Dan Lamson 2015 Q&A: Conflict of Interest

Note: Dan has withdrawn from the race, but he completed his answers before withdrawing, so they will be posted to the site.

How would you define the term “conflict of interest” and how might it apply to you while serving on the Board?

A conflict of interest in regards to the OTW could be putting self-interest over the common good, or putting one committee (that I am involved in) over the good of the org as a whole. Since I intend to continue serving on DevMem if elected, it very well could be an issue for me. I will discuss this fuller, and my reaction to it in my next answer.

Given that some of you intend to keep your other Org positions, how do you intend to deal with conflicts of interest when matters arise which impact your committee?

a. For example, if your committee wants to implement a change which requires Board approval, but is not necessarily in the OTW’s best interests, or would have an impact on another committee, how would you ensure that your contribution to the Board’s decision reflected your position as a Board member and not your personal opinion as a member of the committee?

b. Conversely, if another committee sought Board approval for something that would impact your own committee, how would you ensure that you were giving their arguments a fair hearing?

I plan to continue serving on Development and Membership after being elected.

a. Several things DevMem does, require board approval. Some of it is simple, day to day stuff—please approve the drive theme, please approve the drive goal, etc. In this instance I see no real conflict to say I support various things. If the issue is money related—such as an upgrade to our donor management software, I would abstain from any votes or discussing the matters unless specifically asked a question. The proposal would need to speak for itself. In either instance, I would make my opinion known at the committee level, and the consensus of the committee will be what is brought forward. Other board members may ask for specifics or elaborations, which if I am able, I’d be happy to give.

b. I would have no problem hearing another side’s issue in circumstances related to DevMem. Thankfully DevMem doesn’t come into conflict with other committees very often. If it were to happen, I would certainly listen, I can’t promise I’d agree, but I would try to set aside any preconceived notions I had on the issue and move forward. I would also disclaim any ex parte communication that may be involved (for example, if I wrote the counter-proposal, or whatnot.)

As a board member, you have to look out for the best of the org, not just your committee, and sometimes what’s best for the org is not always helpful to certain committees. I may not be popular in DevMem meetings for a few weeks, but I would sleep easy feeling that I did the best I could to move the org forward, even if I had to vote against DevMem’s current interests.