts to
attract and retain members? Every decision made by any compatriot affects
membership and/or the serviceing of its needs. Each decision a compatriot makes should
be examined in terms of how it affects membership ... else the real assets,
people, decline.
Wrong again. We very carefully evaluate what effects our actions have on the Membership Secretary, and as best we can how it affects the membership.


John | "There be dragons here"
| Annotation used by ancient cartographers
| to indicate the edge of the known world.

List owner iris@hort.net and iris-photos@yahoogroups.com
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John | "There be dragons here"
| Annotation used by ancient cartographers
| to indicate the edge of the known world.

List owner iris@hort.net and iris-photos@yahoogroups.com
________________________________________________
USDA zone 8/9 (coastal, bay)
Fremont, California, USA
Director, American Iris Society
Chairman, AIS Committee for Electronic Member Services

Online Iris Checklists at: http://www.irisregister.com

Subscribe to iris@hort.net by sending:
Subscribe iris
To: majordomo@hort.net
Archives at: http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/

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