Matty Bowers 2015 Q&A: Election Process

After a few years of uncontested elections (including one which garnered 0 candidates initially), there are now more candidates than ever before for the smallest number of seats ever up for election. To what do you attribute this sudden surge of candidates, and what would you do during your time on the Board to promote consistent contested elections for Board seats?

In the past, committees could not afford to lose staff to Board. Now, many of the OTW committees are thriving and losing, or sharing, key personnel will not negatively impact the committees.

This means it’s time to turn our attention to Board. As both volunteers and members are aware, the OTW is facing numerous issues which should have been dealt with long ago. It’s past time for these concerns to be addressed so can we get the organization back on track.

While the current election process is more independent than it was in previous years, it is still subject to some decisions made by the Board, which can be passed at any time without input from volunteers. It’s possible for the Board to even change the rules while an election is in progress to exclude some candidates or voters or to punish volunteers for visibly participating in the process. If elected, how would you ensure that each future election is unaffected by interests within the sitting Board?

The Election committee should have full authority over elections. Allowing Board to interfere, especially when a current member is running, is a clear conflict of interest.

Should Board have any questions or concerns about the election process, these should be discussed with the Election committee well before the process starts. After the election process starts, Board should be required to step back and allow it to proceed without interference.

What do you think about the fact that two changes to the bylaws (reduction in size of board from seven to nine [sic], and the ability of two-thirds of the board to vote off another member with or without cause) means the board could dilute the election process? Effectively, the standing board could vote off any candidate who wins and with whom they disagree until they reach a candidate of whom they approve. Are you concerned about this?

In the past few years, the OTW has struggled to find seven people willing to serve on Board, let alone nine. In the future we may want to look at expanding, but first I think we need to get a full seven people on Board. After we’ve had several terms of stable leadership we can can consider expanding our numbers, if we feel it’s needed.

Our OTW members, those who have financially supported the organization, have voices that can and should be heard. If the Board is unethical enough to deliberately circumvent a valid election, members should call them on their actions. Per the bylaws, members can remove any director from office, with or without cause, by a vote of the majority of members. While this isn’t feasible at the moment, I would like to change that.

In this particular point in time, I do not believe the Board members serving another term would abuse the new bylaws and remove a newly elected candidate. I trust that together we can work on fixing the many, many problems that have been pointed out by both staff and members.