In a move that will hopefully bring an end to the turmoil at Cascade Bicycle Club, nearly all members of the club’s Board of Directors will offer their resignations after the March 22 elections. The club has been in something of a leadership limbo ever since the Board decided to fire (then rehire) popular Executive Director Chuck Ayers. Pressure has been on the Board to resign for making what many see as a series of mistakes surrounding the Director fiasco. Some current Board members have offered to stay on if the newly-elected Board wants them to.
At the club’s town hall in late November, it felt like the conversation came to a consensus that the Board’s resignation was the best and easiest way for the club to move forward. I expressed this opinion, as well.
Kelli Currie of the Bike Club Rescue Squad, a group that has been calling for the Board’s resignation for months, said they are pleased with the announcement.
“We’re pleased that the board has put the interests of the club and the membership first and wish them well in their transition,” she wrote in an email. “Additionally, we are eager to support the staff and membership in moving Cascade forward in the new year.”
I commend the Board for making a tough decision here. It’s not all that common that people voluntarily resign power for the greater good. They could have stretched this out and made it more painful, meanwhile distracting bike advocates from the rides and political work the area needs. All current Board members except Joey Gray signed the following letter, published on the Cascade blog:
Since the board’s decision on October 4 to make a change in the executive directorship of the Club, many members have expressed questions about the governance of the Club. We have reached out to members to better understand their concerns, through emails and conversations with concerned members, at the Annual Meeting, and at the Town Hall meeting held on November 30. Based on this dialogue, the Board has:
- postponed the board elections previously scheduled for October 2011 until March 22 to address a deficiency in the nomination process,
- expanded the target board size for 2011 to 15 members to strengthen and diversify the Board
- formed a new Nominations Committee to solicit and vet board candidates,
- formed a Bylaws Committee to evaluate and revise the Club bylaws, and
- formed an Executive Director Search Committee to solicit top candidates from around the country.
We believe that the Board’s actions should contribute to a stronger Club. Nevertheless, questions and misunderstandings regarding the Board’s actions have proven difficult to address and they continue to be divisive. After listening carefully to members, staff, and the broader community, we feel that a newly-constituted board, elected by membership on March 22, 2011, could more effectively govern the Club going forward.
Therefore, our goal is to continue in our current positions on the board until a new, representative, and skilled board of directors is in place, and offer our resignations at that point in time. In the coming two months, we will work to ensure that board candidates are duly vetted through an open and legitimate nomination process, that members are offered a choice in leadership by being able to consider more candidates than positions available, and that board members are elected by the full membership of the Club on March 22, 2011.
The Nominating Committee was appointed in early December 2010, consisting of two board members, two staff members, and two well qualified at-large members. The Nominating Committee has been working hard to prepare a slate of candidates for elections on March 22. Once the newly elected board has been seated, the undersigned members of the board will offer their resignations and pass on governance duties to the new board. For the benefit of continuity, some members of the current board are open to continued service on the new board, if requested to do so by the new board members. We maintain our support for the Club, its mission, and the work to date on the strategic plan. We also believe that good governance, with support from the staff and the membership, is essential to set the direction of the Club and to ensure the Club functions in accordance with its mission and on behalf of the members. (Note that the process we have outlined here will ensure legal continuity of governance of the Club in accordance with our bylaws.)
To that end, we urge you to help identify leaders within the Club who would be willing to serve on the board, to ensure the Club continues to be a powerful force for bicycling in Washington and part of a national movement which is bringing bicycling into the forefront of transportation policy. While the Nominating Committee has received many nominees with high qualifications, more nominees are needed to ultimately constitute a full 15 member board.
As part of the transition, we are suspending the work on the Bylaws and the Executive Director Search Committees. We believe a new board should review both issues as part of its responsibilities for oversight and governance of the Cascade Bicycle Club.
Thank you for your membership and involvement in the Club. We ask you to continue to support the Club, to be active in its affairs, and to make sure your voice is heard.
According to Tim Hennings, Joey Gray has opted not to comment on why her name is not on the letter.