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Board of Directors Votes to Reduce Number of Directors

150 150 James Cameron

In the 21 July Board of Directors meeting, the Board voted to reduce the number of Directors from six to four, starting with the 2012 election. With this vote, there will be two Directors elected next year rather than four.

This vote continues a gradual change in the composition of the Board of Directors. A few years ago, the Board voted to eliminate the position of Second Vice President and two Director positions. The recent vote furthers the reduction in the size of the Board of Directors.

“A smaller Board allows for more streamlined and efficient discussion and decision-making,” explained STC President Hillary Hart. “There’s also a cost involved for each Board member (periodic travel), so there is a savings benefit attached to this decision as well.” She continued, “This reduction in the number of Directors enables more focused strategic planning while still representing the entire Society. And with the increased use of online technologies and social media, we can streamline the Board without reducing the quality of the Board’s discussions.”

The STC Bylaws state that the Board of Directors must have “no fewer than seven and no more than twelve individuals: five officers … and no fewer than two and no more than seven directors-at-large.”

  • This somehow doesn’t seem right to me (even though it’s still within the STC Bylaws). I understand how having less Directors would cut down on expenses, and how this would expedite decisions… or, rather, it would expedite opinion-gathering/discussions. And that’s my concern: At a time when STC members-at-large feel unheard and so detached from the Board and how the Society is run, I think it sends the wrong message when members hear that there are now fewer official go-betweens.

    Is this based on a members/representatives ratio? That is, is it because there are much fewer members that the Board decided it would be okay to have fewer Directors while still covering the same amount of “territory?”

    • Yes, making the number of Directors more proportionate to the size of the membership was a consideration in the decision — there are fewer members now as well — but the main driving factors in the decision were cost and the greater efficiency of a more streamlined Board in making decisions.

      Even with fewer directors, there are now more official “go-betweens” to facilitate two-way communication between the Board and STC communities and members. The Community Affairs Committee (CAC) is in place to do just that — in fact, the core members (seven or eight) will be joining the Board at our next meeting. And I’ll unveil soon the names and initiatives that each of the CAC representatives will be undertaking this year.

      Thanks for your comments and keep them coming!

      • Thank you for your response, Hillary.

        I support the cost cutting and increased efficiency, if it doesn’t come at the cost of the members-at-large’s voices getting lost. I definitely support more “official go-betweens!”

  • STC is a volunteer-driven organization, and a few years back its leaders decided to transform the focus of the board of directors from day-to-day management to policy and strategy. As a result the board’s workload lightened, and board members were able to devote more time and energy to the really important strategic issues.

    Reducing the number of volunteers on the board from 11 to 9 (including the 5 officers) is a logical next step. A group this size will work efficiently while still ensuring that diverse points of view are represented. Filling only 2 at-large vacancies per year will help ensure that the most highly qualified people are elected to serve on the board. Good job!

  • I also support responsible cost-cutting measures, and as a board member of the IEEE Professional Communication Society, I have supported similar moves by PCS. My only concern would be that with the reduction in the number of members and the elimination of the 2nd VP position, the turnover in board membership is greater, as is the loss of corporate memory on the board. And corporate memory is very important when, as Larry said, the board is more concerned with strategic issues than day-to-day management of the organization. I trust that STC’s board has procedures in place to ensure that such a thing doesn’t happen.

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