The Task Force recommended continuing the Nominating Committee’s role in selecting all candidates for the election ballot.
Under this process, the Nominating Committee reviews all nominees for office and selects those best suited to serve the current and future needs of the SOA. Nominees are selected based on the skills and experience needed on the Board, the issues facing the profession, the strategic initiatives of the organization, and the policies and priorities of the Board. Upon Board approval, those selected become the candidates for election and are placed on the ballot for election by the voting members.
The role of the Nominating Committee was put in place following a comprehensive governance study in 2004-2005. The Task Force re-affirmed that the current process conforms to good governance practice and is well-designed to identify a slate of candidates with skills and competencies needed on the SOA Board of Directors. The Task Force believed that allowing nominees to be placed on the ballot by other means – bypassing the Nominating Committee’s role – would run the risk of undermining this goal. The Task Force strongly believes that the Nominating Committee has been performing its function fairly and effectively, and does a very good job evaluating nominees even-handedly and in good faith, based on criteria that are relevant to their prospective roles on the Board.
In performing its work, the Task Force conferred almost weekly over 16 weeks. It reviewed information from the 2004-05 Task Force on Nominations and Elections to understand the rationale and philosophy behind the current approach to nominations. It investigated how other professional bodies conduct their nominations and elections, taking into consideration the experience of organizations that have used a petition process, and found significant variation in processes among organizations.
The Task Force also solicited and reviewed feedback from members. The SOA asked members – via LinkedIn discussions, the SOA blog and email – to comment on the nominations process and to express their views on the need for change. The Task Force received only 23 responses, both for and against change in the current process. Although a majority of those who wrote favored some form of access to the ballot by petition, the small number of respondents advocating such a change did not represent to the Task Force a widespread dissatisfaction with the current process.