Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Next 50 Years

[Note: I am postponing the post about immigration reform because I do not yet have some material from one of our speakers -- this will happen in late February when I return from an extended time away from email, phones, and civilization.]

In June the Unitarian Universalist Association will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. We essentially have the same governance structure we inherited at merger, where many compromises were made to address issues that are no longer relevant. What should governance look like for the next 50 years?

Last Thursday the UUA Board held their first "virtual" (using Internet and telephone) board meeting, a special meeting called to consider the language crafted for a motion on governance transformation that the board had supported in concept at the San Antonio meeting. A small group of trustees agreed to follow up that meeting with crafting language and supporting materials, getting input from trustees on various drafts before presenting the final version on Thursday.

This motion put the UUA board on record as working with other leaders across our Association to transform governance at the Association, General Assembly, and District levels. Materials for the special meeting can be found here.

Quoting the supporting documentation:

"Over the last forty-nine years, at least five separate task forces have studied governance in our movement. These task forces have all described the same basic condition: our governance is too complex. They have observed that we elect leaders but do not authorize them to do their jobs, that the Board of Trustees is too big to be effective, and that General Assembly is too expensive -- especially when many delegates are not accountable representatives of the congregation's priorities. In short, these task forces have observed systemic brokenness in the governance of our Association. "

The board starts with working with other leadership to significantly reducing its size, inviting other leaders to continue the conversation started with the District Presidents Association on the shift toward regionalization during General Assembly 2010, continuing to hold Board meetings outside of Boston, and insuring we include the voices of traditionally marginalized groups in our discussions.