Convention delegates will vote on bylaws change
By Nancy Stellhorn
Chair, Bylaws Committee
The AAUW Ohio Board has voted to accept a bylaws revision, as proposed by the Bylaws Committee, to eliminate the office of president elect beginning in 2015. Other changes, for the most part, are simply a reordering that follows the same numbering as national’s 2011 Bylaws. Delegates will vote on the proposed bylaws at AAUW Ohio Equity Day & Convention 2013.
In reading through our Bylaws and national’s, side by side, the Committee found a few missing items such as terms of office but no large changes, until we began to revise the language for the office of president elect. We then realized that having an office of president elect actually discourages a president from seeking a second term.
Here’s how it works:
Because nominations for president elect must be submitted by Dec. 1 of the president’s first term, she has barely been in office for five months. This is her first time through her duties and she most likely is still feeling her way, learning her deadlines, and wondering how to bring together her board and the convention organizers and conveners. Her thoughts probably are not on running for a second term.
It seems more reasonable and just to allow the president the same amount of time as other officers before deciding if she wants to run for a second term, namely an entire year and 5 months. But by then, our current Bylaws state that the president elect automatically succeeds to the office of president.
In April 2013, we would elect a new president elect as planned and she would succeed to the office of president in 2014. Thereafter, AAUW Ohio will no longer elect a president elect; all officers will be elected in the even numbered years.
As originally designed, the office of president elect was intended to allow someone to gain Board experience and learn the job of president by helping her. But as our pool of leaders has declined along with our declining and aging membership, the president-elect usually is now a current or recent Board member, rather than someone who is new to the Board. Additionally, does the present structure discourage presidents from running for a second term simply because they cannot decide after such a short time in office?
The Committee is unanimous in its recommendation to discontinue the office of president-elect. Members of the Committee include three past presidents, a former bylaws committee chair, and two members with several years of experience on the state board.
The Board recognizes that they will need to utilize a system of mentoring for president as they do for our other officers. Board meetings are open for all members to attend. The Board invites you to come and welcomes your interest.
Old Article VII OFFICERS
Section 1. Officers
a. Elected Officers. The seven elected officers of the state shall be a President, President-Elect, Program Vice-President, Membership Vice-President, Fundraising Vice-President, Secretary and Finance Officer.
a. Elected Officers. The six elected officers of the state shall be a president, program vice president, membership vice president, fundraising vice president, secretary, and finance officer.
Old Article IX NOMINATIONS
Section 3. Elections
d. All officers, except the President and President-Elect, shall be elected in the even numbered years to serve a two year term.
e. The President-Elect shall be elected in the odd numbered years to serve a one year term, after which the President-Elect shall automatically succeed to the office of President for a two year term.
Change to eliminate the second item and alter the first item to read: The elected officers of the state shall be elected in the even-numbered years by the duly accredited delegates at the annual meeting of the state.
Many thanks to Bylaws Committee members Mary Ellen Pratt, Jane Wilson, Carol Leupp, Marilyn Kornowski and JoAnn Benseler for their hard work.