Which got me to thinking…
The UUAPSC has to come up with 2 candidates for UUA President, which means an automatic contested election.
The ‘winner’ will get one six year term (Section 9.5 of UUA Bylaws). Their nominees will be posted no later than February 1, 2016.
And self-nominations (which require a lot of congregational endorsements) can be made as early as March 1, 2016. The election will be in New Orleans in June 2017.
“Small …organizational meetings and mass mailing letters ” can begin “no earlier than November 1 of the 2nd year preceding the election. So, if the election is June 2017, and 2 years preceding the election is 2015, it means
UUA presidential campaign activity can start November 1, 2015.
The Committee notes that the UUA Prez has no coherent job description, so they’re working on that. They’re thinking about campaign finance limits, diversity of candidates– in other words– all the things YOU might think about if you were on the UUAPSC.
My cursory reading of the UUA bylaws suggests that they way I’ve thought of the UUA President is all wrong.
I’ve thought of the UUA President as being elected “by the people” and essentially independent of the UUA board, which is there– more or less– to provide a reality check to the grand vision casting of the President, and to support the administration at the same time.
However, it appears the UUA board could “fire” the President, pretty much on a whim: “Section 8.5. Removal of Officers”
The President may also be removed by such a vote of the Board if it determines that such removal is in the best interests of the Association.
I doubt you could find that in any UU minister’s letter of agreement. To me, it re-frames the relationship between the UUA President and the UUA board. And then I began thinking about the difference between the board-minister relationship in a church, and the board-executive relationship at the UUA. Which led me to the next question:
What if the UUA Presidential Search Committee process were conducted like a UU church Search Committee Process?
It would be the same Committee, but they would pick ONE candidate. The candidate would do what a minister normally does– meet with constituents all week. Preach at the beginning, and right before a “confirming vote.”
Everyone would understand the President works “for” the whole Association, but is ‘supervised’ by the board of trustees.
The board of trustees would understand their role– not as an adversary, not as a ‘counter balance’ a la American politics– but that their chief role would be to make sure the President was successful in carrying out the mission, vision, and values of the Association.
The UUA President, in turn, would do what she could to make sure the UUA board was successful.
This is exactly what many UU ministers and boards pledge to each other– but I’m not so sure that is how it has worked at the UUA level.
What do you think? Would our UUA Presidential Search Process be better if there was NOT an automatic election, with a “winner” and a “loser” in the process?