I have a few thoughts I’d send along to the folk at GA about some of todays bylaw amendments.
First, is the amendment that would allow the UUA Board of Trustees to remove another Board member or a member of a Committee of the Association “with cause”. Four years ago, at GA in St. Louis, as a GA Planning Committee member, I allowed some underaged young adults, including my fiancee, to consume alcohol in my hotel room. When the GAPC found out about this, they asked me to resign, and told me that if I refused, they would ask the Board to remove me. In reading the bylaws, it became apparent that the Board didn’t have that power, unless my actions showed that I was morally incompetent to continue my service. In the end, I did resign, but had I not, the Board had little they could do.
The Board and our Association are going through many changes right now, shifting to Policy Governance, discussing massive reorganisations of services and districts. One of the big discussions the Board is having, is if GA is a Board function, or an Administration function, as Policy Governance requires these delineations. I believe that GA is the responsibility of NEITHER, but is in fact a function and the responsibility of our Congregations, and thus Equal To the Board of Trustees, and allowing the Board oversight of the committee is a bad idea. If we need to make bylaw changes allowing committees or the Board to remove people, give the Board and the Committees of the Association the same power and restrictions as the Board of Review, the only Committee of the Association that CAN remove it’s members.
Next, is the amendment to allow the Board, not the GA Planning Committee, to set the GA agenda. This I also would ask our delegates to decline. I believe over the last decade or so, the GAPC has been a bit negligent in its duties, allowing the Board and Moderator to largely set the agenda and just rubber stamping it. At least that’s how it happened when I was on the GAPC. Similar to my reasoning above, it is essential that in this time of massive change, that we require the elected servants of our faith to do their duty. The GAPC needs to take back their responsibility, and set the agenda. This means the GAPC will need to be in more and better contact with our congregations and Association leaders to determine WHAT business is needed.
Why did the Commission on Appraisal review the Principles? Because they were asked to by the President.
Why did the President ask for the review? Because the people setting the Agenda hadn’t done their due diligence and had them reviewed on the timeline the bylaws call for. That is the fault of the GAPC, and its own issues in having little long term vision, being caught in the minutia of one GA after another. Call on the GAPC to due its duty, and work with the Moderator to set the agenda, but to do it itself. They are supposed to be the check and balance against the Board of Trustees, working for the congregations.
So please, consider that giving the Board powers and oversight over other sections of those committees that belong to US as the GA and the Congregations, is not wise or prudent at this time.