New BylawsPLNA Board of Directors Votes to Reduce Board Size from Seventeen to Seven
This past June 14, the PLNA Board of Directors voted to change the PLNA bylaws to reduce the size of the board from its current seventeen to seven members. In addition to reducing board size, the changes will allow all board members to be elected at large, based on the competencies required by PLNA. Current bylaws require representation from each geographic area of the state.
“The PLNA board took a long hard look at its governance structure and decided it was time to modernize and streamline,” said PLNA board chair Jim MacKenzie, president of Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, Kirkwood, Pa. “At the speed business and the economy are changing, PLNA needs to be able to make decisions and take action at a similar pace.”
The bylaws changes are effective as of the board action on June 14, 2012. The membership has the ability to review the changes at the PLNA annual meeting on November 13, 2012 and either concur with the changes or veto them. Assuming that the membership concurs in the changes, the new smaller board will be elected this fall and begin their service on January 1, 2013.
All members are encouraged to attend the Annual Meeting of Members on November 13, 2012 at the Lancaster County Convention Center. The guest speaker for the dinner to follow the meeting will be green industry marketing and trend expert Kip Creel. To register for these events, go to www.PLNA.com.
The following are frequently asked questions and answers about the new bylaws changes. A copy of the new bylaws can be viewed by clicking here.
Q: Why is PLNA reducing the size of its board from seventeen to seven members?
A: There are several reasons for the reduction in board size:
1. Seventeen is a large number of directors to operate effectively and efficiently in governing the Association. As the speed of change accelerates, the PLNA board has to be able to process information and make decisions more quickly. It must become nimble and strategic rather than slow and reactive.
2. A seven member board will reduce the direct costs and administrative overhead of a seventeen member board. Due to its size, current meetings must be held offsite, adding to costs. Conference calls with this size group are impractical and cumbersome.
3. With a smaller group, meetings can focus on dealing with strategic issues that require board insight and decision-making. Now much of the time in meetings is spent bringing the board up to speed on issues and reviewing old information. This requires voluminous written materials to be developed by staff and provided to the board.
4. As the demand on people’s time and schedules increases, fewer are willing to give the commitment required to sit through long board meetings listening to perfunctory reports. It’s getting more and more difficult to convince people this is a good use of their time.
5. In a large board, fewer people are willing to raise issues and enter into meaningful discussions for many reasons. A smaller group encourages interaction and outspokenness, and leads to better decision-making.
Q: What stimulated this decision to reduce the board size?
A: In December of 2011, the PLNA board decided to embark on a study of a book called Race for Relevance: 5 Radical changes for Associations published by the American Society of Association Executives. This study is resulting in a complete examination of PLNA from its governance, to the markets it serves, to the programs it provides, to the technology that it uses. The board, committee chairs and staff split into three work groups: Governance and Committees, Markets and Programs, and Technology. The reduction in board size is one of the first recommendations to come out of this study process from the Governance and Committees work group.
Q: How will the new board members be nominated and elected?
A: The new board will have seven members elected at large by the membership. The new board will serve up to three three-year terms. There are no geographic, chapter or industry segment representation requirements. New board members will be selected primarily on their experience and competence to govern PLNA effectively and bring specific skills that are needed by the Association in its governance.
Candidates for board positions will be selected by a five-person nominating committee made up of three board members and two non-board PLNA members. Candidates will be interviewed and vetted by the nominating committee before being placed on the ballot for voting by the members each fall.
Q: Will the officers and executive committee remain the same?
A: No. There will be three board officers, the chairman, vice chairman and secretary treasurer, elected by the board. There will be no executive committee and no immediate past chairman. The board will always function as a whole and meet face-to-face at least three times per year and in a conference call monthly.
Q: How will PLNA transition from the current board to the new seven-member board?
A: In the fall of 2012, a new board will be elected to seven staggered terms: three of three years, two of two years and two of one year to take office January 1, 2013. At the end of 2012, all current board terms will end.