I love our organization.  I love that our membership cares about what the board does. I love that we truly are member-driven.  I love that members take the time to express their opinions.  Recently, I received an email from a member regarding the proposed bylaw change.  I want to publicly recognize and thank Lenny Dowhie for presenting his thoughts and opinions on the matter, and I want to share that view with the rest of the membership for personal consideration and reflection.  It is my hope that each and every member considers this proposed change carefully and that you all let your voice be heard.  Feel free to comment on this post, or the original bylaw change explanation post, and of course, be sure to VOTE HERE.  Polls close July 30


Vote No on the Bylaw Change

The founders of NCECA would be rolling over in their graves if they could see what has happened to their once “democratic” organization. Early on, the Board of Directors was a fluid group, where a “slate” of candidates were presented to the membership with plenty of time for individual members to consider challenging the “board” candidate and where “live” elections occurred during the last business meeting at the annual conference.  While no one won election from the “floor” until I did it in 1979, many good members have since challenged the board slate, won seats and served the organization well.

Democracy was alive and well in NCECA and NCECA continued to grow and flourish.

Fast forward through the past decade until now and what we find is a board that appears to think tinkering with a system that wasn’t broken is a good idea. While there is the “illusion” of democracy being promoted, (technically, the “membership” can suggest names for consideration) there is no assurance that a person who desires the opportunity to serve as a board member will ever be considered due to the manner in which people get selected or rejected. (The exact manner of selection, we, the membership, are not privy to.)  And, since the current board makes the assessment of whom they will put forth as a “nominee”, there is no way for an individual to challenge that and no way in which the membership can “reject” a board nominee. 

The current board rationale for making all the “Officers” appointed is flawed and illogical.  When two or more candidates are offered for a vote of course only one can win; however, the board seems to think this is bad, stating: “ A Strong candidate who is not elected is unlikely to seek board service in the future.”  HUH? So the board is worried about someone having “sour grapes” if they lose? If that really is their reason, then that person was a poor choice to begin with and the person the board “selected” might not be as good as the person for the board as they thought.

Additionally, the board states that “Your board’s rationale for this by-law change is that as NCECA becomes more sophisticated and complex, each position requires special knowledge, experience and certain skill sets.” Again, HUH?

Secretary and Treasurer are indeed important positions, however they haven’t become that much different than they were in the past. Bookkeeping is bookkeeping (although it would be interesting to know how much the staff now does of the Treasurer’s previous duties) and the Secretary is the keeper of the records and the rules of organizations; again, not rocket science and, as far as I know, doesn’t require a special degree.

 In my opinion, the board’s justifications are invalid and weak. Contrary to the assertion by the rationale, the person who wins in a general election obviously has a greater connection to the membership and indeed would serve as a more active voice on the board than a more narrowly selected individual. The change desired by the board takes ALL power of electing the “Officers of NCECA” out of the hands of the membership who are paying the costs and into the hands of a small group of individuals. History has shown closed or limited access to membership on a board of directors can make organizations ripe for inbreeding, personal agendas and potential corruption.

Perhaps a better amendment would be to remove the positions of Secretary and Treasurer from the category of “officers” and have the board make the extra effort to acquire GREATER membership involvement, not less.

Keep the elections process as it is and vote NO on the bylaw change

Respectfully Submitted

Lenny Dowhie

Past President, NCECA

Fellow to the Council

Professor Emeritus, USI