Dear NCECA Members,

As an institution, we have an important proposed amendment of our by-laws before our membership. We have a voting deadline of this Friday, July 30, and I am writing to encourage every member to log on to the website and vote your conscience with a full understanding of why the amendment was proposed.  If you are unsure of how to vote with the electronic system, take a look at the 45 second video below:

The amendment proposed and adopted by the board as a positive change to allow all officers (Treasurer in the coming year) to be appointed as the President-Elect is now.  The Directors at Large (3) and the Student Directors at Large (2) would continue to run for office, making an informational video about themselves, and acquaint all members to make an informed choice whether or not they attend the conference.  The membership in its entirety can vote electronically.

The by-law change would allow nominations from the full membership to be considered by the Nominations Committee, which is separate and distinct from the Executive Committee. The Nominations Committee consists of the immediate Past-President (chair), the President-Elect, one Director-at-Large, one Student Director-at-Large, one Honor or Fellow, and one member-at- large. It is a reflection of NCECA. This Nominations Committee will discuss with candidates the scope of the job, consider their experience and willingness to serve, and finally propose a candidate to the board. A 2/3 or greater majority of the board would be required for approval.

What is important to remember is that we are ALL members of NCECA, and that board members rotate off and on through support of the membership. Aside from being elected or appointed, we all have NCECA’s best interests at heart. No one is paid to be a board member, and in fact all board members are requested to make a “sacrificial” contributed financial gift in addition to being away from studios, families and classrooms to serve.

Recently there were shared viewpoints opposed to the proposed NCECA bylaws amendment; the implication was that a board appointed treasurer, rather than an elected one, would corrupt electoral process and be detrimental to our mission. Some of those viewpoints were based on inaccuracies.

First, the primary role of the Treasurer, whether appointed or elected, is oversight of the council’s finances and their appropriate use towards NCECA’s mission.  It is far more common for a Treasurer to be appointed through processes within the scope of any 501 c-3 nonprofit arts board than to stand for popular election, in part for this reason. Organizations want the best-qualified person for the role, which is not always the same as the one that gets the most votes in an election. Furthermore, almost all arts nonprofits use the nominating committee to identify and “vet” candidates, and put the most qualified of willing volunteers forward for board approval.

In today’s NCECA, there are systems for controlling the possible inappropriate use of council funds. Each year, the Board of Directors reviews and approves an annual budget. The Executive Director and Bookkeeper/Accountant are charged with managing this budget. In the event that necessary expenditures appear to diverge from the approved budget, the Executive Director brings these to the attention of the Executive Committee and the full board may be asked to vote on a budget variance.

In this model, NCECA’s Treasurer does not have direct access to a bank account, nor does NCECA conduct its business through cash transactions. The Bookkeeper/Accountant cuts checks based on the budget and verifiable invoices that must be approved by the Executive Director. The Executive Director is required to inform the President and the Treasurer when individual payments in excess of $6000 are made to any single vendor.

The Bookkeeper/Accountant is a hired position requiring very specific qualifications. She has far more responsibility for cash handling and transactions than the Treasurer, however she does not use the council’s funds without approval from senior staff, and when required. specific board members.  Additionally, NCECA undergoes an annual external audit that verifies its financial condition and procedures according to standards of best nonprofit fiscal practices.

NCECA’s Board Treasurer provides oversight of our organization’s financial position and advises about possible future risks, opportunities and strategies. The Treasurer actively participates in a periodic meeting of the NCECA Finance and Executive Committee to review the performance of investments and reconciled quarterly financial statements. Collectively, these systems of operations, review and advisement are not under the control of any lone member of NCECA’s Board of Directors. In summation, NCECA’s Board put forward this amendment because we believe it is in the best interests of our organization and its members. The screening/interview process is more likely to arrive at these qualifications than a popular vote. Please do vote, and vote before Friday. Thanks so much.  Once again, here’s that video on how to vote: