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Thread: USMS Governance Task Force

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    USMS Governance Task Force

    Welcome to a discussion concerning changes in USMS Governance.
    Major changes concerning the Officers and the Board of Directors were passed at the 2004 convention. Since then, the Governance Task Force (formed by the USMS Planning Committee) has been working on the definition of powers and responsibilities for the House of Delegates (HOD), Board of Directors (BOD), and Executive Committee (EC). A report and the documents can be found at: Governance Policies.

    I urge you to read all of the documents posted. When you read the policy statements, it is best to look at the HOD, then the BOD, and then the EC. After you have read the information on the website, the Task Force invites your comments and suggestions. We believe it will be beneficial to begin discussion prior to the convention in September. This discussion will be open for three weeks (March 1-21) and will be limited to discussion of the material about the Role of the HOD, the Role of the BOD, and the role of the EC. Additional proposals will be published and opened for discussion as they are completed.

    Please keep your comments addressed to the Governance Task Force and please stay on topic. If you have questions or comments related to some other aspect of USMS, email me at Planning@USMS.org. Please do not post comments or questions on other topics.

    Betsy Durrant, Planning Committee Chair
    Last edited by lynhzlwd; March 1st, 2005 at 10:36 PM.

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    Truly, this stuff I love. USMS seems to be in a position to want to make great changes not only in the structure but in how it is perceived and expanded. How are these changes going to change the decision making process of the organization? It seems to me that no one group meets enough to really keep up with what is going on in the organization. When I read the admin. threads, there is a lot of work for volunteers.

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    Hi Betsey, Rob, Committee: I have read through the material as you asked. I have some questions and comments specific to the proposed Legislation.
    1. Under the USMS BOD, I wonder why "club development" is a responsibility given to the VP for Member Services? I think that it might be more appropriate under the VP for Local Operations. It probably depends on what people perceive as "club development."
    2. On the EC material, in 507.1.3, "C" might say instead of "in an emergency" (has a taint maybe of a health emergency), "in the case of an exigency, or urgent crisis situation,"...(I know these words are somewhat redundant, but I think they are better suited to the idea explained.)
    3. On the HOD material, in 506.5, do you need the first "held" in the second sentence, about the conference call meetings?
    4. Why did you add "manner" of meetings to 504.2.4? How can the HOD decide that...in the previous convention, by mail, etc.?

    Thanks for all the work you do...to everyone who has worked so very hard on this reorganization of USMS. It will be worth it! JP

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    Craig and Jennifer,
    I am so pleased that someone has read the materials and a discussion has begun.

    I failed to mention the members of the committee that have worked on these proposals: Joan Alexander, Doug Church, Rob Copeland, Ralph Davis, Maria Doelger, Mike Heather, Lucy Johnson, Jim Miller, Debbie Morrin-Nordlund, Mark Murphy, and Nancy Ridout.

    To be sure I don't garble responses, I am consulting with the committee on how best to reply. Therefore, there will be about a 24 hour delay in posting a specific response.

    Betsy

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    The roles and duties of the 8 at-large directors do not seem well defined. The previous structure the BOD represented the interests of the committees. Will these at-large directors have any responsibility back to the zones that nominated them similar to the current Zone Committee with communications, operations, etc ? or Will they just be acting on behalf of USMS as part of the collective BOD ?

    The Governance Task Force has presented some great proposals to strengthen, grown, maintain, and educate our members on concepts in leaderships. THANKS for all your WORK !

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    TREMENDOUS work!! I give this group, and its leader Betsy Durrant, a great big standing ovation!!

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    Response to Craig

    Craig’s question was: “How are these changes going to change the decision making process of the organization?”

    By reducing the number on the Board of Directors from 42 to 16, it is hoped that the decision-making process of the corporation will be streamlined, less cumbersome, and more timely. The BOD will meet face-to-face at least twice and is of a size conducive to conference call and electronic discussions. It is hoped that the BOD will play a much more significant role in the planning and direction USMS will pursue and, consequently, the Executive Committee will be able to spend its time managing the corporation.

    Craig: “It seems to me that no one group meets enough to really keep up with what is going on in the organization. When I read the admin threads, there is a lot of work.”

    A key element of the new structure is to align our committees and operations into divisions under the four vice presidents who will be responsible for leading and managing specific areas of our organization. This should enable the president, secretary, and treasurer to have more time for their specific duties.

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    Thanks for the response.

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    Very Active Member lynhzlwd's Avatar
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    I think it should be pointed out that the new BOD contains more than 16 members. The BOD has 16 voting members. The non-voting members include the legal counsel, executive director, USA Swimming liaison, and all past presidents. As I understand it, the non-voting members will have voice but no vote.

    For the sake of argument, let's say none of the current past presidents run for office this year. That means that the size of the BOD will be 25 members. Managing effective discussions and decision-making with 25 people will be very difficult.

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    Very Active Member Karen Duggan's Avatar
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    I only read through Part 4 to start...

    It struck me as odd that in Section 403.6.6 that it states,"... and the USMS President must concur" or something like that. Reading along it says board this and board that, and then throws in the two cents of the President. It just seemed out of the blue. I wondered why the President had to concur?

    And just curious, although maybe I missed it, what is the cost of filing a grievance? I didn't see it.
    K.Duggan

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    Response to Jennifer Parks:
    1. Under the USMS BOD, I wonder why "club development" is a responsibility given to the VP for Member Services? I think that it might be more appropriate under the VP for Local Operations. It probably depends on what people perceive as "club development."

    Response: We did not include the job descriptions in code for this very reason – as the new system is implemented, responsibilities may change. Several committees and several tasks could have been placed in more than one slot. It was a judgment call and could very well change.

    2. and 3. Suggestions for changes in the wording.

    Response: I will bring these up during our next call. Getting exactly the right wording is a real art. As you know, all legislative proposals will go to the Legislation Committee prior to presentation to the HOD. I am sure improvements can and will be made.


    4. Why did you add "manner" of meetings to 504.2.4? How can the HOD decide that...in the previous convention, by mail, etc.?

    Response: We included “manner” to open the possibility of an electronic vote, if necessary. For instance, if an important topic was not completed during the convention and needed some more work. The HOD might authorize a final vote via email. At present, this is not allowed. Should it be? That’s why we are bringing up the possibility – to open discussion.

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    Response to Anthony’s question is from Rob Copeland (member of the Governance Task Force and Legislation Committee Chair):

    Anthony, one of the problems of our previous structure was that the members of the board were on it because of each was a committee chair, officer or had other specific roles outside of the board. And membership on the board was a secondary or tertiary role. What we are striving for is a board that acts to govern and lead in the best interests of USMS without specific constituent obligations. It is our hope that the board will continue to represent the interests of all committees, volunteers, staff, members and the community at large in formulating policy and establishing the vision of USMS.

    There will continue to be a zone committee and we will continue to have zone representatives who will a communications/operations conduit between the local organization and the national organization.

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    To Karen Duggan:
    Since your question is slightly off topic (we are discussing the new proposals from the Governance Task Force), Rob Copeland has responded to you via email.

    When you have had a chance to read through our new proposals, please let us know what you think.
    Betsy

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    Very Active Member Karen Duggan's Avatar
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    My apologies. I thought that what you put up there was new, that's why it was up there. Rob was very helpful with his response.
    K.Duggan

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    I believe Lynn Hazlewood’s comment is referring to the inclusion of all past presidents as non-voting members of the BOD. The original proposal from the Task Force included the past presidents as ex officio members of the Board of Directors. When we made changes in the BOD at the 2004 Convention, we did not include the past presidents. Things were moving quickly to get legislation for this year’s elections, so we did not discuss the past presidents at that time. When the topic of the past presidents was brought up again during a Governance conference call, inclusion was approved.

    We invite your comments.

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    Committees

    USMS has many committees covering in a wide range of USMS activities. What they accomplish make an essential and major contribution to the operation of USMS. It seems to me that some committees are highly effective and some committees are less than that. I hope that this committee component of management and service delivery will be enhanced by the reorganization.

    What group (EC, BOD, other) will select the members of each committee? Who will select the chairmen of each committee? How frequently and by what measures will committee performance and individual member performance on committees be evaluated and by whom?

    Tom Lyndon

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    Originally posted by Betsy
    Response to Anthony’s question is from Rob Copeland (member of the Governance Task Force and Legislation Committee Chair):

    Anthony, one of the problems of our previous structure was that the members of the board were on it because of each was a committee chair, officer or had other specific roles outside of the board. And membership on the board was a secondary or tertiary role. What we are striving for is a board that acts to govern and lead in the best interests of USMS without specific constituent obligations. It is our hope that the board will continue to represent the interests of all committees, volunteers, staff, members and the community at large in formulating policy and establishing the vision of USMS.

    There will continue to be a zone committee and we will continue to have zone representatives who will a communications/operations conduit between the local organization and the national organization.
    I've only worked in nonprofit organziations and how a board member can be on the board and not be assigned specific constituent obligations, I don't understand. Why then even have committees? Surely, your board members will necessarily sit on committees - these are constituent obligations! I wonder if you really mean to say special interests. In large national organizations, individual board members can't possibly be expected to know every detail of all issues.

    Also, I've never heard of a board that doesn't in some way include past presidents. They especially can play an extremely important role in raising funds from members & other interested parties and not be bogged down unnecessarily with committee work.

    Also, some of the most effective money-raising boards (despite what peole think, fund-raisingis one of the necessary chheif roles of a board) are rather large 25-30 people. I've had terrible experiences with relatively small boards (under 18) that are so small they can't allocate their time to any issue.

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    Re: Response to Craig

    Originally posted by Betsy
    Craig’s question was: “How are these changes going to change the decision making process of the organization?”

    By reducing the number on the Board of Directors from 42 to 16, it is hoped that the decision-making process of the corporation will be streamlined, less cumbersome, and more timely. The BOD will meet face-to-face at least twice and is of a size conducive to conference call and electronic discussions. It is hoped that the BOD will play a much more significant role in the planning and direction USMS will pursue and, consequently, the Executive Committee will be able to spend its time managing the corporation.

    Craig: “It seems to me that no one group meets enough to really keep up with what is going on in the organization. When I read the admin threads, there is a lot of work.”

    A key element of the new structure is to align our committees and operations into divisions under the four vice presidents who will be responsible for leading and managing specific areas of our organization. This should enable the president, secretary, and treasurer to have more time for their specific duties.
    I just went back through and read all entries to this thread, the last paragraph outlines exactly why constituent interests are going to become one ofhte new organizing factors of the dod

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    Response to Tom Lyndon:
    Tom,
    At last year’s convention the HOD approved the four vice president positions. The description of the BOD Membership posted on the website lists committees to work with each vice president. The Task Force has not yet addressed 507.3 (how committee chairs and committee members are selected). Please feel free to share any suggestions with us. Send suggestions to me at Planning@usms.org and I will pass them on to the Task Force. When we have proposals concerning committees, a new forum will be started for discussion. For now, we want to concentrate on the new proposals. Do you have any comments on the Role and Responsibilities of the HOD, BOD, or EC?
    Betsy

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    has the task force drawn out a flow chart?

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