Feb 4, 2010

USCF Politics: Who Should Select the Executive Board?

Below is a post I made today on the USCF Issues Forum. The post responds to various ideas of who should be on the Executive Board (EB) of the USCF and how they should be selected. A motion is being proposed for this summer that would change the composition of the board and potentially pre-select certain persons (such as perhaps the President of the Chess Journalists of America) to always be a member of the board. There are many other suggestions, including from one delegate or another that all or some portion of the board should be selected by the USCF's delegates rather than by the USCF's members. (As background, see the One Member, One Vote posts on this blog, or better, have a read on the USCF's Issues Forum.) Others are for having persons from private industry join the board. Some want the Dean of American Chess (Bisguier at present) and whomever is in that position to be automatically on the board. Some want 7 board members, others want 11, and there will be many other reasoned opinions of how many and who should be on the board. I'm not knocking any of these proposals, or the suggested people as EB members, and I don't really doubt that they would make good EB members. That's not the point....

The members of the USCF should select the USCF EB. It's not just that it's the members' Federation--it is--but it's that the best way to elect an EB that will serve the membership is to let the members select the EB. I, for one, want to vote for who will lead the USCF. I appreciate that there are many who don't want to vote, and that's their choice. I don't think I'm alone; however, because if the last election is any indication, there are several thousand members who wish to vote. If someone wants a particular person on the board, let them nominate that person, and let that person run for and win an election. The process requires the nominee to be introduced to the membership and allows the membership to hear why the nominee should be elected. Those are good things.

Finally, if anyone wants to change the way we select the EB, he or she should expressly state why we need change, and then explain how the proposed change to the selection process addresses the "why."

by Grayson on Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:09 pm #180034 [on the USCF Issues Forum]

If ten in the know persons were to identify the "factions" within the USCF and describe the tensions among them, the answers would be all over the map. Identify the problem(s) first...and accept that there will be some tensions between competing interests. I agree--to the extent anyone is saying it--that the persons elected to the board need to be able to work through these tensions for the good of chess.

The members elect the EB. While the delegates can change this, I'm not a fan of the change. Let those who have influence, and there are many who do, go out and educate and persuade the voters. The best ideas, and for that matter, people, should win. That's the proper role of influence.

There is likely a need for some structural change to the USCF's governance. It's not proper to suggest that change, however, without stating why the change is needed and how the change is going to respond to whatever that need might be. Put slightly differently, it is not correct to assume that the problems are fully understood and that any required change is obvious.

Note: I could have laced the above (and anything else I say or write) with "IMOs" and even "IMHOs," but I rather hope that all will understand that should be the case for everything written here.

1 comment:

  1. Gary,

    There are 3 threads brewing in the USCF Issues forum for which I would like your perspective. These 2 threads discuss the USCF financial situation and how to address it:

    "EB Meeting 2/20/2010"
    "Life Members' Asset Management Committee (LMA)"

    There is also a thread on the financial aspects of our recent litigation strategy:

    "The LMA Perspective on USCF legal strategy"

    I would think that your perspective as a litigator would be especially useful.