“Right Sizing” ACS Governance

In running for District I Director, I think it is vital that the members within the District have a full understanding of things I believe need to be changed within the Society and an idea of what I’d like to champion if elected as your District I Director.

In my first Policy Statement, I want to cover what I believe is the disconnection between the voice of the ACS (the governance) and the heart of the ACS (the members).  Far too often I see members reach out with problems or requests, only to see governance take forever to respond – if they respond at all.  And very often, they do not appreciate the anguish being expressed by the members.  Thus, what I propose are major changes needed in the governance structure of the Society – a structure that was solid when the Society was created 145 years ago and which has served us well. However, that structure is now “out of shape”, somewhat antiquated and overly complicated for today’s world.

I look at this type of membership-driven society to have three major parts:

  • The heart – the Society members,
  • The structure – The elected representatives of the Members – the Council of Representatives, and
  • The voice – The Board of Directors

I was a leader in this year’s push to reorganize the Committee structure of the ACS, taking away restrictions, creating a common Committee system and opening up the doors of opportunity and inclusiveness to more members.  In other words, simplifying what we do and how we do it.

Now, I think it is time to re-evaluate our governance structure.  In this I firmly believe that the following changes are now needed to bring us into line with the governance needs of today’s ACS and closer to the members:

1.  Yes, I am running for District I Director.  However, this is a governance position I would propose eliminating.  I propose so for the following reasons:

  • I see very little difference in how the role of District Director differs from that of Director-at-Large  – minus those who run the District caucuses at National Meetings, and not all of the Directors do that.
  • At a time when eyes are looking into re-sizing Council (and I support bringing the size of Council into line as it does not have to be larger than the size of the U.S. Congress), we face a potential enlarging of the Board of Directors as there are calls now for at least one new District to represent the International Members.
  • I do not see this winding up as only one addition, because how can a Director from Taiwan represent the members in Israel?  How can a Director from Peru represent the members in Romania?  There could eventually be the addition of at least four District Directors from four major regions of the world, such as aligned presently in the International Activities Committee (Asia & Pacific Basin, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East & Africa).

Thus, I would propose getting rid of the District Director positions (6 total at this time) and adding three new Member-at-Large positions whereas members from any International Chapter can vote in those races and could be considered as candidates.  This would potentially resize the Board down by a total of three members.

2.  In doing this, ACS Districts can be eliminated as well as the need for the ACS’s Nominations & Election Committee (N&E) to constantly watch membership numbers and move Local Sections around to keep all Districts within a membership range – something I am sure N&E and members of Local Sections that have been moved would appreciate.

3.  I would allow N&E to come forth with lists of candidates for President-Elect just as they now do for Director-at-Large.  There would not have to be a larger slate of nominees to then be chosen amongst for the final candidates.  And, I would have all members of the Society have the right to vote for both President-Elect and Directors-at-Large (presently, only Councilors can vote for Directors-at-Large).

5.  Finally, I would limit the Councilor ex-officio status of Past ACS Presidents to three (3) years to match the number of years served within the presidential succession.  They presently have that status given to them “for life”.   If we are talking about downsizing the Council of members elected by their fellow members, then we should not be actually adding a new one each year – for life!

Thus, this position statement confirms my belief that the power of the Society needs to be in the hands of the members and in the strength of their Local Sections and Divisions.  The Board should be there to then serve those needs identified as important to and for the members.  It should be a “bottom-to-top” governance system and not the other way around.

As I stated in my position statement, I am not running for a “seat” on the Board – that seat is not mine to sit in.  That seat belongs to you – each individual member within District I.  I would rather stand around that table of governance and make a difference than sitting at it thinking it’s about me.  I am willing to do so for this 3-year term in honor of those who deserve to take that seat….you!

Join me in making 2022 the first step on a new path forward for the ACS!