Sounding Board

The BZC board has made some adjustments to the board recruitment and election process. We want to make it easier to find sangha members willing to broaden their practice to include a two-year stint serving on the board as one of its six members-at-large. It has been difficult to find a slate of five or six candidates who are experienced, able to make the commitment of time and energy, and willing to run in a contested election for the three slots on the board that come up each year. Most people did not like the contested aspect of this process. Those who won the election may have been voted in because of name recognition or popularity rather than skills they could add to BZC governance. And those who lost, though they were promising candidates, were sometimes disheartened and discouraged about further participation.

The board has decided to replace the existing procedure for selecting board members with a more efficient and responsive process. The BZC bylaws do not require more nominees than the number of board openings available. Therefore, this year the board will nominate just three people for the three members-at-large open positions. As usual, the board will put forward these nominees at the September 15 meeting of the BZC membership. Nominations from the floor of the meeting will still be available, in case there are sangha members dissatisfied with the board’s direction or the candidates it proposes.

As in the past, photos and candidate statements of nominees will be posted for a month on the bulletin board. At the October election, BZC members will vote yes or no as to each nominee for the three board member-at-large positions, just as they do for the board president, vice president and treasurer (who are nominated by the abbot after consultation with the board). We are planning to conduct the election electronically by e-mail and by mail-in ballot in order to insure broad membership participation.

The board has created the Recruitment and Election Committee, tasked with encouraging BZC members to consider service as a board member as an important part of sangha practice. The committee will seek to educate the sangha about what board service entails and the process for selecting nominees for board members-at-large. Members can suggest possible new board nominees to the committee or any current board member. The committee will evaluate all suggestions for a slate of three nominees it will recommend to the board.

To address the board selection process, we will facilitate a Monday morning open discussion on July 6 and set up “board information” tables after some Saturday lectures. Please ask us about serving on the board and make suggestions of who you think would make skilled board candidates. After all, our practice place cannot survive without effective governance.

The board will evaluate this new recruitment and election process after the October election to see whether it should be continued or altered in some way. We welcome your input.

—The Board Recruitment and Election Committee (Ed Herzog, Stephanie Solar, Stan Dewey)