Dan Lamson 2015 Q&A: Powers of the Board

Note: Dan has withdrawn from the race, but he completed his answers before withdrawing, so they will be posted to the site.

Currently, there are no checks on the power of the Board outside the Board itself, since the Board can change the OTW’s bylaws without approval from anyone else. If elected, would you support adding non-Board checks on the Board’s power to the bylaws? If so, what types of checks would you support? If not, why would you not support any checks?

This is a good question, without and easy answer. Any policy the board enacts, they can remove, including any checks and balances. Even if they are added to the bylaws, the board can still change those. I think it comes down to more trust than checks and balances. Do we trust the people who have been elected to the board? Do we trust they will do what is the best for the OTW, and if not, why?

The OTW is more of a republic than a democracy. We elect board members to make decisions. We may not always agree with them but there is not much recourse for the electorate. Thankfully this year we have a contested election so members can let their voices be heard.

I think there are some checks to the power of board and over the org finances we can undertake. I would like to push for an audit on the org’s finances. Further, I am an advocate of working out a method in which the volunteers, staff, chairs and or members can vote out a member of the board. This is something I would be interested in discussing in further detail.

In accordance with Article VI, Section 1 of the By-laws, the President (and any other Officers) can be appointed at majority will of the Board without being Board members themselves. What are you thoughts on major players and representatives of the Org being chosen without the approval and confidence of the general Org electorate? Do you believe this leaves those roles vulnerable to being filled by unqualified persons? How would you as a Board member work to ensure Officers were qualified for the positions they held?

I do not think it will ever happen that board members will appoint a non-board member to an officer position. It has happened to treasurer in the past, but I do not see it happening to another positon again anytime soon. I would not support it.

Being an officer on the board doesn’t really give you any more power, other than president who can break ties. However, I will be sure to choose and advocate for who I think would do the best job in those positions.

The Board approved in August 2015 a change in the OTW bylaws that would allow Board to remove any Board member, with or without reason. Under what, if any, circumstances do you believe this should occur?

I agree with the addition of this to the bylaws. I think most of the OTW will be thankful for this existing if it ever has to be used. I do not see this, or advocate for this to be used lightly. This is not an “I don’t like you, so you’re out” button. This is a mechanism that needs two thirds of the board to take action. I see this as a punishment for a board member who is just a horrible person and refuses to resign. Causes for this would be have to be something like continual or repeated abusive behavior, violation of confidentiality policies, or connecting legal and fan names of another volunteer.

I hope and believe that the board will never needs this power, but if a board member is doing things unbecoming the office of OTW board member, there needs to be a recourse to remove them from harming the org over a long term period.