I was just reading The PASS Board Guidance Policy . Overall a reasonable document and absolutely worth reading if you’re thinking about running for the Board. It is missing what I consider a key point about the Executive Committee, so I wanted to write a quick note on that.
The Executive Committee (ExecCo in PASS lingo) are the officers along with the head of the management company as a non-voting member. Officers exist for legal reasons (signing contracts, etc) and are the ones who can speak “officially” for PASS where officially can mean many things but I’d say foremost it means what they say becomes the legal position of PASS on any given issue. More practically they are empowered to make a range of decisions on matters pertaining to PASS. When I say empowered, I mean that their “power” comes from the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors appoints Officers and authorizes them to do (or not) activities on behalf of the Board.
The Board doesn’t work for the Exec. They hire (elect) the officers, they can fire them, and they can set limits to a degree on what they can do (this is where law & real life collide).
If you join the Board you’re an equal with all the others. Most of the time following the lead of the President is useful, orgs need direction and leadership, but ultimately the majority vote of the Board decides the direction and they have to hold their officers accountable. It also means that there can be no areas that are off limits to the Board, because the Board is ultimately responsible.
Join the Board with an open mind, ready to collaborate, but also with a firm understanding of who works for who.
2 thoughts on “The PASS Executive Committee”
Great post Andy. I also think its important for anyone considering running to understant board etiquette and good governance. Anyone who has never been on a board in a non-profit might find it weird that motions tend to pass unaniously, and that a vote of abstain or no sometimes can be seen as a protest.
Maybe PASS is different in some of the particulars, but its important to realize how non-profits work in general before learning about pass in particular.
I think their document is a pretty good start, but I hope they do more. I’d love to see a mock board meeting for those considering running, let them read the doc, then join a session to work through a decision.
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