June 18, 2005
CLEA Seeks Input on Changes to Bylaws
The CLEA Board is seeking input about a proposed change to the CLEA bylaws.
At the Chicago conference in May, the CLEA Board considered a series of proposed changes to the CLEA bylaws. The Board adopted three of these changes, rejected a fourth, and deferred final vote on a fifth proposal. (Each proposal is described below.) The unresolved proposal relates to a member's eligibility to become CLEA's President. The Board deferred voting in order to solicit members' feedback about the proposed change.
CLEA is actively soliciting member feedback about the unresolved proposal; CLEA would also welcome feedback on any of the other changes.
CLEA President Alex Scherr describes the bylaws proposals as follows:
ELIGIBILITY TO BECOME CLEA PRESIDENT (Deferred)
The Bylaws currently provide that CLEA’s President, Treasurer and Secretary can be elected without first having served on the CLEA Board. The Bylaws only require that candidates for these positions be CLEA members. The Board considered but ultimately decided not to change that approach for Treasurer or Secretary; both positions carry three year terms, and both involve duties that were technical enough that looking outside the Board made sense.
However, the Board debated whether to require that candidates for President come from the Board. (As a reminder, the Bylaws provide for a three year cycle for President: election as Vice-President, followed automatically by President and Immediate Past President positions.) The Board discussed differing views about restricting eligibility for the presidency to serving Board members.
On the one hand, in recent years, the scope and complexity of CLEA activities has increased significantly. Given this, one could argue that it takes a year of Board service, followed by a year as Vice-President, to get a good handle on all of the different directions and alliances that CLEA faces in the course of a given year.
On the other hand, CLEA has also had a long tradition of openness and small-‘d’ democratic values, and has encouraged input from its members. Given this, one could argue that requiring a year of board service would make the president less responsive to the concerns of members, and would restrict the ability of members to change the direction of the organization.
Want to share your thoughts with CLEA? E-mail Alex Scherr.
ELECTRONIC ELECTIONS (Approved)
The Bylaws formerly provided for elections of Board members and officers by paper ballot, and strongly implied (without so stating) that electronic elections were not allowed. In recent years, the scale and expense of paper balloting has become a major expense item, albeit one subsidized by contributions from various law schools. At the same time, the Board recognizes risks in electronic balloting, both for confidentiality and for reaching the membership. The Board felt that the time had come to develop specific proposals for electronic balloting, perhaps as early as this year. We voted to amend the bylaws to permit the Board to approve electronic balloting; the Secretary will develop proposals for an electronic balloting system, which must be approved by the Board before implementation.
EX OFFICIO STATUS FOR OFFICERS (Approved)
The Bylaws formerly indicated that the officers of CLEA (vice-President, President, Immediate Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer) would each serve on the Board in an "ex officio" capacity. This created some confusion in counting Board members, and in determining voting status. In Chicago, the Board voted to strike the "ex officio" designation, and to permit each officer to serve as full members of the Board during their term as officer.
ELECTRONIC VOTING BY CLEA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (Approved)
CLEA’s bylaws already permit electronic voting by the full Board. The Bylaws also provide for an Executive Committee of the Board that consists of the organization’s officers (vice-President, President, Immediate Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer). The Executive Committee is authorized to act only when "action is needed prior to the next scheduled meeting of the Board," and notice of its actions must be given to the full Board within 20 days. The Board voted to permit the Executive Committee to vote by e-mail.
TWO YEAR TERMS FOR PRESIDENT (Rejected)
For some time, the idea of extending the term of the President to two years has been mentioned as a way of assuring some continuity of expertise in CLEA leadership. On consideration, however, the Board elected NOT to change the bylaws, which currently provide for election as vice-president, then president, then immediate past president.
June 18, 2005 | Permalink
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