Thursday, March 27, 2014

ALA Executive Board Elections

There has been a recent discussion on the ALA Council List about parts of the process for electing ALA Executive Board members. Anyone can read the postings. Go to the ALA List of discussion lists and look under Governance for the Council list. Once you click on it, look for the box on the left side of the page for Archives, or look here for the threaded discussion.

As background, you may want to read Bobbi Newman's wonderful post The First Rule of ALA Executive Board is You Don’t Talk About ALA Executive Board. It gives all the foundational documents (and links) and some insight on her experience, which is more recent than mine. I highly recommend that you read the comments also, not just because I commented. Peggy Sullivan, who was both on the ALA EB as President and as Executive Director, offers some perspective as well.

In the comments I said a couple of things that I want to repeat for those who don't bother to go there:

I served on the ALA EB from 2003 – 2006, and started my blog most of the way through my term. I did talk some about being on the Board, and certainly on the blog have talked about service on Council. ...

One of the wonderful things that happened when I ran was that the six of us nominated by the Committee on Committees all went out to dinner at that Midwinter. It was a very congenial group. Two of those six were elected (the other person elected was nominated from the floor and could not join us for dinner). Of those not elected two were elected in later years.
One of the important points that Karen has raised, is the fact that it is easier to publish, even share, intentions today than it was. It is also true that there was (I am no longer a member of ALA Council, so I can't judge the current climate) a climate of this election being one of "standing for election" unlike for President, Treasurer, or even Council itself, of "running." After all, I have helped candidates with handing out flyers, talking up platform issues, even doing electronic mailings. I did so gladly when I felt that I could, and that it did not compromise my position.

[An aside: I spent my first two terms on Council as a Chapter Councilor. I perceived my role as that of representing my state, and of representing ALA to my state. For Presidential and Treasurer elections, I was (well, tried to be) as even-handed as I could. The only opinion I would offer would be a private one, privately. As a member of the Executive Board, I felt that I could not in good conscience campaign since I would wind up serving with the successful candidate, and if I had vocally backed the "other candidate" that would have felt awkward to me. That is a statement of why I acted the way I did. As a Councilor-at-Large, I did as I wished, and did publicly endorse and actively support candidates.]

A part of me agrees with the idea that there should be more discussion prior to Midwinter, and more opportunities to interact with the candidates. When I "stood" for election, I did not really stand still. I made it a point to talk to fellow Councilors at the reception (Midwinter only event) for new Councilors. I chatted with them before and after sessions, each meeting of the Council Forum/Caucus, at the Chapter Councilor meeting, at committee meetings, etc. I did ask those I knew to vote for me. As many know, I am usually vocal, and did not silence myself during the period. Today would be different.

There is also not always someone nominated from the floor. There was the year I was elected, and that person was one of the successful candidates.

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