Some members have voiced their concern with the election process for trustee-at-large on the Academy’s Board of Trustees. The current election process was approved by the membership in 1999, but many members may not know the reason why our current method was adopted.
In 1993, when the Academy reorganized its governance structure a multiple candidate approach was taken for the election of trustee-at-large. This process brought more than one excellent candidate for each position through the nomination process and was thought to have reduced the “we vs. them” paradigm between a candidate proposed by the Nominating Committee and the possibility of an opposing candidate submitted by members. The Nominating Committee would select two candidates from a large list of highly qualified candidates to run for any open position as trustee-at-large on the Board of Trustees. However, only one of these was elected despite their active participation in a forum at the Annual Meeting and written statements circulated to the membership. This led to the nominee’s discouragement from participating in future elections. It resulted in the Academy’s loss of a potentially valuable leadership.
In 1998, the Academy’s Council, representing the membership, strongly recommended a change the Academy’s bylaws to revert to a single candidate nomination process for open board positions. The Council felt that in terms of selecting trustees to best serve the Academy’s interests, qualifications should remain more important than popularity and that the Nominating Committee was best positioned to identify the most qualified candidates. This change was approved by the voting membership in the 1999 Academy election. The single candidate method avoids the loss of valuable future leaders as there are no "losers." Often those considered, but not selected, for an open position one year become the nominee of choice in a future year.
Candidates may also be submitted by petition of the general membership. The bylaws allow for the addition of candidates by petition for a vacancy in any elected office, trustee-at-large or Council chair or vice chair. Members can submit a petition signed by at least 50 voting fellows and members, to stand for election for any open office. The deadline for receipt of petitions by the office of the executive vice president is 60-days prior to the Academy’s annual business meeting. This does not mean that the board’s candidates should step aside. It simply means that the democratic process of ensuring that our governance represents the choice and will of our members continues to function appropriately.
If the Academy’s membership wishes to change this nominating process for trustee-at-large positions on the Academy’s Board of Trustees, the option is within the power of Council members to suggest an amendment in the Academy’s bylaws. Feel free to contact your Council representative(s) if you wish to voice your suggestions regarding the process of nominating candidates for trustee-at-large positions on the Academy’s Board of Trustees.